Looking back at trades and moves since Christmas:
By adding Bailey to their bullpen, who should immediately take over as the closer (sorry, Mark Melancon), I’m reasonably certain that at least one of Alfredo Aceves or Daniel Bard will join the rotation. Its been talked about all off-season, but in my experience these discussions happen about five times as often as the move actually happens. Good relievers turning to starters have a pretty good track record – Ogando last year, Ryan Dempster, CJ Wilson – and I would expect Bard, Aceves, or both to do fine. In right field, I suppose Sweeney just slots in directly for the playing time I expected would go to Reddick. In the mean forecast, I actually have Sweeney being a touch better than Reddick for 2012 – but that is conditioned by Sweeney having some demonstrated fragility, a much lower chance of surprising you to the upside this year, and a lower chance of improving in future years. Sweeney adds to the collection of OK but unexciting outfielders the Red Sox have in-system: Ryan Kalish (who will miss the first two months or so), Dan Nava, Alex Hassan.
Hill is a TJ-reclamation project five years removed from a good season, and I don’t expect him to contribute.
Cubs: Signed Andy Sonnanstine.
In the Tampa Bay system, Sonnanstine was the beneficiary of solid defensive teams that made him look, at times, almost respectable. Wrigley Field is not going to be his friend.
I am not sure what the Sox are trying to do with this, unless they really think that Quentin is damaged beyond repair or such head case they no longer want to deal with them. Who they expect to play the outfield for them has me baffled – I suppose they are committed to Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo, but Brent Lillibridge (or Adam Dunn(!)) are the only other players in-system with outfield experience and a projected EqA north of .245, which equates to “remarkably thin”. I had them as the best contender to the Tigers for the AL Central, but they’ll have to shore up that outfield. I’m wondering, given their experience with Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez, if they aren’t making a strong for Yoennis Cespedes.
Of the pitchers they got, I’d expect Castro (who reached AAA wit the Padres) and maybe Hernandez (who made AA) to make appearances in the majors this year, but not to remain up for very long. Jaye and Webb are much farther away, and none of the four have pitched like a sure-fire major leaguer.
Yankees: Signed Andruw Jones.
Jones steps in for what figures to be another 200 or so PA, backing up the heretofore durable Yankee outfielders and occasionally stepping in at DH. He’s a step up from Justin Maxwell, who pretty much drops off the depth chart.
Reddick is the only player here i expect to see in Oakland this year. He’s a pretty average outfielder, roughly equal to Sweeney for this year, but a fair bit more growth potential in the power department. Head turned in a really nice half-season in the Sally League last year, but none of his other stops point to a major league first baseman. Alcantara was in the Gulf Coast League last year, and did well enough for me to consider him a decent long-term prospect – but it’s a huge gap between the GCL and the majors.
I had Castro slotted for about 10 starts this year, which I’ll now pass on to Joe Wieland (who I like better, anyway) instead. I’m assuming that Quentin locks down left field, which should kick off a big fight between Yonder Alonso, Kyle Blanks, Jesus Guzman, and Anthony Rizzo for first base, a fight that could, in a stretch, also draw in Will Venable or Chris Denorfia. That’s a fight that Alonso probably wins, although the projections for all of them are close enough that the hottest March hand could take it. Quentin gives the Pads a proven power bat, but a) they look like a distant fifth-place team, b) he’s brittle, and c) has a pretty lousy projection going forward for a 28-year-old (probably because of injuries and lack of speed) …I don’t see how this fits in as part of a plan.
Giants: Signed Boof Bonser.
Hasn’t had a positive RAR since 2007.
When I first filled out a depth chart for the Blue Jays, I had real problems with the Toronto bullpen, and I wound up assigning 20 innings apiece to seven different guys with lousy (4.50+ ERA) projections. Frasor and Oliver – not so much, Laffey – wipe out most of those and cut a quarter run off the projected bullpen ERA.
Nationals: Signed Michael Ballard.