Zach’s Musings (11/16)
Like 99.9 % of baseball followers, I was stunned to learn about the Marlins-Blue Jays trade, and as much as I dislike the Marlins (I’m still bitter over the ’03 World Series), I do kind of feel bad for fans of the team who were expecting big things from a squad that had just signed Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell to join the likes of Hanley Ramirez, Giancarlo Stanton, the emerging Emilio Bonifacio, Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins were also opening up a new ballpark and looked like a legitimate threat to win the NL East. What’s left now? Stanton and the ballpark. That’s it. The mega-swap is still awaiting MLB approval, and as much as it probably bothers Bud Selig and the 28 other owners, there’s little reason to expect any sort of veto. Like in fantasy, trades should be allowed to pass as long as there’s no evidence of collusion and, in the case of “real” baseball, the commissioner’s office signs off on the money that will be changing hands. Tough blow for Marlin fans but hey, they still have the Heat to be excited about! And who knows, maybe by 2018 we’ll look back on this and say that the Marlins got a solid return.
Alright, let’s run through all of the notable transactions made since my last post and talk about their fantasy ramifications.
Marlins trade Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to the Blue Jays for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jake Marisnick and Justin Nicolino
I don’t even know where to begin here but I guess the logical place is Reyes. If anything, I think his fantasy value goes up. As a career National Leaguer, it might take him some time to adjust to the Junior circuit (See Albert Pujols). But a quality supporting cast headlined by Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie will put Reyes in prime position to surpass the 100-run mark. And don’t overlook the fact that he’ll be playing in a hitter-friendly park for the first time in his career. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a run at 20 homers. To me, Reyes is the #1 fantasy shortstop heading into 2013 drafts, even ahead of Hanley.
As for Johnson and Buehrle, I’m not a fan of investing in starting pitchers who are making the move from the NL to the AL, but this applies more to Johnson since Buehrle spent his entire career in the AL prior to 2012. He remains a decent back end of the rotation guy, a step above Pitch or Ditch but not exactly someone I’ll be targeting. I have a feeling the AL East won’t be too kind to him. It was nice to see Johnson turn in a fully healthy season last year after he was limited to just nine starts in 2011, but his overall numbers were far from elite. He was good but not great, and I’m concerned about him pitching in the AL East. Draft him as a low-end No. 2 starter in standard mixed leagues and you won’t be disappointed. Relying on him to be your ace, even your “soft ace,” is very risky. Bonifacio is worth a late-round pick in mixed leagues for the stolen bases but it’s unclear if he’ll be an everyday player for Toronto. Either way, Emilio should get enough at-bats to make a meaningful contribution in deep mixed leagues even though he’s fairly one-dimensional. Buck has some pop but he’s an AVG killer and should be avoided outside of AL-only leagues, even if the Jays decide to trade J.P. Arencibia.
Of the players heading to Miami, I’m most intrigued by Alvarez. He faded badly in the second half last season but he’s only 22 years old and is a control specialist. Moving from the AL East to the NL and a favorable pitcher’s park could be just what he needs to get back on track. I like him as an NL-only flier with some upside.
Melky Cabrera signs with Blue Jays for 2 yrs/$16 million
So much for the big pay day but hey, if I got caught using performance enhancing drugs and then secured myself an $8 million per year salary I’d be one happy guy. Who knows what to expect from Melky. Was his All-Star first half last year and strong 2011 campaign for real or artificially driven? Melky should only benefit from playing half of his games at Rogers Centre and I won’t necessarily be avoiding him on draft day. At the same time, I won’t be targeting him. Maybe it’s just that I’m not thrilled with the idea of welcoming cheaters onto my fantasy teams.
Torii Hunter signs with Tigers for 2 yrs/$ 26 million
The 37-year-old Hunter very quietly enjoyed a fine season in 2012, driving in at least 90 runs for the third time in his last four seasons while batting over .300 for the first time in his career. Father Time is bound to catch up to Hunter at some point, but is it unrealistic to expect another solid showing in 2013? Not at all. He’ll be slotted into a formidable Detroit lineup that already includes Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder and will get even better with the return of Victor Martinez. Consider Hunter a quality #3 OF in standard mixed leagues.
Scott Baker signs with Cubs for 1 yr/$5.5 million
A genius move by Theo Epstein! OK, maybe I’m biased because I’ve always been a big-time Baker supporter and I’ve been waiting for him to have that breakout season for quite some time now. Chances are the breakout season won’t come in 2013, as he’s fresh off Tommy John surgery and might not be ready for the start of the season. But even if he’s not in the Cubs’ rotation on Opening Day, it sounds like he’ll be good to go at some point early in the first half. NL-only alert! The K/BB master could turn out to be a draft day steal.
Jeremy Affeldt re-signs with Giants for 3 yrs/$18 million
Not much to say here. Affeldt is a top-notch late-inning specialist who will be more valuable for the Giants than he will be for your fantasy team, unless of course your league uses holds as a category. He might pick up a few saves along the way, though Sergio Romo has proven that he can handle the full-time closer role should Brian Wilson miss any more time.
Padres place Yasmani Grandal on restricted list
Grandal has been suspended for 50 games for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone. Very disappointing news following a stellar 60-game rookie campaign. This puts Grandal out of commission until late-May. As of now, John Baker figures to serve as the Padres’ #1 catcher. Yikes! Grandal still carries plenty of value in keeper leagues and will certainly be drafted in all NL-only formats come March. But he’ll go undrafted in the vast majority of mixed leagues. For those of you in deeper formats, using a late-round pick on Grandal isn’t a bad idea given his 2012 performance.
Mets release Jason Bay
This one is more for comic relief than anything else (yeah, I do like to tease Met fans from time to time). Hopefully, Bay can revitalize his career with another team. Depending on how he performs in spring training (assuming he finds a new team), he might warrant some non-mixed league consideration come draft day.
And that does it for this edition of “Zach’s Musings.” Feel free to keep sending in your questions. I’ll be back here next week with a whole new batch of musings!