Posts tagged Adeiny Hechavarria

The Night that Anthopoulos Acquired the Marlins

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The collective sigh that Blue Jays fans began the 2012/2013 offseason with has assuredly subsided as the Jays completed what may be the biggest trade in their history. In the transaction, the Blue Jays got Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck, and $4 million (maybe more?) from the Marlins in return for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick, Jeff Mathis, and Anthony DeSclafani. Jon Morosi first reported the rumblings of the deal and summed it up pretty nicely too.

Despite the intended sarcasm, Jon Morosi was right, the Blue Jays acquired $163.75 million of total salary from the Marlins and before arbitration the Marlins are left with $32 million committed to their 2013 payroll. That figure comes just one year after their $101 million payroll and the opening of their new publicly funded ballpark. The trade resulted in reactions ranging from “HAHAHA F U Loria” to “OMG OMG OMG”, but on the whole it produced a state of excitement in Blue Jays fans unparalleled by anything in quite a long while.

Simply on a player for player basis, the Blue Jays gained roughly 10-12 wins in their acquisitions, but nothing comes without a catch. In the process of the deal the Blue Jays increased their 2012 payroll by roughly $30 million to a total of $108 million for 2013. That $108 million figure is by no means exact, it is a prediction, but it does include all payroll obligations plus MLBTR’s projected arbitration numbers. Nonetheless that projected figure would mark the highest Blue Jays payroll in…well…ever. The previous high came in 2008 when the Blue Jays ran on a payroll of $97 million dollars.

Furthermore, while it is amazing that the Jays managed to keep Travis d’Arnaud in the deal, they still traded away their No. 3 and No. 5 prospects in Jake Marisnick and Justin Nicolino. Since the trade has happened there have been quotes from scouts who’ve shown hesitancy towards predicting Marisnick with as bright a future as Marlins fans might hope, but nonetheless both he and Nicolino are Top 100 prospects.

In return for their prospects, their players, and their money the Blue Jays got an improved starting SS in Reyes as well as two pitchers to plug into the top half of their starting rotation in Johnson and Buhrle. In Reyes the Jays are getting an additional 3 or 4 wins over what Yunel Escobar provided for them in 2012. In Buehrle the Blue Jays are getting a consistent pitcher who can and should give them 200 innings in 2013, a change of pace from what we saw with the rotation in 2012. Lastly in Johnson the Jays are getting a guy who has been among the Top 15 pitchers in baseball over the past four years, in terms of WAR, which if he’s healthy should mean a 3-5 win upgrade on whatever back end of the rotation starter the Jays would have otherwise used.

Then along with the big three, the Jays acquired 32 year old J.P. Arencibia (aka John Buck) and a better Mike McCoy (aka Emilio Bonifacio), two players who are likely to be used in backup and utility roles. Bonifacio missed significant time last year due to injury, but he can and has played 2B, 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF while also being one of the best base runners in baseball.

The only curiosity I had with the trade was the fact that the Blue Jays acquired two players who were free agents during the previous offseason, Reyes and Buehrle. Whether this means that the Blue Jays didn’t have enough funds until attendance increased, that they’re more hard set on their “No Contracts Longer than 5 Years” rule than we thought, that they simply couldn’t convince either of Reyes or Buehrle to come to Toronto, or for some other unknown reason it is speculation that peaks curiosity, but speculation nonetheless. Of course all of this is easy to say in hindsight, but it would still be interesting to see how things would have played out both this season and this offseason had the Jays signed the two players they traded for.

With that said, in the Land of Blue Jays fans, where apparently anything is possible (yes Kevin Garnett you were right) this megadeal has amounted to proclamations of the Jays being the best team in the AL East, in the American League, and from the mouths of a few Twitterers, the best team in baseball. While the trade represents a significant upgrade, the injury ridden Blue Jays acquired two more injury ridden players. While that isn’t the end of the world, creating a team with plenty of injury prone players could very easily hamper the 2013 record.

Even then, whether or not this team is even a playoff contender is still a legitimate question, but one that can be answered another day. For today we can revel in the benefits of an increased payroll, hopes for contention, and the excitement of seemingly limitless possibilities as we await both the rest of the offseason and the beginning of Spring Training.

PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Making Sense of The Hanley Rumours

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Picture Courtesy of AP Photo via Daylife

On Monday after a trade that sent starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and infielder Omar Infante to Detroit we learned that despite their offseason free agency splurge the Marlins are ready and primed to sell. This morning in a report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale we heard that the Blue Jays are interested.

With regards to a possible Hanley trade there is a few things we need to get out-of-the-way.

1. Hanley Ramirez can play shortstop
In his MLB career Hanley Ramirez has played 829 games at shortstop and looked to continue playing there until the Marlins signed Jose Reyes this offseason. The subsequent action to the Reyes signing was to move Hanley to third base.

2. Hanley Ramirez should not play shortstop
Despite playing 829 games at shortstop in his career, Hanley is really not a very good shortstop. In fact from the time of his call up until he was moved off of shortstop after the 2011 season Hanley was the second worst shortstop in the league by UZR standards and only moves up to third worst by DRS standards. Beyond that the scouts haven’t exactly been kind to Hanley either.

3. Hanley Ramiez is not a bad hitter
Over the last two years Hanley has produced a .245/.328/.405, which amounts to an even 100 wRC+. However looking at some of Hanley’s more intricate stats this year one can see that his ISO is up ~50 points to .183 or that his batted ball data is back to where it was in the early part of his career. He is replacing ground balls with fly balls while keeping a consistent line drive rate…ultimately it is producing more home runs. He has even pushed his contact rate up above his career average of 82.2%.

The thing that really seems to be hurting Hanley this year is his .271 BABIP, which is 4 points lower than it was last year and still a whole 62 points below his career average. Beyond that one might speculate that the large confines of Marlins Park may be hampering some of his offensive production.

In fact if you look at Hanley’s hits at Marlins Park and overlay them on the Rogers Centre you can see Hanley may even have had a few extra home runs if he was hitting in Toronto.

The dots that are not dark blue would not be home runs at Marlins Park
Picture via Katron

Now getting away from all the technical stuff and towards the trade itself one can see that there are definitely a few logistics that would need to be sorted out. First off the Blue Jays already have a shortstop in Yunel Escobar who is more than capable of staying at the position. Granted Yunel has produced a wRC+ of 75 that currently ranks 14th last among qualified batters and 7th last among qualified shortstops, but Yunel’s pull is his defence at SS…something Hanley somewhat lacks.

Part of what makes this trade complicated is that the Blue Jays would likely have to include Yunel in a deal, which puts Hanley at shortstop for the Blue Jays. Ideally you don’t want to put Hanley at shortstop,  instead you’d like Hechavarria to be able to stick there. In order for that to happen it would require Hanley to move to another new position, second base, something he may not be too inclined to do. I’d speculate what else the Blue Jays would have to give beyond Escobar but to tell you the truth I’m not exactly sure who to include.

The reason being that on one hand Hanley seems to be an undervalued asset at this point with the way he has played and it would appear that the Marlins are selling low…assuming they don’t know anything we don’t. On the other hand despite his struggles Hanley has been the 8th best player in baseball per fWAR between 2006 and 2012. The fact that Hanley has been good in the past is why other teams like Boston, Oakland, Baltimore, and even Toronto are in the supposed bidding.

They see what Hanley can do, but the problem is they all can see it, making it a classic case of supply and demand. The supply of potential superstar players in the MLB is very low and the demand is obviously very high.

This doesn’t seem to be like the Colby Rasmus case as it appeared to the public that no one else was in on Rasmus…no one even knew Rasmus was on the market until the trade happened. With more teams in on Hanley the bidding will get higher and higher and it may come to a point where it is no longer a buy low…and not the ideal Alex Anthopoulos trade.

Beyond that when compared to the other contenders for Hanley, the Blue Jays don’t exactly line up perfectly in terms of what they have to offer.

With what all the logistics amount to a Hanley trade seems like somewhat of a pipe dream, but then again so did acquiring Colby Rasmus…so I guess we will have to wait and see.

As well like any other Blue Jays rumour this could all be hogwash and a month later we may find out that the Blue Jays were never in on Hanley at all…it could just be due diligence. Despite that it’s fun to speculate, so speculate away…just don’t get your expectations up too high and don’t let your speculation get too.

Have safe trade talk everyone…it’s what is best for us all.

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