This morning Mike Ferrin, while talking about the hot stove, said “I have a chest freezer full of meat that is hotter than the hot stove right now.” He couldn’t be more correct. There have been plenty of rumors floating around, but nothing with real substantial “going to happen” intrigue. Today we’ll discuss the one free agent signing over the last week, address a couple of trade rumors, and speculate on a couple other free agents on the open market.
Jose Abreu on the move?
News broke today that the Red Sox, along with a couple other teams, are in “active talks” to acquire Jose Abreu. I may be a bit more optimistic as a White Sox fan then the front office is, but I think they can win sooner rather than later. They’ve built the farm system back up with soon-to-be-ready talent, and if a couple of those guys hit, there’s real likelihood they could sneak a wild card berth in 2 years.
Last year Abreu finished as a top 5 first baseoption, as well as a top 15 bat overall. He’s consistently put up numbers worthy of solidifying himself as a keeper in any format. Through his four-year career Abreu is averaging 33/108/.301 numbers. He’s been doing that despite a really bad surrounding cast. If he finds himself in the middle of a more potent offense there’s only one way for his numbers to go – up… way up.
Let’s go with the idea he changes sock color and becomes a member of the Red Sox before the commencement of the 2018 season. He’d be slotted in the lineup around guys like Benintendi, Bogaerts, Betts and Devers. With bats like that thrown in 1-5 in the lineup itwould be tough to think Abreu doesn’t reach 125+ RBI and/or a 40+ home run season. Those numbers don’t hold true specifically with going to Boston. Any move out of Chicago for Abreu will likely result in a value increase across the board.
- Final decision: As mentioned earlier, Abreu is a keeper in all formats. There’s no way you can dump a top 5 player at any position, regardless of what the future holds. A stay in Chicago will limit the ceiling for Abreu at what he’s done his entire career there. Get him a change of scenery, albeit to a contender, and the ceiling goes way up – as does his floor!
Cubs moving a position player?
There has been a lot of speculation on what the Cubs will do to help bolster a starting rotation that looked a bit depleted at points of the year. It was rumored this past week that the organization will likely work from within their plethora of position players to acquire the next big arm. If that holds true it seems clear Arrieta is on his way to a new team in 2018 (they should’ve dealt him while they could).
Who out of Baez, Russell, Happ, Schwarber, and Almora will the Cubs deal? Baez, Happ and Russell would seem to hold more value remaining as a member of the Cubs. The one name that jumps out at me is Schwarber. If you’re a Schwarber owner (65% owned in ESPN leagues last year), you should be welcoming a change of scenery.
- Final decision: As it stands right now Baez and Happ might be the only keeper worthy players out of the five mentioned above. Happ is borderline. If he wasn’t such a young player he’d be worthy of being dumped. Schwarber is the guy that needs to be dealt. Tampa is looking to trade arms, so what better fit than being the DH in Tampa Bay. If Schwarber lands on a NL team his value remains low – that is unless he moves back behind the dish. Get him to the AL side of things and he might be worthy of a stash.
Signings and Speculations
Doug Fister signs with Rangers
Fister finished the 2017 outside the top 100 starting pitchers. Signing with the Rangers isn’t something that’s going to help that situation out. Fister finished around the 125th ranked starting pitcher, owned in only 10.6% of ESPN leagues. He will likely be slotted in as the #3 starter in the Rangers rotation, possibly the #2. The only way I’d like Fister is if he was a back-end of the rotation guy, matching up with other teams’ #4’s or #5’s.
- Final decision: In no way is Fister a keeper. The only thing that might change from 2017 to 2018 is his ownership percentage. Fister could be a nice stream option as the year progresses, but that’s it. There’s no reason to roster him for an extended period in 2018. Even drafting him his optional.
Darvish is an interesting pitcher to keep an eye on this offseason. He finished as a top 20 SP in 2017, but his woes in the playoffs will likely weigh on fantasy owners come keeper selection time. Unless you have a monster pitching staff already rostered, Darvish is a guy you have to keep around, regardless of where he signs.
Darvish struggled a bit with the Rangers last year, but found some groove after being traded to the Dodgers. As usual, the intrigue on a SP is always there when swapped from the AL to the NL, especially with top guys like Darvish. Upon switching leagues Darvish saw his K/9 number go from 9.7 to 11.1. Darvish owners should be hoping for a return to the NL as those K/9 numbers are legit and will stay trending upwards of 10-11 per 9.
Unfortunately, the only rumors surrounding Darvish at this point include AL clubs (Twins, Yankees). Out of those two options the better fantasy value would be found as a member of the Twins. Anytime a pitcher has to take the mound in Yankee Stadium their value is slightly diminished compared to other pitchers on that given day There have been exceptions, but that’s a roll of the dice.
Lorenzo Cain finished just outside the top 20 OF players last year, which makes the keeper discussion surrounding him even more team dependent. There hasn’t been much talk about where he’ll land lately, but there are a handful of teams that have expressed interest in him (Giants, Mets, Blue Jays, Mariners, Rangers). Scratch the Blue Jays and the Mets out of there. If Cain becomes a member of either of those teams I don’t want anything to do with him. Throw him back to the draft pool and let someone else take a chance. That leaves us with the Giants, Mariners, and Rangers.
As a member of the Giants, Cain’s speed would highlight due the spacious outfield, specifically triples alley in right center. The lineup surrounding him in San Francisco wouldn’t be anything special, but he’d hold some intrigue. Try to figure out what outfielders other teams in your league are hanging on to. If there will be better options in the draft, dump Cain, otherwise it’d be perfectly fine to use a keeper selection on him in bigger leagues.
Say Cain winds up on the Mariners. Here the surrounding lineup would take some pressure off him, which could result in an uptick in production. There’s nothing to say Cain couldn’t reach the 20 home run plateau in Seattle. As a Mariner, Cain is someone you could burn a spot on.
Becoming a Ranger would be Cain’s most solid chance of being retained as a keeper. Playing 81 games in Arlington would give him the best chance of becoming a 20-20 player. You may even see Cain climb up to a top 10 OF option, though that’s quite an optimistic ceiling for him.
Let’s hope someone breathes some air into the fire to get the stove lit these next couple weeks! Don’t hesitate to shoot your fantasy questions my direction in the comment section below or on Twitter, @KennyGarvey.
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