Author Archive

Yangervis Solarte and the Blue Jays’ Attempt to Thread the Needle

The Blue Jays traded a couple prospects for a versatile infielder this weekend following a season during which their own infielders had trouble staying on the field. That much about the Yangervis Solarte trade makes sense.

What makes a little less sense? A Toronto team projected to finish almost 10 games worse than the best two teams in their division just improved their 2018 roster at a potential cost down the road. It might be a fine trade in a vacuum, but is it a well-timed one?

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Adam Wainwright, Luke Weaver, and Passing the Torch

Recently, St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak was asked about his starting rotation in 2018. He said he was mostly content to go to battle with the players he had. Consider this, for example, from Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

It’s unclear if there’s a design behind the order in which Mozeliak names the staff, but he does single out Adam Wainwright as a somewhat unknown variable.

Now there’s a rumor that the Cardinals are in on Jake Arrieta, which, especially when seen next to this discussion of pitcher roles next year, might mean that the 36-year-old Wainwright is losing his grip on his rotation spot.

As bad as last year was for the veteran Cardinal righty — and it was, since he was somewhere between the 18th-worst and 36th-worst starting pitcher who threw at least 120 innings last year — the way the season progressed may have been even more disheartening than even the overall results.

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Eno Sarris Baseball Chat — 1/4/18

Eno Sarris: sometimes you long for a time that came before even though you know that time was rife with its own troubles and

Eno Sarris: I am HERE for this. sorry for being late. Kids are home, so if there’s an extended absence, one is running around naked or one is trying to climb the tree again.

Jimmy Ballgame: Whats the fantasy outlook for Josh bell this year?

Eno Sarris: If he regresses on the power a bit, I bet he improves the batting average and retains aobut the same overall value.

Bort: If I put on my Scott Boras thinking cap, it seems to me that a heavily front-loaded deal with an opt-out after two years with Colorado makes a bunch of sense for Hosmer. It incentivizes him to opt-out (good for Colorado, which might need the $$$ to resign Arenado) after 2019, and gives him an opportunity to pump up his numbers a bit and re-enter the market at a reasonable age. For Colorado, it gives them a short-term option to fill a short-term hole.

Eno Sarris: If he’s already gotten two seven year $147 offers as the rumors say, he doesn’t need to do this.

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Eno Sarris Baseball Chat — 12/21/17

Eno Sarris: …

Broseph: You pointed me toward Sam dyson in 2016, and James Paxton in 2017. Whose your 2018 difference maker who can be acquired cheaply now?

Eno Sarris: Yo I am here

Eno Sarris: I’ve been into Walker Buehrler (best curve by movement and velo, opportunity, going back to starting), Carlos Rodon (third best starter’s changeup by movement and velo last year), and I still like Treinen and Manaea as lower cost back end pitchers at their positions.

Art Vandelay: Gordon, Granite, and a couple lower Twins’ prospects for Archer. Do the Rays hang up?

Eno Sarris: probably not enough for a pitcher getting paid less than ten mill a year.

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What Front Offices Have to Say About the Changing Game

We’ve been writing here — perhaps ad nauseum — about the changes the game is undergoing currently. The ball may be different, the launch angles may be changing, power is definitely up, and starting-pitcher innings are down. Are these fundamental changes, though? Is this a different game we’re watching than the ones our elders enjoyed? And if so, is it necessary to alter the way we think about building successful teams?

I thought it would be interesting, at last week’s Winter Meetings, to ask front-office members of all kinds if they thought the game had really changed. If so, I wondered, had these insiders changed the way they approach their jobs over the last few years? To get better answers, I asked most of these generous people to talk off the record — meaning, in some cases, I’m unable to reveal their particular roles.

These answers do run the gamut, and the sources are varied — from former players to former business-school graduates. In sum, the responses offer us a peek at a fundamental choice in front of every team-builder right now, the same choice, ironically, that players face every day — namely, is it time to adjust?

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Walker Buehler May Be Key to What Comes Next for Dodgers

The Dodgers made a big trade with the Braves over the weekend, and Jeff Sullivan did a great job of illustrating how, for Los Angeles, it mostly represented a trade of debt this season for debt next season. The deal allows the club to avoid the tax threshold for a year, resetting their penalty and allowing them (if they choose) to cross back over the threshold next year at less cost.

There’s certainly a reason they’d make that choice: next year’s offseason features a number of top free agents, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper chief among them. But we’re not done yet with the current offseason yet, and it’s an offseason following a World Series appearance for the Dodgers. What’s left for them to do? And what does Walker Buehler’s curveball have to do with it?

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Carlos Santana Makes It a Crowd in Philly

Santana’s combination of power and patience are likely to age well over the next three years.
(Photo: Keith Allison)

Carlos Santana is trading Polish Boys for cheesesteaks, looks like, agreeing this afternoon on a three-year, $60 million deal (with an option for a fourth, at $17.5 million) to join the Phillies. The deal probably makes sense from a money standpoint, and Santana is a really good switch-hitting slugger with power and patience, but… does it make sense from the Phillies’ perspective?

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Let’s Dream Up a Michael Fulmer Trade

The Yankees are currently in the process of shoving all their chips towards the middle of the table, going all-in on their young core of premium position-player talent. Trading for Giancarlo Stanton was part of that effort. Even trading away Bryan Mitchell in order not to pay Chase Headley was part of it, too. It allowed the club to situate themselves at something like $30 million under the tax threshold. Now there’s a link forming between the Tigers and the Yankees, with Michael Fulmer as the prize. Let’s dream this one up.

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Baseball in Japan Is Surprisingly Similar

With two important players coming to Major League Baseball from Nippon Professional Baseball this season — Miles Mikolas and Shohei Ohtani, of course — we’re hearing a lot about how differently baseball is played in Japan. While it’s true that they take Mondays off and starters generally pitch just once a week, it’s also true that some of the differences between the two leagues are probably overstated.

Part of that might have something to do with the metrics on which we dwell when discussing the two leagues. Home runs certainly receive a lot of attention. Velocity readings, too. But what about other aspects of the game?

Curious, I decided to look through the lens of plate discipline and batted-ball spray to see how similar Japan’s league is to America’s leagues, major and minor.

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Just How Much Awesome Will Brandon Morrow Be For the Cubs

It looks like the Cubs have signed Brandon Morrow for two years and something like $22 million, as Jeff Passan and Jon Heyman are reporting. Right now, he’ll slot in as their fourth closer in four years. He should be excellent, considering how superlative his stuff was out of the pen last year, and really for most of his career. But there’s that other question that has dogged him for most of his career, too: just how healthy will he be?

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