The Baseball Whirlwind
A lot of stuff has happened in baseball over the last 10 or so days. A LOT of stuff. You might be one of those baseball people following every move. And then again, you might be one of those people who says, “Hey, listen, I’m pretty busy here, I’ve got, like, a job or school or I’m busy trying to buy my way into 19th century New York society* and I don’t have time to follow every single thing going on in baseball. That’s why I signed up for JoeBlogs in the first place. Let’s go. Give me my update.”
*This is if you are a character on HBO’s “The Gilded Age.”
So, team by team, here is your update about the last 10 days. Not EVERY move is expounded upon — you won’t find much about the Rockies signing Alex Colomé and stuff like that — but I’ve tried to offer some thoughts on the major moves.
As far I know, they did absolutely nothing. To be perfectly honest, I kind of forgot they existed.
March 14: Trade prospects to Oakland for Matt Olson. I already wrote at some length about how, emotionally, this deal felt off to me because it seemed a rather cynical goodbye to Atlanta icon Freddie Freeman. But once you get past that, Olson is younger than Freeman, he might actually have more power, he’s a very good defensive first baseman, and he grew up in Atlanta, so he seems utterly thrilled.
March 18: Sign 34-year-old Kenley Jansen to a one-year deal. Hey, I was surprised, and maybe I should be — there has been a lot of talk for several years now about Jansen’s demise in Los Angeles. He was quite good in 2021, though, and he sure seems to make that Atlanta bullpen quite a bit better. Wouldn’t it be something if Game 7 of the 2022 NLCS comes down to a bases-loaded situation, Atlanta vs. Los Angeles, Kenley Jansen on the mound for the Braves, Freddie Freeman at the plate for the Dodgers?
They didn’t make any moves during the baseball whirlwind, but hey they already signed Rougned Odor, so what more could anyone really want? The Orioles are supposed to be highlighting some of their prospects this year while spending roughly $14 on their roster, so, hey, that’s something.
Boston Red Sox
March 20: Sign Trevor Story to a six-year, $140 million deal. It’s a little bit of a weird deal because the Red Sox already have the superb Xander Boegarts at shortstop. The idea is for Story to play second base, even though all indications are that Story is a significantly better defensive shortstop than Boegarts. There’s also the question of how well Story will hit now that he’s leaving Coors Field — last year, he hit .203/.292/.426 on the road, and over his career his road OPS is 220 points lower than his home OPS. But my pal Mike Petriello loses his mind when people make too much out of Colorado home/road splits, and it’s obvious that Story is a superb player who will make the Red Sox a better team. Plus they kept him from the Yankees.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox seem pretty content with their team now … as they probably should: They’re heavy favorites to win the American League Central.
March 11: The Cubs sign Andrelton Simmons to a minor one-year deal. He’s 32 now, and it’s been quite a whirlwind career. He has been a true genius at shortstop, the one guy you could honestly say has played the position at the exalted Ozzie Smith level. The problem was that for the longest time he couldn’t hit at all. And then, for a couple of years there in 2017 and 2018, he did hit pretty well and was an MVP candidate; even decent hitting combined with that kind of fielding is superstar stuff. Last year with the Twins, alas, his bat turned back into a wet noodle: He slugged .274. His defense is still elite, but the Cubs would probably prefer he not be their starter. They might not have a choice.
March 16: Sign 27-year-old outfielder Seiya Suzuki to a five-year deal. This is exciting — and admittedly a bit surprising. Suzuki has been one of Japan’s biggest stars the last six years, flashing home run power, a little bit of speed, a lot of plate discipline and a bazooka for an arm in right field. The surprising part, at least to me, is that he picked the Cubs, who seem to be in rebuild mode. But Suzuki bought into the Jed Hoyer plan to move quickly from the last great Cubs team to the next great Cubs team … anyway, he should be a lot of fun to watch.