Did you miss any of that madness yesterday? The Cubs, alone, made four moves – signing David Ross, officially signing Jason Motte, claiming Ryan Lavarnway, and claiming Shane Peterson – and the rest of baseball was buzzing as teams apparently tried to wrap things up before the weekend. Justin Upton went to the Padres and Jake Peavy re-signed with the Giants for two years and $24 million.
- Javier Baez ripped another homer in the Puerto Rican Winter League last night, together with another couple hits in the game. He’s now batting a LOL-worthy .444/.476/.889 in the league, but there are some enormous caveats here: we’re talking about five games and 20 plate appearances. That’s nothing. Further, Baez has struck out 8 times in those 20 plate appearances (40%). So don’t go nuts about the slash line … but also don’t go nuts about the strikeouts. Hitting well is always better than hitting poorly. But I don’t think we can take anything – good or bad – away from Baez’s performance thus far. That will probably remain the case until the season ends (unless doesn’t strike out again the whole rest of the way, or strikes out in every single at bat the rest of the way – and, even then, I’d still probably say, “Yeah, but … “).
- Arismendy Alcantara is also crushing Winter Ball (he’s in the Dominican Republic), hitting .324/.395/.544 with 4 homers, 7 walks, and 15 strikeouts in 19 games. He hasn’t been in the DWL quite long enough to qualify, but, if he did, his OPS would be third best in the league right now. As with Baez, don’t take too much away from it (here’s where you add in the dicey pitching they’re facing) – but crushing is generally better than scuffling.
- Patrick Mooney writes about the Jason Motte signing, with many quotes from Joe Maddon on how he plans – or doesn’t plan – to use his relievers this year. It’s quite a crew of options.
- Holy crap ZiPS loves the Nationals. Although I suppose that’s less about ZiPS loving the Nationals, and more about the Nationals just having a stacked-ass team. Glaring hole at second base … nothing but awesomeness everywhere else. And depth for miles.
- Peter Gammons writes about the paths to competitiveness taken by each of the Cubs and Red Sox.
- Mike Quade is back in the manager’s seat, with Minnesota’s AAA club. Good for him. He always seemed like a good baseball guy. He just didn’t didn’t excel as the Cubs’ manager (albeit with a crummy roster).
- Trea Turner’s agent is (rightly) angry about his client being traded to another team that can’t actually have, protect, and develop him for another six months. Ken Rosenthal writes about that, taking aim at the can’t-trade-for-one-year-after-signing rule, though I think just as much ire is due the Padres and Nationals for trading this kid right now at all. It’s not like they don’t know the rule, and they simply decided forcing Turner to live in this limbo for six months was fine.