San Francisco Giants Trade for Catcher Erik Kratz

Posted March 25, 2019 by Burly
Categories: San Francisco Giants

The Giants traded away middle infield prospect C.J. Hinojosa for 38 year old catcher Erik Kratz.  The Giants released 35 year old catcher Rene Rivera the day before, and for the life of me, I’m not sure what the difference is between Rivera and Kratz.  They’re both good-field, no-hit catchers well past their respective primes.

Once again, it may be a case of the Giants getting a good look at Rivera, deciding he was as bad as could reasonably be expected, and deciding to bring in someone marginally better who they haven’t had a chance to sour on yet.  Either that, or some of the players may have exercised opt-outs when they found out they weren’t going to make the major league team out of Spring Training.

At any rate, all of the Giants’ late Spring Training roster moves feel a lot like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  Bringing in Erik Kratz or Michael Reed or Connor Joe isn’t going to make what looks like a weak team significantly better.

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San Francisco Giants Outfield Churn Continues

Posted March 23, 2019 by Burly
Categories: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants

The Gints are still trying to improve their outfield mix as the regular season rapidly approaches, but they keep bringing in more of the same marginal players.  They released Cameron Maybin, and traded for Michael Reed and Mike Yastrzemski, while trading John Andreoli for Reed and RHP Tyler Herb for Yaz.

Reed is going into his age 26 season, and he was really good in 53 games at AAA Gwinnett last year (.997 OPS).  In that sense, he looks a lot like Connor Joe, whom the Giants just brought in yesterday.  Reed can apparently play all three outfield positions and is expected to split playing time with Steven Duggar in center field, assuming Reed makes the major league club out of Spring Training.  For the Twins this spring, Reed went 5-for-18 with a home run.

While Reed seems like an improvement over Andreoli, he’s obviously not much of an improvement.  The recent spate of moves feel very much like a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-mountain situation, with the has-beens and never-have-beens the Giants started camp with mostly underwhelming and now being replaced at the last minute with a new crop of perhaps, marginially better has-beens and never-have-beens.  None of it inspires much confidence.

Yet another outfielder we could signed by the Giants in short order is former Giants prospect Adam Duvall.  The Braves gave Duvall a $2.88 million contract for 2019 in spite of how poorly he played late last season in Atlanta.  If the Braves release him before the regular season starts, the team will only be on the hook for slightly less than $700,000 of the $2.88M total as severance pay.

Duvall would be a natural fit for the Giants, who can always use a another right-handed power bat in left field (where Duvall’s defense is great), and the Giants have been collecting marginal outfielders like Duvall all off-season.  I’d certainly like to see the Giants give Duvall a shot on a minor league contract if the Braves release him, particularly as it seems more and more clear the team has no intention of bringing in anyone significantly better.

San Francisco Giants Add Connor Joe (Ugh!)

Posted March 23, 2019 by Burly
Categories: Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants

I keep waiting for the Giants to do something to improve their outfield situation.  And the Giants keep bringing in guys like Connor Joe.

I have nothing against Connor Joe, but he’s an old 26 (he turns 27 in August), he’s played exactly 49 games of merely above average offensive performance in the Pacific Coast League.  He can play RF, but his 3B defense is terrible (sub .900 fielding percentage).

The Gints traded Josh Johnson and “cash considerations” (I don’t know if that means $25,000 or $100,000 or anywhere else between $10,000 and $1M, although my guestimate is the first set of numbers) for Joe.

The Giants gave up on Rule-5 pick Drew Ferguson, who returns to the Astros, and replaced him with the Reds’ Rule-5 selection of Joe.  New Giants GM Farhan Zaidi is familiar with Joe from the Dodgers’ system, and Joe’s .806 Spring Training OPS was a lot better than Ferguson’s dreadful .405.

What I don’t like about the Giants bringing on Joe is that mlbtraderumors.com speculates that he will take Pablo Sandoval’s roster spot.  Yangervis Solarte has almost certainly made the team, which leaves Sandoval as a likely odd-man out.  Joe can’t defend 3B, but Solarte can, and Joe can play RF, which Pablo can’t.  The logic seems inescapable, but I will be sad to see Pablo go, if he does.

If bringing in Connor Joe is the Giants’ last outfield move before the regular season starts, I’ll expect the Giants to be sellers at the trade deadline.

Chicago White Sox and Eloy Jimenez Reportedly Agree to Record-Setting Contract

Posted March 21, 2019 by Burly
Categories: Anaheim Angels, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies

It is being reported today that the ChiSox and their 22 year old prospect Eloy Jimenez have agreed to a record-setting, long-term deal for a player yet to have played even one game in the major leagues.  The deal with reportedly guarantee Jimenez $43 million over six seasons with two team option years for an additional total of $32M.

This deal blows away the $10M guarantee that the Astros gave Jon Singleton and the $24M guarantee the Phillies gave Scott Kingery, the only other two long-term contracts for players never to have played in the majors (excluding Bryce Harper’s first pro contract).  There was a lot of rending of clothing and nashing of teeth by players and the players’ union when the Astros signed Singleton to what appeared could have been a tremendous bargain for the team with a whiff of black-mail that the ‘Stros would have been less likely to call Singleton up if he didn’t sign the seemingly team friendly extension.

But Singleton didn’t make it.  His major league career was a complete flop for reasons likely as much mental as anything else. Singleton was out of pro baseball in 2018 at age 26, which suggests his heart isn’t in it.  In the meantime, the Astros still owe him a cool million for 2019 through 2021, if they didn’t cash out for a lump sum when they released him last May.

In the case of Scott Kingery, even though he was the Phillies starting shortstop last year, the verdict is still out whether he’ll be worth the $24M guarantee.  His .605 OPS meant he wasn’t yet a major league replacement level player in 2018.

I don’t imagine we will hear a lot of complaints from players about Jimenez’s contract.  I mean, how do you tell a poor black kid from the Dominican Republic not to accept a $43M guarantee before he has even played one game in the majors.  Yes, Jimenez did get a $2.8 million signing bonus in 2013, but one would think that money is long gone between taxes, automobiles, living in the U.S., buscones, buying a home for his parents and friends and relatives with their hands out.

The deal here is obvious.  It’s a great deal for the White Sox if Jimenez develops as they hope, the kind of deal that can enable a small market team to build a winner on less money.  Meanwhile, JImenez and his family get a sure thing.  Jimenez could get hit in the face with a fastball, tear his elbow or both knee tendons, or get killed in an off-season road accident back in the Dominican Republic one winter.  He and his family will still get a pay out that will enable them to live like royalty in their homeland for at least a generation or two.  Like Mike Trout‘s extension with the Angels, it’s another win-win.

Don’t the San Francisco Giants Have Enough Over-the-Hill Outfielders Already?

Posted March 20, 2019 by Burly
Categories: Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants

The Giants just signed Matt Joyce, now age 34 (he turns 35 in August), to a minor league deal.  Big Whoop!

The Indians released Joyce from his minor league deal with the Tribe on March 19th.  That follows a season in Oakland in 2018 in which he slashed .208/.322/.353.  It’s hard to imagine him having much left, although he did hit well in both 2016 and 2017.

Presumably, Joyce will start the year at AAA Sacramento and get a major league shot if he plays well and someone of the major league roster doesn’t (or gets hurt).

Needless to say, signing Joyce does little to improve the Giants’ outfield situation, which looks pretty bleak as of this writing.  Mike Gerber and Steven Duggar are hitting well in Spring Training, and Gerardo Parra has been O.K.  After that, no one has impressed.  Additionally, Gerber isn’t expected to make the major league team out of Spring Training.

As I’ve said before, there is still time for the Giants to make a move between today and the March 28 season opener in San Diego.  Time is running out, and the fact that the Giants just signed Joyce doesn’t suggest they have a bigger deal in the works.

Anaheim Angels and Mike Trout in Agreement on 10-Year $360 Million Extension

Posted March 20, 2019 by Burly
Categories: Anaheim Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals

The Angels and Mike Trout are reportedly in agreement on a ten-year extension for the 2021 through 2030 seasons that will pay $360M for these seasons and nearly $430M guaranteed going forward.  Mike Trout is certainly worth a record-setting deal, although I have my doubts about Trout’s ability to remain healthy during the second half of the commitment.

Some commentators think the Angels got a bargain, given that Trout has arguably been worth about twice the annual contract average since becoming a full-time major leaguer in 2012.  Even so, $36M per season takes up a big chunk of budget (although the big market Angels can afford it), and Trout can’t win by himself no matter how well he plays, as evidenced by the fact that he has played in only three post-season games in his eight seasons with the Halos.

My guess is that this will be a great contract for the Angels for the next six seasons through 2024, but will become an albatross like Albert Pujols‘ deal, which still has three expensive years to run even though Prince Albert is no longer even a replacement level player.  Mike Trout is just too big (listed at 6’2″ and 235 lbs, roughly the same as Pujols) to expect that he will age gracefully once he passes the age of 32.  It could happen, but I sure wouldn’t bet on it.

In short, it is probably a fair contract that well benefits all concerned.  The Angels get to hold on to the game’s best player for all or nearly all of his major league career; Mike Trout gets a record-setting deal that well tops the deals that Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Giancarlo Stanton got; and future major league superstars and their agents get a new record to shoot for in future contract negotiations.  It’s a win-win all the way around, and, as I like to say, Mike Trout won’t be going to bed hungry any time soon, even if he did leave some money on the table.

 

Cracker Jack

Posted March 19, 2019 by Burly
Categories: Uncategorized

My five year old daughter likes Cracker Jack.  What’s not to love — sugar-coated popcorn (she typically does not like peanuts) and a free prize.  I like it because it’s cheap.  Everybody wins!  Still loving Cracker Jack all these years later.

I still love Bazooka Joe too.  It gives your jaw a workout.