The Major Deals that will Shape the MLB in 2013 – This Week’s Offseason Transactions
Countdown until Opening Day: 120 days
Big contracts and key trades headlined this past week in the MLB. It was also an
important week for major league clubs in that they had to decide which players
they were going to tender contracts. Big names were on the non-tendered list
including Giants’ star closer Brian Wilson, Braves’ starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens,
and Orioles’ starting third baseman Mark Reynolds. Although some non-tendered
players will not necessarily enter free agency because they are arbitration-eligible,
all three of those players were let go by their former teams. Here is a list of big-
name players who were not offered contracts by their former teams (written after
Mark Reynolds, 3B, Baltimore Orioles
John Lannan, SP, Washington Nationals
Mike Pelfrey, SP, New York Mets
Jair Jurrjens, SP, Atlanta Braves
Peter Moylan, SP, Atlanta Braves
Brian Wilson, CP, San Francisco Giants
Rich Hill, RP, Boston Red Sox
Ryan Sweeney, OF, Boston Red Sox
Scott Atchison, RP, Boston Red Sox
Bobby Wilson, C, Blue Jays
Jack Hannahan, 3B, Cleveland Indians
Rafael Perez, RP, Cleveland Indians
Geovany Soto, C, Texas Rangers
Stu Pomeranz, RP, Baltimore Orioles
Daniel Schlereth, RP, Detroit Tigers
Ian Stewart, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Andres Torres, OF, New York Mets
Nate Schierholtz, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (1)
These players are all on the free agent market and are able to be picked up by other
teams. We’ll look at a few players who will feel the effect of changed scenery the
Jair Jurrjens, SP, Atlanta Braves, Neutral Move
Up until last year, Jurrjens was seen as a dominant pitcher in the National League.
But this past year was something completely off his career track. He posted an
abysmal 6.89 ERA and pitched just 48 innings all year before the Braves pulled the
plug two starts after the all-star break. (2) Jurrjens should be picked up by another
team, but the 4.44 ERA he has away from Turner Field over the past three years is a
reason for potential owners to worry. His stock has dropped immensely, should
go in the early 30’s rounds.
Brian Wilson, RP, San Francisco Giants, Bad Move
Wilson missed all of last year rehabbing his twice-Tommy-John-operated elbow.
Unfortunately, the Giants bullpen did not miss a beat without him. Sergio Romo
stepped in admirably and was one of the league’s top closers, proving to the Giants
that they did not have to keep Wilson and his most-likely expensive contract. AT&T
Park is known to be a pitcher’s park and its dimensions have helped Wilson keep
the long ball he is so prone to in the park. He will miss that wherever he goes, but his
fastball is so overpowering and his slider is so devastating that he should succeed
wherever he ends up. One of the top closers in the game if he can return to form
after the surgery, should get picked in rounds 10-12.
Mark Reynolds, 3B, Baltimore Orioles, Terrible Move
The Orioles were one of the surprise breakout teams of last year and their lineup
put up surprisingly decent offensive numbers. Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and Matt
Wieters were consistent producers and Camden Yards is ranked as the fifth most
hitter-friendly park in the majors according to ESPN (3), allowing Reynolds to finish
the year with 23 HRs and 69 RBIs. Without the friendly stadium and productive
offense, Reynolds’ statistics will most likely decrease in comparison to his career
average. A very good power hitter, but without the helpful stadium, his home
run and RBI totals could see a drop. Pick him in roughly round 15.
Now, we’ll return to look at what the rest of the week had in store for baseball fans
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays (signs 10 year extension worth $100 million),
This transaction does not seem as if it will turn out well for either party involved.
The Rays, already tight on cash as it is, have now locked up $100 million in one
player who, although is a phenomenal player, will most likely not put up 10 years
worth of production. Moreover, no team will be looking to take on that much
money in a trade (save for maybe the Yankees who will be shopping for an A-Rod
replacement). As for Longoria, he has signed himself off for ten more years of small-
market baseball where franchise players are shipped off every few years to make
room for a new crop of prospects. On top of that, Tropicana Field is very pitcher-
friendly and will not help his stats. Still, with a weak lineup and unhelpful field,
Longoria is almost a sure bet. Pick him in either the first or second round.
Scott Feldman, RHP, Texas Rangers Chicago Cubs, Good Move
Before the all-star break last year, Feldman was an ineffective relief pitcher. After
the all-star break though, he was promoted to the rotation and improved his ERA
while also decreasing his BAA and HRs allowed. (4) And he now is moving away from
the 4th most batter-friendly park (Ballpark at Arlington) and moves to an essentially
neutral park in Wrigley Field. He will most likely be a fixture in the Cubs rotation as
well, so his number of starts should increase greatly from last year. The one down side to the move is that he leaves the most potent offense in the bigs, for the feeblest. Overall, he could add some wins for your rotisserie-style league if you need them, but pick him in the mid 30’s rounds.
Ryan Madson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds Los Angeles Angels, Good Move
By signing Madson, a reliable closer when healthy, the Angels were able to ship
all-star closer Jordan Walden to Atlanta for another starting pitcher (that would
turn be Tommy Hanson). Madson missed all of last year with an injury, but on the
Phillies, Madson was lights-out almost every time he took the mound. The Reds
signed Jonathan Broxton to a long-term deal and still have young phenom Aroldis
Chapman, meaning that Madson would have had lots of competition for the closer
role. But now that he is in Los Angeles and Walden is gone, Madson should have the
closing spot almost assuredly. Not to mention he is also moving to the pitcher’s park
that is Angel Stadium. Madson will be in line for a lot of saves this year and his
stats will spike above his career averages. Pick him in the mid 20’s rounds.
Jonathan Broxton, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (re-signed with the Reds on a 3-year deal),
Broxton had a very good season last year with the Reds and they have affirmed their
support by dealing away Ryan Madson and claiming that they will move Aroldis
Chapman to the starting rotation. Although Broxton only had 33 save opportunities
last year (5), that number should increase this year without the closer competition.
Broxton had a solid year last year and there is no reason why he should not
have a good year this year. A good pick for a closer in the early-mid 20’s
Denard Span, CF, Minnesota Twins Washington Nationals, Good Move
Span now joins one of the strongest all-around teams in the major leagues while
leaving one of the poorest behind. Last year, the Nationals ranked 10 th in the majors
in runs scored, 9th in batting average, and 6th in slugging percentage. (6) They are
stocked with run producers such as Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Michael Morse, and
Ryan Zimmerman. The one problem he faces with this move is that he will have to
battle Roger Bernadina, who had a .291 average, had a .405 slugging percentage, and
nabbed 15 stolen bases with just 227 at-bats. (7) They are both 28 years old and play
the same kind of baseball, so it will be a matter of who performs better in spring
training to determine the Opening Day line-up. No matter what though, Span is a
solid pick for batting average and hits. He should go in the early 30’s rounds.
B.J. Upton, CF, Tampa Bay Rays Atlanta Braves, Fantastic Move
One of the biggest items on the market this offseason, Upton inked a five-year deal
with the Braves, showing that he should be there for a while. Although people have
begun to write him off, I still believe that he is a terrific player with all five tools. He can hit the ball to any field, drive the ball over the wall, and steal bases as well as any top-base stealer in the league. His stolen base count has tailed off and his on-base percentage dropped enormously last year, but he increased his batting average, extra-base hit tally, and home run count. (8) With the short fences of Turner Field as his home and a very productive line-up surrounding him, Upton should have a career year. I highly recommend picking him so get him in round 7 to ensure this.
Russell Martin, C, New York Yankees Pittsburgh Pirates, Bad Move
Martin signed on with the Pirates on a two-year, $17 million deal, one that should
suit him perfectly fine financially, but rough statistically. The ball absolutely flies
out of Yankee Stadium and it helped so many players without much pop go yard
(yes we are looking at you Brett Gardner). This is not to say that Martin can’t hit for
power, but it does help out a lot. And he also loses the production of the monstrous
lineup for which he hit seventh or eighth. Instead of hitting behind the likes of Curtis
Granderson, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher, he will be hitting
behind Garrett Jones, Pedro Alvarez, and Andrew McCutchen. Well, McCutchen is
obviously a star player, but the point is that the Yankees are chalk-full of superstars.
Martin will greatly miss that powerful Yankees lineup, but pick him in the late
20’s rounds if you are still in need of a decently effective catcher.
Tommy Hanson, LHP, Atlanta Braves Los Angeles Angels, Fantastic Move
With Zack Greinke possibly out the door, the Angels seemed to believe that they
needed another star pitcher to fix the hole. So they went out and negotiated for
Tommy Hanson. Even though last year was an off year for Hanson, he is still a
dominant pitcher and the Angels were very lucky that the Braves were looking to
dump some cash. Like the Yankees, the Angels lineup is filled with stars that will
provide run support for Hanson. And also, Angel Stadium is one of the most pitcher-
friendly parks in the bigs. This coupled with his pure talent will guide him to a great
year. He is a very solid strikeout pitcher and will get around 15 wins for you as
a fantasy owner. He will be picked somewhere between rounds 12-15.
Jordan Walden, RHP, Los Angeles Angels Atlanta Braves, Bad Move
There is almost no doubt that Walden will be relegated to the setup man position
once he gets to Atlanta. Braves closer Craig Kimbrel is one of the most spectacular
closers in the game and is unbelievable for his age. Turner Field is much more
hitter-friendly than Angel Stadium and he will not be in line for very many saves this
year. He will get anywhere between 10 and 20 saves and he is not known to be
an overpowering strikeout pitcher. His stock has dropped with the move and
should go in the early 20’s rounds.
Philip Humber, RHP, Chicago White Sox Houston Astros, Bad Move
After his perfect game last year, Humber once again dropped under the radar and
finished with subpar stats across the board. He had a starting role in Chicago and should have a starting spot in Houston. The problem is that the White Sox were able to provide a little bit of run support for him. The Astros on the other hand, will not. Their offense is dreadful and his record was kept afloat by the White Sox’ production. If you are going to pick him at all, pick him with one of the last picks of the draft. Otherwise there is no need wasting a roster spot on him.
Finally, the other transactions that occurred around the league:
-The A’s traded Brandon Hicks to the Mets for cash considerations.
-The Yankees signed Eli Whiteside to a one-year deal.
-The Pirates traded Luis Rico and Luis Santos to the Royals for Vin Mazzaro and Clint
-Pat Neshek re-signed with the A’s on a one-year contract.
-Andy Pettitte re-signed with the Yankees on a one-year contract.
-The Red Sox traded 3B Danny Valencia to the Orioles for cash considerations.