Marlins sign Chen to a five-year deal

The Miami Marlins’ old prerogative of repudiating to devote money to free agents, unless to positions previously filled during a rebuild and then subsequently trading said player(s), has been fragmented. The team has signed starter Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year contract worth $80 million, all of which is guaranteed, with a player option after the second season. The deal doesn’t come with a no-trade clause.

The 30-year old is coming off a season with his lowest career ERA at 3.34; however recorded the second highest FIP of his career at 4.16 He also saw his strikeouts per nine go up to 7.2, tied for the superlative total in his career. As is the case with most pitchers that make their way to South Florida, Chen is primed for a great season after duplicitous seasons in Baltimore that saw him have an average of 1.225 homeruns per nine in Camden Yards.  As is expected when the rest of your team takes a significant a step back as the Orioles did, Chen’s win total diminished by five from the preceding season.

Chen has pitched upwards of 185 innings three out of his four career seasons in Baltimore, also countenancing upwards of 186 hits in said seasons. He had his highest WAR in 2015 with 3.8 Wins Above Replacement, his previous highest total was 2.6 in 2012.

The move coincided with the Marlins’ reported decision not to consign outfielder Marcell Ozuna to another club with the minds of Don Mattingly and Barry Bonds convincing aspersed owner Jeffrey Loria otherwise. The initial potential sentiments of the ballclub were to move Ozuna for a starter behind Jose Fernandez, which they now have in the form of Chen.

The Taiwanese lefty now slots in right behind the aforementioned Fernandez, who, prior to this point, would’ve been insulated by Tom Koehler or Jarred Cosart. The Marlins non-tendered former insulation option Henderson Alvarez after the team wasn’t alacritous to pay his $4 million cap hit; he will miss a minimum of the first moth of the season recovering from shoulder surgery. With the depth acquisition of Chris Johnson, the Marlins have accomplished to fill their inadequacies and wholes they were said to be going after prior to the Winter Meetings.



Jays, Nats, swap Revere and Storen

The pernicious Blue Jays bullpen has garnered a boost at the expense of their one-time table-setter. Toronto shipped left fielder Ben Revere to Washington in exchange for right-handed reliever Drew Storen, no money was retained on either side.

Storen spent the first six years of his big league career with the Nationals, pitching a minimum of 50 innings out of the bullpen in five of those campaigns. The 28-year old had an untenable 2015 season coming off of a 2014 campaign that saw him put up a redoubtable 1.12 ERA, however his FIP was 2.71. The proceeding season was insatiable, at least from the Nationals’ point of view, and his ERA was up at 3.44, however his FIP was only .08 points higher than the year before. The one-time National closer was catapulted out of the role he immersed himself in for the first time since 2011, as the team’s closer. 2015 wasn’t completely nugatory for the righty due to the facts he recorded his highest strikeout per nine ratio of his career at an even 11 and only saw his hits per nine go up by 0.4.

Following a vexing start to his short-lived Blue Jay career, Ben Revere turned it on and finished the season at over .300, this being the third straight season he has done so. The 27-year old will be heading back to the National League East, a place were he spent the previous two and a half seasons as a member of the Phillies prior to being dealt to the place people douchily refer to as “The Six”. Very much non coextensive to Storen, Revere’s place insidiously rose as 2015 proceeded, recording his second straight 180+ hit season. After a pair of 40+ stolen base seasons, and was on pace for another prior to injury, the 5-foot-9-inch outfielder’s propensity to run was trumped by the arrogation of the major bats behind him in the lineup, stealing only seven in 56 games in Toronto. Contrary to popular belief, Revere wasn’t necessarily a benefit to have in your outfield. He had a -0.6 Defensive WAR last season in Canada, which wasn’t a sole conspicuously negative defensive season, he’s had a negative dWAR five out of his six seasons in the MLB.

With the egress of Denard Span via signing a three-year, $31 million contract in San Francisco, many were perplexed by the decision by the Nationals. Michael Taylor, whom the team was said to very much like, is now all but relegated to either a competition with Revere for the starting job, a platoon or a secondary role. With Harper in right and Werth in left, the center field job is very much there for the taking come spring training. The Nationals parlayed an asset they deemed extraneous with the young bullpen arms they have, in Treinen and Barrett among others, into an ostentatiously valuable player that will push one of their young players.

The opulence of having Revere in the Jays outfield was very much that, opulence. In making this transaction, they addressed a desperate need within the organization. It puts a little cocking on a massive gap of a Toronto bullpen that might have Pat Venditte in it come the regular season. The move also triggers a battle in spring training between Dalton Pompey and Michael Saunders for the final outfield position. Pompey, who made the team out of spring training last season, faltered mightily once the 2015 campaign began and was subsequently in AAA for the majority of the season. Saunders on the other hand didn’t see more than 36 plate appearances, after coming to Toronto in the deal that saw current Jay J.A. Happ go to Seattle, before going down for the year due to an, obviously, severe knee injury.

Giants sign Denard Span to a three-year deal

Succeeding their acquisition of fellow free agent outfielder Nori Aoki, the San Francisco Giants have further supplemented their outfield in signing Denard Span to a three-year $31 million deal. The former National bellwether spent the first four seasons of his career in Minnesota after signing a three-year deal in Washington.
The remunerative 31-year old has been in has been a constant contributor to a once ascendant Washington lineup, with back-to-back .300 batting averages to end his tenure in the nation’s capital. He also had a resplendent NL leading 184 hits in 2014 when he placed 19th in the MVP race.
Despite his redoubtable offensive capabilities thats seen him garner a collective 6 offensive WAR over the past pair of seasons, his defence seems to be on the decline. According to Baseball Reference, after a defensive WAR of 2.4 in 2012, his dWAR has been in diminution with 0.5, -0.1 and -1.0 in the season’s following his luminescent 2012 campaign.
The outfielder also missed the majority of last season due to a hip injury after he was consigned to surgery.
Span now rounds out a relatively aged outfield, and a potent San Francisco lineup with Buster Posey playing another full season healthy.
With Span, Pagan and Pence in the outfield, their good infield and a starting rotation fresh off an offseason overhaul, should the team be graced with redoubtable health, the Giants are conspicuously in the race for the NL West crown.

Yankees acquire Aroldis Chapman

As if the back of the Yankees bullpen wasn’t proficuous enough, the team has just consigned a quartet of minor leaguers to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for four-time all-star Aroldis Chapman. Heading to Ohio are right handers Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham along with infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda.
Over his preceding six seasons in the MLB, Chapman has always had a FIP lower than his ERA, excluding last season, and has only had an ERA over 2.54 once in his career. Last year was a resplendent one for the flamethrower, posting a 1.63 ERA, and had a strikeout per nine of 15.7, the third highest total in his six years with the Reds. Some statistics did vaulter however, as the 27-year old only recorded 33 shutouts, a career-low. That stat does however have a major asterisk next to it, as the Reds had one of their worst campaigns in years. Despite his team’s prosaic play, the lefty still managed to tally his second highest strikeout total of his career with 116.
He made eight million last season in Cincinnati, and is expected to make upwards of $13 million through arbitration.
The conglomerate of Andrew Miller, Delin Betances and, now, Aroldis Chapman, form the scariest bullpen in all of Major League Baseball. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Chapman, Miller and Betances were the top three in strikeouts per nine last season. Chances are that the newly acquired Chapman will likely move right into the closer’s role.

Alvarez Headed to Oakland on a One-Year deal

In the midst of the spirit of conviviality, the Oakland Athlectics have signed free agent starter Henderson Alvarez to a one-year, $4.25 million contract with possible incentives of $1.6 million according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. He was non-tendered in an act of impetuousness when the Marlins decided the would rather loose him than pay the projected $4 million he would have received in arbitration. Alvarez  will miss the first month of the season in a best case scenario.
With this deal the A’s will have control of the starter until 2019, when he will be able to become a free agent.
After starting opening day for the Marlins in 2014 the Valencia, Venezuela native had a disenchant 2015 season, injuring his shoulder early on in the year, coming back, then re-injuring it. He only managed to pitch 22.1 innings and had a spurious 6.25 ERA with a 3.85 FIP. The season prior however he had a 2.65 ERA aided by a defence that in actuality ended up being a 3.59 FIP, but he had three “Madduxes” or shutouts.
The 25-year old Alvarez now amalgamates with a rotation that has its fair share of young arms. With the diminution of the team’s starting staff due to the Jesse Chavez deal, Alvarez, when healthy, brings an electric arm that can resplendently insulate Sonny Gray, who had a breakout season in 2015.
Once recovered from his shoulder injury, Alvarez will slot into the spot he once occupied in Miami as the team’s second starter, this time behind a different elite starter in Gray.
The former Blue Jay and Marlin will be insulated by Jesse Hahn, Kendall Graveman and Chris Bassitt, who are 26, 24 and 26 respectively. The team also has the likes of Aaron Brooks, Rich Hill and Jarrod Parker vying for a spot in the rotation.

Cueto signs in San Fransisco for six years

After being bypassed by Zack Greinke last week, the San Fransisco Giants have found another arm to supplement their already superfluid starting rotation. The team has signed former Cincinnati Red Johnny Cueto to a six-year, $130 million contract; the deal comes with an opt-out and a team option for a seventh season at the end of the deal.
Cueto had a praiseworthy 19 game start to the 2015 season with the Reds, recording a 2.62 ERA and a 3.20 FIP, surprisingly, the lowest of his career. Unfortunately for the Royals, his play debilitated when he arrived in Kansas City, posting a 4.76 ERA, a 4.02 FIP and 101 hits in just over 81 innings pitched.
The season prior, Cueto had a fantastic season in Ohio that saw the righty put up a 2.25 ERA and finish as the runner up for the Cy Young trophy. At age 28, the 2014 campaign was the first only only season thus far that he’s been voted into the all-star game.
For the next six seasons the Dominican Republic native will be headed back to the National League where he had so much success with the Reds, he will also be headed to San Fransisco, who has one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the MLB in AT&T Park.
Along with the Jeff Samadzija signing earlier on in the week, the Giants have now built one of the best rotations in baseball, should Matt Cain return to his pre-injury form. Their rotation, spearheaded by Madison Bumgarner, is also one of the eldest with Jake Peavy rounding out their five starters. The 27-year old Chris Heston will undoubtedly be the odd man out and will be delegated to the bullpen and will likely be the first man up for a spot-start.

Heyward signs an eight-year, $184 million deal with the Cubs

The Chicago Cubs have continued their relatively resplendent offseason by signing the best young outfielder on the market in Jason Heyward to a $184 million contract; the deal will keep him in “Shy Town” for the next eight seasons. The deal also includes two opt-outs including one three years into the contract. Heyward signed with the Cubbies despite the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals both, reportedly, offering more than $200 million for his services, according to Jason Heyman of CBS Sports.
Heyward is widely regarded as the best young defensive outfielder in baseball prior to the 2015 campaign and the 6’5 Ridgewood, New Jersey native continued his offensive ascension, batting .293, recording a career-high 160 hits and sporting a .359 On-Base percentage in 154 games. The three-time Gold Glover had the second-highest defensive WAR of his career last season in Missouri, at 3.8 and has the highest WAR of his career at 6.5.
With Jorge Soler in right field and Kyle Schwarber in left field chances are Heyward will end up in center field, a position formerly held down by Matt Szczur prior to the former first round pick’s acquisition. Last season, Heyward spent 32 games and 233.0 innings in center, and has yet to make an error, he also has a pair of outfield assists. In his career 6989.1 innings in the outfield the former Brave and Cardinal has only committed 21 errors.
With Ben Zobrist’s versatility to roam the outfield and the dependable Chris Coghlin still a member of the organization the Heyward signing leaves prospect Arismendy Alcantara with few places to go. The only two holes the Cubs had, and Alcantara could’ve played, second and center, were filled through free agency.
With the improvements the Cubs have made this offseason they have propelled themselves equal to, if not in front of, the New York Mets as NL favorites. The Cubs acquired Adam Warren, Rex Brothers, John Lackey, Ben Zobrist and Hayward, among others. On paper, Chicago’s favourite bandwagon franchise is now one of the best teams in the MLB.

Yankees acquire Starlin Castro

After a season of having a combination of Dustin Ackley and an eight-year old with braces holding down second base, the New York Yankees have acquired Starlin Castro from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-hander Adam Warren and Short Stop Brendan Ryan.
Castro, a three time all-star, was moved out of “The Windy City” due to the influx of middle infield prospects present in the organization. By no means was this an impetuous decision, the Cubs have the likes of Javier Baez, Addison Russell, Tommy La Stella, top prospect Gleyber Torres, who isn’t anywhere near MLB ready, and the recently acquired Ben Zobrist down the middle to fill the gap left by the aforementioned Castro.
Last season the depreciating asset that is Starlin Castro batted a sub-par .265 relative to his .292 average the preceding season where he was voted into the All-Star game. His On-Base percentage dropped from .339 to just under .300, he walked only 21 times, eight less then his previous minimum despite playing 26 more games, and had the second lowest offensive WAR of his career.
Castro spent some time on the other side of the second base bag last season due entirely to his prosaic defensive abilities. In six seasons Castro has had three positive defensive WAR’s, including last season when he had 0.4 in that category. Despite many insufficiencies last season, the Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic native still managed to rack up 69 RBI’s, the second highest total in his career.
Heading to Chicago are right-hander Adam Warren and defensive wizard Brendan Ryan. Warren has been resplendent both out of the bullpen and as a starter thus far in his MLB career, posting a career 3.39 ERA, including a 3.29 ERA last season in New York. Warren had a 2.7 WAR last season primarily out of the ‘pen, he also pitched a career-high 131.1 innings.
Ryan is widely regarded as one of the best purely defensive players in baseball with a career 14.5 career defensive WAR. Despite his unparalleled career stability, within the Cubs organization anyway, he had a negative dWAR for the first time in his career last season, coming in at -0.2.

M’s acquire Miley; Elias headed to Boston

The Seattle Mariners have made an acquisition of a pitcher they were coveting in bringing in left-hander Wade Miley and reliever Jonathan Aro in exchange for lefty Roenis Elias and right-hander Carson Smith.
Miley still has two years left on his deal that will pay the starter $7.625 million annually, accompanied by a $12 million club option in 2018. Miley, whom the Red Sox signed last offseason, had a solid finish to his fifth major league season after a horrific start with Boston; he finished with a 3.81 FIP, his best since 2012. Despite the mediocre inception to his 2015 campaign, the 29-year old still managed to pitch 190+ innings for the fourth time in his career, the only time he didn’t reach that make was in 2011 when he only got into eight games. His HR/9 and BB/9 were lower from the preceding season however as was his K/9 and he had his highest WAR (2.5) since he was an all-star in 2012 (3.5).
Miley is now fastened to a young pitching staff lead by six-time all-star Felix Hernandez and will likely slot in the third spot behind the aforementioned Hernandez and 22-year old Taijuan Walker. A couple weeks ago rumours were swirling around about a potential deal involving the Mariners and the Marlins involving either Walker or Elias who was move today. The M’s aren’t done yet as GM Jerry Dipoto still wants to add another arm to his rotation.
Along with reliever Carson Smith, the Sox received highly touted pitching prospect Roenis Elias, who finished the 2015 season with a 4.52 FIP. The 2018 arbitration eligible lefty is a little older relative to his title as a prospect however was touted by many teams including the Red Sox. The 27-year old has had a rough start to his MLB career posting a 4.03 FIP in his first career season and after pitching 163.2 innings in his first season and pitched 115.1 in his second.
The Red Sox now have three resplendent left-handed starters, in Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens and now Elias in their organization to supplement the veteran starters they have in David Price and the over-paid Rick Porcello.

Greinke signs in Arizona for six-years at $206.5 million

Well, needless to say the Arizona Diamondbacks just broke the preconceived notion that an unforeseen solicitant doesn’t have the ability to plunge into the free agent market and suddenly possess a $30 million a year pitcher. The formerly unencumbered two-time Cy-Young candidate, Zack Greinke, has signed a $206.5 million contract to stay in DBack burgundy until he’s 38 years old, baring a transaction or major injury. The six-year pact has the most elephantine average annual value in MLB history at $34.4 million, right in front of Miguel Cabrera, who will have an AAV of $31 million from 2016-23.

The new Diamondback bellwether joins an undistinguished starting rotation that had a pedestrian 69 quality starts last season, horrific enough for 25th the league. They also allowed the 12th most runs in the MLB with 713 and had the MLB’s 20th batting average against at .258. The team finished with 79 wins on the campaign despite their sub-par rotation and due to their ascendancy in every other aspect of the game.

Regardless of their pitching insufficiencies, Arizona was one of the best offensive teams in baseball, ranking eighth in Runs, On-Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage along with the seventh ranking in Batting Average. The team was also one of the most dominant defensively, with the ninth least errors in baseball, they also lead the league in defensive runs saved and had three players in the top 15 in that category, Nick Ahmed (sixth), Paul Goldschmidt (11th) and A.J. Pollock (15th).

Zack Greinke, who had a career season in ERA, WHIP and ERA+, was the ultimate procurement of the free agent class and, according to most, of the NL West. Despite the utter heartbreak the LA Dodgers must’ve felt to lose Greinke to their NL West rival, at least they didn’t feel the perfidiousness of losing him to their bitter rival, the San Fransisco Giants, who were also in the running for his services. The former Dodger, Royal, Angel and Brewer now spearheads the young Diamondbacks rotation that, up to Greinke’s acquisition, had Patrick Corbin as their ace.

The David Price signing obviously worked in Greinke’s favour as the three-time all-star posted significantly superior statistics to the lefty which made Price’s contract a base for negations that the Diamondbacks, seemingly, just recently commenced.

The one subsequent concern that can validly be posed is will they have enough cap to re-sign Paul Goldschmidt when he comes off the books in 2020. The first baseman will only make $5.75 million this upcoming season but by 2019 he’ll be making $14.5 million and, should he keep his production elevated, will be in line for a raise. Along with the progression of, amongst others, A.J. Pollock and Archie Bradley the D-Backs will be in a cap crunch come 2020. Currently Goldschmidt is the fourth highest paid player on his team behind the aforementioned Greinke, Aaron Hill ($12 million) and Yasmani Thomas ($7.5 million).

The Zack Greinke acquisition has propelled the Arizona Diamondbacks into NL West title contention and into the consciousness of the average baseball fan. This relevancy-enhancing transaction, that was the largest in franchise history, has made the D-Backs a legitimate contender.