Welcome to August, baseball fans! The trade deadline was wildly disappointing, but a couple things came of it, so we’ll touch on that in today’s Roto Riteup.
Bud Norris and L.J. Hoes
I have it on good authority that the Norris trade will be under further scrutiny on RotoGraphs later today, but I want to say a few things about the deal. First, Norris will not have good times in the AL East. Norris is a solid pitcher and an interesting asset for the O’s, and while he’ll win more ballgames now that he’s not a member of the Astros, he’s still going to be waiver wire fodder in mixed leagues.
Hoes, who goes to Houston in the deal, will receive big league playing time immediately. The Astros dealt away Justin Maxwell to the Royals (more on that later), so at the very least Hoes will be used as a platoon bat, but he’s likely to see everyday action soon. Hoes is only 23 years of age, so while he has time to grow his physical tools, it’s safe to say he won’t be putting up counting stats early in his career. Hoes knows how to work the zone and draw walks without striking out too often, and that’s a valuable skill for a fourth outfielder, but not enough to warrant everyday playing time unless there’s some power or a ridiculous batting average is involved. But, Hoes will get a chance to prove himself in the corner outfield during Houston’s rebuild, and he’s going to be a fun guy to have around in AL OBP leagues.
Justin Maxwell and the Royals’ outfield
The Royals quest to contend in 2014 was boosted slightly with their acquisition of Maxwell, a legitimate centerfielder who provides pop against lefties. Small sample noted, but Maxwell’s bat has been 20% above average against left-handed pitchers in his short career, and he’ll probably play every day a southpaw takes the hill against KC. It’s yet to be seen how the David Lough/Jarrod Dyson/Lorenzo Cain split will play out against righties, but bet on Cain and Maxwell both taking the field against lefties.
Raul Ibanez and the Mariners
The Mariners stood pat over the deadline, opting to let the team play out the season if they can’t sneak guys like Michael Morse through waivers. With Morse back in the lineup, Ibanez, Justin Smoak, Kendrys Morales, Dustin Ackley, and Michael Saunders may all see a little less playing time, and this author bets on a brunt of the time coming from Raul.
“But why,” you may ask, noting how Raul is beloved and has been an offensive weapon over the course of the year. Well, because coming into last night’s action, Raul was hitting .135 since the break with nary a homer and 15 strikeouts in 37 ABs. If he continues to flail at pitches like, well, we sort of expected him to coming into the year, the M’s will should hopefully wise up.