It might not be the offseason yet, but the New York Islanders and GM Garth Snow crossed off a big thing on their to do list this season, and that was to re-sign RW Cal Clutterbuck. Clutterbuck was signed to a 5 year deal, worth $17.5 mil in all, with Clutterbuck earning $3.5 yearly. He was part of the Islanders\’ infamous 4th line last season before Matt Martin signed with Toronto in July. So far this season, Cal is 5th in the NHL with 89 hits, and has 9 points, (2 G, 7A) in 25 games. He is an alternate captain ( he\’s splitting with Travis Hamonic for the A) for the Isles, being named at the start of the season.
Until the trade deadline starts rolling around, not many big trades come up in the NHL. But minor trades happen every now and then. One of those trades happened today, when the Arizona Coyotes acquired 4th line center Peter Holland from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a conditional pick in the 2018 draft. \”Peter is a big, solid centerman with good NHL experience. We look forward to having him join our team,\” Coyotes GM John Chayka said of Holland. Holland\’s only point with the Leafs this year in his 8 games was an assist. While his linemates are uncertain, until Brad Richardson comes off the IR, Holland should center in the bottom 6, particularly on the 4th line in a small amount of games.
Every year, the winter meetings are a fun time for us fans. A time to criticize each team by signing that guy, not signing that guy, trading away that guy, trading for that guy, not trading for or not trading away that guy. It\’s a big circle. During the winter meetings, 2 of the many outfielders on the market got PAID. Here is how I recap how and why these 2 outfielders got PAID.
First, a story about a natural shortstop, who signed a cheap one year, $8 mil deal (and that\’s cheap in baseball, I know) to be tested at center field, an unfamiliar position for him, for a contending team, to then hit for a BA of .285, hit 22 HRs, plus 86 RBIs, and swipe 21 bags, then gets a 5 year, $70 mil deal to play at the most hitter friendly park in the MLB, and play another position he\’s never played before- first base. A baseball fairy tale right, wrong. That\’s the story of Ian Desmond, who signed a cheap deal with the Texas Rangers to play a position he\’s never played before, and be an all-star, just to sign a big deal (with the Colorado Rockies) to play another unfamiliar position. Though the signing sparked trade rumors for CF Charlie Blackmon, the Rockies seem to want to have Desmond at first. The Rockies, who already had one of the league\’s best offenses, now has an outfield of stars Carlos Gonzalez, Blackmon, and 22 year old David Dahl, who was potent for the the Rox in 63 games last year. Plus an infield of Desmond, D.J LeMahieu, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado, and will hope 25 year old Tom Murphy can be a solid catcher after a short stint in the MLB last season.
Flashback to last offseason. The Chicago Cubs steal 2 good players from their arch rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, (Jason Heyward and John Lackey) followed by a world series championship. This year, the Cards returned the favor by signing CF Dexter Fowler to a 5 year, $82.5 mil deal. Signing Fowler can move Randal Grichuk over to left, to replace Matt Holliday, who recently signed with the New York Yankees, and filling in Fowler between Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. For the Cards, it\’s a word called payback.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.