Reveille 2/24/14

by Jason Epstein

Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your spring training Monday a bit more bearable:

  • In his annual list of top offseason acquisitions, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron gives the Nationals top honors for the acquisition of Doug Fister from the Tigers:

We haven’t seen a player this good get traded for this little in years, and it’s mystifying how Mike Rizzo managed to get Fister for this price. This deal put the Nationals right back in playoff contention, and it did so for such a low cost that I still haven’t found anyone who thinks the Tigers made a good trade. When a deal is universally accepted as a heist, you’ve done something very right.

  • Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports offers an explanation (not to be confused with justification) as to why the trade, which netted the Tigers a utility player, southpaw bullpen specialist, and “modest pitching prospect” Robbie Ray might make sense from Detroit’s perspective:

A more manageable payroll was one motivation, just as it was in the Prince Fielder-for-Ian Kinsler deal. Dombrowski said that if the Tigers had kept their club intact, their payroll might have approached $200 million. Remember, right-hander Max Scherzer is eligible for free agency after this season, first baseman Miguel Cabrera after 2015. . . .

So, money was a part of it, but perhaps a bigger part was the Tigers’ desire to make [Drew] Smyly a starter. Smyly, 24, will be the only left-hander in the team’s rotation.

  • The Braves continued locking up their young talent, this time reaching agreement with Andrelton Simmons on a seven-year, $58 million contract extension, even though the defensive wizard barely has more than on year of big-league service time under his belt. SB Nation’s Marc Normandin says this deal demonstrates that general managers of today are willing to pay more for defense.
  • Brett Gardner elected not to test free agency after the upcoming season. Instead, he and the Yankees agreed to a $50 million, four-year extension with a $15 million team option or $2 million buyout clause following the 2018 season.
  • The Dodgers agreed to terms with Cuban defector Erisbel Arruebarruena. As Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors points out, Arruebarruena serves as an insurance policy at shortstop in case a contract extension with Hanley Ramirez doesn’t materialize.
  • After the chances of a multiyear contract had faded, Nelson Cruz settled for a one-year pillow contract with the Orioles. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, this deal and others like it are of concern to Major League Baseball Players Association boss Tony Clark:

Clark spoke to the players about any issues concerning them. One issue on the forefront is re-opening the discussion about free-agent compensation, which has affected a few players who have not yet signed because teams are unwilling to part with draft picks, particularly first-rounders, if they sign a free-agent who was made a qualifying offer by his old team.

  • Bartolo Colon will be pitching in the bigs for a 17th year, but this will be the first time that he’ll start the season in the National League. Assuming the rather portly right-hander remains healthy, Met fans can expect to see the above, disquieting image, courtesy of SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee, an awful lot in the months to come.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.