As we start the 2023 calendar year, we are just starting to really dive in to baseball (the 2023 FG Draft Guide is currently being complied for release in the near future). To that end, we’ve seen a few minor signings occur of late that we wanted to touch on, while he continue to wait on what is going to happen with the Carlos Correa saga.
It’s the Willie/Willi hour…
Willie Calhoun decided to sign with the Yankees. Seems like a strange choice for the former elite prospect given that the Yankees have Judge-Stanton-Bader-Cabrera-Hicks in the outfield at the moment. Perhaps he hopes to pull a Matt Carpenter and rekindle his career in New York. Willie hit .135 last season in 22 games and he’s hit .221 with eight homers his last 454 plate appearances with a .621 OPS. Hard to recall I know, but this guy was once ranked as a top-50 MLB prospect according to just about everyone. Remarkably, he’s still just 28 years old.
Willi Castro signed a deal with the Twins. It’s a minor league job with an invite to spring training. He seems like an ideal final bench guy for a big league club. Just 25 years old, here are his games played totals per position last year: LF 27, CF 16, RF 40, 2B 16, SS 16, 3B 6. He legit can play all over the diamond. Unfortunately he’s not much of a hitter with a .637 OPS the last two years, but he has a weeeee bit of speed with nine steals each of the last two years. Another league only option in the fantasy game.
Carlos Correa is still a free agent. News broke on December 20th that the Giants were backing out of their deal due to medical concerns. On December 21st it was reported that the Mets agreed to a 12-year, $315 million deal. As you are well aware, the Mets doctors then expressed the same concerns that led to the Giants backing out of their 13-year agree. It is now January 3rd. That’s two weeks of limbo. That’s two weeks of nothing substantive being made public. According to a recent NY Post article, the Mets and Correa are about to resume talking about what amendments might be made to the original agreement. I get that it is a huge deal with massive years and dollars, but I can’t be the only person surprised that this situation with the Mets isn’t resolved, can I be? It will be fascinating to see what Correa’s eventual contract will look like. Short-term with tons of options? Super long term with lots of stipulations? As noted, fascinating shall it be.
Rafael Devers agreed to a deal with the Red Sox.
Obviously, the Sox want to sign Devers to an extension, he’s a free agent at the end of the 2023 season, and this buys them some more time to lock down one of the better offensive players in the game. To date, he owns a .283/.342/.512 career slash line and he’s coming off a season of .295-27-88-84… which was his worst full season in three years as he went .311-32-115-129 in 2019 and then .279-38-113-101 in 2021. Love looking at his career splits at home (.293/.350/.523) vs. on the road (.273/.335/.501).
Eric Hosmer to the Cubs?
The way the Cubs are currently constructed, I would assume an infield something like this.
1B – Patrick Wisdom
2B – Nico Hoerner
3B – Christopher Morel
SS – Dansby Swanson
DH – Open?
Hosmer could easily be signed, take over first base and move Wisdom to the DH spot. Hosmer is due $39 million of his 8-year, $144M deal, but since he was released by the Red Sox, they will be on the hook for virtually all of the money with his new team covering the veteran minimum. That makes Hosmer a very attractive addition for a club looking for a solid veteran. Hosmer is just a guy offensively at 33 years of age, but he can be expected to his like .265 with a .335 OBP if that excites you (it shouldn’t). The issue with Hosmer is that he simply doesn’t drive the baseball anymore. He’s nothing but a league only fantasy option.
Evan Longoria signed a 1-year, $4 million deal with the Diamondbacks. At this point, we are expecting him to probably start at third base pushing Josh Rojas into a DH/Everywhere job. Rojas should still play daily – he suited up 89 times at third last year and 26 times at second base – so don’t worry about him losing playing time. As for Longoria, well, just expect Rojas to play a good deal of third base this season as Evan has a hard time saying on the field at this point. The last two years Longoria has played 81 and 89 games as the 37 year old moves toward the twilight of his career. Now, that isn’t to say he’s a useful fantasy performer. In fact, Longoria has a .466 SLG and .799 OPS the last two years with a solid .214 ISO mark. He’s also posted an exit velocity over 91 mph each of the last three years, with a hard-hit rate over 45 percent each of the last three years and a barrel rate of 11 percent each of the last three years. That’s some pretty serious hitting for an aging guy who no one talks about. In the end, that makes him well worth investing in for those of you who still play in NL only leagues.
Michael Wacha and the Twins are apparently talking. Wacha had a 3.32 ERA and 1.12 WHIP last season in a rather remarkable effort, and you can make the case that he’s the best free agent starting pitcher left on the market. That said, he’s a 31 year old who last threw 130 big league innings in 2017 while his 20.2 percent K-rate is far from ideal for a guy who posted a mere 1.06 GB/FB ratio last season.
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