Sunday, November 28, 2010

MLB Offseason Updates

Well after a great thanksgiving break i wanted to update everybody with some MLB Offseason updates. There hasnt been a ton of action this week but a few interesting moves that should keep us busy till the winter meetings. To make this a little more exciting than the last offseason post i'll add some pictures and give their previous years stats and Bill James projections for 2011. ( A side note about Bill James projections if you've never read them, they do tend to be on the optimistic side)

Javier Vazquez-SP- Signed by the Marlins
2010 (NYY)- 157.1 IP  10-10  5.32 ERA  6.92 K/9  3.72 BB/9  -.2 WAR
Bill James- 198 IP  13-9  3.73 ERA  8.32 K/9  2.5 BB/9   

I just heard about this signing about 10 minutes ago but i have heard some of the specifics. Apparently it is a one year deal in the 6-7 million dollar range. Vazquez is looking to rebuild his value after a disappointing season in New York. I wouldn't put to much stock into his bad season last year, he played in the toughest division for a pitcher and with a move to the National League East which he dominated in 2009 he has a chance for a major rebound. On the Marlins end this helps them solidify their rotation with an excellent strikeout pitcher to pair with Josh Johnson. 

Jon Garland-SP- Signed by the Dodgers
2010 (SD)- 200 IP  14-12  3.47 ERA  6.12 K/9  3.92 BB/9  .8 WAR
Bill James- 210 IP  10-14  3.81 ERA  4.84 K/9  2.83 BB/9

I think Jon Garland likes bouncing around this NL West teams, in the past 2 years he has played for the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Padres. I understand why he wants to pitch out west as the ballparks definitely favor pitchers. Garland is by no means an ace but he is great as a back of the rotation innings eater. His numbers will decline from last season as he was aided by PETCO Park but Dodger Stadium is still pitcher friendly so he should still be valuable. He helps bolster a dodgers pitching staff that lacked depth the first half of the year. But they have reversed things with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley at the top and Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Garland they have 5 good pitchers. The Dodgers now need to get some more consistency on the offensive side and they should be able to compete with the Padres and Giants. 

Zach Duke-SP- Traded to the Diamondbacks from the Pirates for a player to be named later.
2010 (PIT)- 159 IP  8-15  5.72 ERA  5.43 K/9  2.89 BB/9  .4 WAR
Bill James- 172 IP  7-12  4.92 ERA  4.66 K/9  2.46 BB/9

I will be interested to see Duke on a team that can hit behind him. But even then Duke is not a good pitcher by any means, he is mediocre at best. He is a ground ball pitcher who gives up to many home runs, and to many hits. But if he gets a good defense behind him he could be a solid back of the rotation/innings eater type. Part of the problem in Pittsburgh is that they were relying on him to be the ace, when he is really a 4th or 5th starter type. Not a bad move for Arizona as he is a decent lefty arm and they probably got him for peanuts, but also good for Pittsburgh as it will save them some money. All in all this move is really not that important but I've always like Duke so i thought i would mention it.

Aubrey Huff-1B- Re-signed with the Giants
2010 (SF)- 569 AB  .290/.385/.506  26 HR  86 RBI  6.7 FLD  5.7 WAR
Bill James- 494 AB  .269/.348/.453  19 HR  75 RBI 

Aubrey Huff was one of those really good deals last year and now he is going to be one of the not so good deals. He had a great 2010 and helped lead the Giants to their first world series in San Fransisco but at 34 this was probably his swan song. Luckily for the Giants its only 2 years, but 11 mill a year is a lot for a 34 year old first baseman. Plus the first base market is very deep this year and they could have waited for Huff's value on the market to go down and then re-signed him later. But i guess either way its not a horrible contract that will hinder the Giants chances at protecting their title.  

Tsuyoshi Nishioka-SS/2B- Twins won the bid for his posting fee.
2010 (Japan)- 596 AB  .346 AVG  11 HR  59 RBI  22 SB
Bill James- N/A

Im not sure if everyone is familiar with the Japanese posting process so i will explain it as simply as i can. Basically teams bid for the posting fee which is what the MLB team will pay the Japanese team for the players rights. Once the highest bidder is selected then the MLB team has a window in which they must sign the player, if they do not the posting fee is returned. I believe Nishioka has been playing SS in japan but from what i hear major league scouts see him as a second baseman. He is supposed to be a good defensive player who hits for contact and has some speed (typical Japanese ballplayer) but it is always so hard to know how his skills will transfer to MLB. The power never seems to translate to i will guess he is a single digit home run guy but he may be able to hit for a solid average. The biggest positive is that he is only 26 years old so he hasn't hit his prime yet, but he has struggled with injuries throughout his career. He would fill a void at second now that Orlando Hudson will probably not be re-signed. And he fits the Twins mold for players and i know Ron Gardenhire like to have players that run and are athletic so we may see him steal some bags. Overall not a bad fit, hopefully he will be closer to Ichirio than Fukudome.

That is all the major action from this past week, look forward to more exciting offseason new this week. And on Friday Kevin and I will hopefully be recording our first podcast so look out for that next weekend.

Chris "da Franchize" Hart

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