Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thoughts on the Offseason so Far

Stanton extension
     At the beginning of the offseason I would've bet anything that the Marlins would trade Giancarlo Stanton. I would've bet even more that it was for nothing more than a few unproven prospects; I've always thought their Miguel Cabrera Dontrelle Willis for Cameron Maybin trade never gets enough attention for being terrible. Anyway, as huge of a contract it is, it's a good deal for the Fish. Stanton's been so good for so long it's easy to forget he's only 25. He'll keep getting better for at least a few more years, and it's not out of the question to think he'll still be useful at age 38 when the deal expires. Of course, it isn't out of the question that Jeffery Loria will be too cheap to get him any help, but that's a separate issue.
Martin to the Jays
     Maybe a slight overpay, but a good move for the Jays. He'll fit in nicely with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion and help mentor their young pitching staff.
Heyward-Miller trade
     This was a logical trade for both teams, the Braves needed pitching depth with the possibility of Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang leaving, and the Cards needed an outfielder after the tragic death of Oscar Taveras a month ago. Even though Heyward will be a free agent next year, I like this deal for the Cardinals. Heyward may have been a slight disappointment in Atlanta, remember that 1) he played in a pitchers park, 2) while his numbers look average to the naked eye, analytics love him. He's one of the best fielding outfielders in the game right now, leading all right fielders in range factor per game last year at 2.56. He's also a very disciplined hitter, swinging at just 28.1 percent of pitches outside of the zone. and 3) he's only 24 years old.
     That last one is a biggie, because as I said before, he was a tiny bit disappointing for the Braves, but, much like Stanton, people forget how he isn't close to peaking.
     As for Miller, he's been a bit of an enigma the last few years, posting an ERA+ of just 98 last season, a frustrating follow up year on a solid 2013 campaign where he went 15-9 and had an ERA of 3.06. It's too early to tell who won this but if Heyward resigns with the Cardinals next year I'll award it to them for all the reasons I said earlier about Heyward and I'm not completely sold on Miller, whose spike in ERA came last season despite a lower BABIP.
Sandoval and Ramirez to the Sox
     I'll start with Panda: In the era of constant shifts, someone like him who can spray the ball all over the field is a great asset to have. However, he's struggled to hit lefties, batting .199 against them last season, which will make it hard for the switch-hitting Sandoval to take advantage of the close proximity of the Green Monster to home plate with lots of power from the right-handed side. Still, I'm on board with this move, he's an underrated fielder, has excelled in a pitchers ballpark his entire career, and always comes alive in the postseason.
     Ramirez is a different story. He hasn't played more than 130 games since 2012 and is a disaster defensively. He can't play short at this point in his career especially when the Sox have Xander Bogearts.* Obviously Panda's occupying third, so his only option is left field. To create space, I wouldn't be surprised if they packaged some combination of Yoenis Cespedes Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr. to trade for someone like Cole Hamels.
* I like to call him The Bogy Man, but I think I'm in the minority with that one.

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