Busy first morning at the winter meetings.
The Rays have already signed James Loloney to a 1 year deal worth $2MM, and they've also been a part of the first quashed rumor, which apparently had them looking at Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa, in exchange for probably James Shields. It sounds like a great fit, but apparently there is no traction to those talks. Personally, I don't see the Rays moving Shields.
The Red Sox appear close to signing Mike Napoli. More on this as it happens, but I can see this one getting hilarious. [Update- Confirmed.
I'll probably be here all day, chiming in my worthless opinion on anything and everything that I see necessary.
A bit more on Napoli. Of course, he had a huge 2011 season, hitting 30 HR's and having a .320/.414/.631 batting line over 417 PA's. At catcher! There's some first base mixed in there too, but that's a huge season no matter the position. He took quite a step back last year, coming down to .227/.343/.469, good for a .349 wOBA. Still pretty good, even if it's a big, big step backwards.
In comparing his 2012 year with his 2011, the two big differences I see on his stats page are (1) a big regression in babip, dropping from .344 to .273, and (2) a huge jump in strikeout rate, going from 19% in '11 to 30% in '12. The walks stayed static, and his batted ball profile is right in line with his career norms, assuming you correct for parks (Arlington is very hitter friendly, Anaheim most certainly is not). Bill James' projections have his posting a .359 wOBA in '13, so I suppose his value really hinges on defense.
Fenway plays pretty friendly to a right-handed power hitter like Napoli, and $13MM a season isn't too bad for someone with such a bat, especially when they can handle the catching duties from time to time. The Sox will only need to get about 6.5 WAR out of him, which is right around league average production. Depending on how much he catches and if he can stay healthy (he's played 140 games just once in his career), this should be a fine deal for the Red Sox.
Not much going on right now. I guess the Red Sox are out on Adam Laroche, which puts Napoli squarely at 1B and less so at C. Probably better for the Sox to go that way-- Napoli is there for his bat, and not his glove, and the Sox already have Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway kicking around. Nap at 1B keeps him in the lineup practically everyday, whereas he can't catch 150 games a year.
Laroche, meanwhile, has one less suitor. My best guess is that he returns to the Nats, and they figure out what to do with Michael Morse later. Laroche could still find a home elsewhere, which would allow the Nats to put Morse at 1B, since he's pretty well useless in the outfield. The Rangers are looking in on Laroche, and I suppose, if the market doesn't really develop to the point where he might need a pillow contract, the Jays could tell Adam Lind to go fuck himself, stick Edwin at DH, and let Laroche man 1B. I doubt that even happens though-- I just wanted to write something, and wanted to include something about the Jays, since there's been nothing on that front yet today.
Jayson Stark of ESPN is reporting that the Mets are looking to trade RA Dickey, and that the Rangers are the team that makes the most sense. The Royals are apparently in as well.
Ted Berg, via Dustin Parkes, shows us why the Mets and Jays probably aren't as good a fit as we may think; JP Arencibia just isn't all that much of an upgrade as Josh Thole at the moment, even if they Jays and Mets could work something out.
The Jays have claimed Eli Whiteside from the Yankees' waivers. Everything I wrote about JPA not getting traded, thanks to the lack of Bobby Wilson? Forget it.
I left for like three hours, what did I miss? Nothing? Cool.
It appears as though the Giants have re-signed Angel Pagan to a 4 year deal worth $40MM. 13.9 WAR in the last four years is pretty good, but the Giants are signing him through his age 34 season... definitely risky. Given the price that it took to sign BJ Upton, however, this is a pretty nice deal. Replacement level is very, very low for CF's, so I feel like this deal should be fine for the Giants. They'll need about 7 WAR out of Pagan over the contract, so assuming he follows anything resembling a standard aging curve, the Giants got a decent deal here.
Sportsnet's Barry Davis tells us that AA is unsure of Darren Oliver's future, and probably won't find out until January. I CAN'T WAIT THAT LONG!
Fuck sakes. Davis also says that Adam Lind is going to be given the chance to hit vs. LHP until he proves that he can't (again). Stark contrast from what we've heard about him so far this offseason. Please be bluffing.
In a separate tweet, Davis says that AA is waiting to see him on the mound, but he believes Sergio Santos will be ready to start the season.
In yet another tweet, Davis says that AA is unlikely to pursue another upgrade to the rotation. Probably Happ, but could always be Jenkins or someone else, depending on how minor league free agency and spring training goes.
Need a shortstop? Yunel Escobar is available. Probably too expensive. The D'backs and A's come to mind, and with Jeter and ARod both coming off surgery, the Yankees make at least a little bit of sense.
I've got John Gibbons talking to the media, courtesy of MLB.com or bluejays.com or something like that.
Mike Cormack has the transcripts from AA's media scrum, as well as a little video interview.
Things are moving slowly at the moment. It's not that there aren't any rumblings, it's just that nothing is really gaining any steam. We've had a couple of guys sign today, but nothing that was huge news, ruminating for a while-- everything that happened today happened relatively quickly. I'm talking mostly about the Napoli and Pagan signings here, as everything else has just been rumors that are based more on speculation than anything. It seemed like everything happened overnight last year, so maybe we'll see something juicy when we wake up tomorrow morning.