It’s amazing to me how many times teams get burned by signing huge free agent deals. It’s like they’re either not aware of what other teams are doing or they’re not paying attention. How’d that A-Rod to Rangers deal work out for the Rangers? Hamilton and Pujols to the Angels? Or when the entire National League All-Star team spent three months in a Marlins uniform? Robinson Cano is quality, but Marco Scutaro could’ve won the Mariners the AL West if F-Her, Iwakuma and Taijuan were hitting on all cylinders. Well, at least the Mariners didn’t need to give up anything but a crapton of a money. Cano went from re-signing with the Yanks to resigning to play with the Mariners (play on words points!). Can’t fault a guy for taking that kind of money. Shouldn’t be surprised either, I mean his mother’s maiden name is Mercedes. When it appeared like Cano was going to the Yanks, I gave him the projected line of 97/29/110/.310/4 and ranked him fifth overall in my rankings that I’m working on now that will be published in January. Now, I can’t see it. Not sure which way I’m re-shuffling my rankings, but his projections have to drop in Safeco, unless they move in the fences once again. I don’t like just looking at what a player did in away games at the stadium he will now call home. Just looking at what Cano did in Safeco for his career doesn’t tell the full story. He was facing the Mariners staff, and it was an away game. Players react differently to being on the road, especially cross country. With that said (reversal time!), in 40 games in Safeco, Cano had a line of 17/4/20/.309/2. Last year, Safeco played more neutral than it has in the past. Doubles and triples went up, homers and average sat pretty much where they were prior to the fences moving in. All of that info leads me to think what a fourth grader could’ve told you, Cano will remain a batting average plus but take a small hit in power. A small hit in power for a guy who doesn’t regularly top 30 homers isn’t great. The Mariners are now in play for every free agent so it might seem like his runs and RBIs won’t take as big of a hit, but remember what happened when Pujols and Hamilton were united in Anaheim or every All-Star landed in South Florida? Not a whole lot for their runs and RBIs. Even if the Mariners sign every other free agent, it doesn’t mean great things for Cano. I’ll say Cano will stay relatively neutral from last year because the Yankees weren’t good then either. So that brings me to Cano’s projected line of 84/26/105/.312/4. Not terrible, not quite what I hoped for in a rebound season in New York. As Simon and Garfunkel would tell you, this deal does prove Seattle loves Robinson more than you ever Cano. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:
Curtis Granderson – Like Pedro Martinez so eloquently put (not eloquent at all), the Yankees were his daddy. Well, they’re also the Mets’ daddy. And the Mets have Girl With Daddy Issues Syndrome. They will never be the Yankees, so they sleep with any guy that will show them attention and then they clean up the guy’s bathroom the next morning without being asked. “I was building up the rings in my toilet bowl so I can tell how long I’ve been in this apartment.” That’s you being ungrateful. Grandy has an extremely small sample size (that’s what she said) in Metco, so it’s pretty inconsequential. His biggest issue of late is staying healthy and hitting above .240. I don’t see a huge correction coming for either of those, but I’ll assume he can stay on the field. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 76/28/86/.235/12.
Carlos Beltran – Signed by the Yankees, who are apparently going with the Little League lineup of five outfielders. Brett Gardner is gonna play short center, Ichiro will play short right and Alfonso Soriano will play the over-demanding father who makes his son feel like crap. His son will be played by Vernon Wells. C’mon, Vernon Wells just wants a hot pretzel! I get that the ‘big’ free agent bats available this year were only so many guys, but right now they have Kelly Johnson at 3rd and Eduardo Nunez at 2nd. Not terrible for most teams, but THEY HAVE FIVE OUTFIELDERS! Maybe if I say that enough Beltran, Soriano and/or Ellsbury will get hurt. I’m concerned about Gardner playing enough to get 500 ABs, but he might be the only one who stays healthy. If I were calling the shots, I’d have Gardner batting 2nd and Jeter would drop down. That ain’t going to happen though. Why am I talking so much about Gardner in Beltran’s blurb? Because Gardner is an interesting fantasy add later in drafts, whereas everyone knows Beltran. Maybe the Yanks will free Gardner and trade him somewhere he can be useful. For 2014, I’ll give Beltran the line 78/24/88/.279/5.
Mike Napoli – Re-signed with the Red Sox. I guess they were impressed with all his offseason, cigarette-in-mouth, shirtless jogging. I liked it better when his mom was taking off her shirt. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 74/25/87/.251/2.
Norichika Aoki – Traded to the Royals for Will Smith. Who did this deal? Jada Pinkett Smith? John Travolta because Will Smith’s such a friend of Scientology? Think this might’ve been the first time the Royals have been on the better side of a trade since the East India Company. This doesn’t help Aoki (doesn’t hurt him either) as much as it finally, mercifully, adverbially gets Alex Gordon out of the leadoff spot. Mazel tov! Royals, you are now a man of a team. Aoki doesn’t strike out at all, which will mean more RBIs for Gordon, Hosmer and Moobs (and, dare I say, Salvador Perez and Moustakas). All in all or whatever clunky sentence intro you have, a great deal for the Royals. For 2014, I’ll give Aoki the line of 92/10/53/.293/24.
J.P. Arencibia – Signed with the Rangers to split time with Geovany Soto. Since they’re both righties, I’m not sure how that will work out. Maybe they’re flip Jurickson Profar and heads it’s Arencibia. Maybe they’ll flip Soto for a middle reliever. They really don’t need two garbage catchers. Maybe they’re waiting for the first Wednesday of the season to see which guy the garbage man picks up. Lots of questions, and not a whole lot of motivation from me to figure out answers. Outside of two catcher leagues, Arencibia isn’t a guy you’re drafting. He’ll be a guy you pick up when he’s hitting during the season. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 38/18/49/.220.
Nate McLouth – Signed on with the Nats to be their fourth outfielder. Brokering the deal and receiving a 15% commission was the wall in Dodger Stadium. The Wall said, “If I move forward at the right time, I can knock that Harper kid out for three months next time.”
Bud Norris – Orioles are considering using Bud for their closer. The Jeopardy question to that is, “What are they smoking?”
Scott Feldman – Signed with the Astros. For players that matter for fantasy, I give a projected line when they sign somewhere. For players that don’t matter, I don’t give a line. The sad thing is I’m not giving Feldman a line and he’s the Astros number one starter.
Chad Qualls – Signed on to the Astros, a team whose bullpen looks like a three-headed gargoyle barfing or simply a barfoyle. Qualls could see time as the closer, but that’s more about the barfoyle than Chad’s abilities.
Edward Mujica – Signed with the Red Sox a two-year deal for $9.5 million. Usually I don’t bother saying the number on the contract because it doesn’t matter for fantasy, but I just want to say, it’s hard to argue with this move. When the worst of worst pitchers get $30 million, the Red Sox just closed down the 7th or 8th inning (depending on when they use Mujica). I feel a little like an ESPN analcyst saying this, but it’s a solid real baseball move. As for fantasy, it doesn’t matter.
Rafael Furcal – Signed with the Marlins. I picture the announcement coming like this. The Marlins representative in a synagogue surrounded by old Jews. The Marlins representative reaches into a metal drum and pulls out a bingo ball. Before he can announce the ball, Loria comes up and whispers in his ear. Then the Marlins representative says, “I’d like to announce Rafael Furcal has signed on with the team to play 2nd base. Okay, now back to the game. Let’s see…N-48. Hey, it looks like Mrs. Liebowitz’s got bingo!” Mrs. Liebowitz corrects him, “It’s Ms.”
Garrett Jones – Signed with the Marlins. His press conference went like this, “B-7.”