Bird Seed: Choo Signs, #BalfourRage, D-Backs/Sox Make a Deal, More
Bird Seed is your regular recap of recent baseball happenings, information, rumours, and how it all affects the Blue Jays.
Sorry for the Monday upload, a day later than normal. We’ve got one wild storm out in TO. Stay safe, everyone.
Another major domino has fallen in free agency, with OF Shin-Soo Choo signing on with the Rangers for $130 million over seven years. Choo, a wee bit old at 31, is coming off of a near career-year, posting an astounding 151 wRC+, and an incredible 15.7% BB%. He was forced to play in center field for the Reds, however, and he ended with a -15.5 UZR. Steamer does not like Choo, projecting him for 2.8 fWAR over 668 PA in 2014. Oliver is quite a bit more optimistic, however, projecting him for 4.7 wins over the usual 600 PA. As with most of baseball, the truth is likely somewhere in between the two figures. Unfortunately, even something closer to the Oliver projection might make it hard to live up to his deal. Here’s Chris’ thoughts on the deal. (click me!)
Life was looking pretty nice for Grant Balfour. He had just agreed to a two year, $15 million deal with the Orioles (the tweet breaking it has since been deleted). Not two days later, however, there were reports of the deal being in jeopardy. As things continued to get worse for Balfour, the deal was called off completely, with Dan Duquette telling reporters that the deal wouldn’t be completed. The plot twisted even further when reports emerged that Balfour’s shoulder, the Orioles’ main worry, was not only fine, it was actually in pretty good shape. Balfour will discuss a grievance with the players’ union. Things got especially interesting when Balfour called Duquette, telling him that he “was making a mistake,” and “that he deserves to be treated with respect and he was not & Orioles just lost their best chance at winning.” Needless to say, Balfour isn’t exactly pleased. The Orioles have since moved on in their search, and Balfour has been garnering interest as well, according to insider Grant Balfour.
The Diamondbacks and White Sox have made another trade, with the D-Backs sending third base prospect Matt Davidson in exchange for young closer Addison Reed. This move comes shortly after the three-way deal including the Angels that sent Mark Trumbo to Arizona. The deal addresses needs for both teams while dealing from surpluses.
Davidson, 22, had a brief cup of coffee for the Diamondbacks in 2013, with a very nice 108 wRC+ while posting a BB% over 11%. He struck out at an alarming rate, however, striking out in 27.6% of his 87 PA. He made solid contact, as evidenced by his 26.9% LD%, and didn’t seem too out of place. In AAA, Davidson sported a 117 wRC+, but had the same strikeout issues, with a slightly lower 26.8%.
Reed, who turns 25 in just 4 days, has been a useful reliever for the White Sox, collecting 69 saves over the past two seasons with the Sox, although he’s allowed a slightly underwhelming 4.17 ERA. His peripherals outperform his run prevention tendencies by far, however, with an excellent 3.30 career FIP.
The San Diego Padres have signed reliever Joaquin Benoit to a deal that will pay him $15.5 million for two years. Benoit has been quite the reliever over his career, with more than a few seasons of over 1.0 fWAR. He sports a career ERA of 4.11 since 2001, but that number looks a lot prettier when you consider he pitched through the steroid era. Since 2010, his ERA is a much more appealing 2.53. Benoit took over the closer role for the Tigers last year, collecting 24 saves with an xFIP of 3.16.
The Atlanta Braves have made the perplexing, curious, questionable decision of sending former first round pick Sean Gilmartin to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for
catcher player of baseball Ryan Doumit.
This deal may seem fairly minor to some, but it caught my eye. Gilmartin, a lefty taken 28th overall in the 2011 Amateur Draft, is coming off of a pretty mediocre season in which he put up a 5.74 ERA accompanied by a 4.61 FIP in 91 innings of AAA ball. Gilmartin gained notoriety after an excellent 2012, but came crashing back down to earth this year.
Gilmartin isn’t the most interesting part of this deal to me, however. Click on this link. It’s Matthew Carruth’s Statscorner Report on framing numbers from the 2013 season, it’s really quite excellent. Look for Doumit’s name on that list. Scroll down. Keep scrolling. If you scroll far enough, you’ll reach the end of the page, where you’ll notice that Doumit was the 4th worst at framing in all of baseball last season, at -15.9 runs “above” average. Ryan Doumit cost his team somewhere around -1.7 wins, just from his framing. He managed to do so badly in just a sample of 3363 pitches received, just over a third of the sample our beloved J.P. Arencibia received. He’s not much good otherwise, posting just 0.1 fWAR. And yet the Atlanta Braves gave up a somewhat valuable trading chip to acquire the right to play Ryan Doumit.
The Phillies are apparently “very willing” to move shortstop Jimmy Rollins, as per Buster Olney. Rollins is set to earn $11 million in 2014, and possesses a vesting option at the same price for 2015. Rollins is coming off of a pretty bad season in general, posting an 84 wRC+ and just 6 home runs, with an unusually bad glove, with a -2.7 UZR, as opposed to a +4.4 UZR/150 at SS in his career. Steamer likes Rollins to post a 1.9 fWAR in 2014, his age-35 season. That’s a low number for Rollins in contrast to the rest of his career, however, with Rollins putting up 4.8 fWAR not two seasons ago. Rollins has 45.9 fWAR over his career spanning 14 seasons, and would qualify as a somewhat big name in a pretty weak market for shortstops.
Have a link that you think should be in Bird Seed? Tweet me @JacobDanovitch and let me know.