At RotoBaller, we stay on top of the news so that you don't have to. Here are the top 10 biggest stories (well, the first half of them), from the MLB Hot Stove News Season
10. Trumbo Top Name in Three-Team Trade
The Angels sent Mark Trumbo to Arizona, who sent Tyler Skaggs to the Angels and Adam Eaton to the White Sox, who sent Hector Santiago to the Angels. Whew. Everyone got that? This was one of those rare trades that is, on paper, a win-win-win. The D'Backs got some middle of the lineup power, which they have sorely missed in the last few years. The White Sox got a quality all-around player who will not put up MVP numbers, but will get on base and add some stability to the top of the lineup. The Angels bolstered their pitching staff with Santiago, a solid starter who lacks control but brings a respectable ERA to the table. They also received Tyler Skaggs, a young starter who showed flashes of his potential last season, but is still lacking the refinement that will only come with more big league experience. Tons of long-term upside there.
9. Red Sox Add Late-Inning Battery
Signing Edward Mujica to a 2-year deal gives the Red Sox a solid setup man behind Koji Uehara, who more than earned the closer role in the waning months of the 2013 season, particularly in the playoffs. With a 68/7 K/BB rate during his time in St. Louis, Mujica and Uehara will make it really difficult for opposing teams to beat the Red Sox with their bats in the late innings. The rather under-the-radar signing of A.J. Pierzynski will give the Red Sox stability behind the plate after failing to resign Jarrod Saltalamacchia, as they have a capable backup in David Ross. The aging Pierzynski is still a strong offensive catcher with the fiery personality that is important to the Boston faithful, and should fit in nicely in the organization in the clubhouse and on the field.
8. Cardinals Balance Out Lineup
Who says connections to PED don’t pay? The Cardinals inked Jhonny Peralta, a two-time all star, to a healthy 4-year, $53 million dollar contract mere months after he served a suspension for involvement with PEDs. His quick agreement to the suspension did little to diminish his reputation (see Braun, Ryan), and he could be a big part of the Cardinals offense in 2014. Peralta will occupy the statistical gap left by David Freese's trade to Los Angeles, which saw him exchanged for the services of Peter Bourjos. Bourjos will bring one thing to the Cardinals—speed. He is a jackrabbit on the base paths when he does get on base, and covers a small country’s worth of space in the outfield, which he will need to do considering that the remaining outfield options are Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, and probably Allen Craig (yeesh).
7. Yankees Sign First Competent Catcher of This Century Not Named Posada
To quote Ranch Wilder from ‘Angels in the Outfield’, “It’s…about…time.” Since the retirement of Jorge Posada, the Yankees have been working with a hodgepodge of players behind the plate—Jose Molina, Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, the Austin Romine experiment, Russell Martin (who they actually got 1.5 good months out of)…it’s been a rough couple of years. Signing Brian McCann to a 5-year, $85 million dollar deal is a sign that they’ve had enough. While he has battled some injuries, McCann has hit for 20 or more home runs in each of his last six seasons and is arguably the premier power hitting catcher in baseball. Throw in the fact that he’s a dead-pull hitter who is now moving into the lefty’s delight that is Yankee Stadium, and it’s a pretty safe bet that McCann’s offensive numbers will only improve. That designated hitter spot certainly won’t hurt when it comes to staying healthy, either.
6. Mets Making Moves
Ah, the Amazins. They’ve been down for the last…I don’t know, since the last time I saw a Mets game in primetime when I was 10 and they were playing the Yankees in October. However, the future looks pretty bright for the Metropolitans. A pitching staff full of young guns is the first step, and adding Bartolo Colon brings a solid veteran presence to the rotation. While he may be on the rotund side, that two-seamer hasn’t lost any of its potency. They also added Curtis Granderson, a veteran presence who will serve as a mentor to some of the younger players in the organization. While Granderson has seen a slight uptick in his batting average (particularly against LHP's) thanks to Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, Citi Field isn’t Yankee Stadium. I don’t see any way that he still hits 35+ homers this year, but he is a solid outfielder with a nice speed dimension to his game.
Stay tuned for the Top 10 Biggest Stories of the MLB Hot Stove Season Part II, coming in a few days...