Finally, a trade! No team but the A’s could make Sean Murphy into the impetus for a three-team trade with eight players involved. Sean Murphy to the A’s; Oakland gets Kyle Muller, Esteury Ruiz, Freddy Tarnok, Royber Salinas and Manny Pina; Milwaukee gets William Contreras, Justin Yeager and Joel Payamps. Braves turning William Contreras into Sean Murphy, presumably at DH and catcher, is such a why bother for the Braves that I wonder if Alex Anthopoulos just had to trade William Contreras because he wouldn’t agree to a 17-year, $12 million deal. “You won’t agree to being a Braves player for life for $75,000 a year? Then, I’m sorry, you have to go.” We know Billy Beane, Anthopoulos and the Brewers’ GM, whoever that is, don’t play fantasy baseball, because if they did, they’d know to never pick their catcher scab. Ron Popeil, food appliance guru and master fantasy baseballer, once said, “Set it and forget it.” Seriously, I’m trying to figure out the difference between Murphy and Contreras and I am at a literal loss. In Oakland, the will is gone; and in Atlanta the William. Sean Murphy was the 6th best catcher on the Player Rater last year, and, while it looks like he overperformed on average, there is something to a team as bad as the Vegas A’s just rolling a guy like Murphy out there for 150-ish games. It’s Murphy’s Law. In a better lineup, he might lose a few at-bats, but, as said above, he has the DH too. For 2023, I’ll give Sean Murphy projections of 66/20/73/.244/1 in 502 ABs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2023 fantasy baseball:
Psyche! Before we get into the roundup of trades and signings, just wanted to announce that I’ve begun to roll out my 2023 fantasy baseball rankings on our Patreon. It’s an early Hanukkah miracle! Or late Hanukah miracle, depending on when Hanukkah is this year. The Jews should really decide on one day to start Hanukah each year, and stick with it. It’s better for branding. Anyway II, the roundup:
William Contreras – Traded to the Brewers. Contreras has a great shot at being a top three catcher, which is like being the tallest Altuve or the rosiest-faced clown. “Hey, congrats, Squeeky, your cheeks have the most blush.” That’s me judging a clown face competition. With the move to Milwaukee, Contreras has a good chance of upping his power and ribbies, simply because he has less competition to be the three or four-hole hitter in the Brewers’ lineup. He’s the new lineup centeras piece. For 2023, I’ll give William Contreras projections of 62/23/77/.247/1 in 446 ABs.
Esteury Ruiz – Traded to the A’s. Looking for a bright spot in this trade to Oakland, and I just start singing, Ain’t No Sunshine When He’s Gone. Then, I truly wept when I realized that’s about Sean Murphy. That’s what gut-punched you, A’s fans? The loss of Sean Murphy? Lose a real player before you get sad! Brewers still have roughly 4500 outfielders, but this is exactly what we needed to knock some at-bats loose for Ruiz. It’s giddy up time in Oakland. Already gave you an Esteury Ruiz fantasy, but now the A’s should have at least 400 at-bats to send his way. There’s a real concern with that many chances he might hit .205, but his speed is so good that I’m willing to up him to 400+ ABs, and could see the very late flyer. For 2023, I’ll give Esteury Ruiz projections of 51/3/39/.219/32 in 407 ABs.
Kyle Muller – Traded to the A’s. Not going to go over all the pieces moving, Itch can touch on the prospects. Muller feels worth mentioning because he’s going to a rotation that would happily accept 150 of the worst innings anyone’s ever seen, and Muller might provide them. He looks like a 8 K/9, 5 BB/9 guy. That’s pretty solid if we’re talking about turds. Finally, a Muller report worth reading.
Christian Vazquez – Signed with the Twins. Briefly misspelled his name Christina Vazquez, which made me giggle, then the Cancel Police knocked my door off its hinges, and I’m stuck with the cost, plus I have to pay for their overtime! Geez, things are out of control. You know what’s also out of control? (An impeccable segue), that the Twins would just be better going with Jeffers, but that’ll never happen. Vazquez has huge pop (for 2 weeks a year), and is valuable (for maybe three). For 2023, I’ll give Vazquez projections of 43/8/50/.269/4 in 376 ABs
Trevor Williams – Signed with the Nats. Starter or reliever, Williams was asked, and he said he’d go wherever the Nats need him, so he’ll play at 2B, SS, 3B, starter, closer, reliever, all three outfield spots.
Kodai Senga – Signed with the Mets. *screaming like the Sega commercial voice* Senga! He should slot in as their number three, behind Verlander and Scherzer. No presh. The crazy thing is, for his price, at least right now, Senga might be the best one for the buck. Last year, he had a 1.89 ERA in 148 IP with a 1.04 WHIP, a 9.7 K/9, 3 BB/9 and been doing it for a decade. He has a 2.42 ERA in 1340 2/3 career innings. Damn, what’s he Japanese Kershaw? Call him Clayton Konnichiwa. As we’ve learned from past segments of “This guy just came over from Japan,” NPB is more competitive than Triple-A, but less so than the majors. Quad-A? Sure, but that’s got a connotation to it of guys who can’t make it in the States, and clearly a lot of them can be stars. Senga throws hard — has touched 100 MPH, and has a cutter, slider, curve and a forkball that eats up hitters (pun point!). He could be outstanding this year with hitters completely unfamiliar with him, but, when push comes to him shoving, he won’t have elite command or strikeouts. If it’s 3.5 BB/9 and a 8.5 K/9, then he’s gonna be in trouble, and might be more like the Mets’ number four with Carrasco more as the three. If he gets out strong early on, due to unfamiliarity, he might sneak by for the first half of the year with much higher Ks and lower walks. Will be a flyer I’ll definitely be willing to take, if his price stays around 180+ ADP. For 2023, I’ll give Kodai Senga projections of 10-9/3.61/1.19/143 in 152 IP.
Sean Manaea – Signed with the Giants. Was looking at Manaea’s stats, and couldn’t for the life of me remember why I liked him so much going into last year, to the point where I wrote a sleeper post for him. Guess it was the above-average Ks and excellent command, but Keyzer Sozë your fingers to your lips and go poof because that’s gone. It shows you the danger of liking a guy who has a barely 9 K/9 and 2 BB/9. If it goes to 8-something and 3-something, then it sucks. He lost velocity on his sinker (stinker) and can’t use anything but his slider. Maybe the Giants can work some magic, but it’s not worth the flyer for the bounce back unless it’s dirt cheap in an incredibly deep league. For 2023, I’ll give Sean Manaea projections of 9-11/4.19/1.26/169 in 172 IP.
Chris Bassitt – Signed with the Jays. Usually my love for starters ebbs and flows, like any great Saberhagenmetrician, but I find myself loving Bassitt every year. *pats head* Whatta good boy! Maybe it is my love for dogs that finds its way into my Bassitt passion, my Passitt. It’s just so hard to not love a guy with command like he has. Not as a number one, clearly, but he’s a solid number three always and forever, Dog almighty! For 2023, I’lll give Bassitt projections of 12-10/3.61/1.17/171 in 189 IP.
Kevin Kiermaier – Signed with the Jays. Guy who is nicknamed Kays, signs with Jays, and everyone is just going to pretend there’s not some larger force at play?! If only that larger force helped Kiermaier be even halfway interesting for fantasy. Stupid larger force. For 2023, I’ll give Kevin Kiermaier projections of 43/9/46/.224/8 in 374 ABs.