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Thursday, January 28, 2010
On January 22, 2010 the Cincinnati Reds made an under the radar signing of Jose Arredondo to a Major League contract. The biggest reason this signing flew under the radar, among others, is that Jose Arredondo will be missing the 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery he'll be having this month. Another likely reason this deal hasn't been well covered is due to the fact Francisco Cordero is already the closer in place in Cincinnati. All that said, the Arredondo signing is one that should be of interest depending on your league's format.
Jose Arredondo was a very useful reliever during the 2008 season for the LA Angels of Anaheim, and was being referred to by some as a closer in waiting. Arredondo's LIPS ERA for the 2008 season was 3.67 and his DIPS WHIP was 1.25, rather solid for a rookie reliever pitching in the more difficult league. Arredondo was unable to repeat his 2008 performance last year. Arredondo's LIPS ERA jumped to 4.34 and his DIPS WHIP to 1.46. The question that now arises is why the jump in his LIPS ERA and DIPS WHIP, was it due to injury, or was he simply less effective? Well according to fangraphs player page for Arredondo his average fastball velocity dropped from 93.7 MPH to 92.4 MPH, his slider velocity dropped from 85.4 MPH to 84.9 MPH, his slitter dropped from 85.2 MPH to 83.9 MPH, and his changeup velocity remained almost identical as it was 84.4 MPH in 2008 and 84.5 MPH in 2009. While none of those velocity drops are staggering, they are of note, and could help explain his regression.
Another problem, which without question hurt Arredondo was a jump in walks per nine innings (BB/9) from 3.25 in 2008 to 4.60 in 2009. His groundball ratio (GB%) also regressed from 51.2% to 44.2% which likely hurt his LIPS ERA and DIPS WHIP as well. It remains to be seen how Arredondo will recover from TJ surgery, and how long it takes him to rehab. Fantasy owners can be thankful that Arredondo is expected to (or perhaps has had, though I haven't been able to find anything) surgery in January. That means even if he takes the full twelve months to recover and rehab, he'll have a few months to display good health before most fantasy drafts.
Those fantasy gamers who play in deeper leagues, or in leagues that use holds, should keep tabs on Arredondo's rehab this season. Early next year the first things I'll be keeping tabs on are where his velocity is, what his walk rate is, and what his groundball ratio is. If Arredondo is able to keep his GB% around 51.2%, as it was in 2008, he'll have a reasonable shot at managing the perils of his homeballpark (12.3% greater rate of home runs per flyball according to David Gassko's Ball Park Factors). If he can keep the ball in the yard, he should also enjoy the fruits of the move from the AL to the NL, which in the least should help his strikeouts per nine innings (K/9). In conclusion, Jose Arredondo is a player I'll be keeping tabs on this year with the intention of scooping him up in 2011 if healthy.
Posted by Josh Shepardson at 4:03pm
After spending eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Jon Garland will suit up for his forth different team in the past two seasons, and his third National League West team in the past 12 months. After watching Garland eat innings for the Diamondbacks and Dodgers last season, the San Diego Padres signed the veteran right hander to a one-year deal worth at least $5.3 million dollars ($4.7 base + $600k buyout) with a mutual option for 2011. I'm not sure the deal improves the Padres much, but the consensus is you can pencil him for 200 innings of league average pitching which is good for at least 2.5 WAR. That makes the deal a value, but his true value to the San Diego franchise may come at the trade deadline if Jed Hoyer can flip him to a contender for a prospect or two.
Garland is pretty unspectacular as far a peripheral stats. His career K/9 is a paltry 4.72, while his career BB/9 is around three. He has battled home run issues throughout his career illustrated by a HR/9 of 1.12 that is fueled by a HR/FB of 10.7. Obviously a move to the spacious Petco Park will alleviate some of that which would make Garland slightly more attractive.
As mentioned above, his greatest asset is his ability to eat innings. Garland will give you 32-35 starts and between 190-210 innings without breaking a sweat. With the durability comes more chances to win games and he has posted double digit win totals for eight straight seasons.
A groundball pitcher, Garland is going to need some help up the middle. The Padres current trio of of middle infielders: David Eckstein, Everth Cabrera and Jerry Hairston Jr. are not exactly defensive wizards. Cabrera was rated below average in his first major league season after average metrics in the minors. Hairston Jr. has been a pretty good second basemen over the course of his career and he could steal some playing time from Eckstein, who struggled at the position last season; this would be Garland's best bet.
Overall, I would expect the Garland to remain relatively status quo. He won't help at all in terms of strikeouts, but 12 wins, 200 innings and an ERA in the 4-4.5 is likely. The home runs should subside a bit in Petco, however, there's no guarantee that San Diego will be his home at season's end.
Posted by Tommy Rancel at 4:19am
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
It's tough enough to analyze pitchers from one year to the next. Analyzing a pitcher who hasn't thrown a major league pitch in over a year is that much tougher. Yet here we are talking about new Oakland A's starter Ben Sheets. After sitting out the 2009 recovering from an elbow injury, Sheets has signed with the Oakland A's on a one-year deal that figures to pay him upwards of $10 million dollars.
The A's are taking a calculated gamble here. Any time we talk about Sheets the injury question is in play, but for now I'm going to just go off of what we know. When healthy, there is no question that he possess top of the rotation, 4-5 WAR stuff. Similar to the Matt Holliday trade of a year ago, if the A's aren't contending mid-season, I could see Billy Beane flipping Sheets to a contender for even more prospects.
Career wise, he strikes out over seven batters per nine while walking under two. He has been prone to the long ball at times, but that's what makes Oakland the perfect choice for him; especially considering the reported alternative of signing with AL West rival Texas.
A pretty neutral pitcher for the most part, Sheets has had fly-ball rates in the 40 percentile in each of his last four seasons. Add in a career HR/FB of 9.5% plus a career HR/9 of 1.01 and choosing to pitch your home games in the pitcher friendly Oakland Coliseum over the home-run haven in Arlington seems like a wise decision. Also keep in mind the spectacular A's outfield defense that employs three center fielders in Coco Crisp, Ryan Sweeney and Rajai Davis and we have an excellent pairing of abilities.
It's fitting that the Oakland mascot features an elephant because I've been ignoring the injury elephant in the room. Anyone expecting 200 innings from Sheets is being unreasonable. He has not hit the 200 innings mark since 2004 and over the last four seasons has averaged about 150 innings per. I think this is a fair bench mark for Sheets considering the A's medical staff think he's healthy enough to sign.
I don't know if Sheets can be considered a "sleeper" due to his past success, but all things considered he is likely to have a really good season (health assumed) by the bay without the draft hoopla of a Zack Greinke or Felix Hernandez. Reports out of Oakland say that Manager Bob Geren has already tapped Sheets for the A's opening day start. With a 1-2 punch of Sheets and Brett Anderson, the A's just made the interesting AL West even more intriguing.
Posted by Tommy Rancel at 6:52pm
The Cubs made what's likely to be their final major position player acquisition earlier today, reportedly coming to an agreement on a one-year deal with outfielder Xavier Nady. Nady seems likely to become Chicago's fourth outfielder and the right-handed part of a right field platoon with Kosuke Fukudome. He missed all of last season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but he posted the best numbers of his career in his last healthy season.
Nady, 31 for next season, was coming off of four consecutive seasons of above average offensive production, peaking in 2008 with a .374 weighted on-base average and a 4.0 WAR split between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees. Once a top prospect in the San Diego organization, Nady seemed to take some legitimate steps as a hitter in 2008. He emerged with good power, hitting 25 home runs and posting a .205 ISO, and he also set career high marks in walk rate and walk-to-strikeout ratio.
A big catalyst for Nady's improvement may have been a change in his approach in the plate, as he became more geared towards hitting the ball in the air beginning with the 2007 season. He hit about 45% of his batted balls on the ground during the 2005-2006 seasons, but that mark dropped closer to 39-40% in 2007-2008. This coincided with a major increase in his line drive rate, from 17.0% in 2006 to 24.6% in 2008. The change in approach would seem to help to explain the increases in Nady's BABIP and power output, as he began to get under the ball more and take advantage of his solid power.
What seems most likely to hold Nady back is health. In Chicago's outfield, which has numerous question marks, Nady would seem likely to get 400-500 at-bats necessary to be a fantasy option, especially because he's capable of filling in for Derrek Lee at first base if necessary as well. He's a guy that could be appealing, given that he's a good batting average guy with HR/RBI upside as he'd likely bat in the 5-7 range in Chicago's lineup. Although he's never been particularly durable, his only season with over 515 plate appearances was 2008, and there surely will be questions surrounding Nady's elbow for next season. But Nady appeared to take a very legitimate step forward in 2008 as a hitter, so if he's healthy going into 2009, which is obviously a big question mark, then there's reason to believe that he could be a pretty solid late-draft option for NL-only leagues.
Posted by Satchel Price at 1:27pm
Monday, January 25, 2010
Beyond the Boxscore is continuing the fantasy league it started last year. Unlike a regular league, this league uses real life player salaries to draft a team on an approximately 50 million dollar budget, and the only stat category is Fangraph's WAR.
Personally I am not a fan of leagues like this so I won't be participating, but with the kinks from last year worked out I think it will be a fun league for those who like the salary setup. As an added bonus, based off the comments, it looks like a good group of respected writers will be involved in the league. If you are interested, check it out.
Posted by Paul Singman at 10:32pm
Two years after being traded from Baltimore to Houston, Miguel Tejada returns to the Orioles on a one-year contract worth six million dollars. Baltimore is basically getting the same 2.5 WAR player they dealt away. Sure, he's aged four years in the two seasons since his departure, but the production is similar.
In his last season as Orioles' shortstop, Tejada hit .296/.357/.332 (.799 OPS). This past season with the Astros, he hit .313/.340/.455(.795 OPS); the difference in wOBA is just one point. One thing that has changed is Tejada's patience or lack there of.
Never one to take many walks to begin with, Tejada posted back to back career lows in terms of walks taken. After setting the bar low at 3.6% in 2008, Miggy walked just 2.8% of the time in 2009. Coinciding with the decrease in walks is an increase in hacks. Tejada swung at pitches outside of the zone nearly 33% of the time in the past two years, up nearly 8% over his career number.
Tejada has also lost some power since his days in Oakland. Whether that is a natural regression or something else, I'll leave that for you to decide. What we do know is Tejada went from a .200 ISO/.500 slugger to a .150 ISO/.450 hitter. Although he is a former MVP in the American League and has played in the AL East before, he is sure to miss playing his home games in Minute Maid Park. Last season he hit .343/.367/.512 at home, but just .283/.313/.395 on the road. Still, he should welcome a return to Baltimore since he has hit very well in Camden Yards, owning a slash line of .321/.370/.505 in 340 games at the ballpark.
After spending over 16,000 innings at shortstop, Tejada will be asked to slide over to third base; something he was reluctant to do during his first stint in Baltimore. He seems receptive to the move now, and defensively it's likely the right choice for him as well as the team. That said, his value at the hot corner diminishes quite a bit from shortstop, although he will have remaining eligibility at his former position.
Within his own division he is the fourth best third basemen behind Alex Rodriguez, Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre. From there he is still behind names like: Michael Young, Brandon Inge and Chone Figgins. Nonetheless, Baltimore has a good lineup, and one would figure Tejada to hit somewhere between 5-7 in the lineup. The opportunities to drive in some runs in a talented lineup in addition to holding shortstop eligibility make him worthy of a later-round flier.
Posted by Tommy Rancel at 6:00am
Sunday, January 24, 2010
If you haven't heard, the Minnesota Twins will be moving to a new stadium in 2010, an outdoor park they'll call Target Field. We don't know how wind and atmospheric effects will play yet (which can be very important), but the fences at least look like they'll be more hitter-friendly (h/t Yahoo!'s RotoArcade). The Metrodome deflates HR/FB by 8.2%, so perhaps Target will be a little closer to neutral.
It's very tough to make predictions for new parks, but I feel as though this is all important to note, nonetheless. At the very least, we should bump our expectations for Twins hitters' power up just a bit since 1) absent other information, we'll do best by assuming neutral park effects and 2) the information we have on the new stadium does nothing to make us think it'll be worse than the Metrodome.
Posted by Derek Carty at 5:21pm
Saturday, January 23, 2010
In a rare transaction that I actually like from Dayton Moore, the Royals have signed outfielder Rick Ankiel to a one-year contract worth $3 million dollars with a mutual $6 million dollar option for 2011. The move keeps Ankiel as a resident of Missouri as he trades in his St. Louis red for Kansas City blue. It's a move that further explains (or not at all) Moore's "process." Ankiel, a potential 2.5-3 WAR player will make the same salary as new teammate, Jason Kendall.
Jokes aside about him also being the second most talented pitcher on the staff, Ankiel stands a good chance to bounce back from an awful 2009 season. Since becoming a major league hitter in 2007, he has flashed above average power and been a solid defensive outfielder especially in the corners. Of course, Kansas City plans to play him in center field where he has been below average.
In 2007 and 2008 he posted ISO numbers near .250; however, that dipped all the way down to .150 this past season. He battled a variety of injuries in 2009, but if healthy, I would put him closer to those previous seasons than the latter. Also take note of his regression worthy 8.9% HR/FB which should like be nearly double that figure.
With David DeJesus, and the recently added Scott Podsednik in the mix, it seems that Ankiel will man an outfield position to be named later on most days. This pushes Jose Guillen to the designated hitter spot. Health is a concern, and you never know what the Royals are actually going to do, but I could easily see 20-25 home runs for Ankiel with some opportunties to drive in runs. Remember, it was only two years ago when Guillen drove in 97 runs while hitting .264/.300/.438 for KC. He is worth a shot in an AL only league or a deep mixed league if you're looking for some cheap power and some extra RBI.
Trade RumorsFrom MLB Trade Rumors
Mets Exploring Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy Trades
Rajai Davis Nearing Deal?
AL Central Rumors: Tigers, Indians, Royals, Twins
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Brett Gardner Rumors: Monday
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