The Chicago White Sox have had a nice 48 hours, haven’t they? A day after getting four solid prospects for Chris Sale, they sent Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals for three more. Their top five prospects now rival anyone’s in baseball, and that says a lot.
Oh, and the New York Yankees went New York Yankees once again.
This is where analytics will kill the average fan. This was a HUGE overpay for the Nationals, but the metrics guy will tell you that the Nationals just got them a 6 WAR player last year.
So what? That was last year, hands down the best of Eaton’s very average career. The other factor was that Eaton’s WAR was enhanced by a nearly 2.0 dWAR in right field. He is now expected to be the centerfielder for the Nats, a vastly different position.
For those who want to point to WAR, I point to wRC+. That’s the metric that tells you how valuable said player is in creating runs, based at plate appearances and park factors and such. Last season, Eaton had a 115 wRC+ (an average player is 100). That is worse than both his 2015 119 wRC+ and 2014 118 wRC+. So, in a matter of speaking, last season may not have been Eaton’s finest.
Eaton is a nice player. He’s quick, a solid defender, has middling power and really doesn’t strikeout a whole lot, which is nice in this day. Giolito and Lopez are major league ready prospects. They had a rough go in their big league debuts, but they showed a lot of promise. Lopez proved to be too hittable and Giolito proved to be a bit wild. Those are fixable flaws. Dunning is last year’s first-rounder, one whom was part of a sick Gators rotation and could be moved rather quickly up the pipeline (check out a breakdown of all three prospects by John Sickels over at Minor League Ball). The Nats will have a good outfielder in 2017, the White Sox will win this deal over the long haul.
The Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman for five years at $86-million, with not only a no-trade clause, but a team specific no-trade clause.
Brian Cashman made waves last season getting dead money off the books, and the Yankees respond by blowing way too much money on Chapman.
The casual Yankees fan, the one’s I am reading on Facebook and Twitter, saying how “we” robbed the Cubs because “we” got Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney and Adam Warren for nothing are wrong. The Chicago Cubs got a World Series, and in Wade Davis, they got a way out of signing a reliever to an absolutely ridiculous contract.
Chapman is great, but Mariano Rivera he is not. Here’s the bottom line. Relievers are not built like Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera anymore. They don’t last 20 years with any sort of consistency. Rivera and Hoffman lasted because they had two sick pitches — Mo with the cutter and Hoffman with that change — not simply heat. People will tell you Chapman’s slider is nasty, which it is, but we all know he doesn’t use it nearly as much as that gas.
He will have to in order to outlast the five years. Chapman is great right now, there is no doubt. But he has also been hittable the past few years, starting with his 2015 in Cincinnati. The thing with throwing a 104 mile per hour fastball is that it’s all timing. Eventually, like four years down the road, that fastball loses velocity as one ages, and the pitch becomes easier to hit.
Look, Chapman will have a nice run, and probably a great 2017. But we are talking big picture here. This seems very much like the contracts that Cashman and company worked so hard to get rid of last season. While Chapman is elite when it comes to closers, it’s simply because a closer is expendable.
Want proof? A.J. Ramos went 40-for-43 in save opportunites for the Marlins last season. How did the Marlins repay him? They just offered Kenley Jansen (who I feel is better than Chapman) a five-year deal.
This could hurt the Yankees down the road. It simply seems a backwards step after so much moving forward at the end of last season.
The Chicago Cubs trade Jorge Soler for Wade Davis
Move along, there’s nothing to see here. This was a good trade for both sides. The Cubs are probably deeper than anybody in outfield talent (Eloy Jimenez will rival for top prospect in the game by season’s end) and the Royals don’t have much need for Davis right now. They got younger and a possible young power bat in the outfield. Sure, Davis is a bit older and certainly a little bit injury-prone, but man, what he’s done in the postseason is pretty impressive, and the Cubs plan on returning to the postseason for a few more years, I’m sure.
The Rule V Draft saw four Yankees prospects get taken
The Rule V Draft is always fun. Caleb Smith, Luis Torrens, Tyler Webb and Tyler Jones were all taken from the Yankees, so now we’ll see who makes the 25-man and who is returned. Dylan Covey, Allen Cordoba and Josh Rutledge highlight some of the other big names selected.