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:
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) December 5, 2018
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.
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) January 4, 2018
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…
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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.
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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:
Free-agent RHP Nathan Eovaldi in agreement with #RedSox, pending physical, sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2018
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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:
banning the shift reduces the penalty for pulling a grounder. pulled grounders go hand-in-hand with trying to hit for more power. banning the shift might *intensify* the launch-angle frenzy
— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) December 5, 2018
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.)