About a week after my surgery, around three weeks into December, my Gastroenterologist, Dr. Morton, asked me what I thought about the Athletics signing of shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima?
Needless to say, for about a week before I had to go into the hospital, till about a week ago—roughly a five week span—I have not looked at the transactions at all.
Meaning I did not know that Mark Reynolds was with the Tribe, or that B.J. Upton was a Brave, let alone that Nakajima had signed with Oakland, while Drew signed a chunky contract to play short with the Red Sox.
Worse, suddenly I have had a spate of mock drafts, not to mention the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) gig from last Monday where my mate Todd drafted in person (with me on GChat discussing every move and you can see our squad and comments here).
Needless to say the first thing I did was look up Nakajima and report back to the Doc, noting that his numbers looked good, and I respect Billy Beane a ton, but I had really not seen a Japanese infielder be able really apply his skills in the American baseball theatre.
More exciting, in the last couple of days a couple of fantasy faves of mine were involved in deals that I liked, so I thought I would take this opportunity to look as some of the moves this off-season. (Note that I usually do this for my January Hotpage column which did not happen, but fortunately our Don Drooker made a terrific analysis at his Rotisserie Duck covering the bases.)
Nick Swisher (Indians, $56 million, four years): I have to confess that I am a long-term Swisher fan, and at 31-years old, with a 162 game mean of .256-28-90 with 34 doubles and a .361 OBP over nine years. I must admit that I am not too sure exactly how the Tribe will pan out this year, I do like the outfield of Drew Stubbs, Michael Brantley, and Swisher. In fact on paper, their team has both up-and-comers (Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall) and some questionable vets (Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson) with a new manager (Terry Francona) who might be able to do something with this group. I like this move.
Shane Victorino (Red Sox, $39 million, three years): OK, I am confused. The Red Sox dump Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett, and sign Victorino, Mike Napoli, and Stephen Drew to make up the difference? I swear, I wish I understood, but I don’t, and as much as I have always been a Victorino fan and have even had Napoli on some winning fantasy teams (I thought Drew would sign with Oakland, and be a good signing at that) but I simply don’t see much of an improvement. These moves have all simply been dumb, in my view.
Marco Scutaro (Giants, $20 million, three years): Scutaro was awesome for the Giants in the stretch, and he did not even cost that much when you think about it. No question Scutaro has continued to improve, and signing a 37-year old to a three-year deal at this juncture seems puzzling. I have to think Scutaro will be a stop gap this season as Joe Panik moves to Double-A, then moves slowly into a utility role as the former first rounder takes hold of the keystone spot.
Shaun Marcum (Mets, $4 million, 1 year): A steal. Of course Marcum does have to stay healthy—and if he does, it could be worth up to $2 million to the right hander—but he has great stuff and great numbers, and with Matt Harvey could be a bright light. Of course, with the rest of the Mets rotation still visiting the M*A*S*H unit I am not too optimistic, but in the context of a lot of other pitchers going for the $13 million baseline that Drook noted in his piece, this deal is maybe the deal of the Hot Stove.
Justin Upton (Traded to the Braves in a 7-player deal): I am not sure why the Diamondbacks were so anxious to dump a 25-year still a couple of years from his prime, but now joining his brother, B.J. and Jason Heyward in the Atlanta outfield gives the Braves the mojo of having the best outfield in the National League going into 2013. It did cost Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, and prospects Nick Ahmed, Zeke Spruill, and Brandon Drury, but in the context of things, that was pretty cheap. For the Braves got Chris Johnson to ideally fill third base, meaning the Braves look fairly solid going into 2013. I am not so sure about the Diamondbacks, however.