Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Overnight Stuff

Your relevant items from the sleepytime period.

The O's are looking to acquire a "power bat" and it's apparently when, not if, and apparently they're willing to move starting pitching to get it.  Michael Cuddyer or Josh Willingham are two names that pop in to my head as players who might be available and fit in to the O's needs, and apparently the D'Backs are willing to move Jason Kubel as well, who is coming off a career-high 30 HR's last season, albeit in Arizona's hitter-friendly confines.

The obvious issue here is figuring out what the O's can actually offer, as far as starting pitching goes.  They won 93 games last season in spite of themselves, and hilarious over-performances from their pitching staff was the main catalyst.  Practically everybody in that bullpen outperformed their FIP's, and of their guys who made 10 or more starts, only Jason Hammel had a FIP below 4.00.  The O's just don't have the pitching quality or depth to be trading from there, especially if the plan is to use Miguel Gonzalez, Steve Johnson or Joe Saunders (assuming they can re-sign him), none of whom are actually any good.

It's becoming increasingly likely that the Rays are going to take advantage of the cost of pitching, and move at least one starter.  David Price and James Shields are both fairly expensive, but Jeremy Hellickson's name has come up quite a bit as well.  Price or Shields could be seen as a better alternative to Zack Greinke, considering age, price, and term commitment.  Shields is under contract for two more years (options), and Price is just 27.  Hellickson is still under team control for four more years, including this season at the league minimum salary.  All three should fetch huge returns.

The Marlins are telling teams that Ricky Nolasco won't be moved, which is probably bullshit.  Nolasco publicly stated that he wants out of Miami yesterday, and it just doesn't make any sense to not trade him if you're the Marlins.  He's due $11.5MM this year, before becoming a free agent at the end of the season.  The only reason the Marlins have to hang on to him is to allow him to rebuild a bit of value before ditching him at the deadline-- he's got ERA's above 4.50 for 4 straight years (FIP's in the mid-to-high 3's though), and has had declining strikeout rates in each of those four seasons.  His profile as a pitcher has changed a bit, and he seems to be pitching to contact a bit more-- fewer strikeouts, more groundballs, declining velocity, more splitters.  He's been fairly durable over his career, throwing 185+ innings 4 times in his last 5 seasons.  You could definitely do worse.

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