Unlike a lot of folks, I’m actually pretty OK with the Zack Greinke trade from the Royals’ perspective. No, you don’t always “win” a trade when you give up the best player in the deal — indeed, you rarely do — but “Zack Greinke: Kansas City Royal” was just not a viable possibility going forward and the Zack Greinke we see in Milwaukee next year is probably not the same pitcher we would have seen if he stayed. He was not happy with the Royals. The Royals did get some useful pieces. It’s not an awful deal.
Which makes me wonder about this description of the trade from a Royals’ spokesman (which came in the same marketing article I linked a while ago):
“It’s not just us trying to spin this the best way we can. There are lots of baseball experts (executives and scouts) telling us this was not only the right thing to do, but probably the best-case scenario under the circumstances of trading Zack.”
Cook said the team hopes this trade works out similarly to when the Minnesota Twins traded two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana to the New York Mets for four of their best prospects.
I’m going to be charitable here and assume that Mr. Cook — the team spokeman — meant that it would be similar to the Santana deal in the “our team will be able to go on and win a bunch of ballgames and a couple of AL Central titles despite trading away our ace” sense. Not similar in the “wow, we may have just made the worst trade on a talent-for-talent basis in modern memory” sense. Because that is a pretty fair way to describe the Santana trade.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.