Happy New Year! Hope you got to spend time with loved ones, whether from a safe social or virtual distance. Took last week off, but BOY OH CHEF BOYARDEE did we have a lot happen lately. In San Diego, at least.
Here’s the best of the past couple weeks in the world of baseball:
Top international target Ha-Seong Kim is now with the Padres, along with everyone else in Major League Baseball. Jake Cronenworth managers should not be happy about this one. Silver lining I guess is the fact that although Kim may have raked in the KBO, the competition over there is far from high-level. It’s more akin to Double-A. Despite all that, ZiPS projects .274/.345/.478 with 23 HR and 15 SB. Don’t think ol’ Croney is giving anyone that. I would imagine Kim is the starting 2B, and that makes him a delicious fantasy option if he can get close to those projections. He’s only 25, and while there’s bound to be an adjustment period, he could very well turn out to be worth all the hype. That kind of power and speed at 2B ain’t all that common, and he will have no shortage of teammates to help drive him in.
Hansel Robles signed with the Twins. Last year was total trash, but at least he’s in the pen for a good team now, right? Robles had one single save in 2020 and like the worst ratios ever. Absolute bust of a pick for anyone hoping for a bargain on saves (I was one of ’em). Stillllll, it’s hard to put a lot of stock in 2020 crash-and-burn stories. It’s a new year and a new team for him. He won’t be handed closing duties, of course, but current Twins closer Taylor Rogers is coming off a rough 2020 as well. If my money is on just one of the two to bounce back, it’s easily Rogers. But it’s worth keeping Robles on the radar for holds and maybe saves anyway.
Former Nippon Professional Baseball pitcher Kohei Arihara got himself a two-year deal with the Rangers. He’ll slot into the bottom half of the rotation most likely. Unlike the KOB, the Japanese league features better competition, and Arihara certainly has been successful. In 2019, he went 15-8 with a 2.46 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. Last year wasn’t quite as good (8-9 with 3.46 ERA and 1.17 WHIP). He doesn’t walk many batters but also isn’t striking out a zillion either. Good news is the long ball is not a problem for him. The Rangers are pretty poopy, but Arihara could serve as a bargain for ratios.
Matt Andriese signed with the Red Sox. RosterResource slots him in as the #4 starter. I’m really only looking at him in deep leagues, and I’m not sure he sticks in the rotation all that long. He’s only made six starts in the past three seasons combined. He had some nice numbers in 2020 as a reliever though, so maybe he gets some late inning work if he gets moved down to the pen? A 5.91 H/9 and 1.00 WHIP look pretty good to me. Generates double-digit swinging strike percentages and doesn’t give up too many hard hits.
Won’t have tangible fantasy implications for a little while, but Yoelqui Cespedes (lil bro of Yoenis Cespedes) signed with the White Sox. He’s #1 on MLB.com’s international free agent list. The outfielder brings power and speed and really all of it. Average hit tool, above average power, above average fielding, plus arm, and plus speed. He’s only 5’9 but weighs 205. And he’s already 23 years old, so his MLB debut may not be too far off. So we could be looking at Cespedes + Luis Robert + Eloy Jimenez very soon. Dayum. Dynasty folks, stash this kid away.
The Padres went absolutely bonkers. Totally all in for 2021, and they didn’t even have to pay all that much. C.J. Abrams? Still a Dad. Luis Campusano? Still a Dad. MacKenzie Gore? Still a Dad. Robert Hassell? Also still a Dad. So in a span of 24 hours, the Padres acquired former Rays ace Blake Snell and former Cubs ace Yu Darvish. They gave a bunch of prospects (including Luis Patino) and Zach Davies away, but the return was immense. They also signed that dude I mentioned above. I can’t remember a time a team went so video game trade mode on everyone. It’s like they went in and turned on “Force Trades” in the settings. How did Darvish go for just that package? Anyway, whatever. The fantasy implications are obvious. Davies goes to a worse team: bad. Snell and Darvish go to better teams and a pitcher-friendly park: good.
Josh Bell was another “big” name traded, going from the worst team in baseball to the Nationals. It was so Pirates to not trade Bell after 2019’s stellar production but to actually trade him after 2020’s plummet to rock bottom. I put “big” in quotations because I’ve never been a fan and didn’t buy into his hot 2019 start. His outlook certainly improves now that he’ll hit behind Trea Turner and Juan Soto, but meh. I’ll still likely pass unless he falls quite a bit and I still need a first baseman.
Rumors and whatnot
Nothing has happened yet, but Luis Castillo is reportedly being shopped around by the Reds. Man, these guys are just straight giving up, I guess. Castillo is an ace on a squad that had arguably three last season…and may have none of them next season. It’s a foregone conclusion that Trevor Bauer is signing elsewhere, and Grey’s bae Sonny Gray has been tossed around in trade rumors as well. Castillo has been elite for three of his four seasons as a big leaguer, really. Took the world by storm his first year, then had a touch of sophomore slump. But 2019 and 2020 were *fire emoji*. I’m quite interested to see how this shakes out, and I really hope my Cardinals try for him. That’s the pipiest of pipe dreams, but 2020 is over and I just need this right now please and thank you.
Little bit of a George Springer update. Apparently the Mets and the Blue Jays are the finalists. I mean it’s gotta be the Mets, right? I like his fantasy outlook pretty equally regardless, to be honest.
Little bit of a Trevor Bauer update. He met with the Blue Jays recently. I don’t know what this means for him actually signing there, but the Jays certainly have the dough to splash. Could it be the Blue Jays and Mets are the finalists for Bauer, as well? The Jays have a fantastic young core to build around and actually a really solid lineup all things considered. Pitching is the problem. Bauer goes a long way toward fixing that, and don’t forget about phenom Nate Pearson.
The Slam Diego lineup is like fully set. So loaded. But they need pen help. Buzz on the street is they’re talking about bringing back Kirby Yates. Man, I was so high on that dude last year. I don’t usually draft closers early, but I wanted him in a short volatile season. Oh well. Maybe the future holds better things for him. Whoever closes in San Diego is gonna be a HOT HOT HOT commodity.
Joe Musgrove has drawn some interest from teams. There always seems to be a boatload of offseason hype on him and he never fulfills it. But gotta admit, I’m interested if he leaves Pittsburgh.