One more note about the Angels-Cardinals trade: The Angels also received reliever Fernando Salas in addition to third baseman David Freese. Basically, they’re still trying to make their relief corps as terrible as possible. Doing a great job as usual!
On to the good stuff.
SD Padres sign SP Josh Johnson
I don’t have a full-blown projection system, but when I regressed Johnson’s 2o13 numbers they turned up some seriously wacky stuff. I can’t remember seeing pitcher look so simultaneously hittable (105 hits, 81-1/3 IP) and unhittable (83 K, 9.2 K/9). He also gave up an astounding number of home runs and his walk rate continues to rise. Fortunately, some of the aforementioned are out of Johnson’s control, and I don’t think he could give up that many home runs or hits again (.361 BAbip) in that same window, even if he tried. I would never expect him to regain his 2007-08 form, nor do I know how much each win above replacement (WAR) is worth these days, but $8 million should be a worthwhile rental, especially in the comfy confines of Petco Park. However, if last year’s Johnson magically shows up again… well, yikes.
Winner: San Diego Padres?
NY Yankees sign C Brian McCann
Best-case scenario for the power-hitting lefty: he’s moving to the ballpark with the shortest right-field porch, and now he’s in the American League, where he can eventually move to DH or first base when his legs give out. He has only played about 60 to 80 percent of the last three seasons, and he still managed to hit at least 20 home runs in each. From a fantasy perspective, the potential for added rest at DH hugely impacts McCann’s power bat at a notoriously shallow position. His value to the Yankees will depend on how long he can stay behind the plate, for much of the value of this rather long contract hinges on McCann’s durability.
Winners: Brian McCann, New York Yankees
STL Cardinals sign SS Jhonny Peralta
NEWS FLASH! PEDs continue to pay off. In what I would consider a rare misstep for the Cardinals, the team gave an above-average salary to an incredibly average offensive and defensive shortstop in Peralta, who hit .303 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI in what would have been a career year had it not been shortened by a 50-game suspension for being named in the Biogenesis scandal. It doesn’t matter if you think PEDs actually enhance performance, or Peralta’s 2013 performance in particular. Peralta, a career .268 hitter, clearly overperformed. I hoped the defensive metrics would indicate he’s got a little bit of Pete Kozma in him, but no, not really. Peralta once had 20-HR power potential, but he’s entering his age-32 year. I would hesitate to offer four years, $52 million to a shortshop of Peralta’s caliber in his prime, let alone at the beginning of most players’ decline.
Loser: St. Louis Cardinals, the smartest team in baseball