You know the guy that was going to draft Nelson Cruz in your league because he just had a career year? The guy that drafted Chris Davis last year, Buster Posey the year before and Mitzi Gaynor in his 50’s pinup league back in 1953? That guy is the Mariners. (In fairness to that doode, Mitzi had a hell of a follow-up in ’54. Va Va Va Va Va Va — How many Va’s is that — Voom!) Nelson Cruz stayed healthy one other year, besides last year. He hit the most home runs of his career last year. He had the most RBIs, runs, strikeouts and will be 35 years old in 2015. So, of course, the Mariners give him a huge deal. Baseball team management is a peculiar thing. (By the by, I can’t say the word ‘peculiar.’ It sounds like I’m trying to pronounce the word for film in Spanish.) What seems obvious to the everyday person must not be obvious to baseball management. It would be fun to test this out in other areas of life. “Okay, baseball management, I’m going to bring you to the corner of the street. When the light turns green, cross the street.” Insert Batman-style sound effect. Only they’re doing it with nearly $60 million dollars. Well, ours isn’t to wonder why, ours is to figure out the fantasy value when a player changes environs. (Environs? Coolest word to write. Least cool word to say aloud.) Up until Cruz actually passed 27 homers last year, I had him pegged for 27 homers, because, well, that’s how many home runs he always hits, give or take a handful. Last year, he had big hands — that’s what she said! Huh? — but that was contingent on one big number that he had never reached before: 678. As in how many ABs he had last year. If a player has a pattern of getting injured and has a healthy year at 34 years old, I don’t buy that his health concerns are a thing of history. Call me a fool! (Not to my face.) In the past two years, his steals have dropped to the five-steal range, so he is essentially power. He has hideous numbers in Safeco for his career, but I don’t buy into that mattering because when he was in Safeco prior he was facing Mariners pitching and he was playing in an away game (sleeping in a hotel, chasing tail amongst visitor hoochie, etc.). Safeco isn’t going to do him any favors, but he can homer anywhere if healthy. That’s the stick in my craw. For 2015, I’ll give him 475 ABs and the projections of 71/26/85/.262/5. Decent, but almost surely overrated for this year, and don’t call me Shirley. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:
Michael Saunders – Traded to the Blue Jays for J.A. Happ, who is currently rotation depth for the M’s. Another stumper by the Mariners team behind the wheel. Not as bad as Bedard for Adam Jones and Chris Tillman — never forget! — but still a puzzler. I love Saunders going into this year, and I already have a sleeper post written for him (will likely post it next week, when you’ve all forgotten about this; yes, I think that’s how long it takes for you to forget). On the other hand (were we on our hands?), I love this trade for the Blue Jays. Blue Jays might be my random preseason bet to win the 2015 World Series, which will mean they come in third in their division. Oh, for those of you that were jazzed about my Dalton Pompey fantasy. His emoticon isn’t yet sad, Saunders will be in left.
Chris Heisey – Traded to the Dodgers. Great, just what the Dodgers needed, another outfielder. Now they just need Abner Doubleday’s Ghost to appear and say that he meant for all teams to field seven outfielders.
Torii Hunter – Signed by the Twins. The Twins management put this signing to a vote and the I’s had it. Bam! Big Pun ain’t got nothing on me. (Plus, he’s no longer with us; I miss you, Big Pun. On a side side note, I guarantee you can’t find another sentence in the Google machine that has a semicolon and Big Pun.) Hunter is exactly who you think he is at this point in his career — 17 HRs, .280, 80 runs, 80 RBIs. Then you put those numbers through a “Have To Play For The Twins” generator and you get 70/14/73/.277/4.
Nick Markakis – Between the Braves trying to unload their entire lineup, they signed Sparkakis. I get the feeling the Braves are trying to punt offense this year. They seem determined to trade away The Good Upton, and have already unloaded Heyward. This deal actually makes sense for them. Finally, they have a leadoff hitter without embarrassing themselves with You Suck Upton. Oh, and that’s kinda relative to Y.S. Upton, because Markakis hasn’t exactly been an OBP machine the past two years. Either way, for 2015 I’ll give him the projections of 84/15/54/.269/5.
Sean Rodriguez – Acquired by the Pirates from the Rays. Imagine you’re watching someone build an 18-story building with Lincoln Logs. It’s got a veranda, a swing on the porch, even an old timer out there sipping lemonade. All made from Lincoln Logs. When they’re done, they knock over the construction site and say to you, “Now you do it.” You pick up a Lincoln Log and start to construct a house. The house looks pretty standard when you’re done — one floor, no one sipping lemonade. Left on the ground are a ton of extra logs you didn’t use. One of those extra pieces is Sean Rodriguez, and the Rays management is done trying to figure out how Maddon was using all of those pieces.