2021 MLB offseason - news and notes

Tokyo Sox

Baka Gaijin
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I didn't see a thread for FA's or international signings etc yet so thought I'd kick it off with one player from NPB who is likely to head to MLB for 2022, Hiroshima Carp OF Seiya Suzuki.

Suzuki is a RHH corner OF with an incredibly consistent bat and decent pop. He led the CL in batting this year in all of AVG/OBP/SLG, hitting .317/.433/.639. He's hit .300 or better with 25+ HR each of the last 6 years. Turned 27 in August. Here's a video player profile. It mentions the Sox as a possible destination but I don't see that happening unless JD opts out and/or something happens with Renfroe:

View: https://youtu.be/2sQFb3bq90k
 

nighthob

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I actually could see it happening as it would allow Boston to trade either Verdugo or Renfroe, and Verdugo by virtue of age/cost control/performance, is enormously valuable as a trade chit.
 

ElcaballitoMVP

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A move like this would also allow the Sox to move Hernandez to 2B and use some combination of Verdugo, Renfroe and Suzuki as your primary OF.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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A move like this would also allow the Sox to move Hernandez to 2B and use some combination of Verdugo, Renfroe and Suzuki as your primary OF.
Unless Suzuki can play a good CF, I don't think this is the optimal way to go. I'm all for moving Hernandez to 2B, but not if the result is Verdugo or Renfroe in CF full time.
 

ElcaballitoMVP

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Unless Suzuki can play a good CF, I don't think this is the optimal way to go. I'm all for moving Hernandez to 2B, but not if the result is Verdugo or Renfroe in CF full time.
Yeah, you're probably right looking at the defensive metrics. My memory and eye test was telling me Verdugo could play a passable CF, but it's probably asking too much. Suzuki has decent speed, but zero experience in CF, so he's probably not an option there.

My thinking was, if something goes wrong, you've got Hernandez in your back pocket. If the Sox resign Iglesias for depth, you could also make some late inning defensive changes bringing him into 2B and moving Hernandez out to CF. But I'm probably over complicating things. Chris Taylor is probably a better fit.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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If the Reds really couldn't find a trade partner for Miley, that suggests that FA is going to start s l o w l y. We paid that for G. Richards, who, iirc, was not coming off a 6 WAR season in which he threw a no hitter. (And I realize Miley is highly unlikely tp repeat that in '22, but he seems like a good bet to give 150+ innings of average pitching.)
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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If the Reds really couldn't find a trade partner for Miley, that suggests that FA is going to start s l o w l y. We paid that for G. Richards, who, iirc, was not coming off a 6 WAR season in which he threw a no hitter. (And I realize Miley is highly unlikely tp repeat that in '22, but he seems like a good bet to give 150+ innings of average pitching.)
I wonder how much the Reds telegraphed that they really wanted to save the million buy-out. Because if they were shopping Miley around and making it clear they wanted him gone before they had to make a call on the option, I could see interested teams balking at trading for him when a little patience could net Miley without giving anything up. Which may be exactly what the Cubs did.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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... Which may be exactly what the Cubs did.
Probably. But I would have thought some teams lower down the waiver priority list would have thought that giving up a C+ prospect off the 40 man would be worth it to jump a team like the Cubs and add a decent mid-rotation arm on a reasonable $, one year deal. Most teams must think guys like Miley are gong to go for less, right? Like Brad Hand last year (only he didn't really go for less!)...
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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At least Miley is still a valued asset at $10M, so while the Reds are being cheap, they achieved their goal of avoiding the buyout. Cleveland's attempt at the same thing last year with Brad Hand failed, so he cleared waivers, got his buyout and became a free agent.
 

Deweys New Stance

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I’m a little bit surprised by this one given how bad he was down the stretch on the South Side, but then again he had a fantastic first half on the North Side, and it’s just a one year commitment:

White Sox are picking up Craig Kimbrel’s $16mm option. Article speculates that they’ll try to trade him to a team that would value him as a closer.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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They made a terrible trade in acquiring him, so they're doubling down in an attempt to get some sort of value out of it. Of course, it will only make things worse, but I'd have been surprised if they'd cut their losses at this point. The worst part is there's no value in either his or Hendricks' deal. Even if they both have good 2022 seasons, they're paying $29.33M for it. They're probably stuck with both of them unless they pay around half of one of the contracts to unload them... and since Kimbrel has a history of failing when he's not in line for a save, the only pathway to salvaging the situation would appear to be demoting Hendricks after he's successfully filled the role he was signed to and handing that job to the struggling Kimbrel.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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They made a terrible trade in acquiring him, so they're doubling down in an attempt to get some sort of value out of it. Of course, it will only make things worse, but I'd have been surprised if they'd cut their losses at this point. The worst part is there's no value in either his or Hendricks' deal. Even if they both have good 2022 seasons, they're paying $29.33M for it. They're probably stuck with both of them unless they pay around half of one of the contracts to unload them... and since Kimbrel has a history of failing when he's not in line for a save, the only pathway to salvaging the situation would appear to be demoting Hendricks after he's successfully filled the role he was signed to and handing that job to the struggling Kimbrel.
Or they hope that with a full off-season to acclimate to the idea of being a set-up man, Kimbrel gets over this "I suck unless it's a 3-out save opportunity" thing and pitches in the 7th and 8th like he has long done in the 9th. It's an expensive risk for the White Sox, but I think yanking the closer job from Hendricks is a bigger one given he's going to be around after Kimbrel is gone (at least one year plus an option). Why upset him unnecessarily?
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Kimbrel as a $16M set up man seems less than ideal. They aren’t going to be able to trade him without some kind of subsidy. Seems kind of foolish to pick up the option. Maybe they will just end up trading Hendricks for Tom Brunansky.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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After picking up Kimbrel’s option, the White Sox don’t extend a qualifying offer to Carlos Rodon, who had a 2.37 ERA and struck out nearly 13/9. Curious
 

jon abbey

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After picking up Kimbrel’s option, the White Sox don’t extend a qualifying offer to Carlos Rodon, who had a 2.37 ERA and struck out nearly 13/9. Curious
He had ‘shoulder fatigue’ down the stretch and didn’t get over 90 pitches after mid-July.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Yeah, that’s fair. If he’s not 100%, obviously a much bigger risk that he’d accept. Seems like some pretty good starting pitchers who didn’t get QO’s, makes me wonder what the market is really going to look like. If Eduardo accepts, kind of feels like the Sox off-season may be largely over..and potentially pushed almost all of their big future decisions to next offseason. Which, given the potential changes with the CBA, many not be the worst thing? I guess the risk is a buyers market that they largely may not get to play in.
 

LogansDad

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Uhhhh.... if that's the market, the EdRo probably owes it to himself to opt out. Granted, not every team has Dodger money, but wow.
 

jon abbey

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it's the k-rate. Heaney is tanalizing if he can reduce his HRs. The Yankees didnt' have enough time with him but if he fixes that, he's a top 30 pitcher.
I mean, he’s 30 years old and he’s only pitched 130 innings once. Clearly there’s something there for Cashman to trade for him and the Dodgers to sign him, but I’m quite glad NY won’t be the team he tries to figure it out for next.
 

DeadlySplitter

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From what I read, Heaney's K and BB rate are really good, just his HR rate was horrible last year.

Is HR (HR/FB) rate something fixable with coaching? Is it very luck dependent? I feel like the answer to those questions is no, but that's why I'm not a coach.
 

EvilEmpire

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Well, I guess Dodger Stadium isn't the worst place for Heaney to pitch while the coaching staff tries to figure out his HR problem.
 

soxhop411

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Boras is holding his annual SOTU at the winter meetings

View: https://twitter.com/alexspeier/status/1458519188847218690


Boras opens by saying integrity of baseball was eroded by draft restrictions of 2012 CBA, which created a ‘race to the bottom.’




Boras notes the rules allowed the Braves to be a sub-.500 time, to add players from teams not trying to compete for ‘very little cost,’ and win. Says Atlanta’s title reflected lack of competitive integrity due to teams that wanted to lose to improve draft pick position.
View: https://twitter.com/alexspeier/status/1458519847923453953

Boras suggests that draft incentivize winning rather than losing. ‘It’s one of the greatest problems in Major League Baseball today.’
View: https://twitter.com/alexspeier/status/1458520132917940225

View: https://twitter.com/alexspeier/status/1458521669845196804

Boras on competitive landscape/tanking/rebuilding: ‘This is the Easter Bunny delivering rotten eggs.’
View: https://twitter.com/chelsea_janes/status/1458524421149265920


Boras doesn’t support a minimum salary floor for teams because assumption is it would come with lower CBT threshold. “They give you the row boat of the floor but” something about a tidal wave of the lower ceiling. Ditching the Easter bunny theme already this is a rollercoaster.
 
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Hendu for Kutch

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I know it's apples and oranges, but we had the same problem in a long-running fantasy baseball league. Our prospect draft was set in reverse order of finish and of course once you're out of playoff contention it behooved you to be as terrible as you could be and trade away expiring assets for peanuts. We dealt with it by having a tournament of all non-playoff teams, with the prospect draft order being set based on the results of that tournament. So winner gets #1 pick, runner up gets #2 pick, etc. It basically ended the total tank and the annual firesales that were happening.

I know MLB players wouldn't be thrilled about playing for draft slots, but then they aren't exactly excited about playing for nothing for the last 1/4 of the season now, are they? There'd at least be some stakes involved. Maybe it would stop a team like the Indians from dumping a guy like Rosario for no return just to save money.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I know it's apples and oranges, but we had the same problem in a long-running fantasy baseball league. Our prospect draft was set in reverse order of finish and of course once you're out of playoff contention it behooved you to be as terrible as you could be and trade away expiring assets for peanuts. We dealt with it by having a tournament of all non-playoff teams, with the prospect draft order being set based on the results of that tournament. So winner gets #1 pick, runner up gets #2 pick, etc. It basically ended the total tank and the annual firesales that were happening.

I know MLB players wouldn't be thrilled about playing for draft slots, but then they aren't exactly excited about playing for nothing for the last 1/4 of the season now, are they? There'd at least be some stakes involved. Maybe it would stop a team like the Indians from dumping a guy like Rosario for no return just to save money.
Seems like the easiest way to apply this idea is to base draft order by the best record post-trade deadline. So, for the 20 teams that don't make the post-season, the best record after the deadline would get the #1 pick and then on down. So based on this year, the top 10 of the 2022 draft might look like this:
Toronto
Seattle
Philadelphia
Minnesota
Colorado
Cleveland
Kansas City
Cincinnati
Detroit
Oakland
 

Marciano490

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Maybe a separate thread - but which would people prefer: boom and bust cycles like the Marlins, Rays and Astros, or steady competitiveness with a decent shot to win the division or WS most years like the Yankees and Cardinals?
 

moondog80

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Maybe a separate thread - but which would people prefer: boom and bust cycles like the Marlins, Rays and Astros, or steady competitiveness with a decent shot to win the division or WS most years like the Yankees and Cardinals?

Do you mean in terms of results or approach?

If it's the latter, the problem is that "boom" periods won't yield much more of a World Series chance than the steady competitive model. So of course I'd rather be the Yanks or Cards.

But, if the question is, regardless of approach, would you rather have a 10 year period where your team wins the WS three times, makes the playoffs one more time, and finishes below .500 the other six years, or a team that makes the playoffs nine times and wins the WS once...I think I'd take the rings.
 

jon abbey

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I think I have kind of decided that for me, the baseball postseason is pretty much meaningless. Sure it'd be nice if the Yankees won, but I just don't think it proves anything except that a team made the postseason and then beat the 3-4 teams they faced.

Also Boras isn't really right about the ATL deadline moves, those teams were trying to save a bit of money because they weren't going anywhere but absolutely no one including the Braves thought those players were difference makers. No one else wanted those players, there was no competition for them which is why ATL didn't have to give up much.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Why not just separate the draft from the performance of the major league team completely, and have the order be chosen at random, after the season ends? Maybe you weight it based on various inputs (average record past x years, improvement, etc) or something, but remove a major incentive to be bad.
 
Also Boras isn't really right about the ATL deadline moves, those teams were trying to save a bit of money because they weren't going anywhere but absolutely no one including the Braves thought those players were difference makers. No one else wanted those players, there was no competition for them which is why ATL didn't have to give up much.
Spot on.