“I’m not doing cartwheels” was the expected reaction of a cynical fan base to the signing of Jose Reyes but don’t underestimate what his presence can mean to young shortstop Amed Rosario.
Reyes was signed with the intent of strengthening the bench but young Latin players gravitate to the veteran infielder who has shown leadership with his willingness to help all the younger players. Reyes will aid in Rosario’s development but the Mets will still need to add another infielder. General Manager Sandy Alderson said as much when he announced the Reyes’ deal. Reportedly, Eduardo Nunez is still on their radar.
The Yankees are not giving Todd Frazier a “thumbs down” when it comes to a reunion. I get a feeling that the Yankees are using their leverage (Frazier’s desire to return) to lure him into accepting less than he would’ve thought he’d be getting on the open market. I also get a feeling that General Manager Brian Cashman does not want to start the season with two unproven players at two key infield spots, despite what he said to reporters earlier this off season. Gleyber Torres is more “major league ready” (and is being penciled in at second base) than third base prospect, Miguel Andujar. Frazier’s versatility (he can play first base and many feel he can play second because he plays there with the shift) would serve the Yanks well on a two year deal. The Mets are reportedly still in on Frazier but, if the price is the same, he’d much rather sign with the Yankees.
Brewers are rolling the dice and why not. Milwaukee, which came up one game short of making the playoffs last season, looked at their team and the “landscape” of the NL Central and said to themselves “we can do this.”
First they took advantage of one of the great “fire sales” in sports history when they acquired OF Christian Yelich from the Miami Marlins in exchange for four players, including Milwaukee’s #1 prospect, OF Lewis Brinson. Infielder Isan Diaz, OF Monte Harrison and right hand pitcher Jordan Yamamoto are also heading to Miami. Diaz was acquired from Arizona in the trade for Jean Segura two years ago. There are “mixed” reviews from those in the know on Brinson but he figures to start in the Marlins’ outfield this season.
Milwaukee was not done as they reportedly came to an agreement on a five year, $80 million dollar deal with free agent OF and their former product, Lorenzo Cain. With Ryan Braun, Cain and Yelich, Milwaukee now has a trade chip in 24-year old outfielder Domingo Santana who has posted impressive power numbers in his short career. There’s already been some reports linking Santana to Cleveland in a potential deal for right hand pitcher Danny Salazar.
Santana is intriguing because you can pose a question as to why Milwaukee may be giving up on a 24-year old, who is under control for the next five years, essentially to sign a 32-year old outfielder for big money. Santana did pile up the strikeouts (178) last season but he hit 30 HRS and produced a .278/.371/.505 slash line with an OPS of .875.
Additionally, Santana’s clutch numbers were impressive as evidenced by his 8 home runs and 19 RBI’s in September, when the Brewers were chasing a playoff spot. His slash line last season with 2 outs and RISP (acc to baseballreference.com) was .328/.453/.738 with an OPS 1.191.
You can say Miami has been one of the most active teams this off season, unfortunately for their fans, they’re taking an “addition by subtraction” approach. Marlins still have $23.5 million coming to Martin Prado and Starlin Castro and it appears catcher J.T. Realmuto could be next to be dealt. Reportedly, the Nationals are hot for Realmuto but the Marlins are asking for Washington’s top prospect, Victor Robles. The Nats don’t want to give up the 20-year old stud outfielder, especially with Bryce Harper likely headed to free agency after the season.
Prado is coming off an injury and could provide an in-season trade chip if he proves to be healthy by the deadline while the interest in Castro has waned but could re-ignite with an injury in spring training.
The Dodgers reportedly have four potential suitors for Matt Kemp, whom they desperately want to unload before spring training. Kemp still has over $43 million dollars coming to him over the next two seasons. The Red Sox are still seeking some offense. Would Boston consider two years with Kemp over five years and $125 million for free agent J.D. Martinez as has been rumored? Kemp could potentially be a productive DH in Fenway.