It has been quite a while since we did one of these because the Hot Stove has been so ice cold. We’re finally starting to see big moves as the stove thaws and I expect a steady stream of moves for the duration of the offseason until the bulk of available players find homes.
Yu Darvish to CHC
Darvish stays in the NL and heads to Chicago to join the Cubs. I had him ranked 13th in my most recent SP ranking update back in late-January and I can’t imagine moving him much, if at all, on my next update. He remains well supported by a deep bullpen and strong offense. Don’t get too hung up on the World Series starts. A week before that he was dismantling his new team (6.3 IP/1 ER/7 K in NLCS) and the Diamondbacks (5 IP/1 ER/7 K in NLDS). Your Mike Montgomery shares just went the way of Bitconnect for now, but in leagues deep enough to take him in the first place, he’ll still hold some value as a super reliever (just 7 appearances of an inning or less last year).
J.D. Martinez to BOS
The one-time inevitable move was in peril for a good while as Martinez reportedly didn’t want to DH and thus was reportedly looking elsewhere (possibly back to Arizona), apparently on a smaller term deal. I was thinking 2/$50 mil for Arizona and I’m terrible at guessing contracts so I felt like I got a minor win when the pre-opt-out part of Martinez’s deal with Boston came out at 2/$50 and then 3/$60 the rest of the way if he stays.
Moving from Arizona to Boston looks like a loss on paper as far park factors go, but there are few things to consider: 1) it’s probably smarter to compare Detroit and Boston since that’s where he made his name and those two parks are very similar for right-handed power, 2) his power plays everywhere so it wouldn’t matter if he was going to Pittsburgh or San Francisco, and 3) Arizona’s humidor will cut into the power output at Chase Field so comparing previous park factors with current ones at Fenway probably isn’t the right assessment. Boston’s lineup is as good as or better than the peak lineups Martinez played with in Detroit, but he’ll have the added bonus of being the primary #4 hitter whereas the bulk of his time in Detroit was spent hitting in the #5 hole.
This move cuts into the playing time share for the Hanley Ramirez/Mitch Moreland 1B/DH duo. Ramirez is going to get a shot to prove himself healthy and wrestle control of the 1B job despite ceding the platoon advantage to Moreland. The thing is, Moreland just isn’t that good. He does have a 104-point platoon split favoring his work against righties, but it’s a pretty modest .779 OPS over his career and has topped .800 just once in the last five years. A healthy Ramirez is much better. Of course “a healthy Ramirez” is an endangered species these days so we’ll see how he looks in spring.
Eric Hosmer to SD
For fantasy, we don’t really care about the terms of the deals, but this was actually pretty good for San Diego compared to what I expected to see. I thought there’d be a colossal overpay for Hosmer ($160+ mil for 7-8 yrs) so 8/$144 actually looks solid (in the realm of these $100+ milly deals, of course). This feels a lot like when a rising Washington Nationals team signed Jayson Werth as Hosmer will be tasked with leading a burgeoning Padres club that has gobs of talent on the way.
He’s not an elite power first baseman, we all know that. It’s unlikely to change in SD as Petco Park plays similarly to Kauffman for lefties and I doubt he’s just going to start lifting the ball a ton after 4400 plate appearances as a groundball/line drive all fields hitter. It’s interesting that the three biggest moves don’t really change the outlook for the players involved as the park and team context are similar to where they’re coming from or their skills aren’t really impacted by such things.
The addition of Hosmer does move Wil Myers to the outfield, which is a little concerning for his health after back-to-back 155+ game seasons as a primary first baseman. I might bump him down a few spots in the overall of a draft, but that speed will help him hold the eight spot at first base with Miguel Cabrera and his new teammate just behind.
Eduardo Nunez to BOS
Nunez returns to Boston where he finished last year with a flourish (133 wRC+, 8 HR, & 6 SB in 173 PA). He’ll open as the starting 2B with Dustin Pedroia on the shelf and then assume the super-utility role. He’s 20+ SBs in the bank and could pop another 40 like he did in 2016 if he finds enough playing time, but I wouldn’t draft him with that as an expectation. Lost in his speed/AVG contributions is the fact that he holds his own power-wise, too. He’s not a bad backup plan if you lose out on Lorenzo Cain, who goes a couple rounds earlier.
I’ll cover Tampa Bay’s tanking… er, I mean, their cool & well-reasoned moves and a couple other moves tomorrow!