It looks like it’s done. Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks, Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago to the Angels, and Adam Eaton to the White Sox. Who wins? Who loses? Let’s shake the tree and see what falls out.
Mark Trumbo wins.
Trumbo takes his prodigious power from a park that suppressed right-handed power five percent to one that augments power three percent. We can be careful to over-rate park increases — after all, half his games are still on the road, and for every SafeCo there’s a PetCo — but dude is going to be 28 and none of his power indicators are going in the wrong direction yet. His homers per fly ball and isolated slugging percentage have all been steady the last three years. And that’s why you own him — his ISO is 27th in the league over the last three years and only four players have hit more homers over that time frame. As much as he’s trying to improve his plate discipline stats, his walk and strikeout rates are both sub-par and keep him from contributing in batting average. So he wins, just a bit.
Tyler Skaggs wins.
Tyler Skaggs is a young Ted Lilly or Barry Zito with an old Ted Lilly or Barry Zito fastball. Maybe that’s harsh. After all, the changeup got average whiffs, making him more of a three-pitch guy than his predecessors. But mostly Skaggs throws a sub-par fastball and has a great big old curveball, which means that he has to throw his fastball up in the zone, and when he misses his spot just a little bit, it’s an 89 mph meatball at the belt. The good news for him is that he’s going to a park that suppresses home runs and needs a pitcher in the rotation right now. If Skaggs can make incremental improvements to his control and command, and even improve to just a homer per nine innings, he can be better than league average. He gets more whiffs than your average pitcher, and the curveball is nice. But starting out your career with an 89 mph fastball makes things tough as the velocity starts to go. Skaggs is probably a better short-term bet than long-term one. But he wins!
Hector Santiago wins.
Basically, the template is set. I’m going to talk trash on each player and then talk about how he’s going to a good situation and should gain from it. So it should be of no surprise to you that I will now do so for Santiago, despite the fact that he throws a screwball. Well, the screwball is terrible. It doesn’t get whiffs, he has trouble keeping it down, and when it’s not down, it’s just a 84mph floater up in the zone — homers. He has one above-average pitch, his fastball. It gets 10% whiffs and averages close to 93 mph. But no other pitch gets average whiffs or grounders. And he has bad control. And he gives up homers. No other pitcher in baseball has had a larger disparity between his FIP and ERA since 2012. He’s mostly kept his ERA low with nice strand rates and batted ball luck. At least there’s that homer-suppression thing again. That should help Santiago keep his ERA close to four. He wins — the park should help cover some of the regression that’s surely coming — but he wins!
Adam Eaton… loses?
Eaton goes to a park that’s 5% friendlier to lefty power, so there I guess he wins. He also heads away from a team with a good center fielder to a team with an incumbent center fielder. Notice I said incumbent. Because Alejandro De Aza has been below average with the glove in center the last two years, and there’s daylight there for Eaton to take the job. That leaves three guys for the last two spots, though, and means that Dayan Viciedo, Avisail Garcia and De Aza will be fighting for their jobs right alongside Eaton. Avisail’s plate discipline is poor, but he has some power and speed. Viciedo might be on the hot seat now. If he can continue to hit better against righties than he has (last year, he had a 98 wRC+ against righties, 89 v LHP, but that split has been 80/144 for the righties’ career), then he’ll be fine and this team will be crowded. If not, he might end up on the bench — there’s no natural platoon partner for him on this team. Eaton loses, but there might be another trade on the horizon that will make this picture more clear.
Update: I asked Chicago GM about Adam Eaton and he said that Eaton is their center fielder and DeAza and Viciedo are in a platoon unless he can trade one. He said he’ll continue to take calls on the two outfielders. That might make Eaton a slight winner, and everyone actually in the deal a winner!
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