Monday, November 13, 2006

The Hot Stove Heats Up

posted by Jon Williams
The Hot Stove Season begins in earnest today as the GM Meetings get started in Naples, Florida. Few trades or signings happen at the GM Meetings but the groundwork starts to get set and the rumors start to fly. Advanced Fantasy Baseball will be providing you with a daily look at the moves made and their possible fanatasy implications. I hope you will visit frequently as we get this place heated up! Check in tommorrow as we hopefully have some Daisuke Matsuzaka news.

The Moves Made: (for November - from this point onward it will be daily)

The Chicago Cubs managed to re-sign their third baseman Aramis Ramirez to a five-year $73 million deal. I'm guessing the Cubs figured they'd better put their best offer on the table before other teams got in the mix. While I can't say I would have given such a bad defensive player that much money the Cubs can afford it and they need Ramirez to stay in town if they hope to win. Ramirez probably has his best value playing in Wrigley Field so this is cool to fantasy players.

You can hate on the New York Yankees if you wish but they are making good moves so far this offseason. On Saturday they traded right-handed starter Jaret Wright and the cost of his buyout ($4 million) to the Baltimore Orioles for reliever Chris Britton. Britton pitched 53.2 major league innings in 2006 with a 2.85 BB9, 6.88 K9 and allowed just 0.67HR9. These are solid relief stats. In the minors in 2005 Britton pitched 78 innings in high-A with a 2.36 BB9, 12.58K9 and 0.57HR9. At double-A in 2006 he pitched 16 innings with 3.38BB9, 13.5K9 and 0.00HR9. He will pitch in 2007 at just 24 years old. Not only the Britton make a very nice one dollar relliever you have to think that he could develop into a possible replacement for Mariano Rivera down the road.

The Cincinnati Reds signed outfielder Bubba Crosby to a one-year major league contract. When I first heard this I was fairly incredulous as to why. Then I started to hear some Ryan Freel trade rumors (to the Rangers) and it made a little more sense. The Reds have never seemed to like Freel as much as his fantasy owners and as just a back-up defensive center fielder Crosby is useful.

The other Yankees move this weekend was to trade the grumbling Gary Sheffield to the Detroit Tigers for three quality pitching prospects. Humberto Sanchez being the headliner with Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett. Sanchez was raised in the Bronx and should quickly become a favorite of fantasy owners who are also Yankee fans. Sanchez was the starter of the futures game and depending on you you talk to could become a frontline starter or a dominating closer.

The bet here is the Yankees will use him the rotation. I will soon be posting a lot more about all three players on my New York Yankees site Bronx Pride but for now you should know that Sanchez just a combined 123 innings in 2006 thanks to some supposedly minor elbow problems. He has had other injury problems in the past to his knee and elbow but never has required surgery. For double-A Erie Sanchez pitched 71.2 innings with a 5.90 H9, 0.25 HR9, 3.39 BB9 and 10.80K9. In Triple for the Toledo Mudhens 51.1 innings pitched with a 8.77H9, 0.35 HR9, 3.51BB9 and 7.54 K9. I will cover Whelan and Claggett in more detail on this site when I do my minor league reports.

Sheffield, according to various sources, will become a designated hitter for the Tigers. This will push Marcus Thames to the bench most likely. Thames may be a good one to move in an early offseason trade before this gets announced. As long as you can get fair value for him.

The other big move from last week I want to cover is the Josh Barfield for Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andrew Brown trade. I have heard lots of grumbling from the sides of Barfield and Kouzmanoff owners and I understand. But this trade will increase the production of both players. Obviously Kouzmanoff was going to have to wait for a position to open up in Cleveland before he could get a shot. Some say he could have played first base but between Ryan Garko, Victor Martinez and Casey Blake the position is probably covered and at third he would need to wait for Andy Marte to not just fail but be given up on which would delay his arrival until 2008 at least and at 26 years-old already he doesn't want to wait. Petco Field should be a very good place for Kouzmanoff's to-all-fields hitting style. There is an opening at third base and the Padres have only Russell Branyan as a real alternative. To replace Barfield the Padres have $30 million dollars that they fully intend to spend every penny of this season. They can also seemingly move reliever Scott Linebrink to the Atlanta Braves anytime they like for Marcus Giles. There are a bunch of quality second baseman available via free-agency including Alfonso Soriano, Mark Loretta and Julio Lugo. For those that are not familiar Kouzmanoff batted .389/.449/.660 with 15 homers and 19 doubles in 244 double-A at-bats this season and .353/.409/.647 with 7 homers and nine doubles in 102 triple-A at-bats. In his minor league career Kouz has batted .333/.396/.561.

San Diego also gets right-hander Andrew Brown who is ready to pitch in the majors. Brown was moved to relief in the last couple of seasons for the Indians and he is a good one. In 62.1 innings pitched at triple-A Buffalo featured a 7.51 H9, 0.72 HR9, an unfortunate and a little out of character 5.2 BB9 (in his minor league career his BB9 is just 3.99) and 7.65 K9. In Petco Brown should become a quality reliever who is not altogether dissimilar from Cla Meredith who the Padres robbed from the Red Sox last year (along with Josh Bard) for...brrr, Doug Mirabelli.

Josh Barfield had a solid rookie season in 2006 batting .280/.318/.423 with 13 homeruns and 21 stolen bases in 539 at-bats. What that hides is how much better Barfield was away from the cavernous park in San Diego. On the road Barfield batted .319/.355/.484 with 7 homeruns and 13 of his stolen bases. A little something for the American League Only guys to look forward to enjoying.

The Colorado Rockies excercised their option on Jason Jennings. All by itself this is not all that significant but there are rumors that Jennings could be dealt. Jennings is a solid starter who induces ground balls in Colorado. In a more normal enviroment he could do very good things. In 2006 45.4% groundballs and just 28.4% flyballs, again this is in Colorado, to go with 8.75 H9, 0.72 HR9 (in Colorado), 3.61 BB9, 6.03 K9.

The Chicago White Sox were extremely disappointed with the performance of their outfielders with the exception of Jermaine Dye. Scott Podsednik will probably be given a chance to redeem himself, Brian Anderson may not. There are already rumors that he could be traded with one of their starters. This is what makes the signing of outfielder Luis Terrero interesting to me. Terrero is a former Arizona Diamondback prospect that never really got the opportunity to play. He isn't a great great hitter but he's a competent one who has a little pop and a lot of speed. Last season Terrero ended up in the Baltimore Orioles system but only received 40 sporadic at-bats. But at triple-A Ottawa the 26 year-old had a nice season batting .318/.367/.560 with 21 doubles, 2 triples, 16 homeruns and 18 stolen bases in just 302 at-bats. I am officially adding Terrero to my players to watch list.



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