Hot Stove League 2019-2020

First up, Grandal signed by ChiSox.  One of the top five FAs on the market, IMHO.  Switch hitter, good power, great at framing pitches, supposedly excellent clubhouse guy.  The ChiSox are making a big statement here.  They have a good core of young, controllable players and are starting to add (or retain--Jose Abreu on one year qualifier) key veterans to augment them.  A good recipe for long-term success.

I think this means James McCann is now available for trade?  He was an All-Star in 2019 but now is expendable, with Grandal behind the plate and Abreu at first base.  And they have a kid in the minors, Mercedes, who looks promising and a bench catcher, Collins, already in place.


Grandal is a really good signing. Would've loved the Mets to sign him, but that would've entailed spending money.


4 years $73 million is too much for a catcher.  The last two years will be tough.


FilmCarp said:

4 years $73 million is too much for a catcher.  The last two years will be tough.

 yup.


FilmCarp said:

4 years $73 million is too much for a catcher.  The last two years will be tough.

 d'Arnaud to the Braves for two years at $16MM.  Not sure I would have done that one.  He did end the season strong with the Rays, but had a really up and down year--and career.


Mariners sign first baseman Evan White to a six year, $24MM deal with three options.  The catch is White has played only four games above AA ball in his career.

He is projected to be the M's starting 1st baseman in 2020.  And, dig this:  He is the only player on the 2020 roster who is signed past 2021.

Both Scott Kingery (Phils) and Eloy Jimenez (ChiSox) signed long term deals out of AAA ball and so far it is working out ok for their teams.  But no one has signed a long term deal out of AA ball before.


Mets reportedly interested in trading for Sterling Marte.  A good (although no longer sterling) outfielder who hits for average and some pop.  The Mets let Lagares go, declining an option, and neither Conforto nor Nimmo are naturals in center field.  Marte is under club control through 2021 with an option for 2022.

Lots of questions for the Mets here.  Marte is not cheap--$11.5MM a year--and he is declining defensively.  He made 5 errors in CF last year, and his Gold Glove was as a left fielder.  Is he worth the young talent they will need to give up, especially after what happened with the Cano/Diaz deal?  And what happens to Nimmo and Davis?

Then there is the elephant in the corner--Cespedes.  He reportedly was taking live BP a few weeks ago, which itself might violate his contract since it was not under Mets supervision**.  Will he really try to come back, meaning the Mets really have to pay him and not rely on insurance to cover most of it?

So many questions, as always, for the Mets who still do not seem to have a clear vision.

**This is potentially important.  The Yanks cut Jacoby Ellsbury and will have to eat $26MM on his contract.  Except they are now arguing that he voided his contract by having non-team-authorized medical treatments.  The union will fiercely grieve this one--if it stands, imagine the Angels cutting Pujols with no financial recourse, etc.  What about that mysterious hole at Rancho Cespedes last year?  Do the Mets have the cojones to join the Yanks?


The idea of overpaying for a declining center fielder while selling his offensive ability makes me Ill.  The guys they have can hit and play poor defense.  Why pay for that?


Cespedes is a free agent after this year. He's going to do everything possible to return and play well so he can get another contract. I thought Nimmo was playing an ok centerfield by the end of the year. I guess it depends on who Pitt wants. If it's Dom Smith and some minor leaguer I would be ok with that. Marte had solid numbers last year and they would have somebody in the lineup to steal off d'Arnaud whenever they face the Braves. 


As noted in the Mets Fans Only page, Wheeler to the Phillies for five years, $118MM.  This is a tough one for me to analyze.  On the one hand, I love Wheeler's make up and his fighting back from injuries to be a quality starter again.  So sad to see him leave the Mets.  On the other hand, five years with his fragile history is a hell of a gamble.  If it were any other team but the Mets I would think that maybe they know something the Phillies do not know about his durability.  But given that it is the Mets, I think they balked at the price tag.  The Phillies badly needed a strong pitcher in the middle of their starting rotation and Wheeler fills the bill nicely.  

Meanwhile, Hamels to the Braves for one year at $18MM.  I think this is a super signing by the Braves given all the young talent they have to surround him.

The NL East just got a whole lot worse for the Mets.


Can’t “like” that analysis, but I agree. 


mfpark said:

As noted in the Mets Fans Only page, Wheeler to the Phillies for five years, $118MM.  This is a tough one for me to analyze.  On the one hand, I love Wheeler's make up and his fighting back from injuries to be a quality starter again.  So sad to see him leave the Mets.  On the other hand, five years with his fragile history is a hell of a gamble.  If it were any other team but the Mets I would think that maybe they know something the Phillies do not know about his durability.  But given that it is the Mets, I think they balked at the price tag.  The Phillies badly needed a strong pitcher in the middle of their starting rotation and Wheeler fills the bill nicely.  

Meanwhile, Hamels to the Braves for one year at $18MM.  I think this is a super signing by the Braves given all the young talent they have to surround him.

The NL East just got a whole lot worse for the Mets.

 if you consider that deGrom got $137MM for 5, and nobody thought he got lowballed, $118MM for Wheeler is stupid money.  I don't wish him any ill will, but there's no way I think the Mets should have matched that.  He's still never thrown 200 innings in a season, and he's never put together a complete season at a high level.  If he starts 2020 the way he started 2018, Philly fans will eat Wheeler alive.


mfpark said:

The Phillies badly needed a strong pitcher in the middle of their starting rotation and Wheeler fills the bill nicely.

Badly, and how. So I’ll take Wheeler, even though I’ll probably be groaning through Years 4 and 5.

(And welcome to my English Usage Hall of Fame, mfpark. Your plaque reads: Filled the bill when others misfit it.)


I'm thinking Wheeler's people called the Mets after they got the offer because other than wanting to stay with the Mets he knows he could have problems in that park. Philly is where flyballs go to be homers. 


Mets trade two prospects for Marisnick, who is in his last year under team control.  He is a great defender but light hitter who hits lefties better than righties, so look for a platoon in centerfield with Nimmo.  Not a major move, but a good piece of the puzzle.  Although they may regret letting go of prospect Blake Taylor.

Brewers replace Grandal with Narvaez at catcher, in return for a right handed pitching prospect and a draft pick.  Not sure why the Mariners would let Narvaez go so cheaply--he is controllable for three years, and was one of their best hitters last year.  Oh, right, he also is one of the worst defensive catchers in the game right now.  Maybe that weighed in their decision.  That, and the fact that he is in his first year of arbitration and will get a hefty increase from his league minimum salary of last year.  Yes, the M's are that cash strapped, per perhaps just that cheap.


Marvin Miller, at last.

(Ted Simmons? Meh.)


DaveSchmidt said:

Marvin Miller, at last.

(Ted Simmons? Meh.)

It's sad that the MLB powers-that-be were too spiteful to honor Miller while he was alive. But he apparently wore the snub as a badge of honor so I guess it doesn't matter that much. 

My standards for entry into the HoF are pretty relaxed compared to a lot of people. But even I never thought of Ted Simmons as a guy who was deserving but overlooked. That said, congratulations to him. He always seemed like a hard nosed pro. 


As Ron Darling said in the Times yesterday, catchers deserve different recognition.  Try putting a superstar outfielder behind the plate, squatting all game, being hit by foul balls, wearing heavy gear, and see how well they would do over a career.


Guerra signed by Arizona--a good addition to a really bad bullpen.  Perhaps paid more than they wanted, but it is a one year deal at $2.55M with a club option for 2021 and a small $100k buyout.  He is 35, in first year of arbitration, and seemed to find a role out of the bullpen for the Brewers last year.  He was non-tendered by the Brewskis.


I am sure you have already read about this one.  Strasburg stays with the Nats for 7 years at $245MM, or $35MM per year.  Which sets the stage for Cole to sign with the Yankees for $36MM per year because both Cole and the Yankees want bragging rights.  I am sure Strasburg will get over it.

It is kind of quaint to see a star free agent choose to stay with the team that drafted him, nurtured him, carefully kept stress off his arm in the early years.  I say "quaint" with all due irony--quaint as in $35 freaking million a year, a $10MM per year raise over what was left on his contract that he opted out of.  He will be getting this through age 38, at which point he might be Satchel Paige or he might have a dead arm.

All kidding aside, this is a good signing by the Nats for both baseball and meta-baseball reasons.  More than anyone else to date, Strasburg is the face of the reborn franchise.  Perhaps one day Soto will take on that mantle, but that is years away.  Strasburg also fronts an imposing starting pitching group that got the Nats the world title and will keep them in the hunt in 2020 and perhaps 2021--a rarity for today's league where "openers" and short-stint pitchers are becoming the norm.

The downside is it means they likely cannot afford to sign Rendon, a player I really like who also brings more to the game than just a great bat and glove.  And it might make it harder to sign more and better bullpen arms to back the starting four.  But all in all, a deal that was worth doing.


mfpark said:

I am sure you have already read about this one.  Strasburg stays with the Nats for 7 years at $245MM, or $35MM per year.  Which sets the stage for Cole to sign with the Yankees for $36MM per year because both Cole and the Yankees want bragging rights.  I am sure Strasburg will get over it.

It is kind of quaint to see a star free agent choose to stay with the team that drafted him, nurtured him, carefully kept stress off his arm in the early years.  I say "quaint" with all due irony--quaint as in $35 freaking million a year, a $10MM per year raise over what was left on his contract that he opted out of.  He will be getting this through age 38, at which point he might be Satchel Paige or he might have a dead arm.

All kidding aside, this is a good signing by the Nats for both baseball and meta-baseball reasons.  More than anyone else to date, Strasburg is the face of the reborn franchise.  Perhaps one day Soto will take on that mantle, but that is years away.  Strasburg also fronts an imposing starting pitching group that got the Nats the world title and will keep them in the hunt in 2020 and perhaps 2021--a rarity for today's league where "openers" and short-stint pitchers are becoming the norm.

The downside is it means they likely cannot afford to sign Rendon, a player I really like who also brings more to the game than just a great bat and glove.  And it might make it harder to sign more and better bullpen arms to back the starting four.  But all in all, a deal that was worth doing.

I think there are more than a few guys who realize that their success isn't guaranteed on a new team.  Trout, deGrom, Strasburg are examples of that kind of thinking.  Just my opinion, but I don't think the pressure to live up to the big contract is the same if you stay with your original team.  These guys have already performed at a high level for their teams, and the fans tend to see the big contract as a reward for things the players have already done for their teams.  A Harper or a Machado doesn't have any past goodwill to take forward.  The fans are expecting big things in the future to justify the salaries.


mfpark said:

As Ron Darling said in the Times yesterday, catchers deserve different recognition.  Try putting a superstar outfielder behind the plate, squatting all game, being hit by foul balls, wearing heavy gear, and see how well they would do over a career.

 I don't disagree with this.  In fact, in our HoF discussions here, I always say it's unfair that guys at SS, 2B, C and even CF are held to the hitting standards of 1B and corner outfielders when it comes to Hall consideration.  That's why to me, Biggio was a no-brainer HoFer and so is Beltran.  Put their numbers up against guys who played CF, 2B or C and see where they stack up.  Look at the number of All-Star appearances they had.  That said, I looked at Simmons's career stats and his peak WAR does put him in the HoF conversation.  I was probably guilty of doing what I try not to do -- compare a catcher's stats against his contemporaries who played in the OF or at a corner infield spot.


Gregorius to Phil's for a year.  


FilmCarp said:

Gregorius to Phil's for a year.  

 Yes, just saw this.  Guess the Phils are hoping he bounces back from a bad 2019 campaign.   One year is not a bad gamble to take.


Angels freed up salary room by trading Crosart to the Giants.  I think the real thing the Giants wanted was Will Wilson who was added to the deal.  Wilson is a top prospect at shortstop.  Crosart is in the last year of an expensive contract and has been injured much of the last two years.  The Angels have a lot of infield prospects who are just about MLB ready, so they are trading from strength.

Meanwhile, the Angels have lots of room to take on at least two high end free agents.  I imagine Ryu, Bumgartner, and Rendon are all getting lots of fan mail from the Angels' front office right about now.  They lost out on Cole, but it looks like they want to get Trout to the World Series this year and next year if at all possible.


Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day.  I called the Rendon to Angels deal, sort of.  I expect the Angels to go big for a starting pitcher next.  They still have a lot of cap room available.

Porcello signed by Mets is discussed on the Mets page.  If he bounces back into form it is a good signing; but last year he only got to 14 wins because the Sox lineup was so damned good.  He cannot count on that from the Mets lineup.


mfpark said:

Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day.  I called the Rendon to Angels deal, sort of.  I expect the Angels to go big for a starting pitcher next.  They still have a lot of cap room available.

Porcello signed by Mets is discussed on the Mets page.  If he bounces back into form it is a good signing; but last year he only got to 14 wins because the Sox lineup was so damned good.  He cannot count on that from the Mets lineup.

 Porcello will almost certainly be better from an ERA standpoint, pitching at Citi, and getting to face pitchers every few innings.  But that may not translate to wins for the Mets.  He doesn't have to be an ace, just a solid 5th starter, which may still be within his ability. Anything better than that would be upside.


ml1 said:

mfpark said:

Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day.  I called the Rendon to Angels deal, sort of.  I expect the Angels to go big for a starting pitcher next.  They still have a lot of cap room available.

Porcello signed by Mets is discussed on the Mets page.  If he bounces back into form it is a good signing; but last year he only got to 14 wins because the Sox lineup was so damned good.  He cannot count on that from the Mets lineup.

 Porcello will almost certainly be better from an ERA standpoint, pitching at Citi, and getting to face pitchers every few innings.  But that may not translate to wins for the Mets.  He doesn't have to be an ace, just a solid 5th starter, which may still be within his ability. Anything better than that would be upside.

 On the good side:  He will give up less home runs in Citi Field because that is where home runs go to die.  Porcello has always given up a lot of dingers.  And, yes, facing a pitcher 2 times in five innings is a plus.  But his ERA has been around 5.00 the last few years and that is not a good thing with a line up that struggles to plate 2 runs a game quite often.


mfpark said:

Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day.  I called the Rendon to Angels deal, sort of.  I expect the Angels to go big for a starting pitcher next.  They still have a lot of cap room available.

Cap room?


I’ve toured the bowels of Citizens Bank Park. One highlight was an entire room just for the team’s caps.



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