Oh what a fun week, with a more than satisfying conclusion, though I must say I was very surprised to see Oakland swap Yoenis Cespedes, the closest thing they had to being a bona fide star on their roster.
On one hand, Cespedes, 28, has a career .318 OBP (319 strikeouts to 108 walks), something the Oakland organization would like to see higher, and he was going into his contract year worth $10.5 million this year, and next.
On the other hand, Oakland played 442 games with Cespedes on the roster since the start of 2012, and winning 255 while losing 169. But, with Cespedes in the lineup, the team is 228-131, which means when he is not in the lineup, the team is 27-38, so, even if Yoenis does not produce the numbers the team had envisioned, he might well have made those around him better hitters.
I do like Jon Lester--who had given Oakland fits anyway--in the rotation, but the question is can the runs Lester saves make the difference to what Cespedes helped produce?
To tell the truth, I am not sure. Oakland is good, but I suspect Cespedes was more important to the lineup that his meager OBP.
Cespedes was, if nothing else, a lot of fun to watch and I shall miss that. I wish him luck, too.
Of the moves Oakland made--among their many--the one that made me smile was the re-acquisition of Sam Fuld, a player the team signed as a free agent in the off-season, but then had to waive when Craig Gentry came off the DL. Fuld was picked up by the Twins, and now Oakland swapped the disgruntled Tommy Milone to get Fuld back.
It's fun to see Andy Marte, a top 40 prospect from 2006-2009, and who didn't even play in 2012, with Arizona. Now 30, Marte hit .330-13-62 for Reno before his call-up, and banged a homer since. The whole affair is kind of surreal--I carried him on my Strat-O-Matic team for three years--and I would not expect too much from him at this point. Though you never know.
Kind of the same with Jason Pridie, who is the same age as Marte, and was a #2 pick of the Rays in 2002. Pridie was hitting .275-10-43 with Colorado Springs when the Rockies summoned him. Not sure how long he will last, but it seems both players have whet our appetites for stats for so long. Baseball is a tough game.
If you doubt that, just ask Chris Denorfia, with nine years in the Majors, and a lot of injuries, and despite a pretty good bat, he never really worked himself into full-time play till last year. Since joining the Padres five seasons back, Denorfia was .275-33-154 over his 573 games in Southern California. I like him in Seattle at 33, where he does not seem so brittle, and can hit, and with Austin Jackson, makes the outfield a lot more respectable.
I love Justin Masterson with the Cardinals, a very good team, should well be able to use his good, if erratic skills, being as prime an example of Saberhagemetrics--that is a good year every other year--as we have had the past four years.
If you have tracked the big (6'6", 250 lb) Jamaican, even since his Boston days, you know what I mean. Tantalize, then disappoint, then tantalize, then disappoint. Meaning you draft him on the cheap as a risk, and he comes through one season, then pay a price and he helps you lose money the next.
I do think this trade will straighten Masterson out, going to a very good team, in a pennant race, where he need not be the ace, and where a former catcher will be his manager.
I see Masterson coming into his own a la Kyle Lohse, albeit sooner than the couple of seasons it took Kyle.
I talked about Jake Peavy last week some. Peavy is four years older than Masterson, and is much more looking at the downward curve of his career, but back in the NL West, with his former manager from San Diego in San Francisco. The Giants have become sort of a rag tag piece-mealed team, with the comings and goings of Dan Uggla and Aaron Hicks, but like Tim Hudson, Peavy is the kind of guy that San Francisco can squeeze some good innings from.
I don't like him as much as Masterson, but at age 33, Peavy is hardly at the end of his career: just a period of slowing, but, there is no reason he cannot perform as well as Hudson.
Finally, the Cards did well swapping Allen Craig, having Matt Adams to cover first, and a strong enough outfield for now, but he did average hitting .308-18-95 over the past two seasons. Craig is injury prone, we know, but he should take over first base/DH duties as the Red Sox rebuild around a bunch of great young players.
I think he will have a reasonable finish to the season, and next year will return to form.
I mean, he went to U.C. Berkeley: what else can I think?
PS: Keep an eye on Jordan Pacheco, who did hit .309 in 2012, and who qualifies at catcher and will soon qualify at third. He will get a chance to play the hot corner in Arizona, and I think he could close out the year on a high with low expectations on a team waiting for 2015.