Friday, 15 June 2012

So the sky IS falling

Can't even beat the Expos anymore.  No, but really, the Nats are a pretty good team, and I'm sure everything is going to be back to it's fresh, happy, normal self as soon as the sweep of the Phillies is over.  While we're here (i.e. under .500, way behind in the division), we may as well have a look at what could possibly happen in terms of trades.  I don't really know what AA has planned, and I don't actually think he's going to look to move much since he's got something that's at least pretty close to a finished product.  Still, I'm sure there are going to be some mild changes between this year's team and next year's. Obviously there are more pieces nailed down at this point than there were on this date a year ago, but there are definitely still some holes in the roster, and there are probably going to be a few more before too long.

The main piece would be Edwin Encarnacion.  Edwin is probably in a position to command a 4-year deal at the end of the season, by virtue of being a 29-year old free agent-to-be enjoying a career year.  He has some suspect defensive abilities (though he's been alright at 1B this year), which should limit his market to AL teams looking for a DH or 1B/DH combo, so maybe he won't do any better than the 3y/$27MM than Josh Willingham got this past offseason from Minnesota (though Willingham is 33).

Another free agent-to-be is Kelly Johnson.  Johnson accepted arbitration and has been plenty valuable to the Blue Jays so far during his tenure.  So far this season, he has a league average OPS+, which is beyond good for a 2B, and has been pretty solid defensively too.  He just turned 30 in February, so he still has some worthwhile playing days in front of him.  The Jays could obviously extend him if they feel that they'll still need him (i.e. if Yunel doesn't move to 2B, or if Hech isn't ready to come up), but that would probably be plenty expensive; Johnson has been worth [2.2 rWAR, 1.5fWAR] so far this year, so something like Rickie Weeks' 4y/$38.5MM could be seen as a comp.  I find that Johnson is quite underrated/underappreciated, so he probably won't get quite that high, but I don't think 3y/$27MM is out of the question for him either.

I'd be surprised if JP Arencibia were moved, simply because I don't think that they're overly confident in giving Travis d'Arnaud the full time gig.  Having said that, JP isn't really all that good, once you get past the twitter stuff and the Ricky Romero BFF situation that has gotten him fan-favorite status with Torontonians.  Catching is significantly harder than 1B, especially considering the positional scarcity (because really, who couldn't play 1B?), and that's really his only excuse for being as bad as Adam Lind offensively.  If they can get something for him, then go nuts and let Mathis and TDA split.  It probably won't happen, but I wouldn't exactly be pissed.

I think we can count the amount of pitchers who are nailed down on one hand.  Morrow isn't going anywhere, neither is Romero.  Santos probably sticks around, same with Hutchison.  I doubt anybody else is entirely safe.  Drabek is almost certain to be sent back down at some point when they can handle it, and if Alvarez doesn't develop (and throw) an out pitch, he'll have minimal value.  Norris, Mcguire, Syndergaard, Sanchez, Nicolino, etc. are going to be knocking on the door at some point, and there won't be much room in that rotation, or room for the fodder, for that matter.

Coco could go for a bag of balls, Frasor is a free agent at the end of the year, and Oliver was friends with my grandfather.  Jannsen and Perez will probably stick around, but if anybody comes and says "Hi, we have your 2B of the future if we can have Luis Perez", well they're as good as gone.

Beyond that, in terms of major league talent, everyone else is going to be staying put, and anything else that gets moved will be from the prospect pool.  Some prospects are obviously more available than others.  Guys like Gose, Marisnick, Sanchez, Norris and Mcguire probably aren't going to be moved anytime soon, unless it's for a bona fide star.  Guys like Chad Jenkins and Asher Wojciekowski (or whatever) have seen their stock fall a bit, so they could be made available.

Kyle Drabek has been DL'ed with right arm issues.  He left his last start after hearing a pop, and I'm sure they're plenty glad about that, since they don't necessarily need to use an option to send him to AAA to try and "rehab", or "find out how to fucking throw a strike" if things can be fixed quickly.  Brett Cecil has been recalled.  Hold on to your hats.

It's not that Cecil has been terrible in the minors so far this year, because he hasn't.  He hasn't been good either, mind you.  It's just that if you have any kind of established skill as a pitcher, it's not that hard to get AA hitters out.  It's not like there are guys in AA who have "light-tower power", as Kevin Goldstein would say, so the HR's are fewer and farther between.  A 40:14 K/BB ratio is encouraging, but again, AA.  His velocity is still down, but, again, velocity isn't everything if you can spot your pitches.  Cecil hasn't shown us that he can do that, exactly, so we'll see.  It's not like  the Phillies have any kind of offense anyway.

Apparently AA is in on Justin Morneau.  He's in on everybody, so let's not overreact about this, but having said that, he's apparently been more interested in Morneau than practically anybody else, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  It definitely makes sense, from a fit standpoint.  Morneau is under contract until the end of next season, and is a pretty good hitter.  Obviously, the $14MM (x2) pricetag is a bit of a hindrance for a guy who has had the health issues that Morneau has.  He's got a .241/.313/.489 slash line (119 OPS+, adjusted for Target Field), which would play just fine at the Rogers Centre.  He's regarded as an above average defender at 1B, and could be spelled as a DH by Edwin (or Cooper? Gomes?).  Being under contract next year would serve as a contingency plan for the Jays if Edwin walks as a free agent at the end of the year.

As an aside, Morneau's concussion issues began after his contract was signed, so I would be shocked if that contract wasn't insured, which would remove a lot of the injury risk that the Jays would be taking if such a trade went down.

Jose Bautista went ahead and posted another +WPA the other day against Strasburg.  Good for him, and thanks to everybody else for showing up.  I say this kind of facetiously, since it was Stephen Fucking Strasburg, but you get the idea.  Zaunhead.

Livan Hernandez was DFA'ed by the Braves.  If you'll remember to last week, Hernandez looks a lot like Coco out there on the mound, we can only hope.

Finally, Ian Kinsler was thrown out of last night's game.  His reaction?

Lawrie 3B
Rasmus CF
Bautista RF
Edwin DH
Johnson 2B
Escobar SS
Cooper 1B
Davis LF (Free Yan Gomes, Moises Sierra, Travis Snider, Eric Thames, etc.)

Hutch P

Philadelphia Collins
Rollins SS
Polanco 3B
Pence RF
Victorino CF
Ruiz C
Wigginton 1B
Mayberry LF
Martinez 2B

Worley P

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