The offseason has always been a time for improvement. 29 teams have realized that, despite their best laid plans, they didn’t achieve their goal in the previous season. It’s a time for reflection, reassessment and, when the opportunity arises, reorganization.
The Mariners realized that their infield and their lineup simply wasn’t good enough last year. Relying on Dustin Ackley and his .660 OPS at second base wasn’t a winning strategy. The Mariners spent a lot of money to bring Robinson Cano and his .860 career OPS to Seattle to give their lineup and infield a much needed boost.
Cano actually has 138 PAs in Safeco Field and he’s hit reasonably well. He owns a career .837 OPS there. The problem for Cano is that he REALLY enjoyed playing in New Yankee Stadium and posted a career .906 OPS in New Yankee in a mammoth 1681 PA sample size. Safeco simply isn’t New Yankee and while Cano will provide an OPS boost to the Seattle lineup, he won’t be bringing New Yankee Stadium with him.
The Yankees took some of the money set aside for Cano and gave a chunk of it to Brian McCann, Baseball Sheriff. The Yankees gave the bulk of the catching duties to Chris Stewart in 2013. Stewart produced a .566 OPS in 340 PAs last year. That’s bad enough to make White Sox catchers blush. Sheriff McCann brings a no-nonsense attitude and a .823 OPS into New Yankee Stadium. His power from the left side of the plate projects well in New York and he should be able to post an OPS well above league average.
On the other side of New York, the Mets owned one of the worst outfields in major league baseball last year. Only free agent Marlon Byrd (.848) and Lucas Duda (.767) posted an OPS over .700 with over 350 PAs. The Mets went out and signed Curtis Granderson and Chris Young to improve their outfield to slightly above replacement level after Byrd took a bunch of money from the Pirates.
Granderson owns a career .828 OPS and, while he should struggle in CitiField, he should provide some power production in the Mets outfield. The Steamer projection system predicts Granderson will post a .750 OPS with 24 homers. That’s fantasy relevant. Young owns a career .746 OPS and Steamer projects him to post a .714 OPS. That’s waiver wire material in most formats, but it’s better than giving playing time to the Mike Baxters, Jordany Valdespins and Andrew Browns of the world.
Jhonny Peralta has served his time for PEDs and was award with a $52 million dollar contract from the Cardinals. That’ll show PED abusers! Punish them by giving them big bags of cash after serving suspensions! In 2013, the Cardinals gave over 800 PAs to Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma. Kozma struggled with a .548 OPS while Descalso “exploded” for a league leading .656 OPS. Wait. He lead Cardinals shortstops with a .656 OPS. Both players didn’t deserve a roster spot in any format. They were essentially empty PAs in fantasy baseball.
Peralta owns four full major league season with an OPS over .800 and owns a career mark of .755. Descalso and Kozma couldn’t hit, produce power or steal bases. Peralta can do two of those. Steamer likes Peralta for a .724 OPS, while Oliver has Peralta posting a .734 OPS. When Descalso and Kozma were the first two options, option three is always better. Is there any shape that Peralta could show up for Spring Training in and NOT outproduce Descalso and Kozma? 100 lbs. overweight? 100 lbs. underweight? Could they put a broom in a Peralta jersey and still have it post a higher OPS? Can we just change VORP to VODK?