Marlins extend Dee Gordon

Dee Gordon will be returning to the Miami Marlins after he signed a 5-year contract worth $50 million. The second baseman was the primary piece in a big trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last offseason.

Gordon was originally a shortstop that was made a full transition to second base last year. The Marlins were in desperate need of a starting second baseman and after just one season it looks like they found a guy that can be the one down the road as they look to build a contending team.

Dee Gordon at 27-years old is in the prime of his career. He is a leadoff hitter with a lot of speed. A defensive mistake with Gordon on base could lead to an easy extra base or maybe even a run. As a leadoff you are expected to be someone who can put the ball in play for a base hit. He can do that as he had a career high 205 hits this year as well as a career high .333 batting average. He also had a .353 on base percentage.

Speed is a huge factor as he had 58 stolen bases this year as well as 24 doubles and 8 triples. He look to help the team improve on the 71-91 season they had as they finished third in the NL East and 26 games out of a wildcard spot.

He has been what the Marlins wanted and he had a tremendous season that was worth the extension. the team is one step closer to reaching the postseason. They seem ready for the new season. Gordon’s extension along with the signing of pitcher Wei-Yin Chen. The team could still use a little more work but they are moving in the right direction.

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.

 

The Dodgers sign Yasiel Sierra to a six-year deal

The Los Angeles Dodgers have made an investment in a young Cuban pitcher by the name of Yaisel Sierra. Sierra will earn a six-year contract with the Dodgers heading into the 2016 season.

Sierra, whose birthday is not officially known to Baseball Reference, is recognized as 24 or just having turned 25. He is known to be a hard throwing righty with an average slider. In a showcase in October, his fastball was around the mid-90s consistently and topped off at 96 mph, his slider was around 87 mph. He also throws a changeup. Sierra relies heavily on that high heat fastball, which could lead to struggles as he lacks any kind of strong secondary pitch. He also seriously lacks control, and at times, really has trouble finding the plate with his heater.  As seen here:

Many compare him to now big league starter and Cuban stud Raisel Iglesias, who is currently a key component to a horrifyingly bad Cincinnati Reds rotation (no offense “media man” Matthew Ellis).

Before Sierra escaped and defected from his nation of Cuba he played in parts of five seasons in the Cuban National Series. In this league he pitched to a career 4.23 ERA as both a reliever and a starter, having his best season in 2012 at age 21, in which he pitched a 2.20 ERA as mostly a reliever. Sierra’s final year in the Cuban league in 2014 was definitely a struggle, with a 6.10 ERA,  although these numbers apparently did not scare away the Dodgers. Numbers that poor in a foreign league, in my personal opinion is something to definitely at least consider when handing out such a long contract, but the Dodgers being the never ending pit of money definitely minimizes the risks.

Sierra has a fluid and clean motion when he throws the ball. He has also been notorious to pitch from more than one arm-slot, meaning the ball comes in at different angles and trajectories, making it much harder for batters to read let alone react to the pitch. It is projected that Sierra’s ceiling is a back end of the rotation starter, some believe that he’s purely a reliever.
Sierra’s role for the 2016 Dodgers is really unclear. He likely won’t make the Dodgers 25-man roster going into 2016, and likely won’t start for the team, as the Dodgers have a surplus of starting pitchers. He could prove to be an important addition of relief depth as the 2016 season rolls along.

Rockies sign Parra to a three-year deal

Gerardo Parra and the Colorado Rockies have agreed to a three-year $27.5 million contract. There is also an option for a fourth year in which he will make $12 million. He is earning $26 million over the three years. The extra $1.5 million goes towards a buyout.

The 28- year old Parra began his career in Arizona in 2009, that year he also won the Rookie of the Year award. During his tenure with the Diamondbacks he also managed to receive two Gold Gloves.

On July 31th 2014, Parra saw himself get traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. Ironically his tenure with the Brewers was exactly one year to the day in 2015, he was acquired by the Baltimore Orioles.

The Orioles, who were making a postseason push, needed some depth in the outfield especially with Nick Markakis leaving for Atlanta. Parra didn’t put up good numbers like he did in the past but he got the job done for the Orioles.
Parra is going to bring some depth to the Rockies outfield. He is a good defensive player that will also put the ball in play. He is no power threat but he has the ability to drive people in and get on base with a single.

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.

Low Risk High Reward Contract Handed out to Jackson

Yesterday, the Miami Marlins signed former all-star pitcher Edwin Jackson for a one-year contract at about half a million dollars. Miami was looking for some low risk pitching depth for their thin pitching staff, and Jacksons’ versatility and experience could help the lackluster Marlins. Jackson comes at batters with a 93-mph fastball and an 87-mph slider, his two most effective pitches. He also mixes in a curveball, changeup, and two-seamer every once in a while. In 2015, his most effective pitch was his slider (.191 AVG.), and was also very strong against lefties (.169 AVG.).

Edwin Jackson, 32 years old, will play in his 14th season in the MLB in 2016. After being drafted in the sixth round of the amateur draft in 2001, Edwin played his first game in the majors at a stupendously young age of 19, in 2003. He fully broke out into the league in 2007 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, in which he recorded 161 innings pitched. In 2009, Edwin Jackson had a career year and made his first and only all-star appearance with the Tigers. Since 2009, Jackson was a consistent middle of the rotation asset, (and even won a world series in 2011 with the Cardinals) just until he signed with the Cubs prior to the 2012 season. In this contract he received an average $12 million annual salary for three years, before being dismissed of that contract before the end 2015 season. During his stint with the Cubs, he had horrible numbers, and in 2014 he owned a 6.33 ERA, which was the poorest season of his career. He also lost his job as a starter; although in 2015, Jackson put up great numbers as a reliever, pitching to a 3.07 ERA where he split his time with the Cubs and the Atlanta Braves.

The Marlins rotation consists of locks Jose Fernandez, Jarred Cosart, and Tom Koehler, although the fourth and fifth spot of the rotation is very much up for grabs. Going into 2015, we are looking at a huge positional battle between Jackson, Phelps, Hand, Conley, Nicolino, Flores, and Urena for those final two spots in the rotation. If Jackson loses this battle for a role as a starter he’ll be a lock for the bullpen. He will also be payed a very small amount so there is very little risk in this deal. Jackson will be a great addition to a team lacking pitching depth, and veteran presence in their pitching staff.

Gordon re-signs in Kansas City

After learning that there was no chance, it comes as a surprise that the Royals have re-signed LF Alex Gordon. Gordon had denied the fact that Kansas City had no chance to bring him back. The rumor may have been started due to the fact that the two sides were not on the same page regarding the dollar value on the contract.

It has been said that Gordon could have been seeking a contract that paid him around $100 million. Instead the Royals were able to sign him to a four-year $72 million contract. One thing about this contract is that in the first year he will have a lower salary to allow the team to make some other acquisitions.

Gordon has played his entire nine-year career with Kansas City so far. With a career batting average of .269, Gordon has been a key piece to the Royals offense as well as their defence. The three-time All-Star also has four Golden Glove awards to his name.

His bat helps a good offensive team that can really hurt you if you make a mistake. Much like their whole lineup, Gordon is a threat with the bat in the second half of their batting order.

His presence on defense is an added bonus for the Royals , as the other outfielders at the moment are Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando. He is a star in Their outfield. He is a crucial piece because the Royals didn’t have anybody on their depth chart that can do enough to be able to replace him. They would have had to also look for a spare outfielder by either exploring the market or looking within their organization.

The Royals are glad to have re-signed a key piece of their lineup. Their lineup has barely changed. As they were last year they a huge treat to other teams around the league, especially in their division as they will most likely be chased by the rest of the teams. They have have what it takes to do the same damage as they did last year.

Nationals sign middle infielder Stephen Drew

The Washington Nationals have signed middle infielder Stephen Drew to a 1-year $3 million contract. This deal comes with the Yankees acquiring Starlin Castro, leaving no room for Drew on their roster. For the National this deal come with Ian Desmond most likely not returning as well as the signing of 2B Daniel Murphy.

Murphy will presumably be the starting second baseman for the team while Anthony Rendon will likely be the starter at third. That leaves utility infielder Danny Espinosa and prospect Trea Turner as options at short as well as Stephen Drew.

Stephen Drew is a veteran player that can be used in the middle infield to help give people a break. There is a possibility that he might even be called upon to play third if necessary. This signing gives the Nationals lots of options as to where they play their infielders considering the fact that they have a lot of versatility with the guys they have. It also makes it easier to find replacements to give some players the night off.

Drew is a depth player at the moment. If he plays well enough he could potentially steal a spot especially at short. He can be a huge factor in the success of the team. His offensive production has not been great ever since the 2013 postseason but the potential is still there and he is still very capable to contribute defensively.

He would like to improve on his .201 average that he had last year. On the plus side he did manage to hit 17 homeruns which is second to his career high 21. This is a good opportunity for the 32-year old to prove that he still has what it takes.

Pirates sign John Jaso

John Jaso and the Pittsburgh have come to terms on a two-year contract that is worth $8 million. Jaso, who was originally a catcher, is now in a first base/outfielder role.Jaso has been a solid depth player throughout his career. He will most certainly not be used as a catcher but he will be used at first base when playing against a right handed pitcher considering that he is their only left handed hitter at first. He will split duties with Michael Morse and Jason Rodgers.

He can also be used in a corner outfield position if needed. He will most probably start off as a bench player for the Pirates before taking on a bigger role.

When you think of John Jaso, it seems that he is just a low quality player. That is not true. With a career average of .263 in a span of seven seasons he is capable of producing offensively. Although he is not a power threat, he can get on base, or contribute with RBI’s.

Jaso is a great addition for the Pirates. An underrated player that will fit in their lineup. He is expected to be a depth piece and can do so very well.

Desperate Cardinals Sign Mike Leake

Earlier today, starting pitcher Mike Leake signed a five-year $80 million contract, with the St. Louis Cardinals. He will now join a highly effective rotation in St. Louis that also includes Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Jaime Garcia, and Michael Wacha. John Lackey created a hole after he signed with the Chicago Cubs; and balanced outfielder Jason Heyward, former Cardinal, followed in his footsteps when he signed with the division rival. The original plan to fill that hole was to sign Cy Young winner David Price, but they failed to do so after he signed a monster contract with the Red Sox.

Leake, who recently turned 28, is known to be a ground ball pitcher with a highly effective sinker. He doesn’t throw very hard, as his fastball hit an average velocity of 90.8 mph in 2015, but this doesn’t hurt him much as he mixes in 6 different pitches to the batters he faces. The most effective of the bunch, the sinker, is the key to his success and caused a 55% ground ball percentage in 2015. He also throws a pair of effective breaking balls in his slider and knuckle-curveball, which batters hit .151 and .176 respectively. He also throws a fastball, a cutter, and a change-up.

Leake’s numbers have been consistent since joining the league full time in 2010. Last year, he split his time in Cincinnati and San Francisco, where he pitched 3.70 ERA ball, and his FIP was right around his career average, at 4.20. Mike Leake does not strike out many batters, and relies on strong defence, which contributes to his higher FIP.

Some believe that Mike Leake is an odd choice. The Cardinals had weake infield defense in 2015, and Leake relies heavily on that factor. Also, a $16 million average annual salary seems like a hefty price for a middle rotation piece. Leake is no David Price, but he should be a solid consistent contributor to an outstanding Cardinals rotation.