Guillermo Moscoso

Grading Friday’s waiver claims

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Royals claim RHP Guillermo Moscoso from Rockies and C Brett Hayes from Marlins

Moscoso had a nice 3.38 ERA in 21 starts and two relief appearances for the A’s in 2011 before being sent to the Rockies in last winter’s Seth Smith deal. Like most everyone else on Colorado’s pitching staff, he was a bust last season, finishing with a 6.12 ERA in three starts and 20 relief appearances. Back in a pitcher friendly ballpark in Kansas City, he has a chance to reemerge as a useful swingman. He’ll make just over the minimum, so he’s a nice grab. Grade: B

Hayes, 28, is a very generic backup-type. He gets pretty good marks for his defense, but he’s hit .217/.266/.361 in 332 major league at-bats. The Royals shouldn’t be content to let him play behind Salvador Perez next season. Grade D

Indians claim RHP Blake Wood from the Royals

Wood had a 3.75 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings for the Royals in 2011 before Tommy John surgery, but Kansas City didn’t think it was worth paying him $1 million or so to stick around for another year. It’s the Indians’ gain. Wood throws in the mid-90s and has a decent enough slider. I doubt he’ll take another step forward, but the price was certainly right. Grade B+

Orioles claim 2B Alexi Casilla from Twins

At 28, Casilla might yet have a future as a utilityman. Still, he’s had plenty of chances already and it’s gotten him a lifetime .250/.305/.334 line in 1,580 at-bats. The Orioles would have to pay $1.5 million-$2 million to keep him through the arbitration process, and there’s a real chance they could have gotten him on a minor league contract had they been more patient. Grade D

Twins claim RHP Josh Roenicke and INF Thomas Field from the Rockies

Roenicke is another case of a team throwing away a useful reliever simply because he’s eligible for arbitration. Roenicke, though, doesn’t stand to make much more than $1 million, and that’s a bargain for a guy who had a 3.25 ERA in 88 2/3 innings out of the pen for the Rockies last season. Yes, 88 2/3 innings. His peripherals weren’t good, and I do wonder if the heavy workload will take its toll next year. But for $1 million, there’s hardly any risk. Grade A

Field, on the other hand, isn’t very likely to be useful. He strikes out plenty, and his still-modest minor league power numbers were amplified by the hitter’s parks in the Rockies system. The way I see it, he doesn’t have the glove to make it as a full-time shortstop or the bat to be useful as a utilityman. But at least he’ll fit right in on the Twins. Grade D

Cubs claim RHP Zach Putnam from the Rockies

Exclusively a reliever since mid-2010, Putnam has been only a modest success in the minors with his 89-92 mph fastball-splitter combination, never finishing with a sub-3.00 ERA at any level. It seems doubtful that he stands much chance of surviving in a major league bullpen. Grade D

Brewers claim RHP Arecnio Leon from the Astros

Leon turned 26 in September, and he spent last season amassing a 4.52 ERA as a Double-A reliever. He has a big fastball, but he’s never been a real prospect. Grade D

The Yankees are paying $86 million for a one-inning reliever

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OXON HILL, MD — The Yankees signing of Aroldis Chapman late Wednesday night came as something of a surprise. And the money — $86 million — was something of a shock. Yes, we knew that Chapman was going to break the bank and likely set a record as the highest paid relief pitcher in history, but seeing it in black and white like that is still rather jarring.

In the coming days, many people who attempt to analyze and contextualize this signing will do so by pointing to the 2016 playoffs and the unconventional use of relievers by Terry Francona and the Indians and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. They’ll talk about how the paradigm of bullpen use has shifted and how relief pitchers have taken on a new importance in today’s game. Chapman’s astronomical salary, therefore, will be described as somehow more reasonable and somewhat less shocking than it first seems.

Don’t buy that jive for a second.

Yes, Andrew Miller and, to some extent, Chapman himself were used unconventionally in the 2016 playoffs, but not long into the 2017 season we will see that as an exception, not the rule. And not just because Chapman showed himself unable to hold up to that level of use in the playoffs. It will be the exception because the Yankees have shown no inclination whatsoever to deviate from traditional bullpen usage in the past and there is no reason to expect that they will do so with Chapman in the future.

As you no doubt remember, the Yankees had Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the first half of 2016. Such an imposing back end of a bullpen has rarely been seen in recent history. All of them, however, were used, more or less, as one-inning-a-piece guys and no real effort was ever made to break any bullpen usage paradigms or to shorten games the way many applauded Terry Francona for doing in the playoffs.

Miller pitched 44 games for the Yankees, totaling 45.1 innings. He pitched more than a single inning on only three occasions. Chapman pitched 31 games for the Yankees, amassing 31.1 innings. He was used for more than one inning only twice. Betances worked in 73 games, totaling 73 innings. On 11 occasions he pitched more than one inning.  It was unconventional for a team to have three relievers that good, but they were not, in any way, used unconventionally. Nor is there any reason to expect Chapman to be used unconventionally in 2017, especially given that Miller is not around and Chapman has shown no real ability to be stretched for multiple innings for a sustained period.

None of which is to say that having Chapman around is a bad thing or that he is any less of a closer than his reputation suggests. It’s merely to say that the Yankees paying Chapman unprecedented money for a closer should not be justified by the alleged new importance of relief pitchers or that changing role for them we heard so much about in the playoffs. Indeed, I suspect that that changing role applies only to pitcher use in the playoffs. And I do not suspect that this transaction alone pushes the Yankees into serious playoff contention, making that temporary unconventionality something of a moot point in New York for the foreseeable future.

It is almost certain that the Yankees are paying $86 million for the same one-inning closer Aroldis Chapman has been for his entire seven-year career. His contract may or may not prove to be a good one for New York based on how he performs, but don’t let anyone tell you now, in Decemeber 2016, that it’s better than you think because Chapman will somehow transform into a 1970s-style relief ace or something.

Report: Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million deal

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Update (12:02 AM EST): Rosenthal adds that Chapman’s contract includes an opt-out clause after three seasons, a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the contract, and a limited no-trade clause for the final two years.

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million contract. Mark Melancon recently set the record for a contract earned by a reliever at $62 million over four years. Chapman blew that out of the water and many are surprised he didn’t fetch more.

Chapman, 28, began the 2016 season with the Yankees but he was traded to the Cubs near the end of July in exchange for four prospects. The Cubs, of course, would go on to win the World Series in large part due to Chapman. The lefty finished the regular season with a 1.55 ERA, 36 saves, and a 90/18 K/BB ratio in 58 innings between the two teams.

Chapman was the best reliever on the free agent market and, because he was traded midseason, he didn’t have draft pick compensation attached to him.

The Yankees don’t seem to be deterred by Chapman’s domestic violence issue from last offseason, resulting in a 30-game suspension to begin the 2016 regular season.