*knock, knock* “You almost done in there?” Sorry, I’m just not sure how long this Billy Beane dump is going to last in Oakland. It started last year with Yoenis, then Josh Donaldson and now Brandon Moss. So far this offseason, replacing Donaldson and Moss is Ike Davis, Billy Butler and Brett Lawrie. Beane’s addicted to seeking out bargains. What a Beane counter! He’s like the lady at Ross Dress For Less that is asking the in-store tailor to hem eight tube socks into a sweater. “Ma’am, I can’t alter socks.” Has anyone tried this with a free alterations pledge by a department store? Will someone please? “Free alterations, huh? Okay, alter this $5 white undershirt into a tuxedo. Thank you.” Unlike the Donaldson move, I like this move by the Thrifty One. Moss is returning from hip surgery that obviously was bothering him so badly last year it ripped apart his ability to bat for the better part of the 2nd half (post-ASB 179 ABs 25/4/15/.173 vs. 21 HRs and .268 in the 1st half). After the surgery on October 23rd, it was reported he wouldn’t be able to run for three months. That still puts him in line to be ready for spring training, but one setback and he’s spitting sunflower seeds in the trainer’s room until May. “You think you could spit those in the trash?” That’s the Indians fastidious trainer. The possibility of Moss reverting to his 1st half self is there, but I see little chance of me owning a 31-year-old who is coming off such serious surgery. For 2015 projections, I’ll give him 69/23/84/.238/1. I will say that if he looks good in April, then my fears will be assuaged, assuming I’m using the word assuage correctly, which I doubt. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:
Jeff Samardzija – A’s, as in ‘don’t let the door hit your A’s on the way out,’ also moved Alphabet Soup yesterday. He heads back to the Windy City, only to the South Side this time. There weren’t that many teams that could’ve traded for Samardzija since it takes lots of PR to educate your fan base on how to pronounce his name. Cleveland tried, floating an intern around the city, “It’s like ‘Lebronsamardzija’ just without the Lebron,” but they found there would’ve been too many obstacles. Last year, Samardzija did exactly what you would hope of every pitcher who regularly throws 95 MPH. He dramatically cut his walks and held onto most of his Ks. I’ve tried to beat into your cantaloupes that the difference between a pitcher’s K-rate and walk rate is a quick evaluating tool. If the difference is 8, he’s an ace. Samardzija’s last year: 8.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. Pretty close to gorgeous. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 14-6/3.24/1.12/206.
David Robertson – Anyone who owned a White Sox reliever last year from their Six-Headed Vomit Monster — Petricka, Jones, Guerra, Putnam, Lindstrom, Webb — is going to know why they acquired David Robertson. What I’d like to know is there any way to retroactively correct the ulcer SHVM gave me? “Lindstrom’s hurt; grab Petricka!” *seconds later* “Oh God, get Petricka off my team!” For 2015, I’ll give Robertson the projections of 3-4/2.42/1.03/85 in 65 IP.
Marcus Semien – Let the Semien to A’s jokes in the Castro commence. I figured Beane was going with a seven catchers, six 1st basemen lineup, but I guess he needed a roving middle infielder. Steamer loves Semien (hehe) with the projections of 16 HRs and 9 SBs. If Semien pulls that one off (oh, stop being juvenile), he could be a huge sleeper. I think 16 HRs might be expecting a bit much and he might only hit .220. Will be nice to see Semien finally get a shot (okay, I give up fighting the double entendres). For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 66/13/61/.228/10.
Jason Hammel – Returns to the Cubs. Hammel should be famous in fantasy baseball circles (which for fantasy baseball is more of a circle jerk) because he is the personification of why you shouldn’t draft pitching. Hammel will be around a 3.60 ERA guy with decent Ks and usable in all leagues, but won’t be drafted in most shallower leagues and not drafted until the end of drafts in deeper leagues. No one looks at Hammel, yet he’s capable of being as good as any starter you draft after the top 20. Last year, Hammel had a 2.98 ERA in Chicago, then 4.26 in Oakland (totaling 3.47 ERA in 176 1/3 IP). His only serious drawback, he’s never pitched more than 176 2/3 IP and he’s already 32 years old. For 2015, I’ll give him 9-11/3.67/1.22/151 in 175 IP. Totally usable, ownable, adjective.
Didi Gregorius – In a huge offseason deal (not huge), the Diamondbacks traded The Gregorius D.I.D. to the Yankees. Puff Didi will replace Jeter at short for the Yanks and he will also star in a new Gatorade commercial, where they show him bat poorly and flash the word “Suspect” with two 2’s for S’s, which will end up as the worst Gatorade campaign since their last NFL player endorsement that ended in murder. The Yanks like Didi for SS, but their ex-SS was more of a full C guy (DD is a little much). While all the stats say he sucks at hitting, Didi’s really impressive when he jump-hits balls on the outside corner. Just call him Didi “Pasta Swinging” Gregorius. For fantasy, Didi’s uber bleh. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections 42/8/54/.251/5 since he’s pegged to platoon with Brendan Ryan.
Andrew Miller – Look at the Yankees doing conservative (by their standards) moves. They signed Miller to be the 8th inning or 9th inning man. That’s not as in, the game’s tied and they’re bringing in Miller to pitch the ninth since it’s not a save situation. That’s as in Miller could be their closer. It’s still early, and this is the Yankees. They could offer the Braves $500 million for Kimbrel’s services. Miller was dazzling last year (14.87 K/9, 2.02 ERA in 62 1/3), so if he gets the closer job, he’ll immediately be in the discussion for high-end Donkeycorn.
Robbie Ray – Sent to the Diamondbacks in part of the Didi deal (say that fast 117 times!). Robbie Ray’s claim to fame prior to this was gunning down a civil rights activist. Wait, that could be wrong. He sounds like it though. Ray right now is rotation depth for when a rash of injuries hit the Diamondbacks in March, as they always do.
Shane Greene – Finally, the last piece in the Didi deal (Didi deal, Didi deal, Didi deal!) with Greene going to the Tigers. The Ray/Greene aspects of the trade remind me of a trade that happens in fantasy leagues between two of your competitors that makes you want to stop receiving email updates of league trades. How do I unsubscribe from meaningless deals? Is there a box to check? Greene had a solid year last year 9.3 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 3.40 xFIP (those are solid if ratios you don’t understand scare you). His fastball averages 93 MPH, so it’s not like he’s totally out of his element, Donnie. I think Greene could be a sneaky pickup in mixed leagues once the season starts or a great AL-Only flyer, but I have the feeling he won’t even be drafted in most shallow leagues. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 9-11/3.91/1.42/141 in 150 IP, but with upside. You could say, I’m Greene with “what could be.” Actually, don’t say that, ever.