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Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Small outfield movesPosted by Satchel Price at 10:34am
Considering that there hasn't been much big news in the hot stove world lately, with the exception of the big Aaron Miles-Willy Taveras swap of course, I thought that it would be a good time to review some of the smaller deals that haven't been touched on yet. Specifically, I'm looking at the smaller outfield signings that have happened over the past few days. Let's dive in:
Randy Winn to the Yankees
Of all of the guys I'm going to talk about, Winn may have the best odds of being a legitimate fantasy option next season. He's coming off of a rough offensive season in San Francisco (82 wRC+), but he managed to land a one-year, $2M deal with New York thanks to a good track record and impressive defensive numbers, he's been at least 16.5 runs above average in each of the past two seasons according to UZR. Before his poor 2009, he had posting above average offensive numbers in six of the previous seven seasons. The drop in 2009 can be explained somewhat by bad luck, as his BABIP was uncharacteristically low given his batted ball data, and his 1.4% HR/FB is far below his 7.8% career mark. He's likely to get solid playing time considering his durability and the unclear situation in left field, and there should be lots of opportunities to knock in RBIs and/or score runs considering the quality of New York's offense. If Winn gets the everyday job in New York, there's reason to believe that he could provide solid numbers across the board. The upside is relatively limited, but he could be an underrated option in deep leagues and AL-only leagues.
Jim Edmonds to the Brewers
Edmonds may not have played in 2009, but he was shockingly good with the Cubs in 2008 after he was released early in the season by San Diego, posting a .394 wOBA and knocking out 19 home runs in 298 plate appearances. He's a legitimate platoon player at this point, he posted a .441 OPS against LHP in 2008 and a .631 mark against lefties in 2007, but he continued to show his trademark power/patience combination against right-handed pitching. The Brewers' outfield is relatively set with Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Carlos Gomez and Jody Gerut as the primary four outfielders, but Gomez has proven to be a fraction of the hitter that Edmonds is thus far in his career, Hart has historically been much better against lefties than righties, and Gerut was pretty awful in 2009. If Edmonds can make the roster, he may be able to provide some pop as a late draft option in NL-only leagues, but that isn't a sure thing as he was only given a minor league deal.
Gabe Gross to the Athletics
One of the most underrated players to hit free agency this offseason, Gross didn't get much attention before signing on to presumably be the fourth outfielder in Oakland's revamped unit, which also includes offseason addition Coco Crisp. A quality defender with a good approach at the plate and solid power, his numbers have consistently been dragged down by a propensity to pop the ball up, but he's apparently improved that skill in recent seasons. He's also got a major platoon split for his career, but he's a solid bat against right-handed pitchers. He had a rough 2009, but like Winn, had a track record of solid performance beyond 2009, and there's reason to believe that he should revert back to what he was in 2006-2008, which is a solid 2.0 WAR player in a platoon. Gross's skill set doesn't fit particularly well into the fantasy game though, as he's a low contact guy (career BA of .239) and much of power is gap-to-gap. A good low key signing by Billy Beane, but given that Crisp, Ryan Sweeney and Rajai Davis seem likely to dominate the playing time, not to mention the presences of Jack Cust, Jake Fox and Travis Buck, Gross doesn't seem likely to accumulate a ton of playing time in 2010 barring some major injuries. It's not very likely that Gross is a major fantasy player in 2010.
Reed Johnson to the Dodgers
Similar to Gross, it's not particularly likely that Johnson makes a major impact fantasy-wise barring a major injury to the team's everyday outfield. Also like Gross, Johnson has a major platoon split, but his is reversed, as he's crushed lefties to the tune of an .841 OPS for his career. He likely won't take much playing time away from stars Matt Kemp, Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier, but he's a good fourth outfielder that could capably step into an everyday role if necessary. This signing was similar in nature to the Gross signing on a fantasy level: solid real life signing, unlikely to matter much in the fantasy game barring major injury.
When looking at what these guys signed for, it shows you why you shouldn't give $1.75M to Scott Podsednik, or $850K to Jason Michaels.
Satchel is a proud Cubs and White Sox fan, and if you squint really hard, it almost looks like his name is Satchel Paige. He also writes for Beyond the Box Score and can be reached for questions or comments via e-mail.
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