MLB Winter Meetings: Thoughts from Wednesday

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.

The Nationals send Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning to the White Sox for Adam Eaton.

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.

What?

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.

10 thoughts on “MLB Winter Meetings: Thoughts from Wednesday”

  1. Please. Just because Chapman’s 104 MPH fastball will regress down to 98 MPH by the end of the contract, doesn’t mean he’ll be anything less than a solid closer by then. Chapman is a freak of nature, a rare talent. When his fastball loses velocity as he gets older, he’ll still have an upper 90s fastball and a great slider. That still equals plenty of saves.

    1. Thanks for reading, Mike. I agree with you, and he is certainly a freak of nature. And in the article, I did agree with you as well that the slider is nasty. I just feel that the contract was too large and too big for a reliever, and while I can’t argue that you are wrong — he will pile up a ton of saves — what if he is leading the league in saves for an 86-win team for the first two or three years of his deal? Do you still think that is worth it (I’m not insulting you, I’m truly asking your opinion)? My thoughts on the deal are purely do to the deal, not the player, as Chapman is a superb reliever. I guess I simply don’t want to believe that this is the market for today’s closers. Thanks again for your opinion.

  2. Who cares if the Cubs got a World Series. The Yankees still got a haul for Chapman and then were able to bring him back. They loaded the farm for a rental player. Great trade. Terrible article.

    1. Thanks for wasting your time with me. Unfortunately your comment hits the points I was disagreeing with in the piece. Saying they were “able to bring him back” isn’t as cut and dry. Chapman stated he wanted $100 mill. Most rumors said one team offered him $90. The reason the Yankees were able to bring him back was because they overpaid for him (in my opinion, not yours, and you are welcome to that). I would also like to point out that no where in this article did I once say that it was a bad trade. If you can find where I did, I will gladly edit it. Cashman dealt Chapman for a great prospect and a decent one in McKinney, and more importantly, set the bar higher for the Andrew Miller trade. I simply feel the contract for Chapman this time around was too lofty. Thank you again for reading.

    2. The cubs did give their top prospect but already have better at the major leagues for chapman, and then Warren who did not do much as a cub. So the cubs bet on the now without sacrificing the future. The cubs infield is set for years and now the middle is set for the yanks this was Win win. Seeing how the cubs traded Soler for Davis.I would have preferred that the deal for Chapman be for more than a rental. But hard to argue with Theo who has built a very strong team and stronger farm.

      1. Couldn’t agree more. The Davis deal is not as sexy an option but with Rondon and him back there they will be just fine. Theo is a genius. He gave away his top prospect, and with Eloy Jimenez he may have the best prospect in the game still waiting in the wings. It would have been nice I’m sure to keep Chapman around, but getting Davis cheaper and for almost nothing is hard to argue against.

  3. I first knew this article was going to be bad when i read the Adam Eaton deal wasn’t that bad. Chapman will never avg below 95 mph and by that time he will have refined his craft like the good even avg pitchers do. Giving up Gialito for Eaton was just flat out wrong, Wong wrong wrong. Eaton is basically Brett Gardner; a corner gold glove winner who can steal the occasional bag and hit the occasional homer. Ok maybe Eaton has a little more pop but that is not a good trade; it’s not going to be a good trade in a year, it’s not in 10 years.

    1. I do appreciate this comment and reading, but I am really confused. I said straight up that this was an overpay by the Nationals. I said Eaton would be a good player, but the White Sox will win the trade in the long haul. I argued that Eaton is an average player at best and that the Nationals overpaid dearly. I argued that what many felt was Eaton’s “best” season last year may not have been as good as people thought. I’m not sure at all where you were able to walk away and call my article bad because I me wrote that this was anywhere near a good deal, when in fact all I did was point out the opposite. In fact the link to this article from MLB Trade Rumors that brought you here says word for word “Wayniac Nation criticizes the Nationals for the Adam Eaton deal…”. If you are pointing to the fact that I said the Nationals will have a good outfielder in 2017 as me thinking that this wasn’t a bad trade, well, I apologize, but that’s just laughable. Again, thank you for reading, but if you are going to criticize me for something I didn’t say r even imply, I simply won’t stand for it.

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