The Wild Week That Was
The winter meetings ended, but the hot stove is still sizzling. At least, it is outside of Flushing.
Let’s do a quick rundown on all the activity over the past week. Is anyone else having a hard time keeping track?
The Marlins signed Mike Morse to a two-year deal, probably in the $16M range. My guess is that ends Garrett Jones‘ time in Miami, though he could be kept for a possible platoon / bench role. When healthy, Morse is a beast — but staying on the field has been a problem for him.
After much mystery and rumors suggesting they’d be getting someone such as Justin Upton or Ian Desmond, the Mariners have acquired Justin Ruggiano from the Cubs in return for RHP Matt Brazis. OK, not quite as dramatic as some thought, so maybe Seattle will swing another deal for a bat before spring training. Getting Ruggiano may mean that the M’s keep Brad Miller at shortstop — or deal him. There had been brief buzz that Miller would be moved to the outfield.
Braves trade Anthony Varvaro to Boston for RHP Aaron Kurcz. I never though much of Varvaro, though he managed to pitch quite frequently for the Bravos. I know very little about Kurcz, other than he is a 23-year-old who had a pretty good year out of the bullpen in AA last year, his first after Tommy John surgery. Kurcz struck out 11.6 per 9 IP, but also walked 4.7 / 9, in 41 innings. Sounds a LOT like Varvaro at a similar stage in his career. Expect to see Kurcz as a somewhat useful 6th- or 7th-inning guy at some point in the Braves bullpen in 2015.
Jed Lowrie signed with the Astros for three years, $23M. There was some talk early in the offseason that Lowrie could be a target of the Mets, but that was squashed when it was suggested that his defense wasn’t up to snuff — and therefore, wouldn’t be an upgrade over Wilmer Flores. Uh-huh. We’ll see.
Orioles sign Wesley Wright to a one-year deal; I can’t confirm the dollars, but it likely will be under or around $2M. Scratch off another LOOGY. This is an interesting, under-the-radar deal that could turn out well for Baltimore. If Wright doesn’t do well, not much of a gamble.
Gavin Floyd signs with the Indians for one year, $4M. I never understood why the Braves didn’t sign Floyd to a two-year deal; they essentially paid for his rehab from TJ surgery and gave him a 9-game audition to hit the market again. Another under-the-radar, low-risk move. When Mets fans wonder why trading Dillon Gee won’t bring back Elvis Andrus straight-up, it’s because there are guys like Floyd available for virtually nothing.
Kris Medlen signed with the Royals for two years, $8.5M. Nice gamble by Kansas City.
Melky Cabrera signed with the White Sox for three years, $42M. The ChiSox also signed Brad Penny to a minor-league deal; he’s like a b(r)ad penny, you just can’t get rid of him — every year someone signs the righthander.
In addition to acquiring Kurcz and letting Floyd and Medlen go free, the Braves signed Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano for four years, $7.5M. I don’t know much at all about the 25-year-old Toscano, and, apparently, neither does anyone else. From what we know, he throws and bats lefthanded, projects as a corner outfielder with some speed, but not much power. He batted .356 with a .420 OBP, six extra-base hits (no homers) and 16 RBIs in 32 games in Cuba’s National Series in 2013, his last season in the league. In five seasons in that circuit, he had a .300 average and .396 OBP with seven triples and 13 homers in 614 at-bats.
Chase Headley signs with the Yankees — 4 years, $52M. Yankees also sign Chris Capuano to a one-year, $5M deal. I like Headley, but why do I get the idea that the Yankees are going to regret this one? Getting Capuano on the cheap is a good insurance move.
The Dodgers DFA’d The Beard (Brian Wilson) and signed Brett Anderson to a one-year, $10M deal. Wilson, to me, was a train wreck last year, though he did miss a lot of bats (he also missed the plate pretty frequently). Anderson is a nice hedge against fellow free-agent signee — and injury-prone — Brandon McCarthy.
The Padres sign Brandon Morrow to one year, $2.5M. Fine low-risk, high-reward roll of the dice to shore up the late innings.
The Cubs sign Jason Motte to one year, $2.5M. See Morrow, above.
The Blue Jays signed Daric Barton.
The Rockies signed Daniel Descalso for two years, $3.6M.
The Rangers signed Kyle Blanks. Big man who playsthe corners and hits from the right side but who has mostly shot, er, blanks, at the MLB level.
The Mets DFA’d Gonzalez Germen. The Mets are also interested in Korean infielder Jung-Ho Kang. No they’re not. Yes they are. No they’re not.
Surely I’ve missed a few. Comment away.