Well, it is day 2 of the winter meetings and not a big piece of news yet for the Royals.
Soria Signs With Rangers for around $8-9M
I think this was a good move by all parties involved. Soria gets some guaranteed money while he is rehabbing for part of this season. The Rangers get a top closer for probably 1.5 seasons for a reasonable price. The Royals aren't paying Soria's salary for the chance he will be back 100% since they already have a stocked bullpen. It is sad to see him and his curve ball go.
The one mystery with Soria that will always exist is what could have the Royals gotten for him when he was healthy and the team didn't need a lock down 9th inning closer. The Royals ended up with nothing. No AAAA filler. Not a C+ prospect. No a damn thing. Not moving Soria at his peak value is one of the worst non-moves Dayton made during his tenure.
Yost on Hochevar
Ned Yost said that Luke Hochevar will bounce back. I know Ned can't throw him under the bus, but bounce back?Bounce back from what? From having the highest ERA among pitchers over the last 5 years. Luke has nothing to bounce back to, but being a below average frustrating pitcher.
I would love to see the Royals pick up Dickey. The $5M he is owed is probably less than we will pay Hochevar. I know he wants an extension and the team that signs has the best chance to evaluate him. If people are worried about how he will pitch, wait a few starts and then offer the extension. I would not be too worried about his arm and some performance based incentives could be added to the contract.
The Rockies do not listen to me - they never have. Many times, I look back and am relieved, yet now, I'm just confused. Last week, I covered the most important members of the Rockies' bullpen in 2012, and my conclusion: the overall bullpen ERA was ugly (4.52), but that was inflated by piggyback relievers and short term cameos; indeed, the back end of the bullpen was the strength of an otherwise feeble team. After one day of the Winter Meetings, what are the Rockies' targets?
Huh. Rex Brothers, closer in waiting, had a 3.29 FIP and K/9 north of 11 in 2012. Matt Belisle had a FIP below 3.00 in EIGHTY innings. In sixty appearances, Rafael Betancourt had arguably his worst full season as a Rockie. His ERA was 2.81 and his FIP was 3.09. That trio was acquired for the low prices of a draft pick from letting reliever Brian Fuentes go, a minor league contract, and Conner Graham. Yet the first order of business at Opryland is finding a closer or back-end reliever?
Yet if one reads deeper than in Renck's piece, it is not quite as high profile of a target as the headline suggests. Colorado inquired on Joahkim Soria and Jordan Walden before they found new homes. Both Soria and Walden once were dominant closers but are now wild cards due to injury. The other "back-end relievers" mentioned in the piece are really standard middle relievers: Jason Grilli, Peter Moylan and Daniel Schlereth. Grilli will carry a hefty price tag after posting a K/9 of 13.81 last year, 4th best in MLB. Yes, really. The others should be cheap.
Walt Weiss remembers his 1995 squad, while headlined by the Blake Street Bombers, made the playoffs on the strength of a strong bullpen. While the back end of the pen is a strength, I would be okay with Colorado strengthening the pen, as having a dominant pen that can pitch at Coors Field is imperative to keeping a home field advantage. However, I fear that doing so would be at the cost of using the available trade chips or money that could be better allocated.
Renck: Rockies in no position to consider players untouchable - The Denver Post Except for Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton and Carlos Gonzalez. And Jhoulys Chacin I guess. It would not make sense to trade a talented starting pitcher at this point. The premise for Renck's piece here is expressing why Dexter Fowler is a popular target. Just please no Homer Bailey.
Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki nearing full recovery from groin injury - The Denver Post This is good news. But after 2012, it might just make fans new to pessimism have nightmares of a newly healthy Tulo playing in the WBC and tearing his hamstring, just tearing it right off.
TwitLonger — @ChrisChrisman In answering questions about the 4-man rotation and piggyback system, Dan O'Dowd has repeated cited the Rockies' research of elite starting pitchers faring significantly worse at Coors Field the third time through the line-up. It's an interesting premise, and one in which you had not previously researched. But is it true? Chris Chrisman did the legwork to find all of this data on the elite pitchers Dan O'Dowd continues to mention, and it pains me to say that the data does not support O'Dowd's notions.
Live from the 2012 Winter Meetings - Baseball Nation Baseball Nation has Rob Neyer, Cee Angi and Steven Goldman on the ground at the Winter Meetings. So you can follow this continuously generated feed for unique SBN content from Opryland.
Baseball Prospectus | 108 Stitches: Pulling Back the Curtain on the Winter Meetings If you further want to imagine yourself at the Winter Meetings, former Dodgers/White Sox GM Dan Evans describes the scene.
Unlikely replay ready for MLB's Opening Day in 2013, sources say - ESPN - You didn't think Bud was in a hurry, did you?
Baseball Prospectus | Western Front: Thou Shalt Not Run on Johnny Cueto The date was September 7, 2010. Things were grand in Rockies-land. Troy Tulowitzki was on a Ruthian rampage. Colorado had just won their fifth straight and would go on to win five more in a row and eight of their next 10 to pull within a game of a playoff spot. Ubaldo Jimenez had secured franchise record win number 18 the day before, leaving him two wins shy with five starts left. Remember that time? Yeah, that day was the last time Johnny Cueto allowed a successful steal of second base. It was by Eric Young Jr. while Ramon Hernandez was busy framing a third strike on Dexter Fowler. Great stuff from Geoff Young here, who found all 12 attempts at second base (a low number in 61 starts to begin with) were unsuccessful. That's one way to have the 3rd best ERA in MLB the last two seasons.
1988 HEADLINE: Eddie Murray Traded To The Los Angeles Dodgers On this day in 1988, the Baltimore Orioles traded the cornerstone of their franchise, Eddie Murray, to the Los Angeles Dodgers. A 12-year veteran, with more than 2,000 hits with … Continue reading →
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The NLCS MVP used his microscopic 1.8% swinging strike percentage to limit strikeouts against him better than anyone this season.
The slugger added the most runs given the context of the baserunners and number of outs at the time in the game, helping him secure a handsome contract extension with the Jays.
The AL Cy Young runner-up tied for the lowest league-leading total in history with the 2006 season, when Aaron Harang and C.C. Sabathia both went the distance six times.
The skilled outfielder saw his home run total fall from his career-best 2011 season, but he paced the league in doubles and still provided considerable value to his team, as indicated by his high WAR(P) totals.
E is for Earned Runs Allowed.
Luke Hochevar, Kansas City Royals, 118.
This other Royals former top draft pick continues to disappoint at the big league level. The 118 earned runs he allowed this year was the highest total since Nate Robertson allowed one more in 2008.
The southpaw had an impressive debut season in the National League, leading the Nationals to the playoffs and leading all qualified pitchers in this metric aimed at measuring aspects of the game that pitchers can control.
As pointed out in an earlier Beyond the Boxscore article, in 2012 the Diamondbacks reliever induced ground balls at a rate unprecedented in baseball history.
Despite cooling off after a white hot start to the season, the current free agent still led the league in this metric designed at capturing a hitter's power production.
J is for "Just Enough" Home Runs.
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers, 16.
The Tigers star used a number of home runs that barely cleared the fence in 2012 on route to the first Triple Crown since 1967 and the AL MVP Award.
As featured in an earlier Beyond the Boxscore article, the Braves closer set an all-time record by whiffing more than half of the batters that he faced in 2012, a truly incredible performance.
The Rays youngster continues to post ERAs much lower than FIPs, thanks in part to his prowess at stranding baserunners, which he accomplished at the highest rate of all qualified pitchers in 2012.
An end-of-season Beyond the Boxscore article examined the filthiest pitches in baseball, which included his changeup that moved in the horizontal plane more than any other pitch on average this season.
N is for Non-intentional Walks Allowed.
Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays, 104.
The Jays' opening day starter had a disastrous 2012 season, typified by his utter lack of control that led to his leading the league in this category.
Since 1980, only Jose Reyes in 2005 (536) made more outs at the dish in a season than the Orioles shortstop did in 2012.
P is for Pace (Between Pitches).
Mark Buehrle, Miami Marlins, 17.2.
The lefty didn't spend much time standing around on the mound in Miami, and to his surprise will now be doing his best to move the game along north of the border in 2013. As a polar point of reference, Jose Valverde took 32.8 seconds between pitches in 2012.
The knuckleballer defied all odds with a spectacular season that ended with him winning the NL Cy Young Award at age 38.
The rookie phenom destroyed the field in RAR and hence WAR, which is derived by converting runs above replacement to wins through roughly a 10:1 conversion factor each season.
The Pirates' futility at stopping the run led to catching only 19 would-be base stealers in 2012, the lowest seasonal total of any team since 1963. Recent Pittsburgh addition Russell Martin caught 20 runners in 2012.
T is for Triples.
Angel Pagan, San Francisco Giants, 15.
The Giants speedster had only 5 at the All-Star Break.
U is for Ultimate Zone Rating/150 (UZR/150).
Michael Bourn, Atlanta Braves, 22.5.
All three regular Braves outfielders appeared in the top 10 in this rating in 2012, with the centerfielder narrowly topping teammate Jason Heyward in this rating of defensive performance (scaled per 150 games).
The Reds flamethrower had the fastest average fastball speed of the 2012 season, although this will likely not be the case in 2013 should his move to the rotation come to fruition.
W is for Wild Pitches.
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants, 17.
This marks the second time that The Freak has led the league in this category. The first time he did so, in 2008, he also won the NL Cy Young Award. This time, not so much.
With one of the more bizarre seasons for a starting pitcher that you'll see, he led the league in this metric that adjusts FIP by assuming league average HR/FB rates, while winning only 6 games.
Y is for Young Rookie Pitchers in a Starting Rotation (YRPSR*).
Oakland Athletics, 5.
The underdog Athletics earned a birth to the postseason by riding on an entire starting rotation of rookie pitchers at one point near the end of the season. What an amazing year. (*Surprisingly not a commonly available statistic)
Despite a career-high 7(!) home runs in 2012, pitchers felt comfortable throwing him pitches in the strike zone at a higher rate than any other qualified hitter, according to BIS data.
So now your kids will be able to offer an idea other than "xylophone" and "x-ray" for words starting with X at school. (Provided of course the teacher doesn't restrict suggestions to conventional stats like W and RBI.)
You're welcome, parents.
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In this episode David Coleman, Sean Feist and myself discuss:
A big thanks to Brian T. Smith for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about his transition from the NBA to the MLB and some of his thoughts on statistics, Jeff Luhnow and more.
Our next podcast and final podcast of the year will likely be on December 15, 2012, which is a Saturday. I have a commitment the next two Sundays and so we'll be doing a Saturday recording instead.
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The last post looked at the Baseball-Reference’s bWAR for the four elite pitchers on the Phillie pitching staff, Halladay, Lee,Read the Rest...
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It's hard to believe that Paul Janish played more games at shortstop for the 2012 Atlanta Braves than either Andrelton Simmons or Tyler Pastornicky (or Jack Wilson... or Martin Prado). While he played terrific defense, he didn't hit his weight, batting well below the Mendoza line.
So with that in mind the Braves have re-signed Janish to a deal worth just under one million for one year. I suppose that's what Rafael Belliard would get nowadays, and that's how we should think of Janish -- a no-hit, all-glove shortstop, who will likely only be a backup to Simmons this season.
Of course he had surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in the off-season and might not be back for the start of the season. I guess defense is worth a lot to the Braves, and I did enjoy the defense that Janish showed last year, but I also like guys that can hit; so Janish is a bit of a frustrating player in that regard.
With that injury rehab, expect Tyler Pastornicky to start the year as the Braves backup shortstop. He's the opposite of Janish -- Rev can hit, but isn't the best defender.
Not much going on from day one at the Winter Meetings as far as Atlanta Braves fans are concerned, though it's still worth pointing out a few quotes or points. These are from DOB's AJC article, the first is in regards to Andrelton Simmons:
"I don’t think anybody is untouchable, but I think he would be…" Wren said, pausing for the right adjective, "unreachable. Because he plays one of those skill positions in the middle of the diamond much better than your average bear. He’s a special player.
"The other thing is, we’ve seen him grow so much in the last two years, from the time we drafted him to rushing through the minor leagues and winning a batting title at the A-ball level. He just continues to get better and better. We may be just scratching the surface of how good he can be."
That honestly sounds like how the Braves talked about Yunel Escobar five years ago. I'm not saying Yuney and Simba are the same player, but the Braves certainly do fall in love with their guys up the middle. Of course, I would consider him untouchable and/or unreachable as well, and keep in mind that I was high on Simmons before just about anyone else was.
Wren mentioned that they were trying to re-sign Reed Johnson to be their primary pinch hitter, and he said this about the continuing search for a left fielder:
As for a starting left fielder, Wren was asked if he’d be comfortable going to spring training without acquiring another impact performer.
"Yeah," he said. "Would I be satisfied? No. But I think I would be fairly comfortable. Because I think we’re in a position where we’re starting to have some options internally that are at least interesting for us, and would be fun to watch in spring training, see how they develop. So if we did nothing in that regard … I think there’s some interesting things that could develop from our own organization."
I've mentioned that a platoon of Juan Francisco and Evan Gattis would be fun to watch, with Martin Prado shifting back and forth between left field and third base. If the last spot in the lineup is the eighth spot, then why not take a shot and develop some (more) young sluggers.
And in the no-one-is-untouchable category:
"But] if we’re going to trade one of those guys it’s going to be a significant deal," Wren said. "And I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not."
Sounds about right. Though that means the Braves would probably want to get some rotation insurance.
We'll see if anything drops today at the meetings. Sounds like the groundwork for deals is being laid, but no one is getting close to finalizing anything. Maybe trades will start happening once more free agents are off the board.
The Miami Marlins wrapped up the first day of the 2012 winter meetings on mostly quiet notes. The Fish did not make any moves on any players, but they are still involved in talks even as the day progresses into the evening. And even with no moves yet made (though expect some players to be on the move as the week progresses), the Marlins still have been in the news somewhat during the first day of the 2012 winter meetings. Here is the latest from today.
Stanton Still Unhappy
The Marlins, as of last week, had yet to speak to Giancarlo Stanton about the situation following the major mega-trade between the team and the Toronto Blue Jays. President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest reported that he wanted to wait and allow the team's plans to come to fruition a little more before discussing the situation with Stanton, the team's lone superstar.
Agent joel wolfe says giancarlo feels "same" since unhappy tweet after trade. "It wasn't a reaction, it's a state of mind."— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 3, 2012
Unfortunately, this lack of communication has not helped to stem the tide of Stanton's frustration with the organization in the wake of the move. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Stanton's agent, Joel Wolfe, believes Stanton's attitude towards the Marlins organization remains the same since the trade.
This does not bode well for a team that is already struggling with issues of credibility with other players. The public problem between Stanton and the Marlins does not look good for a team that is supposed to be rebuilding around him, but that was the expected price to pay for trading all of those teammates in such a haphazard fashion. Now it seems the Marlins have yet to address that problem.
There is no official talk of Stanton requesting a trade, however.
Giancarlo's agent Joel Wolfe declined comment about whether @giancarlo818 had requested a trade. Not happy tho.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 3, 2012
It seems rather irrelevant, as the Marlins control Stanton's rights for another four seasons and can trade him whenever they please. In addition, the team should be in no rush to trade him simply because they will not receive enough value in return anyway. Even if there was smoke to this rumor, the Marlins have all of the leverage to quash anything that happens.
Escobar, Nolasco Trade Rumors
Yesterday we reported the trade rumors involving both Yunel Escobar and Ricky Nolasco. Escobar is being shopped while Nolasco wants a trade out of Miami. For the Marlins, it seems rash to trade Escobar when he is so cheap and possibly could rebuild value with a season in Miami. He is coming off of his worst campaign, and the Fish could allow him half of a year or a full season to display hitting ability and get him back up to a good level by next season. His extremely friendly contract allows the Marlins infinite flexibility in dealing with him, so it is disappointing to see the team hastily trying to jump into a trade.
With Nolasco, on the other hand, the Marlins should quickly make a move to shed his salary. Despite the team's meager payroll, Nolasco is making more money than he likely deserves given his skill level, and the team should get out from underneath his contract with any prospects coming in return.
Marlins Interested in DeRosa
The Fish have already expressed an interest in utility man Ryan Raburn, and the club could be looking for another veteran bench player who could play multiple positions in former Washington Nationals utility man Mark DeRosa. DeRosa was not sure whether he would play in 2013, but given his past three years, it looks as though he should be ready to retire. He has hit just .220/.309/.269 in limited playing time over the last three seasons, so he has seen better days baseball-wise. If the Marlins do sign him, it would be a fairly meaningless signing to bolster a bench that would not need bolstering if the starting lineup were not decimated.
Keep your eyes glued to Fish Stripes for more information about the happenings of the 2012 winter meetings. We will have full coverage of all the news and analysis as it comes to us.
Winter Meetings started this week, and after brushing off the hilarious jokes about last year, the Marlins immediately started shopping their players. So while agents, managers, and Adam Greenberg rave about the hotels and food of Nashville, let?s ?check-in? on some of the Marlin?s current assets and see what?s on the ?menu? when shopping these [...]