Hot stove roundup: One first baseman traded, another scouted

Hot stove roundup: One first baseman traded, another scouted

The Dodgers reportedly have interest in Jose Abreu, while another free agent pitcher is off the board

A refreshingly frantic offseason continues apace, although the White Sox are still on the outside looking in.

A Los Angeles-based writer did nudge them a little closer to the action:

I recognized Duarte’s name, and not because I confused him with the Sox minor leaguer of the same name. A little Twitter searching revealed that he was on a White Sox-Dodgers trade early last winter, but he didn’t get it quite right.

A trade indeed materialized that evening, but it turned out to be the three-team deal that sent Luis Avilan from the Dodgers to the White Sox. So it appears that Duarte could know something, but wait for corroboration before dwelling on the specifics. On the “sleeping dog” scale, this one rates “involuntary ear twitch, but eyes still closed.”

An Abreu trade makes some sense if the White Sox ultimately can’t piece together a shadow contender for 2019, especially if one of the Dodgers’ blocked prospects can be had. You have to weigh that against a qualifying offer on him, which he’d probably be worth. After the White Sox non-tendered both Matt Davidson and Avisail Garcia, they’re not really in a position to deal more power bats without losing some aspirations along with it.

Speaking of first basemen who hit free agency after the 2019 season…

* * *  * * *  * * *

The Cardinals were a frequent posited pairing for the White Sox with Abreu, but they found an even better first baseman on Wednesday. St. Louis acquired one year of Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, infield prospect Andy Young and a Competitive Balance Round B draft pick.

It seems like a fair deal. Goldschmidt is a bargain even at $14.5 million, as he averages 5 WAR a year at first base, and that’s no small feat. Weaver and Kelly are former top prospects who have lost some sheen — Weaver because of a down 2018, and Kelly because Yadier Molina has a stranglehold on the playing time at catcher — but both could form a strong battery for several years ahead.

With Goldschmidt moving out, Arizona chatter seems destined to shift to Zack Greinke.

* * *  * * *  * * *

If you place any faith in David Price’s Twitch stream, Nate Eovaldi was destined to return to the Red Sox, at least after boosting his leverage a little bit. Ken Rosenthal says it’s a done deal:

* * *  * * *  * * *

Jayson Stark says that support for eliminating shifts “is building,” and that players might support it rather easily because a lot of them are irritated by shifts, too.

It strikes me as kind of a useless conversation, and Jeff Sullivan summed up its self-defeating angle:

Revisiting a conversation stemming from the last podcast, here’s the case where I might be more OK with acquiring Kyle Seager. I don’t think he’s a great candidate for positive regression because nobody hits into more shifts than he does, resulting in that .256 BABIP the last two seasons. However, if baseball were to only allow him to face two infielders on the side, the sport may bail out his career, or at least keep him from being an underwater obligation.

(Rosenthal says the Mariners aren’t going to tie Mitch Haniger to Seager, so you have to evaluate Seager on his own merits. Also, Seager’s $15 million club option for 2022 turn into a player option if he’s traded, so factor that into your costs.)

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35Shields
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35Shields

So 2/3 top free agent SPs are off the board. Looks like we’re looking at another year of abysmal pitching from the Sox.

HallofFrank
Member

True, but 2020 is likely the goal for truly competing, and the 2020 rotation looks much less bleak than the 2019 one as of now. 

melidoperez
Member
melidoperez

I know we’re naturally bleak as Sox fans, but “It’s December 6th and Nathan Eovaldi signed somewhere else so the season is fucked” is impressive even by our standards.

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

Hot stove burning heading into winter meetings …

So if the sox are truly not gonna be in on any of these top arms or bats its definitely time to see what Abreu can yield in a trade.

denbum
Member
denbum

I say keep Abreu for all the reasons his supporters list. Make him full-time DH with an occasional appearance in the field at 1B. Bring Madrigal up and put him at 2b. Convert Moncada to 1B (a la Rod Carew). Obtain a 3B. Yolmer/ Rondon at util.
Abreu will be upgrade at DH over Davidson/Palka
Moncada will be defensive upgrade at 1B over Abreu.
Madrigal, I’m hoping, will be upgrade at 2B defense.
win-win-win situation.
Some want Moncada to 3rd – seems like a riskier project than 1B.
If can’t obtain a 3B, Yolmer/Rondon platoon..L Garcia becomes xtra util.

roke1960
Member

The Sox better not be waiting on the Machado/Harper sweepstakes to play out or they are going to be left out in the cold. Time to get in on Happ or Keuchel.

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

Zack Greinke shouldn’t cost much more than taking on his contract.

roke1960
Member

I like the idea of Greinke for 3 years if the Dbacks eat some of his salary. He should still be very effective for 3 more years.

Eagle Bones
Member

I’m still struggling with what they should do if Harper/Machado decision push later into the offseason. I guess as others have said, the obvious move would be to go get Grandal as he’s probably going to be a very good value unless his price comes in significantly higher than expected. Using a hypothetical scenario where Machado and Harper go elsewhere, but they bring in let’s say Greinke, Grandal and like AJ Pollock or McCutchen, do we consider that a good offseason? That’s like 10-12 more wins onto their projection which I guess is good enough to at least make them interesting and then you just hope none of these guys crater right off the bat and they can add another piece or two next offseason. Does that sound about right?

roke1960
Member

They can’t wait forever on Harper/Machado, but it’s tough to sign another outfielder if they are still on Harper, especially one who can’t play center. I would think that an offseason of acquiring Colome, Greinke, Grandal and Pollock would be considered pretty good. If that adds 10-12 wins and they get a nice bump from Eloy, Moncada, Giolito, Rodon and possibly Cease, now they’re looking at 80-85 wins. Then a big signing next offseason plus another 1 or 2 prospects making an impact would certainly put them in the mix in 2020.

Eagle Bones
Member

You make a good point and I’d add to it. I guess the play here is to focus on adding to the non-Harper/Machado positions (i.e. CF, C, SP) and then maybe add a minor piece at those positions later in the offseason if one/neither of those guys end up signing with them.

roke1960
Member

Yeah, I’d lie to see them add Pollock, Grandal, or Greinke/Happ/Keuchel before the big guys decide. Then adding one of those two would be the icing on the cake.

itaita
Member
itaita

Im not sure how open our beloved owner would be to giving out a Harper/Machado tier contract if the team just spent on Pollock/Grandal then one of the 3 pitchers though.

Eagle Bones
Member

You’re probably right that all of those together is aiming too high. I don’t actually expect them to add ALL of those specific names, but I think they should probably be aiming at like Grandal, Ramos, Pollock and several pitchers and see who they can come away with (too maximize their chances).

roke1960
Member

I meant adding 1 or 2 of those guys. For instance, adding Harper and Grandal, then adding a mid-tier pitcher would be a good start.

roke1960
Member

So would it be better to add Harper or Machado at $30-35 million per year, or Grandal and Pollock at the same price?

zerobs
Member
zerobs

It would be better to add Machado or Harper (in that order). I would never punt draft picks for players over 30 unless I felt the team was only 3-4 WAR away from a division title.

roke1960
Member

I agree with you completely. Generational talents are very, very hard to find. Guys equivalent to Pollock or Grandal are available every year.

jorgefabregas
Member

I think they are interested in Harper/Machado because they fit their window. I don’t think Happ or Keuchel necessarily fit their window.

roke1960
Member

Happ is a good 2-year bridge to a rotation of Rodon/Lopez/Kopech/Cease/(Dunning/Hansen/Giolito).

35Shields
Member
35Shields

If they don’t sign at least one of Grandal/Harper/Machado, there’s no way this team is close to competitive. So who the hell cares if someone’s a nice bridge in an otherwise lost season?

roke1960
Member

I’m assuming also that they sign Machado or Harper. You’re right, Happ is useless if they don’t plan on being competitive this year.

Jer-in-Az
Member

@35Shields – I like your little game of “which of these three is not like the other”.

35Shields
Member
35Shields

Nice catch! Bryce Harper is, in fact, the only player in that group that hasn’t produced more than 4 WARP in the last three years!

Jer-in-Az
Member

Well played, for me it’s Machado -> Harper -> Grandal.  A lot of people have made very good cases on this website for why Grandal is undervalued.  I feel it’s hard to give up the pick and pay for such a fluid position. 

35Shields
Member
35Shields

Fair enough, but he’s going to cost like 20% of what Machado and Harper will get with a pretty low likelihood of being less than 20% as valuable.

Trooper Galactus
Member

The fact that it’s been such a fluid position is a big part of why this team has been terrible the last several seasons. A.J. wasn’t necessarily an outstanding catcher, but I certainly miss the positional stability he provided for so many years.

zerobs
Member
zerobs

They need someone they can rely on for 7 innings a game. Right now they have Lopez and maybe Rodon. Would love them to get someone who can start and keep the BB/9 under 3.0

Trooper Galactus
Member

I’d just note that Happ is not exactly an “innings eater”.

GrinnellSteve
Member

It sure seems like the Hot Stove is scalding this year: lots of major trades and lesser deals to go with a number of key signings. The money seems to be flowing more than last year, and that’s without the big 2 signing. It’s exciting.

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

Mayo put a mock out today, has the sox taking andrew vaughn 3rd….

Eagle Bones
Member

Looks like there is quite a bit of difference of opinion on where these guys fall at this point when you compare this with Kiley/Longenhagen’s board over at FG. Not surprising this time of year I’m sure.

Just looking at the FG board, if these guys don’t move around too much, there are going to be several guys I’ll like for the Sox. Lots of up-the-middle talents in their area.

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

I think most people are (I have been forever) in love with Rutschman… but of course picking third there should be lots of very high end options. I’ve been hyping Stinson as the guy I think is gonna blow up and sure enough Mayo has him pushed to 5 in this mock, and I think before its all said and done he will be in the 1,2,3 convo.

Eagle Bones
Member

Based on my very limited reading, Rutschman obviously sounds great if he makes it to them somehow. Other than him, I like the sound of the non-Witt SS’s and this Corbin Carroll kid.

ParisSox
Member

Son of ex-major leaguer playing SS?  Count me in!

Eagle Bones
Member

The other SS’s (Abrams, Stott, Jones) don’t seem to have the same contact issues which makes me favor them. I’m not necessarily against taking a guy that has trouble making contact, but at 3 I’d prefer to avoid that kind of risk.

Josh Nelson
Editor

I have a post coming up about these draft rankings, but Bobby Witt Jr. has answered the bell about his contact issues this summer and the U-18 tournament in Panama. I think he and Rutschman are 1A and 1B at the moment.

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

Sweet, I can read about the draft 365 days a year

Eagle Bones
Member

Think I saw Kiley or Longenhagen mention they have an update coming to their board. Will be interesting to see what that looks like at the top.

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

Too bad we own 1C.

dansomeone
Member
dansomeone

True, but KC has Sal Perez at C with MJ Melendez in the pipeline, and Dayton Moore makes weird decisions, so I could see them passing on a college catcher.

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

fangraphs expects to update and reshuffle their board next week.

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

Vaughn, ” He’s a first baseman only, but should be fine there.”

That’s MLB

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

Carlos Carrasco needs a new agent, GOOD GOD

roke1960
Member

It’s refreshing to see guys not trying to break the bank. $44 million is a nice chunk of change- he’s probably very comfortable in Cleveland, and it allows them more flexibility to add other players. But I’m sure the union is not happy with him.

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

He tooks less then half what he is worth, they must be furious

melidoperez
Member
melidoperez

I can get the “take the life changing set for life” contract as a young guy, but yeah this is weird as hell. I would love to be a fly on the wall in the FO to hear the conversations. I know they do physicals for pitchers, but wouldn’t you be paranoid the guy thought his arm was gonna explode.

yinkadoubledare
Member
yinkadoubledare

He’s shown before that he cares more about guaranteed money than making the most money possible. He took the original team friendly contract after he had heart surgery. Now he’s in a position where if he’s good, he’s 2 years out from free agency (at age 34), but he only has one guaranteed year if he blew out this year. This deal gives him three more guaranteed years.

Union advised him against the previous contract, I’m sure they won’t like this one either, but he does seem to have known priorities.

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

The problem with that logic, and why I stated he needs a new agent is he simply could have taken out an insurance policy. This came up a lot during the LeVeon Bell holdout this year. The long and short of it is pretty simple 10k per mil coverage ratio… Carrasco could easily have paid a couple hundred thousand out of pocket on some crazy 100 mil policy to cover himself in case of injury. So really the only reason to sign a deal like this is cause he loves cleveland… ive been to cleveland and have no idea why he would think that, but even so… get like 75 percent of what you are worth he got 30 cents on the dollar

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

Pitchers were getting hard to insure several years ago for teams’ liability let alone for personal disability. Haven’t seen anything to suggest that’s changed (other than the Sox picking up Jones’ option rather than declining it).

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

harder then nfl running backs… its not cheap but its very doable at a fraction of the amount he just left on the table

winningugly
Member

You know this how?

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

a morning show did an interview with an agent speaking with direct knowledge of the bell situation, and who had taken out these types of policies most commonly with players in their jr/sr years leading up to the draft

so I know for an nfl RB the ratio was 10k per 1 mil of coverage, so I dont have the exact formula for mlb pitcher but considering the injury and attrition rate of nfl rbs vs mlb pitchers I cant imagine the rate would be worse, even if it somehow was double why not pay and protect yourself

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

The historical rate for MLB teams was something like premiums of 3% of total contract value for position players and 7% for pitchers. Coverage would be for 50-75% of the contract with some amount of missed time as a deductible. But in ’08, the Diamondbacks reportedly couldn’t find an underwriter for Brandon Webb. Although Matt Harvey reportedly did have an insurance policy. Passan wrote about the changes in the market in The Arm.

Loss of Value insurance for 20-something amateur football players is also a much different market than high value disability insurance for 30-something pitchers.

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

Right, but employer insurance is a lot different then a player personally taking out his own policy. These deals happen all the time.

So I just don’t buy security of 44 mil, as a factor. He could of taken out a ton of policies at a very reasonable rate to cover 44 mil. He just loves that team/city and the Indians got a whale of a deal.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

No, these deals don’t seem to happen all the time in baseball for pitchers, is the point.

Insurers are less willing to underwrite their arm injuries.

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

Most professional sports teams have to obtain a certain level of protection, so a lot of these deals do happen. I will give you pitchers may be among the toughest, but for 1 mil carassco probably could obtain double the coverage of what he just signed for. To me the guaranteed money isnt a factor in why he stayed in cleveland

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

I think you are also conflating two different things. Team insurance looks to reimburse a team dollar for dollar should a player get hurt and miss I believe 60 games. Catastrophic personal insurance only pays in the event a player would suffer an injury that prevented them from ever earning a dollar again. In theory Carrasco could buy say for sake of argument a 50 mil plan based on future earnings, he could blow his arm out in 2019, but still come back and pitch in 2020, 21,22 blow out his arm again in 2023, pitch maybe in 2024 etc etc in that type of scenario the personal insurer never would pay a dime to carrasco cause he likely would have met his 50 career earnings mark, however a team insurance policy on their pitcher would have collected both years in which carrascos arm was blown out.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

The entire insurance market–both team-based contract insurance and personal high value disability coverage–has signficantly dried up for professional pitchers’ arms. Insurers don’t want the risk.

There’s a potential, unregulated market for pre-draft Loss of Value contracts for pitchers still. But that’s not lifetime earnings, that’s typically a percentage of likely signing bonus money. And there’s some market for covering position players, though that excludes pre-existing injuries.

The big difference between the NFL and MLB is the nature of guaranteed deals.

As I said, Passan wrote about it in The Arm. If you have some actual information about pitchers that he didn’t cover, by all means, give it to us.

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

Basing it on what I heard directly from an agent about mostly NFL and NBA players, plus I have personally worked on numerous prospectus based investment and insurance policies. While MLB pitchers may have a higher rate I just cant believe that if they are willing to pay a high enough premium that a market doesn’t exist.

Indians got a steal, and thats all that really matters.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

Well, we have a reporter, Passan, who published his research on the specific subject versus your speculation based on info from different contexts…

So, yeah, please show your receipts.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

MLB has no requirement for contract insurance. And workers comp liability is a separate issue.

knoxfire30
Member
knoxfire30

Could of swore I read they have to insure their top 5 contracts…. but I am about to pack up for the day so… until tomorrow, farewell.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

That’s about teams’ contract insurance and confirms what I was saying. That’s probably one of the things I read.

winningugly
Member

And what carrier is going to cover a guy after heart surgery within the past 5 years? Not a whole bunch of them. Insurers for disability/high risk have pulled back over the last 10 years.

moncada5ever
Member

The Cardinals are shopping Jose Martinez after acquiring Goldy. He’s god awful in the field, but he will probably be cheap, as he may only have serious interest from AL teams. He’s got 4 years of cheap control and could be an option at DH.

roke1960
Member

There’s our DH, and cheap too!!

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

Cheaper than Palka?

Trooper Galactus
Member

But isn’t Palka a right fielder?

roke1960
Member

Don’t say that too loud, we want pitchers to sign with the Sox.

yinkadoubledare
Member
yinkadoubledare

No, he’s a wrong fielder.

roke1960
Member

Still pre-arb, and an .800 OPS.

melidoperez
Member
melidoperez

Obviously it’s impossible not to love Palka, but he’s sort of bad, no? Even if you take away at bats against lefties he still is a sub .300 obp guy.

As Cirensica
Member

Palka’s second (small sample alert) half in 2018 was kinda good. If he can do that on a regular basis, he is more than playable as a DH.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Interesting. Another noteworthy quirk in his stats is a large home/away gap, with his away OPS being 87 points higher, mostly due to 12 of his 15 doubles being hit on the road. Granted, his OBP sucked shit anywhere he played (.293 home/.295 away), but if the home power numbers experience a correction toward the away numbers more than vice-versa, yeah, an .800+ OPS can play even with the serious warts in his BA/OBP/K rate. I’d be interested to see some sort of analysis that might show which split between the home/away numbers is more akin to what he can be expected to do regularly.

Trooper Galactus
Member

I suppose he’s an option if the White Sox choose to part with Abreu, though good gravy Martinez is like Daniel Palka bad in the field.

zerobs
Member
zerobs

He has weird platoon split stats. Not sure the last couple years of control will be cheap if the production keeps up. I could see Boston kicking the tires since they would probably offer a catcher.

HallofFrank
Member

If they didn’t trade Abreu last year, it’s diffuclt to see why they would this year. He’s a year older, less control, coming off the worst year of his career, and going into a year where – ostensibly – the Sox are trying to step forward. 

At least they should keep him for a half and see if he boosts his value by returning to form. But I’ve always gotten the sense he would take a hometown discount to extend his stay in Chicago, and I wouldn’t mind seeing that if he bounces back some.

zerobs
Member
zerobs

He may have more value now than mid-season because a team would have a QO option if they acquired him before the season starts and he’s certainly worth close to the $18M QO. If LA would give up Verdugo you’d have to jump at it, but they probably want to unload Puig.

As Cirensica
Member

Venezuela: Bad news….criminals with a M.O. putting big boulders and other debris on the highways to rob stopping cars (To avoid such objects) provoked the collision that took away the lives of Jose Valbuena and former major league Jose Castillo.

This is a well-known MO, and there are many highways and roads known for this danger. Sometimes criminals throw small objects at your windshield to shatter it, you stop, and they rob you. I have been victim of the latter back in the days I lived in Venezuela. A country literally destroyed by communism. I am so pissed. Shit like this pisses me off.

dansomeone
Member
dansomeone

Venezuela was destroyed by corrupt and incompetent leaders, not communism.

As Cirensica
Member

They are the same thing

Gutteridge70
Member
Gutteridge70

yep

denbum
Member
denbum

I say keep Abreu for all the reasons his supporters list.
Make him full-time DH with an occasional appearance in the field at 1B.
Bring Madrigal up and put him at 2b.
Convert Moncada to 1B (a la Rod Carew).
Obtain a 3B. Yolmer/ Rondon at util.

Abreu will be upgrade at DH over Davidson/Palka
Moncada will be defensive upgrade at 1B over Abreu.
Madrigal, I’m hoping, will be upgrade at 2B defense.

win-win-win situation

oops…I may have double posted