You take a guy fresh off a boat — let’s call him Sailor — and Sailor’s boat left a country that didn’t have baseball. After explaining what baseball is, you tell Sailor that one baseball team, the Yankees, throws dollars at free agents. After a lengthy explanation that dollars are our currency and why presidents are on low denominations and a non-president is on the hundred and what the hell a free agent is, you then list the top free agent bats for this year: Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran. You then ask Sailor which of those guys the Yankees will get. He’ll probably say one of the first couple of players. Or maybe he’ll say Robinson or Cano Jacoby because he won’t know their names and confuse where commas are when spoken. It’s such an obvious Yankee move to get Ellsbury that even Sailor figured it out. It reeks of throwing money at the team. Or maybe the Yankees just figured if they can’t work with Jay-Z, they’ll work with J-E. The short porch in right won’t hurt Ellsbury. What could hurt him is just about everything else that seems to hurt him every other year. Since 2009, his games played has been 153, 18, 158, 74 and 134. Saberhagenmetricans shudder at the thought of drafting Ellsbury following a big year. I’m with them. I won’t be drafting him anywhere, especially not after he gets bumped up in drafts from his newly adjusted Yankee tax. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 98/13/57/.279/32. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:
Dexter Fowler – “When hitters are naughty and don’t steal 40-effin’ bases when they’re capable, Santa sends them to the Astros.” That’s Scott Boras explaining Fowler’s trade to the Astros for Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes (more on them in a second; I’m kidding, I’m not going to talk about them ever again.) We all know that if you play The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’s DVD commentary backwards, it says, “Any player traded to the Astros will immediately lose fantasy value.” Without the community outreach program in Colorado, Coors Aids Hitters, I don’t think Fowler is going to top his 12 homers from last year, especially after he hit all of four after May 1st. He could steal 45 bases. The pregunta is will he? I doubt it, but it won’t hurt being on a team that has nothing to lose (which is an optimist’s “nothing to play for”). For 2014, I’ll give Fowler a line of 74/10/42/.267/22.
Justin Morneau – The Rockies just can’t put anything worthwhile at 1st base. It would’ve been too easily to just put Cuddyer at first to save him from potential injuries. Instead, they went with The Concusstador. When Morneau heard he was going to be playing in Colorado, he said he was sad to leave Minnesota. When told he had left Minnesota already and he was now in Pittsburgh, he blinked. Twice. For 2014, I’ll give Morneau the line of 67/22/78/.265.
Phil Hughes – To the Twins. A change of scenery could do him well. It would be even better if he were going to be pitching in Kyrgyzstan where the hitters are goats with fly swatters taped to their leg. Hughes in the American League is still only going to get us so far. It is better that he’s out of New York. That stadium wasn’t doing him any favors. He had more gopher balls than a spay & neutering doctor who specializes in rodents and was on a very special Hoarders. Hughes has been terrific in Hubert H. Homerfree Retrodome, but that was against a Twins team that would be improved with a few fly-swatting goats playing on the left side of the infield. Plouffe goes the insult! In 375 2/3 IP, he had a 4.10 ERA in away games. That sounds about right. He’ll need to get lucky to beat that by a lot. In 2014, I’ll give him the line of 8-12/4.01/1.25/160.
Ricky Nolasco – Also signed by the Twins. I have a prediction that won’t come true. The Twins and Marlins will be folded into each other to make the Mwins or Tarlins, and they still won’t win their new division, losing to their main rival, the Padtros. What does this have to do with Nolasco? Not a whole lot, but goats with fly swatters had something to do with something? Nolasco is very similar to Hughes, minus the home runs, which is kinda like saying vanilla is similar to chocolate minus the taste. Nolasco and Hughes have similar K and walk rates, but Nolasco keeps the ball in the park, which shaves about a quarter of a run off his ERA. In AL-Only leagues, Nolasco is the kind of guy that could make a huge difference at the end of your draft. In mixed leagues, he’s a streamer. I’ll give him the line of 10-10/3.86/1.24/155
Scott Kazmir – Signs with the A’s. Those sneaky bastards. A guy that can be an ace for about two-thirds of a season and then take a DL siesta is solid for real baseball. For our purposes, or porpoises if dolphins are reading, he’s definitely on radars. He could be a 200+ K pitcher with a low-3 ERA. But put ‘could’ in one hand and ‘is’ in the other hand and you have nothing in either hands. They’re words, why would they be in your hand? I imagine Kazmir will be drafted prior to me getting off the fence on him, but if not, I could see grabbing him late. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 9-7/3.85/1.29/145, but he could be anywhere from a 2.75 ERA, 220 K guy to a 5+ ERA guy who is bumped from the rotation by June.
Jim Johnson – Went to Oakland for Jemile Weeks, who was not the black girl on the Boston: Real World, that was Kameelah. Johnson should take over the closer role in Oakland, which makes him the first marquee closer for the A’s since Rollie Fingers. Bit of an odd move from the A’s since Johnson is far from dominant, no matter what his save total says. He’s like a robot closer sent here from the future to teach rookie fantasy managers a lesson. That lesson is look at K-rates instead of saves. I’ve never been a fan of Johnson (no homo), but SAGNOF is SAGNOF is SAGNOF.
Doug Fister – Traded to the Nats. That gives Fister’s value a fighting chance. *drops mic* In the NL, Fister is a candidate for more punchouts. *jumps up and down on mic* I’m done! Going the other way in the trade was Steve Lombardozzi, who lost every professional wrestling match he ever took part in. Why did the Tigers do this trade? Your guess = my guess. Maybe when Leyland left the team it was like when you have a really bad breakup and you just start doing dopey shizz like listening to Peabo Bryson and crying at phone commercials. FISTER! (doesn’t his name look like it should be capped with an exclamation mark? It’s not a last name; it’s a command) walks no one. Like, fo’really. Last year, FISTER!’s walk rate was under 2. To be an ace, a guy with an under 2 walk rate only needs an 8 K-rate. FISTER! doesn’t have that though. He’s flirted with it. In 2012, his K-rate was 7.63. If he can do that with a spectacular walk rate, he could be a solid number two. I love this move for FISTER! and will give him the line of 13-9/3.33/1.22/164.
Joe Nathan – Signed with the Tigers for $20 million. To think, your folks told you to come in from playing baseball so you could do your homework. Joke’s on you Jack. Nathan should be fine if he can stay healthy, but he’s due for a season-ending injury in May, so here’s to the Tigers pen being a mess.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Signed by the Marlins. But what about… Who was the Marlins catcher before this? Oh, that’s right. Rob Kardashian. Wait, that’s not right. Jerry Mathis? Jeff Brantly? He announces games from behind home? Any the hoo! Saltymochachino will now be catching games in South Florida. If that doesn’t signal to you that Loria is getting serious about making this team competitive, I don’t know what will. Maybe getting the RealDoll to play 2nd base. Perhaps Loria saw the ‘No Pepper Games Allowed’ behind home plate and thought he had the perfect complement for that and got Salty. I imagine Salty will do pretty much the same thing in Florida as he’s done most of his career. Hit some homers and a lousy average. I’ll give him the projections of 56/16/63/.241/3.
A.J. Pierzynski – “Yay…Dah!” That’s the Red Sox equipment manager after learning he didn’t need to sew Saltalamacchia on the back of a jersey only to learn seconds later Pierzynski was signing in Boston. You get the sense that major league teams are taking my fantasy advice and punting catcher? A.J. Pollock, as he’s called in Arizona, will be fine for around league average on the Red Sox. I’ll give him the projections of 66/15/75/.269
Seth Smith – Traded to the Padreth for Luke Gregerthon. The Lisper’s Nightmare is a platoon player no matter where he plays, unless he’s battling a fly-swatting goat in Kyrgyzstan, but that’s doubtful since the number three ailment of the Kyrgyzstan people is lisping (behind diabetes and ugly).
Ryan Hanigan – To the Rays, which is whatevs, but this makes room for Devin Mesoraco to start on the Reds and to that I say, “Rawr,” which is dinosaur for “I love you.” Some catcher is going to come out of nowhere to be a top five option and my money is on Mesoraco, though my money does have a picture of Alfred E. Neuman on it.
Heath Bell – Traded to the Rays and now he’ll be in line to close at least 25 games with the last twenty-two or so being of the “Oh, God, why do I own Heath Bell on my fantasy team?” variety. The Rays have had a lot of luck with junkie closers, but Heath Bell will put their pedal to the mettle or whatever that cliche is. It’s like that Crocodile Dundee line, “That’s not a crappy closer….THIS is a crappy closer!” The only chance Bell has at being solid is if you’re talking to a 3-year-old and you’re using the word solid to indicate poop firmness.
Craig Gentry – Traded to the A’s for Michael Choice, who is neither prime nor select. Craig Gentry, who only sounds like a former member of the The Fabulous Freebirds, will be used in a platoon role. Soon, Billy Beane is just going to platoon everything. “Bob Melvin, take a seat, we need a better hitting manager today. Chili Davis, grab a lineup card, you’re in.” Or Beane at 7-11, “Slurpee and Slim Jim, you’re out today. I’m going with the Big Gulp and a cylindrical hamburger.” Or Beane in the bathroom, “Toilet paper, you’re out today. I’m going with a wet paper towel.”