Winter Meetings recap: Chapman back to Yanks, Melancon to Giants as relievers sign record-breaking deals

 During the MLB winter meetings in D.C. this past week, we\’ve seen some crazy things.  From top prospects to big stars, the winter meetings was very hectic for us fans. Out of the biggest 3 relievers on the market, 2 of them signed during this week. Here\’s my brief recap.

       It kicked off with the San Francisco Giants filling their top need, when they signed closer Mark Melancon to a 4 year, $62 mil deal, a record setter for a reliever. After the Giants, who led the league in blown saves last season (with 30 blown saves, or BS), had their closer in the past, Santiago Casilla, hit the free agent market, it was a top priority to add one of the 3 big closers on the market, in Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and/or Kenley Jansen. Signing Melancon can help out tremendously for the Giants in the end of games, while starters Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore do the other work.
       Melancon wasn\’t the only of the \”big three\” who signed during the winter meetings as Chapman rejoined the New York Yankees on a 5 year, $86 mil deal. Chapman, who spent about 3 quarters of last season with the Bronx bombers, was traded to the Chicago Cubs for 3 prospects, mainly no. 2 prospect Gleyber Torres in July. Before that, Chapman\’s 2.01 ERA, and 20 saves with New York was clear he was comfortable in the Bronx. The Yankees, who acquired the 3 digit thrower from the Cincinnati Reds in a deal which included just a solid prospect, (SP Rookie Davis) and a couple other career backups for a star had some sort of an unplanned-master plan start. (to get Chapman for basically nothing, sell him for a lot more, than re-sign him for a lot more.) Chapman, who broke Melancon\’s quickly held contract record for a reliever, will close games out for the Yanks, with Dellin Betances setting him up in 2017.
         

How the P.K. Subban-Shea Weber deal has worked out so far

 On June 29, 2016, 2 big blockbuster trades had occured in the NHL. The first sent LW Taylor Hall to New Jersey for defenseman Adam Larsson, but the second one was bigger than a blockbuster, as it sent 2 Norris trophy caliber defenseman to a different team. P.K Subban went from the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber, who went from Nashville to Montreal. As we are getting closer to the halfway mark of the season, here is how the trade has affected the 2 teams so far. (I will do another post like this at the end of the year.)
    Comparing how the teams have done so far: The Canadiens are second in both the eastern conference and the NHL with a record of 16-6-2, for 34 points, atop the Atlantic division. The Preds are 11-8-4, with 26 points, and are in a 4-way tie for third in a rather weak Central division.
     Comparing the players\’ stats so far: Weber, at age 31, has 8 goals and 10 assists for 18 points. He also has a +/- of +18, with 7 of his 8 goals coming on the powerplay, plus 3 PP assists for 10 PP points, or PPP. Weber has scored 3 game winning goals so far. Subban, hasn\’t done as well as expected. He, like Weber has 10 assists, with 2 less goals than Weber (6) for 16 points. Half of Subban\’s goals are on the powerplay, plus 4 of his assists also on the PP for 7 PPP. Subban\’s big difference compared to Weber is +/-. The 27 year old is a -7, one point higher than the -8 (career worst) he had in 2010-11.
   It\’s pretty obvious which team has won SO FAR. It\’s got to be the 34 point Canadiens. When the trade first happened, almost everyone had declared that this was an amazing trade for Nashville. So far, it\’s the habs with all the praise. We will have to wait and see which team will win this deal in years to come.

       

MLB Update: Non-Tendered Players Hit The Free Agent Market

On Friday, December 2nd at 8.00 P.M. ET, the non-tender deadline occurred. The players\’ now-former teams did not offer them a 2016 contract, therefore they were added to the free agent pool. Here\’s the list of the 35 players who recently are now up for grabs.

AL
Los Angeles Angels: INF Gregorio Petit, LHP Cody Ege.
Houston Astros: None.
Oakland Athletics: None.
Toronto Blue Jays: None.
Cleveland Indians: RHP Jeff Manship.
Seattle Mariners: None.
Baltimore Orioles: RHP Vance Worley.
Texas Rangers: OF Jared Hoying.
Tampa Bay Rays: 2B Ryan Brett.
Boston Red Sox: C Bryan Holaday.
Kansas City Royals: None.
Detroit Tigers: None.
Minnesota Twins: RHP Yorman Landa.
Chicago White Sox: RHP Blake Smith.
New York Yankees: LHP Jacob Lindgren.

NL   
Atlanta Braves: RHP Chris Withrow.
Milwaukee Brewers: 1B Chris Carter.
St. Louis Cardinals: RHP Seth Maness.
Chicago Cubs: LHP Gerardo Concepcion, RHPs Zac Rosscup and Conor Mullee, INF Christian Villanueva.
Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Rubby De La Rosa, C Wellington Castillo
Los Angeles Dodgers: RHP Louis Coleman.
San Francisco Giants: None.
Miami Marlins: None.
New York Mets: None.
Washington Nationals: OF Ben Revere.
San Diego Padres: RHP Tyson Ross, INF/OF Alexi Amarista, RHPs Jon Edwards and Erik Johnson, INF/OF Jose Pirela, C Hector Sanchez.
Philadelphia Phillies: 3B/OF Cody Asche.
Pittsburgh Pirates: LHP Jeff Locke, C Eric Fryer.
Cincinnati Reds: C Ramon Cabrera, RHP Keyvius Sampson, OF Gabriel Guererro.
Colorado Rockies: RHP Matt Carasiti, INF/OF Stephen Cardullo.

      And those were all 35 players who were non-tendered this year. If I had to make a top 5 list of those 35 players, it would be something like this: 1. Ross, 2. Carter, 3. Castillo
4. Revere, and I\’d have a 3-way tie at 5 between Maness, Amarista and De La Rosa. We will have to wait and see where these players will soon call their new home.

   

Predicting Where the Big Free Agents Will Sign

     As the American Thanksgiving has passed, from now to about Christmas will be an explosion of players switching teams in the MLB. I\’m here to predict which free agent who haven\’t signed yet will sign this off-season.
    Yoenis Cespedes: Washington Nationals. It\’s uncetain which 4 teams are on Cespedes\’ \”list\” that he is most likely to join, besides the Mets. It\’s an \”if\” situation with all the teams pursuing Cespedes, including the Nats. The Nats would probably have to trade SS Danny Espinosa. Why? It\’s because their CF last year, ROY finalist Trea Turner would move to his natural position at shortstop, leaving Espinosa the odd man out.
     Aroldis Chapman: New York Yankees. Yes, Chapman could and should break a record for a contract signed by a closer, but the Yankees have a lot of money to spend. Chapman also previously said \”I\’d love to be a Yankee again\” this off-season. The Yankees, who had Chapman for most of the 2016 campaign, traded him to the world series winning Cubs for the cubs former top prospect Gleyber Torres and others. It would make sense for the Yankees to trade Chapman for a big-named prospect, then sign him for a little more money.
     Kenley Jansen: Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers goal this off-season was to \”keep their stars and add righty bats\”, well one of those stars was Jansen, who along with Chapman can break the record for a contract signed by a closer. For Jansen, it would make sense to sign with the Dodgers, who are still competitive, and look to be for a very long time.
     Edwin Encarnacion: Boston Red Sox. After the retirement of DH David Ortiz, getting Encarnacion, another DH, could cover that flaw. On Encarnacion\’s side, signing with a team who had made the playoffs last season, could fill what every player wants: To be on a contending team.
     Jose Bautista: Toronto Blue Jays. After a down year in 2016, the Blue Jays still would like to retain Bautista. Also, a fan favorite in Canada, Bautista should like to stay.
     Mark Melancon: San Francisco Giants. After a bad season by Santiago Casilla, the Giants have pursued Melancon. Not to mention that Casilla is also a free agent.
     Mark Trumbo: Baltimore Orioles. The O\’s, who shocked many in 2016, would love to re-sign the guy who hit 47 bombs for them last year. Also, Trumbo would most likely love to play in Camden Yards again.
    Justin Turner: Los Angeles Dodgers. The reasoning for the Dodgers to re-sign Turner is basically the same for Jansen. The Dodgers are still a competitive team, that have made it a goal to \”retain their stars.\”
    Dexter Fowler: New York Mets. After winning the World series with the Cubs, the Mets should have tons of interest in the CF if Cespedes leaves. Fowler could play center with Michael Comforto and Curtis Granderson on his sides, leaving Jay Bruce, who\’s entering a contract year, to be a trade asset.
   So that\’s who I think will sign the big free agents this year. Who do you think they\’ll sign with? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. For now, that\’s it for me.

     

Trade Review: Mariners acquire Segura, others in deal with D-backs

     The Seattle Mariners have acquired SS/2B Jean Segura, OF Mitch Haniger and LHP Zac Curtis from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Taijuan Walker and SS/2B Ketel Marte. Let\’s get into the details.
      From the Mariners point of view, Segura had a breakout year last season, his only in Arizona. His .319 AVG, 20 HRs, 64 RBIs, with 33 SBs in 153 games for the d-backs intrigued the Mariners\’ management. Segura also led the national league in hits with 203. according to MLB.com, here\’s what Mariners\’ GM Jerry Dipoto had to say about Segura:   \”We just feel at this point, this trade made more sense with where our roster is, and Jean Segura fit this club about as well as any player we were looking at in the trade market.\” Dipoto also said: \”I feel like we\’re acquiring one of the premium leadoff hitters in the game, last season was a real coming-out party for Jean\” and \”He\’s a very skilled athlete, and we feel like the idea of of him taking the spot at shortstop alongside Robinson Cano and hitting at the top of the lineup gives us a different dynamic than we had at any point in 2016.\”
     The way I look at the trade is that the D-backs get younger in a 23 year old Marte, while Segura, who will be 27 by opening day, gives the Mariners proven talent. Taijuan Walker, at age 24 didn\’t fit in with a rotation that included Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton, plus the rises of Ariel Miranda and Nathan Karns. The other 2 players in the deal, Haniger and Curtis, both debuted in 2016, and weren\’t amazing, but Haniger was Arizona\’s minor league player of the year, with a .321 AVG, 25 HRs and 94 RBIs between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. Curtis wasn\’t sharp in the MLB last year with a 6.75 ERA in 21 appearances, but the 24 year old\’s last 3 minor league seasons included 53 saves, with a 1.95 ERA in 104 appearances, plus 169 Ks and just 35 BBs.
     From Arizona\’s point of view, they got much needed youth out of Segura, basically turning him 4 years younger, and changing his name to Ketel Marte. Last offseason, the D-backs gave up a lot of youth in SS Dansby Swanson and SP Aaron Blair, for SP Shelby Miller, who was a huge bust last year. Well, in this trade, the D-backs got back their young SS (Marte) and their young starting pitcher (Walker). With Miller\’s terrible year, plus their big free agent signing Zack Greinke not living up to the hype, Walker can slot in nicely behind Greinke, LHP Patrick Corbin, and Miller.
      Overall, I think both teams had addressed their needs, so time will tell who will be the real winner of this deal.