“Once he threw me a spitter at first base to pick off a runner. The ball sank a foot and I dropped it. When I threw it back to him it was still wet and sank again. The runners advanced a base and I got an error!”
Orlando on Hall of Fame pitcher and former teammate, Gaylord Perry.
Honestly, Adam Eaton is one of the most underrated players in the game. He had a 2016 WAR of 6.2. But, is he worth giving up Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning? No, despite his playing ability and being under contract for the next 3-5 years.
Adam Eaton has turned himself into one of the most productive outfielders in the game since his arrival to Chicago. Eaton’s three seasons with the White Sox has resulted in a combined 15.4 WAR. He has lead the league in triples twice, collected 175+ hits twice, and accumulated an OPS+ of 120+ each of his 3 Chicago seasons. He is an excellent player, but he is an American League player. Eaton will now be hitting atop the Nationals lineup facing NL pitching. When Eaton first played major league ball, it was in Arizona and it didn’t go well.
This exact package of players would arguably just as easy acquire Andrew McCutchen, who is a proven superstar. Clearly the Nationals are all in looking to take the 2017 NL pennant. Despite having filled that center field hole quite well with Eaton, and moving Trea Turner to short, they forgot about a few things. Washington’s most needed help is the bullpen, more precisely a closer. With the package they sent to Chicago, David Robertson would have been ideal to obtain in addition to Eaton. A second thing the Nats forgot about is their 1st base problem. An injury riddled Ryan Zimmerman currently holds that spot. Lastly, the team from DC is daydreaming with the WS trophy in their hands in the near future. Seems they have forgotten that the Cubs are the defending champs and will be in the way in 17’.
The Cubs may be the happiest team in the land currently, but as of the last couple days, the team on the south side is just as ecstatic. The day after acquiring baseball’s #1 prospect, Yoan Moncada, the White Sox get Lucas Giolito and company. Giolito is the #1 pitching prospect in the game and being called the next Roger Clemens. The Sox also acquired Reynaldo Lopez (#8 pitching prospect) and Dane Dunning (Nats’ 2016 1st round pick). The White Sox are the clear-cut winners of the trade.
Adam Eaton will be a key part of the Nationals’ 2017 run, but giving up big-time prospects, is trading away their future. 2017/2018 will be a win or bust scenario for Washington. For the White Sox, they look sexy as hell for the future. There is always risk in prospects, but these kids are special. The American League in 2018 and beyond may very well belong to the White Sox.
Colorado shocked the baseball world this morning by inking Ian Desmond to a 5-year $70 million contract. But, Desmond has only played outfield and shortstop. That is why this is an interesting case.
Certainly Desmond will make the Rockies lineup that much more lethal, possibly the best in the game. However, what position will he play? There is no DH in the NL, and the only open spot in the Rockies’ defense right now is 1st base; a position Desmond has never played. Other than that, the Rockies are a small market team. Why spend $70 million on an experiment?
Colorado always has one of the best offenses in the game. The reason for their lack of success is pitching. Cheaper 1st base options on the market include Chris Carter, Mark Reynolds, Mike Napoli, and Ryan Howard. The Rockies need to improve their bullpen, and there are plenty of good relievers on the free agent market. $70 million is smarter to spend on a few bullpen pieces than an unnecessary bat, no matter how good.
Ian Desmond had a bounce back campaign this past season. He only hit .233 in 15’, resulting in a disappointing small 1-year contract. But, his new role with his new team, the Rangers, in 16’, made way for a comeback performance. Desmond brings roughly 5-tools to Colorado. Desmond has hit 20+ homers 4 times in his career and has stolen 20+ bases 5 times in his career. The 3-time silver slugger award winner has also hit .280+ 3 times in his career. Other than being great at the plate, Desmond has a great arm.
Other than a great arm and potential of good range, playing center in 16’ added versatility to Desmond’s game. According to Rockies’ reports, Desmond is going to be their Ben Zobrist. Right now David Dahl is in left field. Dahl stole the show in 16’ by hitting safely in his first 17 major league games. Gerardo Parra signed a 3-year deal with the Rockies last offseason, but only played 102 games in 16’ due to injury. There are also rumors that center fielder Charlie Blackmon is on the trade block. But, at first glance this signing is a head scratcher that could make for the most lethal lineup in the game.
Chris Sale and Yoan Moncada swapping teams is the big headline right now. However, the benefits of this trade will be seen from the Red Sox point of view deep into 17’, and in the next couple days from the White Sox point of view. What is clear (or blurry) is what the message says for both sides.
David Price may be the Sox ace, and Rick Porcello may be the reigning AL Cy Young winner, but many still think Boston needs help in the rotation. So, the big question is whether or not Chris Sale is worth giving up baseball’s #1 prospect. Sale gives the Red Sox arguably the best AL rotation, and separates Boston from the rest of the AL East. So, after losing to the best AL pitching squad in the 2016 ALDS, the Sox were probably are very motivated to upgrade their pitching squad. However, the Indians went as far as they did due to their bullpen.
The last few years has proven bullpen talent trumps rotation talent. Although the Sox had one of the best bullpens according to the statistics, the focus needs to be there rather than the already deep rotation. Yes, Sale brings a 4.0+ WAR into Boston, but how much more of a difference can he make for an already 93-win team? Unlike the White Sox, this trade won’t be decided as a win or bust until deep into the 2017 season.
Doing away with their best player obviously points towards rebuild for the north side of Chicago. Just hours after dealing away Chris Sale, the White Sox have started up rumors of the eligibility of Jose Quintana and Todd Frazier. The remainder of the Winter Meetings and offseason will be key to the success of this trade. Adding Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech puts them 1 and 2 in the White Sox system. Now with those kids leading the charge in the Sox farm system, the front office needs to keep stocking it.
Chicago may be the big winner in this trade right now, but like Boston, it is contingent. The White Sox need to make some moves fast that support and indicate a rebuild. Selling now is important. The Reds, for example, sold too late and are still holding onto a few of their stars. Cincy now has anything, but a plentiful farm system. And their major league squad is a losing one with big stars wasting away.
First impression says this is a win-win for both sides. Boston has arguably the best trio atop their rotation and still one of the top farm systems. The White Sox, many believe, now have the next Robinson Cano and Justin Verlander. Overall though, for both sides, this blockbuster transaction has big risk and reward.
The last time the Giants had a legitimate all-star closer was in 2011 when Brian Wilson was closing the door. Since then it has been a revolving door mostly between Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo. Now at least for the next two years the Giants will have a man they can depend on to shut the door in the 9th. Mark Melancon has an opt-out clause after two years wired into his $62 million 4-year pact. But, the question is, how much of a solution will Melancon be for San Fran’s pen?
Melancon may not be a flamethrower like Jansen and Chapman, but consistency is his middle name. Mark has saved 131 games over the last 3 seasons producing a save percentage of 92%. However, this past season may have been his best campaign yet. His 2016 ERA+ was an astonishing 257, just like his 0.897 WHIP. Lastly, his ERA was 1.64, which was the 3rd time he produced a 1 ERA in his career. But, he had some great support to set him up in Pittsburgh and Washington.
Currently the bullpen options in San Fran may push Melancon’s innings over 80 for the first time in his career. However, the offseason is long from over. The rumors say the Giants are searching for relief help. Mark Melancon is the Giants bullpen savior San Fran has been looking for.