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Free Agency / Re-Signings 2020-21 Offseason


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Some Twins updates:

 

 

In the latest edition of his podcast, SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson reports that the Twins have some interest in former Indians ace Corey Kluber (audio link, Twins chatter beginning at 8:07). That’s not a huge surprise given that president of baseball operations Derek Falvey was in Cleveland’s front office when Kluber was acquired from the Padres and broke out as a star. Elsewhere on the rotation front, Wolfson notes that the Twins are not among the most aggressive suitors for Jake Odorizzi to this point. Odorizzi would prefer to return to Minnesota, all things being equal, but is receiving stronger interest from other teams. Wolfson adds that the Twins had interest in Mike Minor before he landed with the Royals but weren’t willing to go near the surprising two-year, $18MM deal he landed in Kansas City.

Looks like the Twins are not the favorites to get Odo back, but could make a move for Kluber.

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In an out-of-the-blue move, the Angels have acquired closer Raisel Iglesias and cash from the Reds in exchange for right-hander Noe Ramirez and a player to be named later, per announcements from both teams.

Raisel Iglesias | Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the latest indication that the Reds are looking to cut costs. In addition to their surprising decision to non-tender Archie Bradley last week, the Reds have also reportedly been open to moving right-hander Sonny Gray, who is owed two years and $20MM on his contract. Iglesias is signed for $9.125MM this coming season and will be a free agent following the 2021 season.

Wow, the Angels got Iglesias for pennies on the dollar. The big market teams are going to benefit with the mid-market teams like Cincinnati cutting payroll. I'd make this move in a heartbeat - $9M for Iglesias is a very reasonable deal with the numbers he's put up.

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The White Sox are acquiring right-hander Lance Lynn from the Rangers, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. Righty Dane Dunning is heading to Texas in the return, Jeff Passan of ESPN tweets. The Rangers will also receive a second player, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. It’ll be another young pitcher, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

The Sox get Lynn at $8M for CHW's #6 prospect according to Fangraphs, and a second prospect. Seems like a fair trade for both sides.

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Chuck Garfien of NBC Sports Chicago reports that the White Sox have signed outfielder Adam Eaton to a one-year, $7 million deal.

The deal includes a club option for a second year valued at $8.5 million. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com says there's a $1 million buyout on that option. Eaton is back in Chicago after previously playing for the club from 2014-2016. Of course, he was eventually dealt to the Nationals in the deal that brought Lucas Giolito back to the White Sox. Eaton, 32, is coming off a bad year where he batted just .226/.285/.384 over 41 games before going down with a fractured left index finger. Still, the White Sox believe in the possibility of a bounceback and apparently preferred him over the other options to fill the void in right field.

 

Looks like the White Sox are banking on Eaton rebounding and providing good defense as a corner outfielder. He's been a good bet for getting singles and walks before 2020, but perhaps that will mesh well with the sluggers they already have on their roster.

 

 

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The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports the Mets and free agent catcher James McCann are "closing in on" a four-year deal worth roughly $40 million.

 

 

Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that the Rangers have agreed to a one-year contract with free agent outfielder David Dahl.

The deal will be for around $3 million according to Passan, which is slightly more than he was projected to make in arbitration. The 26-year-old former top prospect was non-tendered by the Rockies after another injury-plagued season in 2020. Still, the former first-round pick owns a tremendous blend of power and speed and is a terrific defender in center field. He should find his way into the Rangers lineup on a nightly basis and should provide ample fantasy value -- provided he's able to avoid the injured list

 

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Rays signed RHP Michael Wacha to a one-year, $3 million contract.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported news of the deal and now it's become official. Wacha served up nine home runs in just 34 innings for the Mets in 2020, but he also posted the best strikeout and walk rates of his career. The fact that the Rays saw value in him suggests that there could be more potential here.

 

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Tigers signed RHP Jose Urena to a one-year, $3.25M contract.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network first reported news of the deal earlier Wednesday and the Tigers have now officially announced it. Urena will have the opportunity to make an additional $250,000 in incentives.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Astros and Jason Castro "are in serious talks and could be headed for a deal soon."

It's unclear at this point what the particulars of the contract might be. Castro, of course, spent his first six season of his career with the Astros before moving on to the Twins, Angels and Padres.

 

The Tigers add another back-end starter, and the Astros bring Castro back. Free Agency has been molasses-slow, as expected.

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The Nationals have a new first baseman. In an out-of-the-blue Christmas Eve swap, Washington has acquired Josh Bell from the Pirates in exchange for right-handed pitchers Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean, according to announcements from both clubs.

Getting two years of control of Bell for two decent pitching prospects sounds like a win for the Nationals. 

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Getting two years of control of Bell for two decent pitching prospects sounds like a win for the Nationals. 

Bell isn't exactly great outside of 2019, and he's a DH in the field. It will be interesting how he truly helps, but maturation from Kieboom and Robles could give the Nationals just enough behind their aging top 3 in the rotation to have one more run before FA and age closes their window.

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https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/12/padres-to-acquire-yu-darvish-victor-caratini.html

 

The return for Darvish looks...not great. At first I just saw a lot of names, but having seen a note somewhere on that article that all the prospects are ranked in the teens in SD's system, I'm wondering how the Cubs didn't get at least one really good prospect for a guy who's still a really good pitcher.

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https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/12/padres-to-acquire-yu-darvish-victor-caratini.html

 

The return for Darvish looks...not great. At first I just saw a lot of names, but having seen a note somewhere on that article that all the prospects are ranked in the teens in SD's system, I'm wondering how the Cubs didn't get at least one really good prospect for a guy who's still a really good pitcher.

It really depends on the person you talk with. Most haven't spent a lot of time evaluating the players because they're young guys that weren't at the Alt Site this summer.

 

Preciado is the gem of the deal. Multiple people I've talked with after his fall instructs performance have him easily as a top-100 guy and comfortably inside the top 10 of the Padres, some even within their top 5.

 

Mena is probably the next best prospect. He's a guy who many Twins fans could look quickly and see a lot of Max Kepler attributes in - long strides and frame that likely fit best in a corner, but enough athleticism to handle center early on in his minor league career. Likely a very similar offensive ceiling as well.

 

Caissie was a guy I was very, very impressed with coming into the 2020 draft with the reports I got on his coachability and strides already made with his swing. The frame and swing will lead a lot of people to think of someone like Kyle Schwarber, but he has a lot more athleticism.

 

Santana is a guy that others like more than me, but he is a guy that really can stick up the middle defensively. What he does with the bat is where I am not in line with others I've talked with, who see him as a potential low-level starter or utility guy while I view his ceiling as likely an up-and-down infield defense type.

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The Rays sent reliever Jose Alvarado to the Phillies in a 3 way deal where the Dodgers pitched in a prospect. Alvarado hasn't been able to live up to the numbers he put up in his 2018 year, but the Phillies desperately need relievers. The Rays continue to hoard prospects like toilet paper in a pandemic.

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According to Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News, the "final clubs competing to land" free agent outfielder George Springer are the Mets and Blue Jays.

Thosar adds that Springer "figures to pick up a long-term contract worth well over $100 million" from one of the two teams and that there should be something official to announce come January. SNY's Andy Martino states in a separate report that the 31-year-old slugger "is still asking for well over $150 million."

 

Springer appears to be ready to sign soon. I would like to see the Blue Jays get more competitive in their division, but I'd probably be better for the Twins if he signed in the NL.

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It really depends on the person you talk with. Most haven't spent a lot of time evaluating the players because they're young guys that weren't at the Alt Site this summer.

 

Preciado is the gem of the deal. Multiple people I've talked with after his fall instructs performance have him easily as a top-100 guy and comfortably inside the top 10 of the Padres, some even within their top 5.

 

Mena is probably the next best prospect. He's a guy who many Twins fans could look quickly and see a lot of Max Kepler attributes in - long strides and frame that likely fit best in a corner, but enough athleticism to handle center early on in his minor league career. Likely a very similar offensive ceiling as well.

 

Caissie was a guy I was very, very impressed with coming into the 2020 draft with the reports I got on his coachability and strides already made with his swing. The frame and swing will lead a lot of people to think of someone like Kyle Schwarber, but he has a lot more athleticism.

 

Santana is a guy that others like more than me, but he is a guy that really can stick up the middle defensively. What he does with the bat is where I am not in line with others I've talked with, who see him as a potential low-level starter or utility guy while I view his ceiling as likely an up-and-down infield defense type.

Your take is like the guy at the state fair on the midway telling fortunes. A guy who is 17-18 and not played a game in the minors is a top 100 guy. You really think San Diego would give up a superstar player in a package with comped to an mvp vote getter and a another player who was a top 20 baseball america prospect.  Yup, 3 years of Darvish is worth that, NOT. So, who is wrong. The Padres for not knowing talent or someone else?

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Your take is like the guy at the state fair on the midway telling fortunes. A guy who is 17-18 and not played a game in the minors is a top 100 guy. You really think San Diego would give up a superstar player in a package with comped to an mvp vote getter and a another player who was a top 20 baseball america prospect.  Yup, 3 years of Darvish is worth that, NOT. So, who is wrong. The Padres for not knowing talent or someone else?

No one says the Padres don't know their talent. Talent still needs to be developed. Each of these talents has comparables, but they will have to develop through the minor league system to reach that comparison. The Padres have more depth than perhaps all but one team in the entire league. They can trade away this talent without it tremendously hurting the farm, especially to bring in a guy to put at the front of their rotation.

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No one says the Padres don't know their talent. Talent still needs to be developed. Each of these talents has comparables, but they will have to develop through the minor league system to reach that comparison. The Padres have more depth than perhaps all but one team in the entire league. They can trade away this talent without it tremendously hurting the farm, especially to bring in a guy to put at the front of their rotation.

In the end it is a lottery ticket if they make that "comparable"

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ESPN's Jeff Passan reports that the Mets are "deep in talks" to acquire Francisco Lindor from the Indians.

Passan adds that the deal is "expected" to be completed and that young infielder Andres Gimenez would be part of the return package heading to Cleveland. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand hears that the Mets are also getting starter Carlos Carrasco. This would obviously be a blockbuster move for the Mets as they turn a new leaf under owner Steve Cohen, who has generated nothing but positive buzz since taking over control of the team in September.

 

It's happening! The Mets and Padres are running circles around everyone else this offseason. Losing Lindor is a massive blow, but trading Carrasco after a rebound season is another hit to their starting depth. They've already traded Bauer and Clevinger in the last year and a half... I'd be irate if I were an Indians fan.

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Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports that the White Sox have signed free agent closer Liam Hendriks.

Financial terms of the agreement are not yet known, but Brown hears that it will be a multi-year contract and "the largest yet on a slow-moving offseason market."

 

The White Sox are splurging on a top-notch reliever. We're going to be seeing a lot more of him in the future...

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Some good news. The so far uninspiring off-season has finally produced some excitement. MLB Rumors is saying that the Twins are very close to signing a replacement for Nelson Cruz in Tony "Two-Ton" Spagnola. Two-Ton is the 6'1", 320-pound DH for the North Side Gut Busters from the South Milwaukee Slo-Pitch league. He reportedly hit 212 home runs last season in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. He has no defensive value and his running ability is somewhat of a liability. If he isn't able to do a home run trot, he can only managed to run 60 feet before having to catch his breath. But the Twins have made a move!!!

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I don't know about Benintendi. I realize he could possibly pull a Christian Yelich but seems like we're still waiting for Max Kepler to do that.

 

If all he is is what we've already seen, he's more name than bat, but the name will surely demand a bigger return than should be required. Only two more years of a corner OF who struggles to OPS .800 isn't terribly exciting to me. I'd rather roll with Kirilloff/Larnach/Rooker.

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I don't know about Benintendi. I realize he could possibly pull a Christian Yelich but seems like we're still waiting for Max Kepler to do that.

 

If all he is is what we've already seen, he's more name than bat, but the name will surely demand a bigger return than should be required. Only two more years of a corner OF who struggles to OPS .800 isn't terribly exciting to me. I'd rather roll with Kirilloff/Larnach/Rooker.

Kepler had 36 HR in 2019. Benintendi has never shown that sort of power. That's a big difference.

 

If Kepler was legitimately on the market, there would be a list of teams around the block attempting to acquire him.

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Kepler had 36 HR in 2019. Benintendi has never shown that sort of power. That's a big difference.

 

If Kepler was legitimately on the market, there would be a list of teams around the block attempting to acquire him.

Benintendi gets on base a lot more often (.353 OBP to .319 OBP) and averages 17 HRs a year. Kepler's had one outstanding season and 4 middling offensive seasons. They both have their niches - Benintendi is more suited for a leadoff role (much better at stealing than Kepler too), while Kepler is better at driving in runs. 

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