Depending on what time you see this today, I will either be in — or on my way to — Arizona for spring training. If you’re going to be in the area, tweet at me and stop by to say hi. I swear I’m not that awkward in real life.
Carlos Gomez’s New Contract
Yesterday afternoon the Milwaukee Brewers announced a three year extension with Gomez to the tune of $24 million. The deal adds on three years to his current contract and effectively buys out his first three years of free agency. Gomez enjoyed his best season yet last year when he hit 19 home runs and stole 37 bases, all while hitting an effective .260/.305/.463. He didn’t have an aberration in the batted ball department, as his .296 BABIP was solidly in line with his .303 career number. Through all of these encouraging signs, his walk rate failed to be league average and his on-base percentage clearly suffered as a result. He may not offer a dazzling OBP (or even batting average for standard 5×5 leagues) but he does offer a moderate mix of power and speed. I would be surprised if he hit 20 home runs this year however, as his 14.3% HR/FB% was the same as Paul Goldschmidt‘s. Even if (read: when) Gomez’s power comes back down a touch, he is still on the cusp of being a top 50 outfielder and a top 200 player overall.
Jerry Sands, Sans An Opportunity
The Pittsburgh Pirates optioned Jerry Sands to Triple-A yesterday in a move that was mostly obscured by the fact that the same announcement also sent down Jameson Tallion. I have admired Sands’ skillset from afar for some time now, and have hoped that eventually he would get a real chance to prove himself. Sands hit at least 25 home runs in each calendar year from 2010-12. His walk rate has never fallen below 9% at any minor league level and his worst season in the minors during that time frame was his first taste of Triple-A, and even then he hit a 109 wRC+. Just last season in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate, Sands cracked 26 home runs and drew 59 walks in 452 plate appearances. This will now be his age-25 season and he can claim a mere 251 major league PA’s to his name. The incumbent first baseman for the Pirates, Garrett Jones, is battling soreness in his left oblique and although Jones is now on twitter, you should keep an eye on his health status more than his tweet status. Even if 100% healthy, Jones and Sands could for a powerful platoon option at first base. Sands has seen plenty of time in the outfield as well, and could be passable in left field. If Jones’ oblique strain continually flares up and requires a DL stint, grab Sands as insurance.
Jake Odorizzi To Triple-A
In a move that should be categorized as “not shocking,” the Tampa Bay Rays have sent Odorizzi to Triple-A, as well as Chris Archer, to begin the 2013 season. Archer should still be drafted late Odorizzi got a small taste of the majors last season as a member of the Kansas City Royals, but is now set to regain some of his previous luster in the minor leagues. Small sample and all, but in his brief stint in the show thus far has produced an identical number of walks, runs allowed, and strikeouts. That list sure looked good until item number three, huh? Without diving into two starts too far, Odorizzi is still a very good pitching prospect. Marc Hulet recently rated him in his Top 100 (at 86) as did Bullpen Banter (at 68). For those of you in dynasty formats, you may want to buy-low on Odorizzi and stash him for the season.
John Lamb Could Use More Seasoning
Excuse the poorly framed food pun; I’ve been watching too much Chopped All-Stars on DVR. Late last night the Kansas City Royals announced that minor league starter John Lamb will begin the season in Double-A. Once a top prospect, Lamb under went Tommy John surgery in June of 2011. Since then, he has made just six starts, all at the Rookie-ball level. Jumping right into Double-A will be a good test for Lamb, as he struggled against them prior to TJS. Keep a close on his progress, as he may once again regain his previous prospect status.