Feels weird to say Spring Training is right around the corner when my neck of the woods has upwards of 20-something inches of snow on the way tomorrow night-ish. But, Spring Training is right around the corner! And it’s a good thing, too, cuz these weekly offseason updates are getting less exciting from here on out since all the sexy names have finally gone somewhere. There are some good players yet to be signed, but no one I’m on the edge of my seat over. Does anyone really expect Justin Turner not to be a Dodger at this point?
This past week was a bunch of meh faces in new places for the most part, except my boy Benny Baseball is closer to home now after a three-team trade I’ll be jumping into straight away:
Andrew Benintendi is fantasy relevant once again! Hallelujah! If’n you forgot, I’m a Razorback alum, so Benny Baseball is, like, my hero. He lived up to the draft hype early on, finishing second in AL ROY voting back in 2017 — a year in which he reached the coveted 20/20 milestone and had 90 RBI. Benny went on to play a key role in winning the 2018 World Series with Boston. After that, though…well, dynasty owners know the story better than anyone. Anyhoodles, Benintendi is with the Royals now after a three-way trade sent Franchy Cordero to Boston and prospect Khalil Lee to the Mets. Benny is projected to provide double-digit HR and SB according to our Razzball/Steamer projections. The Hog fan in me wants to say he’ll flirt with 15/15, and sometimes a change of scenery is just the trick to bring a player back to prominence. You can pay a price of around a #230 pick to find out — the upside is well worth that price, in my humbly-non-biased opinion (hard for me to do with him, ngl). Don’t worry; I’m not entirely blind to his downside either. I’m giving out positive vibes for my boi, but I fully recognize he’s fallen off a cliff in the last couple years. Still, I truly believe that 20/20 potential is in there somewhere. As for Cordero, I dig this move, and his fantasy stock is definitely significantly increased now (ICMYI: Grey’s Franchy Cordero sleeper post). Lefties wreck at Fenway, and the power/speed potential here is tantalizing. Oh so very tantalizing. He’ll have good pieces around him, even if Boston isn’t the World Series powerhouse they used to be. Cordero doesn’t have a long track record, though, so it’s a little tough to gauge. The tools are there, even if the hit tool isn’t blowing anyone away. Daddy likey that 70-grade speed/raw power, though. Take it for what it’s worth given the sample size, but Cordero had a .343 xBA and .631 xSLG last season. He should have the starting LF gig and will only cost you a couple farts worth of a pick (ADP 409.67 — which is a hella lot safer ). Oh yeah, the other guy…I don’t have a lot to say about Lee. Had a high pedigree one upon a time, but he’s slipped and lost his luster. He’s very, very fast; I know that much (53 steals in Double-A in 2019). Dynasty material for sure, but zilch otherwise. More like Khalil Leave-him-on-the-wire, amirite? Not my best, but I can’t help myself!
There was another pretty big trade: Elvis Andrus and Khris Davis swapped places. Andrus maybe gets a slight upgrade fantasy-wise given the improved offense around him, but I don’t super love this for Davis. Oakland can mash; Texas not so much. The supporting cast is weaker, but on the flip side, at least the environment is a little more hitter-friendly (according to Swish Analytics). Davis has forgotten how to hit .247 and instead has hit .220 and .200 the last couple years. Sure, he’s been hurt, but it’s still not encouraging. I’m not really expecting 48 HR and 123 RBI like he gave us back in 2018. Razzball/Steamer gives us 23 HR and 55 RBI. Bleh. In his HR glory days, he was barreling upwards of 17.5% of the time. In 2019, it was 9.8%. In 2020, it was 8.3%. Bleh. Sad to say, I no longer have a Khrush on Davis.
Adam Duvall is a member of the Marlins now. His 2020 was hella fun, and it’s easy to forget (read: I totally did forget) that he had back-to-back 30-HR campaigns in 2016/2017. The BA will always be awful, but the barrel rate has always been very strong. His plate discipline from year to year is incredibly consistent. With regular ABs — and that’s not a guarantee in Miami — I don’t see any reason to expect less than 25ish HR. Last year’s pace of 45 probably ain’t sticking, but 25? 30? Sure, I’ll bet on that, and I’ll bet on mostly everyday ABs. And I’ll happily pay for his exact-same-as-Franchy ADP of 409.67 if I’m looking for more power later on draft day.
Renato Nunez was signed by the Tigers after he was kinda oddly let go by the O’s. He should be a cheap source of power that won’t tank your average quite as bad as Duvall or Davis probably would. Nunez smacked 31 HR in 2019 and was on a 37-HR pace last season. It’s a bummer he’s out of Camden now, but Comerica is pretty friendly to righties. He’s basically free in drafts these days.
I made an oopsie last week if you caught it: I had put a comment below my article that Jonathan Villar was with the Reds, but I was working off erroneous info! He’s now with the Mets, so that kinda sucks for fantasy. With Cincy, he’s a starter. With New York, he’s a utility dude. He’s blocked by Lindor at SS and McNeil at 2B. I wonder if he vultures some time away from J.D. Davis at 3B? Or he could even get OF time. Dude can play just about anywhere. We all know he’s been a stolen base machine the past few years, so hopefully they find a way to let him do his thang. I just hope that doesn’t come the expense of my boy JDD.
There were a few other non-sexy signings that I’m just gonna mention all at once here. Brandon Kinzler signed with the Phillies, and he could be somewhat in the closer mix if he makes the big league squad (he signed a minors deal, passing on a major league deal with Miami, interestingly enough). Nomar Mazara is with the Tigers. I wanna like him and root for him, but I’ve just lost interest at this point. But Grey, who is certainly smarter than I, has Mazara as #86 OF on the Top 100 Outfielders for 2021 Fantasy Baseball . Either way, this sucks for Victor Reyes owners since it pushes him to the bench. Ken Giles signed with the Mariners. Remember, they added Rafael Montero, so now maybe it’s a battle to see who closes? Certainly gives the M’s some cushion if Montero can’t replicate his 2020 success. Jake McGee signed with the Giants. I have zero faith he’s ever fantasy relevant again — just wanted to mention him in case you saw his name and remembered he used to be a lil’ bit fantasy relevant. Greg Bird is interesting, if only because he’ll now be hitting in Coors Field after signing with the Rockies. I’ve been on the Sneaky Power From Bird Train for a few years, but it’s pretty apparent he’s gonna have to luck into some playing time to make anything worthwhile happen. Yadier Molina found his way back to the Cardinals. He’s relevant only because he’s a starting catcher who won’t be totally useless. Marwin Gonzalez signed with the Red Sox, where he’ll continue to be the poster boy of an MLB Swiss Army knife. Mark Melancon signed with the Padres, but he’ll just be middle-innings reliever most likely. Don’t think he’ll be threatening anyone else for save opportunities, like, ever again.
Really hardly anything on the rumors front anymore, so I’m not even giving a subheading for them. The Cardinals are likely done spending, so that kills the Jake Odorizzi buzz. Justin Turner has interest from several clubs, but like I said earlier, surely it’s just gonna be the Dodgers, right? Apparently the Mets and Cubs are talking Kris Bryant again. I don’t buy it, though. Why pay for Bryant when you’ve already got Davis? Everyone else should just stay woke and let Bryant be the Cubs’ problem. Saw some whispers about Shin-Soo Choo joining the Brewers, but haven’t seen anything since. He could see time at 1B were he to sign. Lastly, Rich Hill seems pretty close to signing with the Rays. Maybe it’ll be done by the time you’re reading this. He’s so, so, so risky because of his 40-year-old body, but he can give you ace-esque returns for an NFBC ADP of 475.91 when healthy.
Alrighty, Razzballers, that’s all I’ve got for ya’s this week. Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787.