Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Offseason Day 2: Reds and Astros Crank It Up

If anything, Day 2 exceeded the pace of a hectic Day 1, with the Astros jumping into the unwinding/rebuilding process. Here are the rest of Day 1's trades, along with most of Day 2's (I think).  The shoe that didn't drop:  Tony Moya

St. Louis gets RP prospect Vincent Lasker
Houston gets 2B/CF Ken Saunders
Analysis:  Astros get an imminently usable defensive player to help keep the team ERA down during the coming rebuild. Lasker will have to develop quite a bit more to have a ML role, but he has an outside chance at it.

Pittsburgh gets DH Enerio Amaro and SP LaTroy Owen
Anaheim gets Julio Pena (Sea 37 IFA, $16.5MM)
Analysis:  The Angels signal a rebuild by trading their best hitter and a good young pitcher for their future franchise centerpiece.  Pena projects to be a defensive monster at 2B, 3B, CF with a very good eye and plus power.  Yes, the Pirates are going to close their eyes and send Amaro out to RF.

Cincinnati gets SP Al Rosado + $5MM
Oakland gets OF Desi Vazquez and IF prospect Javy Flande
Another great pickup at a nice price for Cincy.
Analysis:  Rosado gives the Reds an accomplished lefty in their formerly all-righthanded rotation, an important component at playoff time when facing the tough lefty-dominated lineups of the Mets and Pirates.  Vazquez and Flande won't lead the A's to the promised land, but will be competent ML'ers.

Chicago Cubs get closer David Estrella and C Buck Causey
Los Angeles gets SS Marcos Profar and OF prospect Pat Ashley
Analysis:  Estrella is an enigma: he looks like he should be one of Major Leagues' top short relievers, but he's posted a 4.48 ERA in his first 3 seasons (in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium at that).  The Cubs were willing to take a chance on him; Dodgers get a much-needed defensive upgrade at SS, while Jair Cortez likely still gets 450 AB's as a 4 or 5-position super-utilityman.

Arizona gets DH Carlos Gonzalez
San Francisco gets pitching prospect Murray Hellweg
Analysis:  The D'Backs took the AL by storm last year with a pitching and defense strategy that produced a surprising 779 runs (3rd in AL).  This move suggests they think they need more punch...Gonzalez takes over at DH and Mendoza returns to OF duty.  Hellweg was last year's #22 pick - he has a long way to go but could grow into a #5 starter or long reliever.

Houston gets SP Patrick Pierce
Toronto gets SP Jim Hansen and RP Abraham Robinson
The Astros have decided to bite the bullet and get what they can for the remnants of the squad that won 4 titles in 5 years (trying to coax 1 more year of contention was probably a losing game).  So even though what they gave here were minor-leaguers, Pierce fits the profile of what they're assembling:  competent ML'ers who will keep them above the mwr on the cheap.

New York Mets get CF Dean Whitfield and IF Gabriel Sanchez (Sea 34 #15)
Philadelphia gets 3B Davey Ontiveros (Sea 34 IFA, $35MM) and SP Nestor Bautista (Sea 35 #9)
Analysis:  Fascinating deal on many levels.  First, the Mets add perhaps the best CF in Major Leagues.  Second, it's a huge upgrade for them; last year's CF's (Brian Kim and Benito Oilvo) were good defenders but pure popguns on offense.  Third, they were able to swing the deal without giving up any core players or prospects - Ontiveros was blocked at 3B by Rico Lopez (only 3 years older) and Bautista, despite being a talented pitcher who's still improving, wasn't going to crack the rotation.  Philly gets younger and adds 2 key pieces - Ontiveros likely becomes the 3B with Karl Floyd moving to CF, and Bautista and his 3 80+ pitches moves right into the rotation.

Baltimore gets RP Len Connelly
Houston gets C Juan Limon
Analysis:  Birds improve their 'pen, Stros keep adding defense.  It doesn't look like Limon will make Houston's ML roster this year, as they have 2 decent C's under contract. But the 36-yo Roberts is likely done after this year; Limon is a defensive genius and will do wonders to help keep opponents' scoring down.

Cincinnati gets RP Jaime Aldridge
Houston gets SP Bailey Ramirez (Sea 33 #64) and RP Garrett Washington (Sea 34 #111)
Analysis:  Houston continues to shed payroll and the Reds continue to pick up talent at bargain prices - in this case a pretty solid reliever (Aldridge has a career 3.73 ERA in 685 IP).   I don't think Ramirez will crack the ML roster, but Washington might, despite being a soft-toss fly-baller.

Cincinnati gets SP/LR Justin Zagone
Los Angeles gets RP Juan Carlos Torres
Salary dumper by the Dodgers.  It doesn't look like Zagone can make Cincy's rotation - maybe he makes it as a LR, or maybe they stash him in AAA as injury insurance.  Torres could see ML duty but is probably destined for AAA success.

Detroit gets SP Jim Colin
Houston gets prospects Trevor Conway (Sea 37 #19) and Matty Santana (Sea 35 IFA, $17.5MM), and SS Al Vincente
Analysis:  Detroit is feeling the pressure to keep the contention window open for the duration of the Manuel Cano era; Colin is a major improvement at the #2 slot in the rotation.  Given Colin's salary, I think the 'Stros did pretty well getting those 2 pitchers.  I'd like to see Santana get about 4-5 more points across the board in this, his 4th pro season.

Houston gets SP Les Reed
Cincinnati gets RP Troy Griffith
Analysis:  Reds and Astros strike again with a starter-for-reliever swap.  Both players are in their contract years and I'd be surprised if either have long careers from this point, but they'll both have ML roles for this season.

Arizona gets DH Philip Charles
Pittsburgh gets IF/CF Bernie Gennett
Not  quite sure why the D'Backs made this deal given their earlier pickup of Carlos Gonzalez, but Gennett didn't see much action for them last year and they have loads of defensive stoppers.  Gennett returns to the team that drafted him (2nd round, Season 33) as a late-innings defensive replacement.

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