We’ve actually enjoyed a pretty busy offseason thus far. Today, I’m focusing specifically on the big moves of the Padres and then tomorrow I’ll dive into the other moves including the big news this afternoon that Mike Moustakas is headed to Cincinnati.
Grisham actually joins a relatively crowded outfield with Hunter Renfroe, Wil Myers, Manuel Margot, and Franchy Cordero also on board, though given how active the Padres have already been this winter, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had plans to clear the logjam a bit before the spring. Grisham’s season obviously ended on a down note with the fielding flub that hurt the Brewers in the wildcard game, but now he gets a fresh start in San Diego.
The 23-year old hit 32 HR with 13 SB across three levels (Double-A, Triple-A, and MLB). He only stole one base in his 183 PA with the Brewers, but his sprint speed was top 7% in the league at 29.1 ft/sec. We don’t yet know what kind of base running approach new manager Jayce Tingler will have, but at least Grisham has the speed to be a force if they give him the green light. He’s an interesting late-round power/speed gamble (283 ADP in NFBC leagues), especially if he gets installed at or near the top of the lineup (at least against righties).
Davies has quietly put up a Kyle Hendricks-lite career together with a 3.91 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 614.3 innings and the only time he was north of 4.00 was an injury-stunted 66 innings in 2018. His lack of strikeouts curb his fantasy appeal, but he’s been a solid fill-in for shallow leaguers looking to get some useful innings here and there. Davies has always been better away from Miller Park with a 3.04 road ERA and a 4.65 mark at home. Moving to San Diego will definitely help his home outlook, though his road work could get a bit worse with trips to Colorado and Los Angeles regularly on the docket. I’d keep his fantasy value essentially the same.
In return, the Brewers got Urias, who they’ll insert at shortstop. He has struggled mightily in his brief MLB work with a 79 wRC+ in 302 PA over the last two seasons, but loved the new Triple-A ball as he exploded for a 137 wRC+ with 19 HR in 339 PA. I’ve mentioned before that when I saw Urias at the Arizona Fall League a couple years ago, he gave me a Jose Ramirez vibe, minus the switch-hitting.
That doesn’t mean I’m expecting peak Ramirez, but maybe something in the 10-13 HR/17-20 SB range with a strong batting average. While Urias hasn’t topped 10 SB in a season as a pro, he’s going to a Brewers club that has paced the league in SBs over the last five years with 618 (next is CIN/KC tied at 550). Keep him on your watch list in 10- and 12-teamers and consider him for a reserve pick in 15-team mixers.
Lauer has been about a league average lefty through 261.7 innings as a major leaguer with a 4.40 ERA and 1.46 WHIP, including a 2.3 WAR in 149.7 in 2019. There isn’t a ton of upside here, but Lauer could develop into a left-handed version of Davies, plus he’s two years younger so the Brewers save some money there, too. I think NL-Only players are the only ones looking at Lauer for 2020.
When the Padres dealt Urias, Greg Garcia was penciled in at second base or I guess Ian Kinsler (love Kins, but c’mon), but they’ve now addressed that with a more solid solution by dealing for Profar. The 27-year old switch-hitter has battled injuries throughout his career and failed to meet the lofty expectations of his prospect status, but he’s starting to turn the tide with back-to-back 500+ PA seasons. His 2018 was a bit of a breakout with a 107 wRC+, 20 HR, and 10 SB. Many (myself included) expected more as he went to Oakland, but he fell back a bit with just an 89 wRC+ (though 20 HR and 9 SB).
He struggled through the first half, particularly in April, posting a .646 OPS in 319 PA. After the break, he rallied with an .821 OPS, fueled by a 14% BB and .251 ISO as he still hit just .228 which of course curbed his fantasy appeal. Now he’ll join his third team in three years, but he’ll need to improve against righties to maintain the full-time role. He hit a meager .192/.278/.395 against them last year, though a .181 BABIP played a big role there.
Profar entered 2019 with triple eligibility (SS/3B/1B) and quickly added 2B, but now he’ll have just the 2B in 2020. Early on, he’s a reserve pick in NFBC leagues going after pick 350. This move doesn’t really make him that much more appealing. I’ll take the chance at something after pick-300, but before that, I’m out.
In Allen, the A’s got a bat with big pop that can ostensibly play behind the dish, though questions linger about his long-term viability there. Oakland’s plan is for Sean Murphy to be the guy anyway so they likely don’t view it as a problem if they have to move Allen out from behind the dish. However, he’s only ever played 1B and DH when not catching, two positions that are very much locked up in Oakland by Matt Olson and Khris Davis, respectively. The 26-year old’s arrival likely expedites the trade talks of Josh Phegley and if Allen does in fact get the backup job, he could be a useful C2 in AL-Only leagues.
Padres sign Drew Pomeranz
Pomeranz used a brilliant 26.3-inning relief sample with the Brewers to earn a major four-year deal with the Padres over which he will be paid $34 million dollars. He amped his fastball up to 94.3 mph and balanced it out with a curveball that fueled an absurd 45% strikeout rate. He had a 2.39 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in that time, too. Pomeranz likely won’t wrestle the closer’s role from Kirby Yates (unless he goes full Blake Treinen), but that doesn’t mean he won’t have fantasy value.
He could be similar to former teammate Josh Hader wherein his ratios and strikeout rate give him enough value in virtually all formats even if he’s not netting a ton of saves or wins. That said, Pomeranz will still likely gather some of both just by pitching in high leverage situations (maybe 5-7 of each over the course of the year). Scott Pianowski always says he doesn’t want to pay for the current Hader (before he got the closer’s role) or peak Dellin Betances, but rather find the next one. Pomeranz could definitely be that guy and he’s certainly priced to buy.