1. #1
    EmpireMaker
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    The 2023 Major League Baseball Player Chatter, News and Fantasy Thread

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!




    WE ARE SO DAMN LUCKY!!!

    ALL THE BEST!!!

    LET'S CONTINUE TO MAKE THIS THE BEST THREAD ON SBR AND BEYOND...

    LET'S GO!!!



  2. #2
    EmpireMaker
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    New Year’s Day isn’t technically the midpoint of the baseball offseason, yet with business slightly paused as the calendar turns to 2023, it seems like a good time to see how teams have taken care of some of the most pressing items on their to-do list. With a tip of the cap to Baseball Reference’s bWAR breakdown of how each club performed by position in 2022, let’s explore how the American League’s 15 teams have looked to correct their biggest positions of need.
    Angels (First Base, -1.0 bWAR): The top-heavy Angels are known for superstars Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, but the club also had sub-replacement production at a whopping five positions. First base was the lowest of the bunch, as Jared Walsh struggled through a rough season that was cut short by thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. While Walsh is expected to be ready for Spring Training, the Halos picked up some depth and insurance by acquiring Gio Urshela from the Twins and signing Brandon Drury, either of whom could see action at first base when not playing elsewhere around the diamond.
    Astros (Catcher, -0.8 bWAR): Unsurprisingly, the World Series champions were pretty strong across the board, apart from sub-replacement numbers at catcher and first base (-0.4 bWAR). The signing of Jose Abreu instantly updated first base, though Martin Maldonado and prospect Korey Lee remain the top options behind the plate. Houston reportedly had interest in such free agents and trade targets as Willson Contreras, Sean Murphy, Tucker Barnhart, and old friend Christian Vazquez, and while these players have all found new homes, it still feels like the Astros will bring at least one new catcher into the fold by Spring Training.
    Athletics (Third Base, -1.2 bWAR): Oakland’s combined 9.1 bWAR was the lowest of any team in baseball, yet another dubious distinction for the A’s in a 102-loss season. After Matt Chapman was traded to the Blue Jays last offseason, third base turned into the weakest of the Athletics’ many weak links. Vimael Machin and Sheldon Neuse got the bulk of playing time at the hot corner in 2022 but both are now off the roster, leaving Kevin Smith and newly-signed utilitymen Jace Peterson and Aledmys Diaz in line to help stabilize things at third base.
    Blue Jays (Pinch-Hitting, 1.4 bWAR): With a heavily right-handed starting lineup, the Jays filled their bench with left-handed hitters like Raimel Tapia, Bradley Zimmer, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all of whom struggled at the plate. This lack of depth became apparent pretty much every time a regular starter was injured, or when the Blue Jays needed a bat off the bench for an important late-game at-bat. In theory, a full season of Whit Merrifield should help the depth, as at least two of Merrifield, Santiago Espinal, Cavan Biggio, or even Kevin Kiermaier or Daulton Varsho should be available off the bench. However, Toronto seems likely to seek out at least one more veteran backup type this winter. In terms of everyday positions, Jays left fielders were the lowest with 2.1 bWAR — Toronto has addressed that area by adding Varsho, and trading former regular left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to the Diamondbacks as part of that swap.
    Guardians (Catcher, -0.1 bWAR): Austin Hedges and Luke Maile provided very little offense, which wasn’t a huge concern for a Guardians team that has long prioritized defense from its backstops. However, Bo Naylor made his MLB debut last season, and the Guards are hopeful that the prospect can provide both good glovework and some pop from the catching spot. With Hedges and Maile both departing in free agency, Cleveland added Mike Zunino, another good defender who is inconsistent at the plate but has delivered some big power numbers in the past.
    Mariners (Second Base, 0.4 bWAR): Seattle hopes Kolten Wong can fill the gap at the keystone, after the Mariners acquired Wong in the trade that sent Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro to the Brewers. Even in an uncharacteristically poor defensive year for Wong in 2022, he still generated 3.1 bWAR, marking a vast improvement over what the Mariners got from the position last year. Second base just edged out left field (0.5 bWAR) as Seattle’s biggest need, and the latter position remains a bit of a question mark. With Winker and Kyle Lewis both dealt and Teoscar Hernandez acquired to handle right field, the Mariners will likely still look to improve over the current mix of Jarred Kelenic, Taylor Trammell, and utilitymen Dylan Moore and Sam Haggerty.
    Orioles (Second Base, 0.1 bWAR): One team’s castaway is another team’s upgrade, while the Mariners looked to improve on Adam Frazier, Baltimore inked him to a one-year, $8MM contract. Frazier brings a veteran presence to a young and still unsettled Orioles infield, as while Frazier will probably get the bulk of time at second base, it remains exactly to be seen if Gunnar Henderson will be deployed as the regular third baseman or shortstop. Ramon Urias, Terrin Vavra, Jorge Mateo, and a wealth of other up-and-coming prospects will also factor into the infield picture. Frazier had a rough offensive year in 2022, but he brought more to the table than Rougned Odor, whose clubhouse leadership didn’t make up for a -0.4 bWAR.
    Rangers (Left Field, -1.0 bWAR): Texas has been focused on pitching, as between retaining Martin Perez via the qualifying offer and adding Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney, and Jake Odorizzi, the Rangers have done a lot to improve a starting mix that ranked 25th of 30 teams in rotation bWAR. With the rotation now addressed in major fashion, left field is the next item on the checklist for Texas GM Chris Young. Michael Conforto and Mitch Haniger were among the names on the Rangers’ radar before both outfielders signed with the Giants. Young will continue to look to add a veteran bat to either replace or complement the Rangers’ younger options in left field.
    Rays (Catcher, 0.2 bWAR): As usual, the Rays were pretty solid at every position, though catcher remains an ongoing concern for the organization. With Zunino gone, Christian Bethancourt and Francisco Mejia are the incumbents, and Tampa Bay at least explored a big upgrade in checking in on the Sean Murphy trade market. However, now that Murphy is in Atlanta and many of the other top available names have landed elsewhere, the Rays may once again be facing more of a second-tier addition.
    Red Sox (First Base, -0.5 bWAR): Top prospect Triston Casas made his MLB debut last season, and Boston’s hope is that Casas will live up to that potential quickly. Such a breakout could solve the first base position for years to come, though to alleviate some pressure on Casas, the Red Sox also acquired Justin Turner with an eye towards giving the veteran some time at first base and DH. On paper, Rafael Devers might also get some first base time if Turner fills in at third base. As for other first base options, the Sox already parted ways with Eric Hosmer, and Bobby Dalbec is being shopped in trade talks.
    Royals (Shortstop, 0.2 bWAR): Bobby Witt had a solid rookie season, beginning the year as Kansas City’s third baseman before moving into pretty much everyday duty at shortstop. Witt’s glovework at both positions was pretty rough, but the Royals are hopeful that their young cornerstone can improve enough to provide at least passable defense at shortstop, even if Witt’s long-term position might still be a question. The Royals haven’t done much with their position player mix at all, and so if Witt has to be moved back to third base, the incumbent answers at shortstop are still Nicky Lopez and (if healthy) Adalberto Mondesi. Prospect Maikel Garcia made his MLB debut in 2022 and could also factor into the backup picture.
    Tigers (First Base, -1.3 bWAR): Another case of a team counting on a youngster to blossom, as there’s really nowhere to go but up for Spencer Torkelson after a mediocre rookie season. The former first overall pick hit only .203/.285/.319 in his first 404 Major League PA, and was temporarily demoted back to Triple-A at midseason. Since the Tigers seem to be taking a step back after a team-wide letdown in 2022, Torkelson will still get plenty of playing time, and it’s far too early to write off a rookie who is still only 23 years old. The Tigers have been linked to Brian Anderson and Edwin Rios, two free agents that could be part-time options at first base when they’re not at the hot corner.
    Twins (Catcher, 1.0 bWAR): Christian Vazquez was signed to a three-year, $30MM deal, as Vazquez will take over the starting catching duties even though Ryan Jeffers will still get a good chunk of playing time. Vazquez brings experience, a solid bat, and quality defense, so his signing should instantly patch one of the holes on Minnesota’s roster.
    White Sox (Catcher, Right Field, each -0.4 bWAR): The Pale Hose were yet another team who had interest in trading for Murphy, and Chicago is still looking for a catcher as a platoon partner or even a replacement for Yasmani Grandal. Gavin Sheets is the favorite for playing time in right field until prospect Oscar Colas is ready, though the White Sox did improve their outfield mix as a whole by signing Andrew Benintendi for left field and moving Andrew Vaughn from the corner spots to first base. Sheets isn’t a strong defender either, but limiting the shaky glovework to just one outfield position is a step up for the White Sox.
    Yankees (Left Field, Pinch-Hitting, each 2.0 bWAR): New York led all American League teams with 54.7 total bWAR, so their “weak positions” are still pretty solid. Benintendi, Joey Gallo, Miguel Andujar, Marwin Gonzalez, and Matt Carpenter have all been removed from the revolving door that was left field in Yankee Stadium, leaving intriguing rookie Oswaldo Cabrera, struggling veteran Aaron Hicks, and slugger Giancarlo Stanton (when Stanton isn’t in his primary DH role) as the top options. Former top prospect Estevan Florial could also get a look for more playing time. This all being said, the Yankees also seem to be eyeing more help, and have explored trades with such teams as the Pirates, Twins, and Diamondbacks while also speaking with free agents like Benintendi, Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo. Willie Calhoun and Billy McKinney were also just signed to minors deals, but with the free agent market drying up, New York will probably have to turn to the trade route for a more substantive addition in left field.

  3. #3
    Cross
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    Sup to the baseball crew in 2023!

  4. #4
    batt33
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmpireMaker View Post
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!




    WE ARE SO DAMN LUCKY!!!

    ALL THE BEST!!!

    LET'S CONTINUE TO MAKE THIS THE BEST THREAD ON SBR AND BEYOND...

    LET'S GO!!!



  5. #5
    JMobile
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    Red Sox interested in trading Chris Sale

  6. #6
    EmpireMaker
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    A busy month of December has seen the free agent cupboard mostly cleared out. Yet as we begin 2023 there are still a few interesting options on the open market for teams looking for upgrades heading into the new season. Of course, many teams will look to the trade market over the next month or two – particularly if they’re after impact options – but good deals can still be found in free agency.
    One such player is a former MVP, who remains a threat at the plate and is well-regarded as a veteran presence in the clubhouse. Andrew McCutchen may not be the same player that went to five-straight All Star games with the Pirates, but he could still help a lot of teams. There was a report in early December that the Rays and Dodgers had interest in McCutchen, but it’s been quiet since. The Dodgers have since signed J.D. Martinez, which may rule them out, but the Rays could still feasibly have a spot for him.
    McCutchen, 36, spent the past season with the Brewers on a one-year, $8MM deal. They’d signed him on the back of three years in Philadelphia, which culminated in McCutchen hitting .222/.334/.444 with 27 home runs over 574 plate appearances. It was a solid enough season, but what perhaps got Milwaukee’s attention was the way in which McCutchen torched left-handed pitching in 2021, slashing .293/.405/.622 in 195 plate appearances against southpaws. It was particularly pronounced in 2021, but McCutchen’s splits have favored hitting against left-handers over his career.
    Unfortunately for the Brewers, it wasn’t the case in 2022. McCutchen would hit just .221/.303/.435 against left-handers in Milwaukee, contributing to an overall line of .237/.316/.384 overall line of 580 plate appearances. While his walk and strikeout rates have trended in the wrong direction in recent times, they were still reasonable marks, as he struck out 21.4% of the time against a 9.8% walk rate. That was good for a wRC+ of 98, a couple of ticks below the league average but the first time it had dipped below 100 in his career. He did enjoy a 262 plate appearance tear in the middle of the summer, where he crushed 11 home runs and hit at an .868 OPS. Of course, the fact that his overall season mark was well below that suggests there were some very lean runs in there as well.
    Perhaps the biggest concern from McCutchen’s season was the drop in power. He slugged 27 home runs a year prior with the Phillies, but hit just 17 last season. American Family Field in Milwaukee is generally less favorable to home run hitters than Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, but it was still a significant drop in long balls. In McCutchen’s defense, his exit velocity and HardHit% were both roughly the same as a year earlier, so he’s still making plenty of solid contact.
    On the defensive side of things, McCutchen has spent most of his time in the DH spot in recent years, but can still play the outfield, and enjoyed a bit of success there in 2022. He was worth 5 Defensive Runs Saved in a small sample of 268 1/3 innings, while he also spent a small amount of time in right and center. He did make 82 appearances in the DH spot and his days of being an everyday outfielder are probably over, but he’s by no means a liability in the field and his numbers in 2022 could encourage a new team to give him a larger workload in the field in 2023.
    McCutchen will likely sign another one-year deal, quite possibly in the same range as the $8MM salary he took home in 2022. At this stage of free agency, most of the players available have some flaws, but McCutchen could still work as a solid option for a number of teams. He still has ~20 home run power, draws walks at a bit above the league average rate and doesn’t strike out too often. While he’s not likely to be a team’s everyday outfielder, he could shift around the corner outfield spots, making DH appearances and allowing teams to spell their starting outfielders on a regular basis. Further to that, McCutchen’s got a good clubhouse reputation and could perhaps work on a contending team with a slightly younger roster. While he’s unlikely to be a difference maker at this point, teams could do worse than bringing in the veteran to deepen their roster for the upcoming season.

  7. #7
    jrgum3
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmpireMaker View Post
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!




    WE ARE SO DAMN LUCKY!!!

    ALL THE BEST!!!

    LET'S CONTINUE TO MAKE THIS THE BEST THREAD ON SBR AND BEYOND...

    LET'S GO!!!


    Cheers and yes this is by far the best thread on SBR!

  8. #8
    EmpireMaker
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    Aside from Carlos Correa — who reportedly remains focused on finalizing his deal with the Mets — only three players from MLBTR’s top 50 free agents remain without a contract. There’s just one hitter from the group, as the market for Jurickson Profar has remained surprisingly quiet.
    The nine-year MLB veteran had a solid 2022 campaign with the Padres, hitting .243/.331/.391 with 15 home runs through 658 plate appearances. It was his second above-average offensive season in the last three years, leading the 29-year-old to make the easy decision to accept a $1MM buyout and hit free agency instead of returning to San Diego on a $7.5MM salary.
    In the nearly two months since then, however, there’s been virtually zero indication as to his next landing spot. The only team that has been substantively tied to Profar this winter is the Astros, and that was before they re-signed Michael Brantley to split time with Yordan Alvarez between left field and designated hitter.
    That leaves only speculative possibilities in trying to narrow down Profar’s landing spot. With Profar mostly limited to left field in recent years after breaking into the majors as an infielder, it’s worth looking at the clubs that got the worst production out of the position. Here are the bottom ten teams in wRC+ from left fielders in 2022:

    • Rangers (47)
    • Angels (67)
    • Marlins (81)
    • Tigers (88)
    • Red Sox (91)
    • A’s (94)
    • Reds (95)
    • Pirates (97)
    • Braves (97)
    • Twins (98)

    A few of these clubs have already addressed the issue. The Halos traded for Hunter Renfroe, while the Red Sox signed Masataka Yoshida to a five-year contract. The Twins signed Joey Gallo and look likelier to trade away an outfielder than sign another.
    Some others are either amidst rebuilds or at least heading into transitional seasons. The A’s, Tigers, Reds and Pirates are all unlikely to contend for a playoff spot in 2023. That doesn’t inherently rule them out on Profar, who’s still fairly young and could sign a multi-year deal. Yet it perhaps lessens the urgency for anyone in that group to try to plug every hole on the roster via free agency. Let’s take a look at the remaining three clubs in that group:

    • Rangers: Texas has had a second straight whirlwind offseason, this time on the pitching staff. They’ve added four starting pitchers as part of their efforts to vault themselves into postseason contention. Left field is the biggest remaining weakness, and Rangers general manager Chris Young has already gone on record about a desire to upgrade. Bubba Thompson and infield/outfield hybrids Brad Miller, Josh Smith and Ezequiel Durán headline the internal options. An addition seems likely, although it remains to be seen if Texas would circle back to Profar, who never met the extremely lofty expectations he’d had as a prospect in the Rangers farm system.
    • Marlins: The Marlins haven’t addressed the outfield this winter, but they added Avisaíl García and Jorge Soler on multi-year pacts last offseason. They could make Profar fit if they moved Soler to a more or less everyday designated hitter role, but another free agent deal for a corner outfielder might be too rich for their taste. That’s particularly true since most of their in-house younger outfielders (i.e. Jesús Sánchez, Bryan De La Cruz, JJ Bleday) profile better in a corner than they do in center field.
    • Braves: Atlanta has thrown a few darts at left field this offseason. They’ve acquired Sam Hilliard and Eli White in minor trades while signing Jordan Luplow to a modest one-year deal. None of them should stand in the way of an impact left fielder, but Profar’s more of a solid stabilizing veteran than the kind of player who’d change a lineup. Between the trio of new pickups and in-house candidates like Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario, Atlanta may feel they’ll find at least one player in the group who can reasonably approximate Profar’s production.

    Beyond that trio of teams, a few more stand out as possible fits. The Mariners have looked for ways to address left field. As with Atlanta, they have a hodgepodge of internal candidates for reps (Jarred Kelenic, Taylor Trammell, Sam Haggerty and Dylan Moore among them) and could feel better patching things together if they don’t land a clearer upgrade via trade. Seattle also has some questions about their remaining spending capacity. The Yankees haven’t attacked left field after losing Andrew Benintendi in free agency. Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks are the in-house favorites for playing time.
    The Royals have almost no certainty in either corner outfield spot. The Nationals are rebuilding but the Talk Nats blog tweeted a few weeks ago they were looking to bring in some outfield help. The incumbent Padres still make some sense. San Diego president of baseball operations A.J. Preller has made no secret of his longstanding affinity for Profar dating back to their overlapping time in the Texas organization. Fernando Tatis Jr. is likely ticketed for left field work once he returns from his performance-enhancing drug suspension, but adding another bat to the corner outfield/designated hitter mix could free Matt Carpenter up for more multi-positional work off the bench.

  9. #9
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    I'd like the Padres to reup Profar.

    The guy is always smiling and in a good mood, great for the clubhouse.

  10. #10
    JMobile
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAKEPEAVY21 View Post
    I'd like the Padres to reup Profar.

    The guy is always smiling and in a good mood, great for the clubhouse.
    Padres should focus now on pitching

  11. #11
    Otters27
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    Looking forward to baseball season actually

  12. #12
    jrgum3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otters27 View Post
    Looking forward to baseball season actually
    It would definitely be a welcome change that's for sure. Pitchers and catchers report next month so it'll be here before you know it.

  13. #13
    batt33
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    Mets free agency and trade buzz: Carlos Correa deal expected to be ‘dramatically different’ It will be interesting to see the final contract.


  14. #14
    cincinnatikid513
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    wow this correa situation is turning into a real shetshow both giants and mets concerned about his right ankle

  15. #15
    Cross
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    Maybe some incentives for Correa built in?

  16. #16
    EmpireMaker
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    Bryan Reynolds

    The status of Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds is one of the top storylines of the offseason’s second half. Trade rumors surrounding the former All-Star are nothing new and they returned last month once Reynolds asked the club to deal him.
    That trade request came after talks about a long-term extension between his camp and the Pirates fizzled out. The precise numbers under discussion at the time aren’t clear, although Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported the club put forth an offer that would’ve topped the franchise-record $70MM guarantee that Ke’Bryan Hayes had secured last spring. Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette shed further light on the talks as part of a reader mailbag this week, reporting that Pittsburgh’s offer was roughly $50MM shy of what Reynolds and his representatives at CAA had sought.
    That’d set a floor of approximately $120MM for Reynolds’ asking price, although it’s possible his camp was aiming higher than that. It’s not known how far above $70MM the Bucs offered. Mackey writes that Pittsburgh’s proposal involved fewer seasons than the eight years Hayes received, although Reynolds would obviously have pulled in more on an annual basis. That’s unsurprising considering Reynolds now has two more years of major league service than Hayes had at the time of his deal.
    Reynolds, who turns 28 later this month, has between three and four years of big league service. He’s under contract for $6.75MM next season in what would’ve been his second year of arbitration. In the absence of a long-term deal, he’ll go through the arbitration process twice more before hitting free agency over the 2025-26 offseason.
    Six players in that service bucket have signed extensions topping $70MM, with Sean Murphy joining that club last week. Just two players in the 3-4 year service class have reached $120MM, with Freddie Freeman holding the record on his $135MM deal with the Braves from the 2013-14 offseason. Freeman was nearly four years younger at the time of his deal than Reynolds is now and coming off a .319/.396/.501 showing in 2013 that rivals Reynolds’ career-best season from 2021.
    Given the age discrepancy, one could certainly argue Freeman was a better long-term bet than Reynolds would be, although it’d also wouldn’t be surprising if the latter’s camp wanted to approach or beat that precedent. After all, the Freeman extension is now nearly nine years old. Matt Olson landed an eight-year, $168MM extension with the Braves going into his age-28 season last year. Olson was a year closer to free agency and coming off a .271/.371/.540 showing that topped Reynolds’ .262/.345/.461 mark from 2022. Reynolds seems unlikely to reach the heights Olson secured for those reasons, but that more recent deal leads credence to the idea the Pittsburgh outfielder had a case to easily beat nine figures.
    That seems mostly theoretical so long as Reynolds remains a Pirate. There’s no indication the sides plan to reengage on a potential long-term deal after talks collapsed. However, it’s at least possible another club swings a trade for the center fielder and subsequently looks to reopen extension discussions.
    Pittsburgh has maintained they don’t plan to move off a very lofty asking price in trade talks, Reynolds’ request notwithstanding. The Vanderbilt product has no recourse to force a trade. Jon Morosi of MLB.com suggested late last month Pittsburgh was targeting a high-end pitching prospect at the center of potential trade packages. It’s hard to imagine they’d rigidly require a deal being built around a young arm, although that at least serves as the latest reaffirmation GM Ben Cherington and his front office continue to aim high.
    Nevertheless, Mackey suggests there’s a good chance the Bucs pull the trigger on a Reynolds trade at some point in 2023. Pittsburgh is still amidst a rebuild, and Reynolds is their most appealing trade candidate. They’re not under much financial pressure to make a move, although there’s certainly a case for the club to seriously entertain offers both this offseason and at next summer’s deadline — particularly now that hopes of an extension seem to have evaporated. Assuming he has another productive season, Reynolds would still have ample trade value by next offseason, although it’s unlikely Pittsburgh will find much stronger interest than there’ll be over the coming months considering his window of club control will only shrink.
    Last edited by EmpireMaker; 01-04-23 at 03:14 AM.

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    EmpireMaker
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    The Nationals and first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith are in agreement on a one-year deal, pending a physical. He will make a $2MM salary with a further $2MM available in performance bonuses. Smith is a client of Roc Nation Sports.
    Smith, 28 in June, is a former first round pick, having been selected by the Mets 11th overall in 2013. He went on to earn high praise from prospect evaluators, with Baseball America ranking him one of the top 100 prospects in the game in 2014, 2016 and 2017. He struggled in his first tastes of the majors in 2017 and 2018 but seemed to finally click in 2019. He hit 11 home runs in 89 games and produced a batting line of .282/.355/.525. That production was 34 percent better than league average, as evidenced by his 134 wRC+.
    The problem was that 2019 was also the rookie breakout of Pete Alonso, who launched 53 home runs and cemented himself as the first baseman in Queens. That forced Smith to move off first and spend more time in left field, where he’s been ranked as a poor defender. He continued hitting in the shortened 2020 season though, launching 10 home runs in just 50 games and finishing with a line of .316/.377/.616, wRC+ of 166.
    The past couple of campaigns have been a struggle, as he played through a partially torn labrum in 2021 and saw his batting line fall to .244/.304/.363 and a wRC+ of 86. In 2022, he struggled at the start of the season while battling J.D. Davis for playing time and was optioned to Triple-A for a time. He finished the year with a batting line of .194/.276/.384 in the majors for a 67 wRC+, but a .284/.367/.472 in the minors for a 122 wRC+.
    Smith still could have been retained via arbitration for another couple of seasons, with MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projecting him for an arbitration salary of $4MM in 2023. Instead, the Mets decided it was time to move on and non-tendered him. Smith will now join the Nats at a slightly lower guarantee but still could get to that $4MM figure via the incentives. If he has a successful campaign, the Nats can retain him for 2024 via arbitration, or use the extra year as a selling point in shopping Smith at the deadline.
    Perhaps more importantly, Smith has a chance to get a regular job as a first baseman for the first time in years, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today reporting that’s where Smith will be playing. The rebuilding Nationals had Josh Bell at first for 2021 and the first half of 2022, but he went to the Padres in the Juan Soto trade and is now a free agent. The Nats got Luke Voit back in that deal but non-tendered him at season’s end. After Bell’s departure, 30-year-old rookie Joey Meneses got an extended look and mashed 13 home runs in 56 games. He will likely get plenty more at-bats in 2023 but he can also play the outfield corners, or he and Smith could share first base and the designated hitter slot. Jeimer Candelario could be in the mix as well, though he and Carter Kieboom will be jockeying for the third base job.
    Since being non-tendered by the Mets, Smith has also garnered interest from the Rays, Royals, Cubs and Padres. If those clubs are still looking to bolster their first base depth charts in the coming weeks, some of the remaining free agents include Voit, Trey Mancini, Eric Hosmer and Brandon Belt.

  18. #18
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by batt33 View Post
    Mets free agency and trade buzz: Carlos Correa deal expected to be ‘dramatically different’ It will be interesting to see the final contract.
    The Mets must want protection in case this injury flares up and probably less money as well.

  19. #19
    JMobile
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    Cubbies sign Eric Hosmer

  20. #20
    jrgum3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAKEPEAVY21 View Post
    The Mets must want protection in case this injury flares up and probably less money as well.
    Can't blame them this thing has turned into a mess and he is probably going to have to settle for considerably less money.

  21. #21
    Otters27
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMobile View Post
    Cubbies sign Eric Hosmer
    Feel like he's close to retirement. Maybe just past his prime

  22. #22
    Cross
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    Any reason to get excited about Hosmer, Mr Peavy??

  23. #23
    EmpireMaker
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    Joey Votto had a frustrating 2022 season ended prematurely by a rotator cuff tear in his left shoulder that required surgery in August. The Reds expressed optimism at the time of the procedure their longtime first baseman would be ready to go by Spring Training, though Votto’s still amidst his rehab.
    It’s going to take time, I’m realizing now,” Votto told 700 WLW in Cincinnati this afternoon (Twitter link). “I’m hitting off an arm and I just started hitting off a machine a little bit, but it’s not quite there. I’ve been told by people that I’m doing very well in my rehab, but there is a difference between doing well and being ready for a Major League game if that makes sense.
    Asked whether he felt he’d be ready by the start of Spring Training, the former MVP demurred. “I’d say I’m not willing to make that prediction just because I don’t know. I’ve never experienced anything like this. I try to manage my expectations, of course. I don’t know. I’m hopeful; I’m always hopeful.”
    Votto expressed confidence he’d eventually get back to 100%, but he’s clearly not yet at that level. That’s not really a worrisome development at this stage. Cincinnati’s initial prognosis came with a roughly six-month recovery timetable, and Votto’s only within his fifth month. It still seems possible he’ll be ready at or near the open of exhibition play. Even if he does wind up heading into Spring Training a week or two behind schedule, getting into game shape by Opening Day should be attainable.
    Needless to say, getting back to full strength will be a key starting point in what the six-time All-Star hopes is a bounceback campaign. Votto hit just .205/.319/.370 through 376 plate appearances last year. That production was eight percentage points below league average, by measure of wRC+. That’s the lowest mark of his career and only the second below-average offensive showing he’d ever had. Votto candidly admitted to 700 WLW he “didn’t play well enough to even justify a starting job,” though there’s little question the Reds will give him another shot to get back on track.
    It’ll be the 17th season in Cincinnati for the career-long Red. It’s certainly possible the 2023 campaign will be his final one with the club, as he’s headed into the last guaranteed season of the $225MM extension he inked back in 2012. Votto will make $25MM next season and is due at least a $7MM buyout on a 2024 club option valued at $20MM. It’s difficult to envision Cincinnati triggering that option unless Votto turns in an excellent season, so he seems headed towards free agency a winter from now.

  24. #24
    jrgum3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cross View Post
    Any reason to get excited about Hosmer, Mr Peavy??
    Hosmer is a veteran leader in the clubhouse but as for on the field performance he's not much at this point in his career.

  25. #25
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cross View Post
    Any reason to get excited about Hosmer, Mr Peavy??
    He is a good in the clubhouse, that's about it.

  26. #26
    Otters27
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    Do any current MLB pitcher throw under 90?

  27. #27
    JMobile
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    Padres and other teams interested in Johnny Cueto

  28. #28
    cincinnatikid513
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otters27 View Post
    Do any current MLB pitcher throw under 90?
    that guy for cubs if he's still playing hendrick

  29. #29
    batt33
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    The Carlos Correa saga continues.
    Two weeks after talks between Correa and the New York Mets stalled due to a previous lower leg injury that the Giants brought to light, it appears the 28-year-old might be looking at other options.
    The New York Post's Jon Heyman reported Thursday night, citing sources, that Correa's camp has "renewed contact" with at least one team vying for the star shortstop's services after Correa and the Mets have had "limited discussions" over the last few weeks.

  30. #30
    cincinnatikid513
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    Carlos Correa is still not a New York Me

  31. #31
    EmpireMaker
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    It’s been a rough few years for the Diamondbacks. After making the playoffs in 2017 and then posting respectable records above .500 in the two following seasons, the last three campaigns have seen their fortunes sink. They finished last in the National League West in 2020 and 2021, then surpassed the Rockies last year for a fourth place finish. During that time, the Dodgers, Giants and Padres have all had strong seasons, making the efforts of the D-Backs feel particularly hopeless. In 2021, they finished 52-110 and 55 games out in the division.
    2022 was a step in the right direction, though, and there are some exciting ingredients in place. The position player mix seems to have a lot of good momentum behind it. Even after dealing Daulton Varsho to the Blue Jays, the outfield should feature a crop of exciting youngsters, headlined by Corbin Carroll but with Alek Thomas and Jake McCarthy also in the mix. On the infield, Ketel Marte is capable of MVP-level production when healthy and at his best. Christian Walker is underrated at first base while shortstop Jordan Lawlar and catcher Gabriel Moreno are considered some of the best prospects in the league.
    However, the pitching staff is a bit more precarious at the moment. In 2022, the position players posted a cumulative tally of 19.8 wins above replacement, according to FanGraphs, good enough for 15th place in the majors. But the pitchers posted a total of 7.7 fWAR, ranking them 27th. If the team is to re-emerge and start contending again, they will need to get better results from the mound. There were some potentially encouraging developments in their rotation in 2022, but still some uncertainty going forward into 2023.
    It’s possible that the club will make further additions via free agency but it’s also possible that they’re done. The club’s payroll is now at $113MM, per the calculations of Roster Resource. They’ve been as high as $132MM in the past, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, but they were at just $91MM last year. That means they’ve already boosted the budget by more than $20MM. For now, let’s take a look at the in-house options, starting with the four veterans.
    Zac Gallen
    Gallen, 27, seemed to emerge as an ace in 2019 and 2020, making 27 starts with a 2.78 ERA. He had a swoon in 2021, dealing with various injuries and his ERA jumped to 4.30, but he was back in form last year. In 2022, he made 31 starts and logged 184 innings with a 2.54 ERA, 26.9% strikeout rate, 6.6% walk rate and 46% ground ball rate. He finished fifth in the voting for the National League Cy Young award and can be controlled via arbitration for three more seasons.
    Merrill Kelly
    Kelly, 34, parlayed a strong run in the KBO into a two-year deal with the Diamondbacks prior to the 2019 season. That deal also came with a pair of club options. Kelly pitched well enough that they triggered both options and then gave him an extension that runs through 2024 with a club option for 2025. Through four seasons with Arizona so far, he has a 3.96 ERA, 20.8% strikeout rate, 6.9% walk rate and 43% ground ball rate. He’s certainly a notch below Gallen, but he’s a solid mid-rotation option for the club.
    Madison Bumgarner
    After spending over a decade with the Giants, Bumgarner came to the D-Backs prior to the 2020 season on a five-year, $85MM deal. Unfortunately, his results immediately took a nosedive after the uniform switch. He had a 3.13 career ERA in his time with the Giants but has posted a 4.98 mark in his three seasons as a Snake. His walk rate is still better than average but his strikeouts have vanished. He punched out 23.9% of opponents on his previous team but it’s been just a 17.7% rate for Arizona. Now 33 years old, it’s hard to expect a sudden bounceback, though the Diamondbacks might give him a chance to try since he still has two years and $37MM left on his deal. That gives him negative trade value at this point and it would be a lot of cash to eat for a Diamondbacks team that’s never been a top spender. However, his salary goes from $23MM this year to $14MM in 2024, which could make some kind of transaction more plausible if he can find better results in 2023.
    Zach Davies
    Davies, 30 in February, pitched for the D-Backs in 2022. He didn’t blow anyone away but he was passable enough. He made 27 starts with a 4.09 ERA. His 17.9% strikeout rate was a few ticks below average but his 9.1% walk rate and 42.9% ground ball rate were both right around league average. He used his five-pitch mix to keep hitters from doing damage, as his hard hit rate was in the 76th percentile among qualified pitchers and his average exit velocity was in the 75th. The club agreed to a new one-year deal with him yesterday, bringing him back to hopefully provide some steady production while they evaluate their younger pitchers.
    Ryne Nelson
    If those four pitchers are healthy and throwing well, there will be one spot remaining for a younger pitcher. Nelson will certainly be in that mix to secure the final job. He was selected by Arizona in the second round of the 2019 draft and has been considered one of the club’s better prospects since then. He even cracked Baseball America’s top 100 list of all prospects in the league going into 2022. Last year saw him spend most of his time with the Triple-A Reno Aces, who play in the Pacific Coast League. He made 26 starts for that club with a 5.43 ERA in what is a notoriously hitter-friendly environment. His 21.6% strikeout rate and 7.9% walk rate were solid enough for him to get a major league debut in September. He made three starts in the big leagues with a 1.47 ERA, striking out 23.2% of batters faced while walking 8.7% of them. That’s a very small sample size but an encouraging one nonetheless. He’ll turn 25 in February and still has a full slate of options. He could certainly be sent back to Triple-A but an extended audition at the big leagues could be warranted as well.
    Drey Jameson
    Jameson and Nelson have a very similar trajectory to this point. Jameson was also selected in the 2019 draft, just ahead of Nelson by being selected between the first and second rounds, with the pick the club received for AJ Pollock signing with the Dodgers. Jameson began 2022 in Double-A but posted a 2.41 ERA in four starts and got quickly moved up to Triple-A. With the Aces, he posted a 6.95 ERA in 114 innings in that pitcher-hostile environment. However, his rate stats were decent, striking out 21.2% of hitters, walking 8.2% of them and getting grounders on 48.6% of balls in play. He also got called up to the big leagues in September, just like Nelson, making four starts with a 1.48 ERA, 24.5% strikeout rate, 7.1% walk rate and 56.1% ground ball rate. Just like Nelson, he’ll be 25 years old this season and has a full slate of options. The two seem likely to be battling each other for the final rotation spot with one likely to be optioned, but they could also both be in the mix as soon as an injury pops up.
    Tommy Henry
    Just like Nelson and Jameson, Henry was also nabbed in the 2019 draft. He was selected in competitive balance round B, between the second and third rounds. He posted stronger Triple-A results than the other two last year, with a 3.74 ERA over 21 starts. However, his first taste of the big leagues didn’t go as smooth as he made nine starts with a 5.36 ERA, striking out just 17.6% of hitters while walking 10.2% of them. He’s also 25 and provides a third competitor in the battle for the last rotation job, but it’s possible he’s a bit behind Nelson and Jameson based on his weaker debut. He still has a full slate of options and could be in line for more work in the minors, ready to make the jump again when needed and ready.
    Brandon Pfaadt
    Pfaadt, 24, began 2022 in Double-A, making 19 starts and logging 105 1/3 innings there. His 4.53 ERA might not look special, but he posted that number despite striking out 32.2% of batters faced and walking just 4.3% of them. A .370 batting average on balls in play surely inflated that ERA to a level higher than he deserved, though 17.9% of his fly balls turning into home runs may have contributed as well. The D-Backs seemed to be willing to look past that ERA, bumping him to Triple-A in August. Pfaadt took very well to the move, despite the strong offensive environment. He tossed 61 2/3 innings over 10 starts for the Aces with a 2.63 ERA, 30.6% strikeout rate and 5.8% walk rate. Based on that strong finish, he has surged up prospect rankings. He currently has the #83 slot at Baseball America, is #90 at MLB Pipeline, but FanGraphs is especially bullish and considers him the 25th best prospect in the league. He’s not yet on the club’s 40-man roster since he was only drafted in 2020 and isn’t Rule 5 eligible until this coming December, but he seems destined to make a big league debut well before then.
    ____________________
    When combined, there are some strong elements here for the D-Backs. Gallen gives them an ace and Kelly a solid piece for the middle of the rotation. Davies isn’t terribly exciting but is fine as a backend piece. Bumgarner’s contract is underwater at this point, but he could also be a solid backend guy if he puts the past three years behind him. Those four combined don’t give the club an especially strong rotation, but the four guys behind them give the overall group plenty of upside. If one or two of the young guys have a breakout in 2023, then the rotation picture starts to look much better.
    The position player core in Arizona is heavily future-focused, with Carroll, Thomas, Marte, Moreno, Lawlar and others starting to develop into a strong core that could allow the club to continually improve over the coming seasons. With the rotation, the path forward could be very similar. Prospects aren’t sure things, especially when it comes to pitchers, but the Diamondbacks need to hit on young players if they’re not going to spend like the Dodgers, Padres and Giants. For now, there are signs of hope in the desert and the upcoming season will be a fascinating one to watch.

  32. #32
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cincinnatikid513 View Post
    Carlos Correa is still not a New York Me
    Now they are talking to one or 2 other teams according to reports

  33. #33
    cincinnatikid513
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAKEPEAVY21 View Post
    Now they are talking to one or 2 other teams according to reports
    never seen reports of a guy signing with one team then it fall thru signing with another team looks like not going to happen, this guy lucky if he gets a 1 year deal at this point

  34. #34
    jrgum3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cincinnatikid513 View Post
    never seen reports of a guy signing with one team then it fall thru signing with another team looks like not going to happen, this guy lucky if he gets a 1 year deal at this point
    Yeah this whole thing is crazy. He just may be damaged goods so he's lucky if he gets anything at this point.

  35. #35
    Otters27
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    Quote Originally Posted by cincinnatikid513 View Post
    that guy for cubs if he's still playing hendrick
    Ya. He's a out the only one I can think of. I remember watching Kenny Rogers throw 85 for the rangers

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