Showing posts with label Javier Vázquez. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Javier Vázquez. Show all posts

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hot Stove Update: Adam Dunn Lands in Chicago

Brett Gardner is having surgery to fix a problem in his wrist, the problem has been described as tendinitis. Kind of weird to need surgery to fix tendinitis in my experience, but the Yankees expect him to be ready to go at the start of Spring Training. I'm just a little worried...

Lance Berkman is leaning towards Colorado as his new home. He would apparently do so as a part-time first baseman and ocassional outfielder. I'm not certain that Berkman needs to sign as a back-up. The Athletics are supposedly after him as a lineup regular...

Are you counting on Joe Nathan making a triumphant return in 2011? Maybe you invested in Nathan during his Tommy John Season to get him ultra cheap. Chances are you still wasted your money. As Parker Hageman of Over the Baggy (an excellent Twins Blog) explains, pitchers usually require 22-24 months before they can be effective after TJS. Though there have been some relevant exceptions as Parker points out.

Derek Jeter and the Yankees Brass met for the first time in three weeks on Wednesday, at Jeter's request. Supposedly, they needed to meet and remember how much they love each other. No one agrees with me that they should just pay him. But can we agree that the Yankees could just give him what he wants and not suffer for it?

Over at the Tao of Stieb (a most excellent Blue Jays Blog) they are losing sleep over Adam Lind. They worry that his awful splits against lefties will continue into the 2011 season. I'd be more worried that the Jays bench him against lefties without giving him another shot at them. He was that bad last season. That's probably just as senseless, but you never know what a new manager will do. Am I fear mongering? I feel like FOX News...

Key Free Agent Signings

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a four-year contract with first baseman Adam Dunn.

Adam Dunn has agreed to a deal with the Chicago White Sox according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale. The deal won't be official until Dunn passes a physical scheduled for Friday, December 3rd, but it looks pretty solid. I usually wait until these things are locked in but no one else does so whatever. It's a four-year, $56 million deal, he'll become the regular designated hitter if they manage to re-sign Paul Konerko.

Dunn is an excellent power hitter. He has great plate discipline and patience at the plate. He is not a great contact hitter but more than makes up for that with his tremendous power. The White Sox have been an aggressive running team under Ozzie Guillen. We may see stolen bases return to Dunn's game. Obviously, big, slow, aging dudes shouldn't be counted on for their speed, but 5-10 steals would be nice for his fantasy value. Dunn also moves out of a neutral to slight pitcher's park into one of the premiere homerun parks. He should be a lock for 40-plus homers.

The Boston Red Sox have agreed on a one-year deal with catcher Jason Varitek.

Jason Varitek agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal to stay with the Boston Red Sox. At the moment the Red Sox have penciled Jarrod Saltalamacchia into the starting catcher role. That could easily be reversed or develop into a platoon.

The Seattle Mariners signed free agent LHP Erik Bedard.

The Seattle Mariners are desperately trying to get something out of the time, energy and players they spent on Erik Bedard. If he's healthy, he's a fantastic number two starter, if he's plowing through an injury he's rotation filler, and if he's truly injured, it will be typical Erik Bedard.

The Florida Marlins signed free agent RHP Javier Vazquez.

I like this move for the Marlins, especially after the series of poor moves they made to kick off the hot stove season. I think back in the National League, Javier Vazquez should rebound at least some. I doubt he'll be the pitcher he was in 2009 with the Braves but still a better than average pitcher. I think he hates pitching in the American League and especially in New York City. Just a hunch, that is...

Fantasy owners should be aware that Vazquez has seen his fastball velocity drop three consecutive seasons. During the 2009 season he claimed that he had worked on reducing his velocity to increase his command but who knows if that's what we're seeing here. I would bid up to $2o in my deep NL-only but not further than that. That's fairly confident he rebounds, isn't it?

The San Francisco Giants signed free agent SS Miguel Tejada.

Miguel Tejada agreed to a one-year, $6.5 million contract with the Giants on Tuesday. The Giants may still be in on shortstops Jason Bartlett and J.J. Hardy, but I'm sure what they were willing to deal for either player has now been drastically reduced.

Tejada is just barely hanging on at this point. His bat has been severely reduced and his fantasy value is mostly dependent on his position. Don't dig too deep to add him to your roster.

The Trades

The Seattle Mariners traded infielder Jose Lopez to the Colorado Rockies for right-hander Chaz Roe.

Jose Lopez is not a good player and I have absolutely no idea why the Rockies wanted him (if they even do). Maybe it's like one of those fantasy deals you make just to make, then you dump the guy you got.

Other Significant Transactions

RHP Bobby Jenks elected free agency.

LF Matt Diaz elected free agency.

DH Jack Cust elected free agency.

3B Edwin Encarnacion elected free agency.

LF Travis Buck elected free agency.

Atlanta Braves signed free agent LF Eric Hinske.

Los Angeles Angels signed free agent LHP Hisanori Takahashi.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hot Stove Update: Vazquez, Rodney, Duchscherer and more

Happy Holidays!

I am a bit surprised not to have a better idea on where the big free agents (Jason Bay and Matt Holliday) are going to land. At one point I was certain that Holliday would re-sign with the Cardinals and Bay would be a New York Met but that seems far from certain. The Red Sox seem suddenly obsessed with defense after having a poor showing in 2009, though essentially the same team wasn't so bad in 2008. The Cardinals are acting as if they didn't realize that Holliday wanted a contract befitting a player ranked among the best in the sport.

Meanwhile, the New York Mets continue to act (as excellently described by the New York Post before Christmas) like a small market team. They act as if they want Jason Bay but they make offers they know he will not accept. They desperately need pitching but are chasing retreads rather than attempting to acquire talent that could make a real difference. But at least they aren't the Los Angeles Dodgers who seem more obsessed with dumping payroll than improving the team. It is hard to take a team seriously that dumps, Randy Wolf, Orlando Hudson and Juan Pierre only to bring in Jamey Carroll.

It would be a massive understatement to say I have been distracted the last couple of weeks. I have a ton to catch up on. I've been banging out e-mails this week. If you've been waiting for a response from me you should be getting one very soon. The team reports will continue and hopefully appear much more frequently. My big secret project is going very well. It will be extremely useful to any fantasy owner and free to my loyal readers. I also have the annual All Sleeper Teams in progress, and a report on my Shortlist pitching strategy.

Braves trade Vazquez to Yankees for Melky Cabrera and prospects

The Yankees acquired Javier Vazquez at a bargain rate but the Braves received exactly what they wanted. For the Braves, outfield depth, bullpen depth and a quality prospect was an extra added bonus to the millions of dollars in salary relief. Atlanta would have preferred to deal Derek Lowe who had the larger salary and the worse season in 2009. But make no mistake the Braves are happy with the return.

You have already been hearing how Vazquez was thought to lack gumption, grit, fortitude, and doggedness but that's all so much baloney. Vazquez was fine the first half of his first season in New York but a shoulder injury that he kept quiet trashed his second half stats.It may have looked like a choke but it was not. If more evidence is actually required you can look to the 2009 season. The Braves were in playoff contention the entire season and Vazquez led the staff.

Vazquez does have a history of underachieving. But this looks like a combination of bad luck and playing for bad defensive teams in launching pad stadiums. His strikeout rates and walk rates have been great. His groundball rates have typically been around 40 percent. He isn't like to match his 2009 season pitching in the American League East but he should be one of the top starters. For fantasy owners he is likely to provide a ton of strikeouts and more than acceptable ratios. but pitching for the Yankees also gives owners reason to hope for a high win total. Wins are unpredictable but a fantastic offense backing a great pitcher is what you hope for and you'll find it here.

The Diamondbacks and right-hander Bob Howry have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with a team option for 2011.

The Diamondbacks are building a solid bullpen with Bob Howry added to the earlier acquisition of Aaron Heilman. Juan Gutierrez and Chad Qualls were already in place. Any of these names could find save chances but until we hear differently Qualls is the primary closer. Fantasy owners in deeper leagues should feel confident buying any of these relievers in the $2-3 range as cheap saves speculation. The Diamondbacks seem to be strengthening their bullpen as a method of protecting their younger arms (though the best of them was traded away recently).

Howry is a solid pitcher who does not own spectacular skills but also owns few weaknesses. He is a solid complement to any bullpen. He has the veteran savvy to handle the closer role, though he has received few opportunities. He is likely to settle into a vital set-up role with the D'Backs.

The Oakland Athletics have re-signed Justin Duchscherer to a a one-year deal pending a physical. The base salary is $2 million, but Duchscherer could earn as much as $5.5 million with incentives, should he reach benchmarks of 30 starts and 200 innings.

My first thought is that if the Athletics are spending money on him it can be taken as an indication that he is past the worst of his back, arm, and confidence problems. The A's know him better than any other team. There is no question in my mind that a healthy Duchscherer is going to pitch well. If fantasy owners can sign him at bargain rates than I heartily recommend doing so.

Duchscherer's strength has always been in his control. If he struggles early with walks, it may be a sign that things are not right. the Athletics have brought in an interesting group of players with rumors of more in the works. They feel like an underrated team to me.

The Angels have come to terms with free-agent reliever Fernando Rodney on a two-year deal reportedly worth $11 million, according to

Brian Fuentes may not be the perfect closer but unless he gets hurt there is little chance of him losing his job to Fernando Rodney. The Angels may see him as a potential replacement and he is capable of getting the job done but his skills are nothing special. He should be a fine back-up plan if you own Fuentes and have room on your bench. Otherwise, Rodney is just another reliever with consistency problems. His control stinks, and even with a 4.40 ERA, his BABIP and FIP both indicate that he was a little luck last season.

Free agent corner infielder Troy Glaus and the Atlanta Braves have reached a tentative agreement on a contract, a baseball source told on Wednesday.

When Troy Glaus is healthy he has been a productive and powerful bat in a lineup. But staying healthy has been a problem. The Braves obviously believe that he should be healthy this season because they seem to be counting on him to fill the role of power hitting first baseman. As long as he comes dirt cheap this is a good risk for fantasy owners as well.

Nick Johnson returned to the New York Yankees on Wednesday, finalizing a $5.5 million, one-year contract.

The Yankees have plenty of thunder in their lineup. Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano can probably deal with the difference between Hideki Matsui and Nick Johnson. Brett Gardner is also a better bat than you think. Johnson will bat second and his primary function will be to get on base and score runs. However, in the Yankee lineup he is likely to have more RBI than the typical number two hitter.

Jamey Carroll and Blake DeWitt "will share second base," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Friday after Carroll passed his physical exam, making official his two-year, $3.85 million deal with the club.

Carroll is a solid player but this is obviously an attempt by the Dodgers to fill a hole without spending any money. Carroll and DeWitt will only be of marginal value in deep NL-only leagues.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Fantasy Impact of the Vazquez Trade

There are now a lot of reasons to like Javier Vazquez in 2009. Just in case you have been living in a cave or haven't bothered to scan the post directly below this one I'll fill you in on the biggest reason for that change:
Veteran right-handed starter, Javier Vazquez and left-handed reliever Boone Logan have been traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for a package of prospects that almost certainly includes a young lefty starter, Jo-Jo Reyes and infielder Brett Lillibridge. The one remaining prospect has yet to be determined but speculation by ESPN reporters suggest that it is one or two of a group that includes catcher Tyler Flowers, third baseman Jon Gilmore, and pitcher Santos Rodriguez. Most reports are assuming that the White Sox will pick Flowers and with good reason. It has also been reported more recently that the White Sox will receive all three prospects and Lillibridge leaving Reyes with the Atlanta Braves.
If this is the same package that the Braves were offering the San Diego Padres in the Jake Peavy negotiations then I now understand why they could not complete the deal. However, the Braves were rumored to be including two significantly better prospects - center fielder Jordan Schafer and right-hander Tommy Hanson. That deal would also have potentially cost them their potentially great shortstop Yunel Escobar. Instead, as a poster on the RotoJunkie forums put it, the Braves got 80 percent of the pitcher for 20 percent of the cost. Final- TRADE UPDATE

Almost every pitcher improves when he moves from the American League to the National League. This has been shown in several places. Their strikeouts increase mostly by virtue of facing other pitchers rather than designated hitters. Vazquez as an excellent strikeout pitcher should certainly benefit from this change. This alone should be enough to convince most owners to take a chance on Vazquez in 2009 but there is even more. The move from U.S. Cellular Field (+ 0.077 runs in 2008) to Turner Field which usually plays as a major pitchers' park (it didn't in 2008 probably because the Braves did not have many pitchers worthy of the starting jobs) should knock potentially almost a full run from Vazquez's performance stats.

It also helps that Vazquez has always looked statistically like a much better pitcher than his performance would suggest. His career FIP is just 3.93 compared to his career ERA of 4.32. His career K-rate is 7.99, his BB-rate is just 2.39 - a career K/BB of 3.34. He is a flyball pitcher who has allowed a career 1.19 HR/9 which is probably the biggest negative he has. Hopefully the better pitching environment in Atlanta can neutralize this.

Mark Hulet over at Fangraphs
(remember those great statistical sources I told you about) has a great review of the prospects involved. Tyler Flowers is obviously the best of the lot, especially where fantasy baseball is concerned. He should be an extremely hot commodity in leagues that draft minor leaguers (there is a chance he starts the season in the majors but not a large one).

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