Inevitable MLB moves finally happen

After a lengthy delay, the Twins add a pitcher and the Padres land Eric Hosmer

Most position players have already crashed the pitchers and catchers party, which makes Jose Abreu’s two-day-early arrival to Camelback Ranch seem late.

Officially, though, there’s still one more day to go before spring training begins in earnest, which might be why two long-awaited moves finally came to fruition late Saturday night.

The Twins finally acquired a starting pitcher

Grant Brisbee noted that Cleveland’s signing of Yonder Alonso was the biggest move by any AL Central team, and what’s more, there isn’t even a close second.

The Twins didn’t topple that by trading high-A shortstop Jermaine Polacios to Tampa Bay for Jake Odorizzi, but they probably made the podium. The Twins needed a starting pitcher with Ervin Santana‘s finger injury costing him the first couple months, and Anibal Sanchez doesn’t count.

Odorizzi does, although maybe not as much as he once did. He was a replacement-level starter in 2017, as he set a career high with 30 homers surrendered and 61 walks allowed while throwing a career-low 143⅓ innings. It’s hard to say he outpitched his 5.43 FIP, because his 4.14 ERA includes 14 unearned runs.

He missed time with a back strain, so maybe there’s a rebound. He’s probably worth a gamble if the price is Palacios and nothing else, especially if the Twins know Odorizzi:

https://twitter.com/ParkerHageman/status/965060958791102465

He’s a definite step down from Yu Darvish, and not nearly the kind of move the Twins have reason and resources to pull off, but at least it’s improvement.

That’s more than can be said about the Rays, who randomly designated Corey Dickerson for assignment around the time the trade was broken. It wasn’t to accommodate the move, but instead prompt another one. He’ll probably get some interest as a guy who made the All-Star Game with a hot first half (.909 OPS), but the poor second half (.690 OPS, 28 percent strikeout rate) and a DH’s outfield defense might make him less appealing after giving it some thought.

He might be worth a shot since he’s only being paid $5.95 million in his second arbitration year, either by the White Sox or another team, although the Sox don’t exactly need another guy with a massive strikeout-to-walk disparity. The Rays are going to try to replace his production with C.J. Cron while saving $3.5 million, which is pretty depressing.

(They did re-sign Sergio Romo.)

The Rays have so many peers in dormancy that it’s refreshing to see a team make an effort to improve, even if it’s hard to figure out. Case in point:

The Padres finally signed Eric Hosmer

San Diego was pitched as Hosmer’s most likely landing spot for the entire winter, even though the Padres already have a perfectly fine first baseman under a long-term contract in Wil Myers. The bigger question seemed to be how much the Padres could lower Hosmer’s asking price with only the financially limited Royals challenging.

The result: Eight years, $144 million. That sounds like a lot and it is, but the Padres gained some ground in negotiations by front-loading the deal:

Another way to look at it:

If 2017 represents a new level of performance for Hosmer — at least for a couple more years — the Padres have a shot at getting fair value. The drop in pay after the opt-out is San Diego’s best attempt to limit the deal to five years and $100 million. Opt-outs always favor the player, and I wouldn’t count on Hosmer getting better than three years and $40 million as a 33-year-old first baseman, but one can see how that might be possible.

This contract might be another example of the Padres’ impetuous ownership, but at least they’re trying to make themselves more interesting. And hey, signing and bailing on James Shields worked out pretty well for Ron Fowler.

Conversely, with Hosmer heading to the West Coast, this seems to firmly plant the Royals in tear-it-down territory.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

Articles: 3793
48 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SouthPawJackson

Do you think the Sox put in a claim for Dickerson and should they?

Josh Nelson

Yes.

Will they? No.

jorgefabregas

He hasn’t been waived. He’s just been DFAed. They have seven days to trade him before waiving him. http://m.mlb.com/glossary/transactions/designate-for-assignment

I’d be surprised if they didn’t work out a trade.

jorgefabregas

In other words, no one can put a claim on him until Tampa actually waives him, which hasn’t happened yet and probably won’t happen.

pelfdogmillionaire

Royals have 4 picks in the first 40 next year. I swear if they make the playoffs before the Sox I will complain about it on the internet. 

Josh Nelson

Same.

Patrick Nolan

you wouldn’t dare

AirTrafficAJ

I will go one step farther and complain IRL as well.  No stone unturned.

Patrick Nolan

you’re all talk, man. if the royals make the playoffs before the sox, you will sit in silence because i don’t think you’ve got the balls to voice displeasure about it.

AirTrafficAJ

My youtube channel will be armed and ready.

L2R

Why don’t they have a lottery to pick for the last 8 teams for the draft. At least a race to the bottom 25% might encourage some teams to pick up some players. We could use a couple of 1 year guys to pick up 3rd and center so long as they have good atitudes to help build a good atmosphere in the clubhouse.

dwjm3

Some big contracts be given out by teams in small markets….The Hosmer contract is the largest ever given out by the Padres…I hope ole Jerry is getting his wallet ready when it comes time to contend.

StockroomSnail

Nah, he’s planning on being buried with it and the players union.

Actually, I dunno, I just wanted to make a joke.

Patrick Nolan

If Hosmer can get that kind of deal, that’s the last I think we should hear of collusion.

Otter

Why?

Patrick Nolan

Because he just got significantly overpaid by a team on which he doesn’t fit, both in terms of position and long-term strategy.

If MLB teams are colluding to keep salaries down, no one included the Padres.

Otter

He’s being paid like roughly 15 win player over the next 8 years; how is this an over pay?

fWAR, which hates Hosmer’s glove, says he’s been worth 7.5 wins the last three years; rWAR isn’t as hard on the glove and says he’s been worth 10 wins.

I know this is unpopular, but I’d expect Hosmer to be worth 15 wins over the course of this contract. He’s probably more likely to out preform it than under preform due in part to his age and the decline in salary in age seasons 33-35.

If you want to say that Hosmer is overrated, I agree. Most of the guys on the Royals are/were. But he isn’t bad at baseball. He’s getting (slightly) less AAV than the fangraphs crowd sourcing projected (and Cameron ironically). And as we’ve seen with Darvish and Cain, he’s getting more years than anyone expected.

As for fit… Myers moving to left makes sense, he should be able to cut it there. The Padres are still a ways away as it is. So now the Padres wait until 2021 or 2022 when all there prospects start being called up. Hosmer makes a lot more sense than Cain, Arrieta, etc. because of his age.

Anyway, what we’ve seen in previous seasons is teams usually overpaying FAs. This winter hasn’t been as obvious as 1986 or 1987; but somewhat in line with what happened in the early 2000s.

Patrick Nolan

1) I think it’s a stretch to say he’s only being paid for 15 wins. That’s a high implicit $/WAR 

2) I think 15 wins is comfortably north of the 50th percentile for what he’ll produce

3) You left out the thoroughly unnecessary player option piece, which diminishes whatever over-performance upside exists in this deal.

4) The Padres aren’t close to competing, so they’re paying for Hosmer to be good a few years down the road with little assurance he will be (I’d say chances are decent he can’t hack it as a regular by the time the player option kicks in)

5) The Padres are pushing Wil Myers back to the outfield, who was pushed out of the outfield initially because he is bad at the outfield.

Nothing about this deal is good. Not the risk, not the dollar cost, not the fit, not the strategic vision, nothing. If I were grading this move, I’d slap an ‘F’ on it and I wouldn’t even flinch.

Otter

I don’t think you’re being all that objective with Hosmer. He’s not a MVP candidate, but he has three 3+ WAR seasons over the last five seasons. Ah, but those other two seasons, yeah, he was bad (especially in 2014). So let’s split the difference and say he’s a 2 win player; well that’s $18m annually right now. They’ll be paying him $25m this year and then $20m over the next four years. Assuming the $/win increases in the coming years, I doubt this deal is a dead weight.

Myers should be able to handle left. He was fine in right, it’s center that was the disaster.

I’d give a C. Hosmer is fine, if unexciting. His lack of consistency is a worry, but if he’s just a two win player annually for the next five years, this deal is a wash. If last year was closer to what he’ll be the next three seasons, this deal will look good; and they can even move him if they see fit before the option triggers.

As for the close to competing stuff… they have to field a team and having a few players in place prior to when you’ll compete isn’t the end of the world (Nats and Cubs made similar signings though they were probably a year (or two in the Cubs case) closer to competing). The key isn’t to go over board on below average players with limited upside (hi 2014 Rick Hahn).

Otter

And re: “close to competing” argument. Us Sox fans have to have a conversation about this sooner rather than later. The odds that Machado or Harper end up on the South Side are incredibly small. Donaldson will be 33 and probably looking at a five or six year deal. Maybe the Sox have ideas like moving Dozier to third. I’m pretty sure Adam Jones isn’t someone the Sox should be going after. McCutchen… if he plays well I’d expect the Giants to do whatever necessary to keep him in the Bay area.

So what exactly in the plan if/when the Sox don’t bring in a big name next year? Are we going to be sitting here saying, “we shoulda signed Moustakas when we had the chance!”

Patrick Nolan

A 2-win player is $18M annually right now?

Todd Frazier, a 3-win player, just had to accept 2/$17M

Lorenzo Cain, a 4-ish win player (albeit a notably older one), just accepted $16M AAV.

Even disregarding the fact that your $/WAR math is flawed, why in the world would a team need to feel the need to guarantee 8 years for an average 28-year-old at the bottom of the defensive spectrum who’s already peaked? It’s not the pure worst move we’ve ever seen, but it is most certainly a horrible one.

Otter

We’re getting away from the original point, that some how the Hosmer contract proves there isn’t collusion taking place. (I don’t really feel like defending Eric Hosmer who is a nice player but that’s about it; I don’t think it’s a “bad” deal, the Padres signing him is a little weird, but they can do whatever they like). Considering Hosmer’s age, I don’t think it does (necessarily).

Best I can tell the Yelich trade ~$9m per win this season (though there is a case where the Marlins either valued Diaz more highly or they sold a tad low on Yelich). Which brings us back to free agency. Let’s make this easy on the $/win side; $9m in 2018 and increasing by $1m each year thereafter. Let’s say Cain is a straight decline, year over year, but worth 4 wins in year one (then 3, 2, 1, 0). That’s 10 wins over five years, about $100m. We’ll value Hosmer at 2 wins a year over five years (I’m not trying to be ironic considering how inconsistent Hosmer has been), that’s about $110m in value. In both cases here, the player is being underpaid compared to his actual value.

People who keep track and analyze this better than myself will have better analysis in the summer. I think it’s safe to say right now that we aren’t at $11m/win this winter (https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-recent-history-of-free-agent-pricing/). Thus it still seems to me that something weird is going on, even after the Hosmer contract.

Patrick Nolan

Your model for the expected increase in $/win doesn’t make sense; it’s far too aggressive and not sustainable. The market has just corrected itself this year, is all. 10 wins over five years is simply not worth $100 million.

The issue is that market alternatives (i.e. pre-arb & arb-eligible players) put a soft ceiling on how much teams should really be willing to pay for wins under the current system.

Otter

That might be true if teams were making less money today than two years ago. That’s not the case, they’re making more. Less revenue is going to the players today than five years ago.

Patrick Nolan

That’s a failure of the current compensation system / CBA, not a sign of 30 owners huddling in a Google Hangout setting limits on what a team is allowed to offer Mike Moustakas.

Rex Fermier

OK, so what will the Padres do with Wil Myers!

jorgefabregas

Left field

Gus

“Wil Myers play the outfield?” is what you meant to say there.

Patrick Nolan

Apparently Covey was outrighted. The way they’ve managed the 40-man this offseason still boggles my mind.

sausalito pale hose

Sox would have been better off protecting the other Burdi instead of Covey

I thought they never had the other Burdi because he was taken in the Rule 5 before getting to them.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Why get hung up on such minor details? It’s this loser mentality that has held this team back for years. Now, if Hahn knew what he was doing he would have protected Ohtani.

asinwreck

If Hahn knew what he was doing, he would have protected Mike Trout.

pelfdogmillionaire

They never had the other Burdi he was chosen before their rule 5 selection. 

StockroomSnail

Covey should be catapulted further away.

seven11

Someone is up to something!

lil jimmy

They might just be making room on the 40 man for players coming north who are not on it now. Bullpen types.

Patrick Nolan

Think that maybe they just thought it was a good time to slip Covey through waivers.

I guess it just didn’t make news when the Sox DFA’d him.

yinkadoubledare

Apparently it was in fact a good time to do so, since he did so

Patrick Nolan

Yup

tony962

Sox mystery team bidding on Moustakas? 

Trooper Galactus

Highly doubtful.

Otter

He is the only FA that makes any sense for the Sox; but I’d rather wait another season before looking at third base.

That said, if he’d sign a three/four year deal, sure why not. But every FA has signed for more years than I think most assumed, so it’s highly doubtful.

Rex Fermier

QUESTION from left field:
So the Padres are on the hook for $144 million. How does a major league team protect themselves in case Hosmer gets a career ending injury in, say, year one, for example? Do they buy some sort of insurance policy to protect themselves in case that happens or are they just screwed?

MadManx

Correct. They take out insurance policies. Usually they are structured to payback 50% of salary after a certain missed game threshold is hit

Right Size Wrong Shape

Although if he gets hurt playing for the Padres they will just falsify the medicals and trade him to some unsuspecting sucker for prospects.

winningugly

That is one horse-faced motherfucker. And pnoles, it doesn’t “prove” there is no collusion. Seems to be a dearth of competition for these players. JD Martinez had “2” suitors, Hosmer one, Darvish maybe the most but not as many as years past. And JD signed for 2% higher than originally offered with Borat as his agent? Seems interestingly quiet.

Patrick Nolan

did someone forget to include the padres and red sox on the collusion or….