November 24th, 2013
During cold winter nights I used to sit and listen to my favorite sports radio talk show hosts, Peter J. Franklin from Cleveland and Pat Sheridan from Milwaukee.
Those two made the baseball off-season melt away as I waited for Spring Training. It was a long wait, but with their mellow voices and constant trade talk, winter became bearable.
I fast forward many years and I’m still clinging to every word and every bit and morsel of baseball news I can find during the Hot Stove period.
We’ve had some huge deals so far, and it isn’t even Thanksgiving. Here are my thoughts on a couple of them:
Prince Fielder to Texas for Ian Kinsler and money. Lots and lots of money.
Fielder has an opportunity to put up tremendous power numbers in a hitter-friendly park. Much, however, will depend upon his conditioning. It’s hot and humid in Dallas in summer. He has a history of playing every game without time off and without injury. If he’s fit, watch out. If he loses some weight I think he’ll win the AL home run title.
Kinsler solves an issue at 2B for Detroit that wasn’t really an issue. For me, the bigger issues were in the bullpen and in LF. I think the Tigers will use any money saved on Fielder to shore up those two areas. I look for Joe Nathan or Brian Wilson, proven closers both, to be courted. I also think Detroit is a natural landing spot for Shin-Soo Choo or even Curtis Granderson. I see a left-handed hitter arriving. Soon.
The Tigers will be weakened if they do not find a sufficient bat to protect Miguel Cabrera. And don’t forget, they lost Jhonny Peralta as well. Victor Martinez can’t do it by himself. Torii Hunter helps, but Fielder is a big loss. A 25 home run loss.
I’m thrilled that Peter Bourjos has an opportunity to play every day in St. Louis. I think he’ll be healthy and provide the speed/defense combination that will compliment the Cardinals.
But make no mistake, David Freese can still hit. Moving Matt Carpenter to 3B and putting Kolten Wong at 2B is interesting, but some impactful offense will be lost.
Randal Grichuk is the wild card in this deal. The Cardinals may have gotten a player with big time offensive upside. And not many people are talking about that. He could blossom in two more seasons, if that. Or–he could wilt. I like his chances to thrive though.
Fernando Salas will help in the Angels pen. He doesn’t have the power arm that the Cardinals have been developing lately. He likely wasn’t going to survive the competition in St. Louis. But he has some experience, and the Angels may be able to use him late in games.
I think the Yankees signing of Brian McCann will be one of the best off-season moves. He’s a natural in Yankee Stadium. But beyond that, their pitching staff will be less experienced this coming season and he’ll handle them very well. It’s as important to them as the offense he will provide from the left side of the plate. He’ll be aiming at the short right field porch in the Stadium. Great move.
The Indians will miss right-handed reliever Joe Smith. He was reliable. His submarine arm slot was deceptive and different. The Angels helped themselves in the pen. Now they need starting pitching. And the Indians need bullpen arms. Badly.
Chris Young will help the Mets by playing solid defensive centerfield.
Josh Johnson signing with the Padres is about as good as it can get for both the player and the club. The park is outstanding for his pitching style (for any pitcher’s style, actually) and the club gets a fair contract for a limited period with a pitcher wishing to establish an improved value. It’s a win-win. Don’t sleep on the Padres. I think they’ll continue to make moves.
I’ll weigh in on other deals as the winter progresses.
But man, do I miss Pete Franklin and Pat Sheridan.
I hope I can be your Pete and Pat-only on twitter and here at BERNIE’S BASEBALL WORLD.
I’ll try to keep your hot stove burning all winter long. You can read my player profiles at MLBPipeline.com and follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff. I’d really like that. And…thanks.
That’s it. I’m done.