The Pontifications Of Lord Zola: Winter Meeting Wrap-Up
Hey MLB GM, you just spent four days in Orlando and didn’t do anything to improve your team. Whaddya doing next?
I’m going to Disney World!
What happened to the virtual guarantee David Price would be moved? Is Cincinnati now willing to keep Brandon Phillips and his subpar OBP? Are the Yankees and White Sox going to deploy a softball-like rover in the outfield and play one short in the infield? Is the biggest news really going to be that Pete Rose has turned face while Johnny Bench is a heel?
To be fair, the accelerated timetable with respect to extending qualifying offers was in large part responsible for a hectic week previous to the Winter Meetings, but still.
Enough whining, let’s turn our focus to what did transpire. I mean, how often is Brian Bogusevic in the main event?
Brian Bogusevic: I mean, there’s a chance Bogusevic was acquired to start, but more likely he’s Christian Yelich insurance. Yelich is the future in centerfield, and it’s not like Bogusevic is going to challenge Yelich for the job, but it’s nice to have a provision in case the future isn’t quite ready for the present. At minimum, Bogusevic can handle the position defensively and has reasonable on-base skills. If the season were to start today, Bogusevic would be a starter, but I have to believe Miami will pick up a first baseman or outfielder with Garrett Jones occupying the other spot. He’s not a horrible end-gamer in the deepest of formats, but he’s more of a “won’t hurt you” guy than someone that can really help.
Marcell Ozuna: Or, the Marlins can give Ozuna another shot. Ozuna had his rookie season cut short with a thumb injury requiring surgery. Ozuna demonstrated more doubles power than the home run pop displayed in the minors, but at 23 there’s still time for it to develop. Since Ozuna is a righty swinger, there’s a chance the Marlins are looking at a time-share with the left-handed Bogusevic.
Justin Ruggiano: As lucky as Ruggiano was in 2012 with a .313 BAvg (.361 BABIP) he was unlucky last season with a .222 BAvg (.260 BABIP). In between, he has an interesting mix of power and speed. His splits are such that he’d make a perfect platoon partner for either Nate Schierholtz or Ryan Sweeney. Sweeney is best suited as a reserve so it would not be surprising if Ruggiano faced lefties pushing Schierholtz to the bench while picking up a few more at bats along the way. He’s a reasonable back-end outfielder in NL-only, but won’t play enough to be useful in mixed formats.
The Miami Marlins traded Logan Morrison to the Seattle Mariners for Carter Capps
Carter Capps: Granted, Morrison is more popular with the fans than he is an accomplished ballplayer, but you don’t accept a middle reliever back in a deal for a guy that was drawing interest unless you feel he’s more than just another reliever. Capps was burdened with the closer-of-the-future label but hasn’t been able to harness his control well enough assume the role plus last season he contracted a severe case of gopheristis. The Marlin’s are in a position to let Capps further develop. I’m not saying he’s going to close this season, but stranger things have happened.
Logan Morrison: The enigmatic LoMo wore out his welcome in South Beach and heads about as far away as possible to the Pacific Northwest. Morrison really scuffles against southpaw so at best he’ll see about 400 plate appearances, depending on how the positions flesh out.
Justin Smoak: As will be detailed in a moment, Smoak has even more company than Morrison with Corey Hart also on the way. But between left field and designated hitter, Smoak’s playing time will be safe.
Jesus Montero: The player most affected negatively is Montero as the Mariners are in go-for-it mode and can’t afford to see if the former catching prospect can hold his own with his bat. So if you’re holding onto the former Yankee farmhand and could use his roster spot, it’s time to let him go.
Significant Free Agent Signings
Corey Hart signs with the Seattle Mariners
As alluded to, Seattle added a second bat in Hart. The former Brewer missed all of last season after having surgery on both his knees. It remains to be seen if he can roam the outfield so the better bet is Hart will spend most of his time at designated hitter with a little time at first. It’s difficult to baseline Hart after he missed an entire season, especially coming off multiple surgeries. When healthy, Hart was an undervalued power source. It’s ironic, I bet this spring he’s overvalued. Even with power down, my inclination is to let someone else take the chance.
Bartolo Colon signs with the New York Mets
The Mets were willing to go two years so Colon signed on the dotted line. From the Mets perspective, they have some exciting arms along the way and Colon can hold the fort until the likes of Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero are ready to join Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. So why two years? Teams not in contention are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. It was common knowledge that Colon wanted two years. The Mets have a ton of innings to eat and Colon has a voracious appetite. I’m treating Colon like I have the past couple of season; when he’s on the mound, he’s good for a quality start, especially at home. But I only count on 150 or so innings. Last season he exceeded it so if someone is willing to pay for him to do it again, they can have him.
Edinson Volquez signs with the Pittsburgh Pirates
Mike Morse signs with the San Francisco Giants
Assuming Morse has recovered from wrist surgery, he’ll be afforded the chance to add some pop to an outfield devoid of power save for Hunter Pence. Last season was ugly for Morse as his season was torpedoed via a .246 BABIP, well below his career .333 mark. Even with a reversal of fortune, Morse will be hard-pressed to approach his stellar 2011 as his striekout rate is too high. I know, I’m sounding like a broken record here, but for me Morse is someone else’s problem.
Next time we’ll talk about some players that I actually like!
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Affectionately known as Lord Zola, Todd was the 2013 Fantasy Sports Writers Association recipient of the Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year, Web. He's been with Mastersball since its inception in 1997 and presently Todd writes for the ESPN Insider and Baseball HQ. Todd is a frequent guest on SiriusXM and is a regular on HQ Radio. He's a veteran of Tout Wars and LABR as well as a multi-time NFBC champion. Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddZola
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