I was waiting for Manny Machado or Bryce Harper to sign before dropping the last bit of offseason signings before the rankings that start on Monday, but apparently the Phillies only have $300 million for each, and they want $325-plus respectively, so we need to go forward with the news without Machado and Bryce. The last bit of big news was Yusei Kikuchi signing with the Mariners. He reminds me of every other Japanese pitcher, but not in a raycess way. He reminds me of Miles Mikolas too, who was only Asian after being reborn. It’s something about Asian pitchers, and non-Asian pitchers who go to Asia and return; they exercise some serious control. Maybe it’s the culture. I had a robot watch Gung Ho 15,000 times to tell me what it thinks and now the robot is speaking super-racist. Yo, robot, why are you so culturally inappropriate? “I have no culture of my own, so I adopt yours. And I kill puppies.” AHHH!!! ROBOT MURDERER!!! RUN!!! Or roll your swivel chair towards a door if running is too much for you. Kikuchi, which is going to be fun for me to say this year, comes with a lot less fanfare than Ohtani, but I do think he can be better than him, pitching-wise, in his first full season. Ohtani is a unicorn in Babe Ruth’s body, we all know this. Kikuchi reminds me of Mikolas and Ryu and others in that mold. He’s a decent strikeout guy, but won’t blow people away, while also having impeccable command. I’m definitely looking to draft him this year, then passing him up every other year when he fails to throw 130 IP in consecutive seasons because the Japanese also completely overwork their starters. In fact (Grey’s got more!), the Mariners have already said Kikuchi will only throw an inning or so every fifth or sixth start to try to preemptively avoid the inevitable arm injury that befalls every Japanese starter. For 2019, I’ll give Kikuchi projections of 9-7/3.67/1.18/136 in 151 IP. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2019 fantasy baseball:
Tim Beckham – Signed with the Mariners. “I’m just getting settled in, but everyone has been so nice to me. They keep moving my bags to my car, even if I tell them they don’t need to.” That’s J.P. Crawford who was the Mariners’ shortstop for approx. 56 days while failing to secure one start. Mariners are rebuilding while actually making their team better and ruining narratives. Their lineup might actually be better this year than it was last year. For 2019, I’ll give Tim Beckham projections of 58/17/64/.247/3 in 489 ABs.
Brian Dozier – Signed with the Nationals. Dozier’s peripherals scream, “Aging guy — beware!” Then they lower their hearing aid. Last year, he hit .215, but his strikeout rate was 20.4%, about his career average, his walk rate 11.1%, above career norm, and his BABIP plummeted, which should mean he’s due for a rebound. However (NOOOOO!!!), he got old, which means less line drives, more ground balls, more weak fly balls, his BABIP fell because that’s his new norm, and his average home run went 379 feet, which is insane. When Dozier came to bat, did they put the outfield fences on dollies and slide them in 20 feet? I didn’t even know you could hit one 379-foot homer, let alone 21 of them. For 2019, I’ll give Dozier projections of 71/19/78/.229/12 in 571 ABs.
Yasmani Grandal – Signed with the Brewers. He signed for $18.25 million after turning down a 4-year, $60 million deal from the Mets. Grandal didn’t want to play for the same team as Bobby Bonilla, apparently. Be interesting to see what this signing does for Grandal’s ADP, because he’s currently going after a bunch of guys who I think he’s better than. Of course, I’m punting top catchers either way, and likely won’t own him or the catchers above him, so there’s that. For 2019, I’ll give Grandal the projections of 62/25/70/.246/1 in 427 ABs.
Keon Broxton – Traded to the Mets. Love it! What’s going on, I’m enjoying the moves the Mets are making this year. Is something wrong with me? Is new Mets’ GM Brodie Von Trapp a genius? Is it a coincidence The Sound of Music anagrams to Mets Undo, Sic of…Uh? I got questions, y’all! I also love the Brewers trading away pieces that I want to get playing time. Maybe they can talk some sense into the Rockies about trading all of their buried players. For now, Broxton is merely a backup to Lagares and Yoenis will return at some point, but maybe Broxton weasels his way into 400+ ABs. For 2019, I’ll give Broxton the projections of 27/9/32/.218/15 in 283 ABs with a chance for more.
J.D. Davis – Traded to the Mets. Brodie Van Jenner is like, “You mean I can make any moves I want and the Mets fans will like them? Then let’s do every move offered!” This move is decent for the Mets, real world-wise, but fantasy-wise it concerns me. This is hinting at what I think is already an issue, the Mets don’t seem like they want to play Jeff McNeil full-time or Peter Alonso in April/May. I hope I’m wrong, but you don’t get Davis if you don’t plan on playing him against lefties, at least. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Todd Frazier will just retire in March. Last year in Triple-A in 85 games, Davis hit 17 homers and .342, which is why we’re even talking about him, and why I might be saying Just Dong, the Sequel, by early April. I like him, but he needs at-bats. For 2019, I’ll give J.D. Davis projections of 26/11/30/.238/1 in 233 ABs.
Blake Parker – Signed with the Twins. He could be their closer, which will help solidify the Twins’ bullpen and the Angels as a team of ‘what not to do.’ Parker had a 2.90 ERA and a 156/35 K/BB in 133 2/3 IP over the last two years, a 10.3 K/9 and 3.29 ERA in his career, and the Angels cut him. Was that one final move they allowed The Sciosciapath to make? For 2019, I’ll give Parker projections of 3-3/3.36/1.26/65, 22 saves in 61 IP.
Nelson Cruz – Signed with the Twins. The Twins have added C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop and Cruz. In other words, the Twins’ great aunt died and left a stipulation in her will that they must sign some hitters who give the appearance the Twins are trying to make their team better without actually making them better. A difficult balancing act, to be sure. If I sound angry, it’s because I am. Cruz kills my Tyler Austin/Jake Cave sleeper post. Not cool, Twins. Now watch, Cruz and Cron will be injured in April and Austin and Cave will have great seasons, just not on my teams. To quote another Nelson, HA-HA. For 2019, I’ll give Cruz projections of 74/32/87/.251/1 in 504 ABs.
Kevin Plawecki – Traded to the Indians. He has 14 homers in 703 career at-bats, which doesn’t sound great, but if the Indians get into an extra-inning game that goes until around the 1,000th inning, and Plawecki stays in the game for 250 extra at-bats, I could see Plawecki easily topping his career high of seven homers in a season. Scarily enough, Plawecki is the more offensive of the Indians’ two catchers (Roberto Perez is other). For 2019, I’ll give Plawecki projections of 37/9/45/.244 in 362 ABs.
Kelvin Herrera – Signed with the White Sox. Now the closer job is murky with Colome. Lowercase yay! Not what I wanted to see. How about we do the Bird Box Challenge but while looking at the White Sox bullpen? My guess is Colome and Herrera now will share the role in some capacity. In other words, Herrera will be the closer when healthy, but won’t be healthy all year. For 2019, Herrera projections are 1-3/3.28/1.23/36, 21 saves in 42 IP.
Jon Jay – Signed with the White Sox. ‘The Federalist goes with the White Sox’ sounds like he was at the pool with Benjamin Franklin and they were just getting redressed after Ben convinced him to ‘touch his electrical rod.’ If this Jay signing takes one single at-bat away from Nicky Delmonico, I will scream. If it takes an at-bat away from Eloy, I will jump out of a 1st-floor window into rose bushes. For 2019, I’ll give Jay projections of 42/2/28/.271/6 in 346 ABs.
David Robertson – Signed with the Phils. Gabe Kapler said Robertson will be used as a late-innings reliever, because he doesn’t believe in calling a guy a closer. See, Kapler likes to keep his options open. Like the option to lose the game with Hector Neris, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, Juan Nicasio or even Seranthony Hopkins Dominguez. My guess is Robertson will see about 85% of saves while Kapler will keep the Phils’ closer job an open audition for the entire year. For 2019, I’ll give Robertson projections of 6-2/2.77/1.05/91, 31 saves in 67 IP.
Shelby Miller – Signed with the Rangers. He still hasn’t fully returned from 2017 Tommy John surgery, but he was throwing 94.5 MPH last year. He had no command, which isn’t abnormal for a pitcher returning. What’s less ideal is he had discomfort in his surgically-repaired arm. Maybe the Rangers can trade him to the Braves for Dansby Swanson, if Dave Stewart happens to be walking by the Braves’ GM office when the phone rings. “Hey, I don’t work here, but let me grab the horn and see who it is.” That’s Dave Stewart walking through any office.
Troy Tulowitzki – Signed with the Yankees. He told the media, “I’m extremely happy to be joining–” and it appeared that he strained his quad between “happy” and “to.” No word on how long he’ll be out. Honestly, it’s just a bridge loan until Didi returns from Tommy John, the surgery, not the underwear or person. For 2019, I’ll give Tulowitzki projections of 34/12/38/.258 in 278 ABs.
Zach Britton – Re-signed with the Yankees, because Britton is a turncoat. Though, better than resigning with the Orioles or reallocating retirement funds to buy Orioles gear. Britton’s numbers were terrible last year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Aroldis goes down at some point and Betances is skipped over for Britton. Yankees can’t break away from Britton and I’m sippin’ high-taxed tea. For 2019, Britton projections at 2-5/3.78/1.30/53, 6 saves in 57 IP.
Matt Shoemaker – Signed a deal with the Jays. The Blue Jays with a solid signing! Nice, BJs, which is something no married man has ever said. The Cobbler is going to make some contender extremely happy when he’s traded in July. Could see Shoemaker in the AL East working behind Happ, Sale or maybe even Snell in August. Watch the Jays shock the world and promote Vlad Jr., Biggio and Bichette and every other demon seed of the 2005 All-Star Game, and be a contender themselves. As for Shoemaker, he is your standard, “When healthy, so sexy” starter. WHSS, for short. WHSS is also short for Wishes are for Suckers. Of course, I will draft Shoemaker and accept his 50-something dominant innings, while praying for 140+ innings. For 2019, I’ll give Shoemaker projections of 7-5/3.69/1.22/127 in 134 IP.
Clayton Richard – Jays acquired him from the Padres for cash considerations. In other words, the Padres shipped Richard to the Jays, and held out a cup that said, “Don’t tip cows, tip your barista,” and the Jays considered it, then said, “Nah.”
Jonathan Lucroy – Signed with the Angels. Lucroy manages to stay in the league because he’s a team player. Which is to say he’s a player and he’s on a team. For 2019, I’ll give Lucroy projections of 38/5/41/.232/1 in 423 ABs.