Monday, 19 December 2011

Stuff on a Monday

Fortunately, not a whole lot has happened over the last 3 or 4 days, because I've been pretty busy with work, a wedding, my brother and nephew visiting for the week, drinking, impromptu Dec. 17th Christmases, etc., so I haven't really had a ton of time available to me to dedicate to writing.  There have been a few rumors and rumors of rumors, but nothing really major has happened if memory serves me correctly.

The main item, still, is the Yu Darvish sweepstakes.  I've heard anything and everything about the winning bids, including conflicting pricetags, winners, and proper conversion factors to go from $USD to Japanese Yen.  The most popular rumor in all of this is the report claiming that the Jays will be announced as winners, simply by process of elimination, with a value of $48-50MM, though a report was released yesterday (or maybe the day before, I don't remember) that suggest the price for Darvish was higher than that of Daisuke Matsuzaka's $51.1MM that the Red Sox paid in 2007.  The announcement will be made tonight, and I'm really excited.  All rumors suggest that the only two teams with a shot are the Jays and Rangers.

The San Diego Padres traded ace pitcher Mat Latos to CIN for an absolute haul of prospects.  I can honestly see this one working out very well for both teams, though I'd be surprised if CIN doesn't come to regret this one a while down the road.  Latos is 24 years old, and still has 4 years of control, but has pitched his career in pitcher-friendly San Diego.  Latos doesn't appear to be a huge benefactor of Petco, based on his rate stats and home/road splits (more from Tango, here), but I'm not sure there's enough of a sample to seriously determine that or not.  Dave at Fangraphs checks this one out.  This trade kind of snuck up on me, in the sense that I didn't really know that Latos was all that available, plus I wasn't at my computer when I found out about it.  It turns out that a bunch of teams were asking for Latos.  As result, I originally felt like the Reds could have gotten more/given up less, and that Walt Jocketty should have been fired immediately, but the more I thought about it, combined with the  new info that Latos apparently was being shopped (or at least listened about), and this seems pretty fair.

This trade crushes some Blue Jay fans and their hopes of getting Joey Votto anytime soon, as he will now remain in CIN without Yonder Alonso biting at him.  The same can be said about future catcher Devin Mesoraco and prospect Yasmani Grandal.

Currently, there is about a 3:1 ratio of MLBTR readers who believe that the Padres won this deal, though I'm not quite so sure I'd go that far.  If there was a third option of "both" or something like that, I think that would probably be in the lead.  And of course, 70% of MLBTR readers are retarded.  Anyway, it seems to me like both clubs are getting what they want, and neither can really be considered a loser.  Alonso and Grandal were blocked in CIN, and moving those guys for a legit front-of-the-rotation pitcher seems pretty worthwhile, especially if it's to keep a guy like Bronson Arroyo out of the rotation.  Meanwhile, SD wasn't going anywhere this season, so they may as well just pile up some cheap young guys at the peak of Latos' value.  The offseason isn't over, but I think the addition of Latos and the subtraction of Volquez (and more importantly, getting Arroyo out of the fucking rotation for someone like Travis Wood or Aroldis Chapman) could be enough to get the Reds where they need to be.  I assume the loss of Fielder (and 50 games of Braun) will drop the Brewers back down closer to .500, and the loss of Albert Pujols should hurt the Cards by a couple wins.  The Reds should have been better last year, and have definitely improved their big league roster, while the Brewers and Cards should have been worse, and have worse teams coming in to next season.  The Brewers signed Aramis Ramirez the other day to try and ease that pain... good luck.

The Diamondbacks have signed Jason Kubel to downgrade their outfield.  They gave him 2/$15MM with an option for a third year, making Gerardo Parra expendable.  I think they're crazy.  The Twins have now lost both Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer (3y/30MM to Colorado) to free agency, earning them some picks, though they have signed Josh Willingham to a 3y/21MM contract, which is infinitely better value than re-signing Cuddyer.  Both players are comparable, with Cuddyers ability to play 3 positions poorly earning him an extra several million dollars.

The lefty reliever market is slowly dwindling for the Jays.  Targets Dontrelle Willis and George Sherrill have both signed this week, and not in Toronto.  Luis Perez remains as the only lefty reliever at the moment, though Brett Cecil might see some time coming out of the bullpen, especially if another starter is acquired.

Prince Fielder still thinks he's going to get a 10-year deal.  I think Scott Boras is going to fuck him real hard, and if he can find a 6 year deal, he should probably take it.  Nobody is going to value Fielder the way they value Albert Pujols, especially after Pujols has signed.  There are only so many potential suitors for Fielder, and no NL team should give him 7+ years because they don't have a DH-rule.  The Angels signed Pujols, the Jays don't want to give a deal longer than 5 years, the Yankees and Red Sox have 1B and DH filled, and The Rangers sound quite disinterested, likely due to payroll concerns.  Nobody else really seems interested, either due to money, or simply not being ready to contend and spend that money on a player who won't get them to the playoffs right now.

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