Hot Stove musings @ MLBRT @ Thanksgiving



Hot Stove Season…

Hot Stove League time is here again… the 2016 season is over… Cubs finally win it all… so, lets see what the MLB Roundtable crew thinks about some of the off season maneuverings by some of MLB teams and the media…

1) The New York Yankees are already active this Hot Stove season as they traded veteran catcher Brian McCann to the Houston Astros for a pair of young minor league pitchers. Houston sent right-handers Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman to the Yankees. The Yankees are kicking in $5.5 million of the $17 million McCann will make in each of the next two seasons. The two pitchers are said to have high reward with high risk… Guzman throws with Aroldis Chapman type heat.

Is this a good trade for Houston? How about from the Yanks perspective?trade

Archie: I have always been a McCann fan; still am. However, he is long in the tooth for a player and even more so for a catcher. I don’t know how many more games behind the plate his legs have. His production and games were down last year with the Yankees even with that short porch in right field staring at him every home game. He will not have that in Houston.

As far as the Yankees getting young pitching, that is always a risk. “Young” pitching is always a flip of the coin risk.  

Dan: I think it’s a good trade for both sides. Houston gets a reliable catcher with a veteran presence which will be good for the clubhouse. Also, they get him for cheaper than his contract states which is a win and it will improve their team right now. They needed a catcher, especially one of McCann’s skill set and they now have it. Didn’t give up all that much, either. Two high-risk, high-reward players.

Which is why it benefits the Yankees. They get rid of McCann to open up the catcher duty full-time to Sanchez. They also get two very talented prospects, one who could be like Chapman and both fit into the Yankees’ system of high-risk, high-reward. Also, if NYY can get back Chapman this off-season, it’ll make this trade even better because you can use the power-throwing prospect and put him with Chapman to work together with that speed.

Earl: I think this is a fair trade for both sides.mccann

In McCann, the Astros pick up someone who can play catcher as well as slot in at designated hitter. Likely, McCann will be their catcher, and, Evan Gattis can play the DH. But, McCann offers flexibility at a reduced price since the Yankees are paying a portion of the contract.

For the Yankees, they pick up two young arms that they can either develop or add into a trade package at a later date. Building the farm system for a big deal seems like where Brian Cashman is heading.

Steve: It is great for the Houston Astros. It shows their fan base that they are not going to throw in the towel after a difficult season in 2016. They went out and they are spending money by getting a top catcher in the league. Now, they can also solidify Evan Gattis in the DH role, so, maybe his power numbers can boost.

I look at the Houston lineup as it stands now and they are very dangerous and they have a great shot to come out of the American League next year.

2) It’s till early in the Hot Stove session and the Houston Astros have already done a lot of rebuilding of their team for a run at the title in 2017…

And, rumors abound say they aren’t done either as it seems they are looking to sign on another bat and that Carlos Beltran is the bat that they are really looking at. Rumors also say the Yankees need a DH and are interested… as are the Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Is Beltran worth taking a flyer on by any off these teams or is his 2016 season (.295 BA/29 HR/93 RBI) while playing in 151 games, an aberration and at age 40 he is too great a risk to sign as a probable fulltime DH and part time outfielder?  

Archie: IT is debates like this that just kill me at times. Carlos is 39 and had a OPS+ of 122 last season. Bonds was 42 and had an OPS+ of 169, led the league in IBB and BB and OBP his last season and could not get a job. Carlos is nowhere near the option as DH that Bonds was but he WILL land a job and probably with the Yankees again.

Worth? He had a contract for $15 million last season and he probably will get that again this season.

Dan: Yes, I think for any of these teams he’ll be a great fit.

Carlos Beltran being courted by Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Blue Jays
Carlos Beltran being courted by Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Blue Jays

It gives Houston a full-time DH for the season which will help and he can definitely be reliable even at age 40. He had a pretty good season last year, and I think he can continue that into 2017. He was with the team in their post-season run back in 2004 and was the star of their team. It would be a nice reunion since it was his only season (90 games) in Houston for career.

With Boston, he would take over Ortiz hole and with that talented  roster, he’d fit in perfectly. That’s my choice on where he should go.

He succeeded last year with the Yankees, but I think they’re trying to get younger and won’t complete the signing for him regardless of how much he can help the offense.

And, Toronto could be losing Bautista and Encarnarcion as well (although they just gave EE a contract offer), so, he can be a 1-year or 2-year replacement for them.

Best fit for him, though? Boston. GREAT offense, fits in nicely and will have a lot of help and a lot of opportunities.

Earl: As a designated hitter, I like acquiring Beltran. I don’t love it for the Astros but I think he would be a perfect fit for the Yankees, Red Sox, or Blue Jays since he can hold the position down for a season or two and would be a cheaper alternative to some of the big bats that are out there.

He would be a fine signing by a contender in my opinion.

Steve: They really don’t need to. I think offensively this team is out of this world. They need pitching.

If, they can go out and work out a trade for Chris Sale with the White Sox, along side Dallas Keuchel and Colin McHugh, this team will compete. I think they really need to focus their attention on getting the rotation in order. Otherwise, honestly?… You have a Toronto Blue Jays version 2.0.

3) Are you surprised that David Ortiz only got 1st place vote (and from a NY writer none the less) in the AL MVP voting by the BBWAA and came in a relatively distant 6th with a total of 147 votes?

Archie: A frigging joke. Absolute frigging joke. Red Sox made the playoffs, did not go anywhere but they were there. Ortiz led the league in 2B, RBIs, SLG, OPS and IBB with a 162 OPS+; Trout led in runs, BB, OBP and OPS+ with a 174. Trout’s Angels did NOT make the playoffs. So, you tell me exactly where
again Ortiz should have finished.

This whole pile of shit leads me back to the eliminate the “DH” designator, so that a DH can be considered for end of season awards. IMO the AL is SO DAMN Hypocritical in that they must have the
DH; but they are not everyday players ergo not worthy of End of Season honors.

David Ortiz 6th in MVP race, gets one 1st-place vote from New York writer
David Ortiz 6th in MVP race, gets one 1st-place vote from New York writer

Dan: Yes, I am. He had a fantastic season. Was in the MVP discussion all year and what makes it even better for him was that it was his last season and he had the best season ever by someone 40-years-old or older. There were a couple of things that hurt… he didn’t perform very well in the post-season and how good the rest of the team was with multiple MVP candidates on the team. You can’t be the MVP of the league, if there’s debate about you being an MVP of your own team.

I’m still surprised he didn’t get more votes, though, with how many people were talking about “he could win the MVP.”

Earl: I am not surprised that a New York baseball writer gave him the vote, since Big Papi is heavily respected in New York City, despite playing for the Red Sox. But, I am surprised that he finished a distant 6th.

David Ortiz had a great final season for the Sox and I thought that alone might have gotten him closer to the MVP nod. I even thought he had a shot at winning it. So, yes, I am surprised he finished 6th.

Steve: I would say not surprised, but disappointed. I cannot be surprised that a regular DH does not get the love and respect that he should. Had Ortiz played the field in even half of his games, I think he was far and away the MVP of the league.

Personally, while I think Mike Trout is the best player in the American League, I don’t think he should have won the MVP. I would have voted for Mookie Betts. I have a hard time giving someone an MVP if there are other candidates deserving and you failed to lead your team to the playoffs.

4) Do the White Sox move Chris Sale this Hot Stove season? And, who is the likely team he would go to, if, he does get traded?

Archie: Rumor has it the Braves are pursuing hard. GOOD! Makes more sense than Colon and Dickey (known in my book as when the Braves paid $20 million for one internal and one external organ). Depending on WHO they have to give up to get him I think Sale would fit perfectly in the Braves Rotation. Of course, his services are probably going to reach dollar amounts too high for the Braves to acquire. While it is NOT Sale’s salary that would be a big issue for team’s like Atlanta that have a limited budget, it is “what the hell do I give up in return” that might possibly put him outside the zone.

You will ALWAYS have the heavy hitters with the deep pockets luring top pitching into their lair like the Yankees and Dodgers. But we will see.

Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, Nationals and Braves have emerged as potential suitors for Chris Sale
Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, Nationals and Braves have emerged as potential suitors for Chris Sale

Dan: Yes, the White Sox will sell Chris Sale. I think he wrote his plane ticket out of town when he threw a fit in the locker room cutting up the team’s uniforms before a game. They don’t want that type of behavior in the clubhouse and it doesn’t matter who you are or what type of player you are. And, there have been rumors of him going to Los Angeles for Yasiel Puig and some top prospects and I think that’s where he goes. Since the Braun-Puig blockbuster buckled around the trade deadline, the Dodgers will get their wish on moving Puig, except they won’t get a bat … they’ll get a top ace to accompany Kershaw, to have arguably the top 1-2 punch in all of baseball. They could, with this trade, set up a rotation to rival the Cubs’ rotation.

Earl: If, the right offer comes along, I can see Sale and the White Sox parting ways.

Honestly, I think they should trade him. He’s a great pitcher but he appears to be toxic to that clubhouse and both sides would benefit with a fresh start. With that said, I could see the Yankees landing Sale. For one, he is under a manageable contract for the next few seasons; two, the Yankees have acquired enough prospects over the summer and in the McCann trade, that they can entice the White Sox with a couple of them.

The Yanks need to bolster their rotation and Sale would be a good start.

Steve: I could see a couple of outcomes on this. The White Sox could be the White Sox, and say they are in a rebuild mode, but keep Sale, just because they can, and he really is on a team friendly contract. That being said, I think they will unload him, and I said before that the Houston Astros would be a great target for him. He would easily be the Ace of the staff, he would bolster that rotation to the point that could put the Astros in a World Series.

That being said, he would just be a rental for a couple years because the Astros will probably not pay him what he will demand when he is a free agent. Look for the Yankees and Red Sox to make a push, and over in the National League, I could see the Dodgers being players in the Sale Sweepstakes.

 5) Mike Trout just won his 2nd MVP award. He has never finished lower than 2nd in the voting since he became a major leaguer. If, he just duplicates his numbers from his first 6 years in MLB, by age 31 he will already have amassed 1200 runs, 1834 hits, 350 doubles and 336 HRs with a slash line of .306/.405/.557.  

Which means, unless he retires early and assuming he plays until he is 39 and remains injury free, he has a decent chance to at least approach the following lifetime totals… 1,800 to 2,000 runs; 3,200 or more hits; 550 or more doubles; 550 to 600 HRs and with a lifetime batting average over .300.  First ballot HOF stuff. Some people are saying he is the reincarnation of Mickey Mantle.

Be all of that as it may be… is there a snowball’s chance in hell of the Angels… and maybe the question should be, should they…  trade Trout away for what would most likely be an unbelievable bundle of prospects and MLB-ready players? Why or why not?

Archie: The Angels have had their opportunity and for whatever reason it did not work out. They  seem to have caught the Dodgers as far as fan base in the LA region and for that reason there is no reason that they can’t go out on a limb and try AGAIN to build a team around Trout. They are fools at this point to trade him. I mean, just the attention he garners alone is enough to keep him in their fold. They still get a 1st and 2nd round draft, depending on how they react in the FA offseason, but in reality, there is no reason that they can’t build a good team. They already have a solid core; maybe it is time
to look at who’s leading them???

Dan: Honestly, I wouldn’t trade him if I were LAA. But, if they don’t see themselves going anywhere for five-plus years, then he needs to go.

Mike Trout... should he stay or should he go?
Mike Trout… should he stay or should he go?

If, I ran the Angels, I’m keeping Trout. I’m trading everybody I can around him and getting top prospects. Blowing up the team and re-starting with the focus on making Trout happy. I’m using Trout as a building block. He’s the centerpiece and everything will be built on this foundation. He can make other players better, he can improve their offense just by himself. I understand the huge amount of prospects he will require in return, but, why blow it up? Why send him off and have no center piece to build on? While they could follow what the Cubs have done, I think every team needs a superstar and that superstar is Mike Trout. Keep him with an Angels’ uniform and build around him.

Earl: I think the Angels should seriously consider it.

Why? Take Trout off of the Angels last season and that team would be far and away the worst in baseball. They have no farm system to speak of, and, even though they can throw money at big name free agents, they have no quick road back to respectability in the AL West. Selling Trout off to the highest bidder would be the best thing they can do, but realistically it would never happen. Trout could go down as one of the greats and to be the General Manger that traded him would be something held against you for the rest of your career.

No matter how good the players you got in return turn out.

Steve: The Angels really need to rebuild. They have done nothing over the past several years. So, yes, if the price is right and you can get a ton of young hot prospects, then they should entertain the idea to unload Trout.

Now, they would have the entire city of Los Angeles who root for the Angels probably protesting, but there is no sense on keeping a guy who has that much talent, and will cost you a fortune, when you can get a fortune of players in return.

I don’t think it will happen, but it should be looked at very carefully and they would be stupid not to listen.

Extra Innings…






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