A few days ago, Dave had to throw up an omnibus transaction post for the last day of the winter meetings. Moves were getting made fastly and furiously, and Dave couldn’t keep up writing about each one individually, so for simplicity he crammed some of them together. Well, what we have now is another little flurry of moves, albeit lesser moves than some that were made last week. But in keeping with what I’ll designate as a new InstaGraphs tradition, here is another omnibus transaction post, despite it not being titled as such. Following, moves that have happened in the last 24 hours, and three sentences about them. Maybe you don’t think that’s enough sentences, but before this post, the moves had been given zero sentences. Three is bigger than zero! That’s just analysis.
The Rays just found out they’ll start the year without Jake McGee, so Jepsen’s a nice bullpen addition with two remaining years of team control, against Joyce’s one. Jepsen’s coming off a career-best strikeout season, having added a functional changeup he threw once per six pitches. Joyce can’t do anything against left-handed pitching, but he’s proven very much useful against right-handed pitching, so the Angels can pair him with C.J. Cron while using him also as Josh Hamilton injury insurance.
Yankees sign Chris Capuano for $5 million
CC Sabathia is coming off surgery, Ivan Nova is coming off surgery, Masahiro Tanaka is coming off an elbow problem, Michael Pineda isn’t too far removed from surgery, and the Yankees recently traded Shane Greene for a shortstop. There are reasons why the Yankees have been rumored to have interest in Max Scherzer, but even failing a Scherzer pursuit, it’s never the worst idea in the world to try to accumulate some starting-rotation depth. It can be difficult to find a functional veteran willing to move to the bullpen if that’s what needs demand, so what the Yankees have in Capuano is a relatively rare sort who’s willing and able to be fine in two roles.
Rockies sign Daniel Descalso for $3.6 million over two years
Over four years as a semi-regular with the Cardinals, Descalso was worth exactly 0.0 WAR. He plays all over the infield, so he’s basically just taking the place of the departed Josh Rutledge. Two years might seem like too long, but in the grand scheme of things, what are two years, really?
Marlins sign Michael Morse for $16 million over two years
Right-handed power, playoff experience, and he’s not Garrett Jones. When he’s healthy, Morse remains a potent hitter, and he might very well outhit the more expensive Kendrys Morales and Billy Butler. Yet because he’s seldom healthy, and because he’s not a good defender anywhere, this is going to read like a better deal than it is, and you have to remember that the market allowed for this contract to happen despite there being so few legitimate bats available.
Padres sign Brandon Morrow for $2.5 million, with incentives
Morrow has narrowly exceeded 200 innings over his last three years combined, with diminishing totals in each. He’s understood to be a massive injury risk, and in his peak WAR seasons, he had unremarkable RA9-WAR seasons. Yet the last time we saw Morrow, he was still throwing in the mid-90s, and he’s just 30 years old, so as an upside starter or an upside reliever, Morrow’s a perfectly sensible investment for a team that sure wants to do something in 2015.
Padres sign Trayvon Robinson to minor-league contract
It happened. I think. That’s what the internet says.
When it’s all said and done, Callaspo will finish with similar numbers of walks and strikeouts. He’s somewhat versatile and he’s decently disciplined, and the Braves had a gaping hole after dealing Tommy La Stella. The one thing Callaspo doesn’t do is hit the baseball hard enough for the baseball to notice, and it turns out that’s the kind of thing you want to be able to do if you want to sign a contract with greater terms than this contract.
Cubs sign Jason Motte for $4.5 million, with incentives
Motte was a good reliever in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Tommy John surgery cost him 2013, and upon his return in 2014, he was missing velocity and therefore effectiveness. Yet a similar thing happened to Joe Nathan in 2011 before he returned to being his old awesome self in 2012, so while the Cubs understand the obvious risk here, they have the money and Motte comes with bigger upside than most of the other affordable free-agent options.
Dodgers sign Brett Anderson for $10 million, with incentives
Tommy John surgery in 2011, rehab and an oblique strain in 2012, a foot stress fracture in 2013, and a finger fracture and a bulging disk in 2014. Anderson has thrown 206 big-league innings over the last four years, but in those 206 innings he’s been worth a combined 3.3 WAR, with good-enough peripherals, so the upside is obvious, especially if you figure things like fractures are freak accidents. Anderson isn’t 27 until February, and the Dodgers will plan for him to be their fifth starter for as long as he can remain on the mound, which is a perfectly good roll of the dice for a team that can afford to outspend almost all others.
Indians sign Gavin Floyd for $4 million, with incentives
Tommy John cost Floyd much of 2013, and some of 2014. Yet last season ended due to an unrelated elbow injury, one that’s supposed to be just fine in time for spring training, and when Floyd did pitch with the Braves, he flashed a career-best 14% K-BB% and an overall somewhat average profile with undiminished stuff. The Indians were in no particular need of rotation help, but everyone’s in need of rotation depth, and Floyd will actually be the most expensive starting arm on the team.