Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Week That Was: American League West

This continues a division-by-division look at last week's transactions in baseball. See the National League East entry for ground rules.

Traded for: Nobody
Traded away: Nobody
Free agents signed: RP Luke Gregerson, RP Pat Neshek

2015 Impact: This is Houston saying, "We're done tearing it down, now we're building it up." The Astros had a pretty bad bullpen last year, with the worst ERA (4.80) and most blown saves (25) in the American League. Gregerson had a 2.12 ERA over 72 appearances for Oakland while Neshek's was 1.87 over 71 games for St. Louis. They're good additions as the Astros continue their climb toward respectability.

2016+ Impact: They're both signed through 2017, and the Astros have a team option on Neshek for 2018. They'll continue to contribute, barring ineffectiveness.

Traded for: SP Andrew Heaney, 2B/SS Josh Rutledge
Traded away: RP Jairo Diaz, 2B Howie Kendrick
Free agents signed: Nobody

2015 Impact: Substituting Rutledge for Kendrick is a big step down for the Angels, but Heaney is a top prospect. He was rated No. 30 in all of baseball prior to the 2014 season by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus and No. 29 by The 23-year-old lefty compiled a 2.35 ERA over nine games with AA Jacksonville and a 3.87 ERA over 15 starts with AAA Las Vegas in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League (average ERA: 4.64). He struck out 91 in 83.2 innings had a strong 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He should be a contributor to the Angels rotation in 2015, possibly immediately. That being said, the loss of Kendrick makes the Angels less formidable at the plate in 2015.

2016+ Impact: There's a good chance they wouldn't have been able to keep Kendrick after this season had they not traded him, so over the long term, they're better off with Heaney and no Kendrick than with no Kendrick at all.


Traded forSP Chris Bassit, C Josh Phegley, 1B-3B Rangel Ravelo2B Joe WendleIF Marcus Semien
Traded away1B-OF Brandon MossSP Jeff Samardzija, RP Michael Ynoa
Free agents signed: Nobody

The week before last I wrote over 2,300 words--that's excluding tables--explaining why I don't understand what the A's are doing. They're here. Let me add three more: I still don't.

Traded for: SP J.A. Happ
Traded away: OF Michael Saunders
Free agents signed: DH Nelson Cruz

2015 Impact: The Mariners are also a little hard to figure out. I don't like the Happ-for-Saunders deal--mediocre starter for one of the team's best hitters--and Rob Neyer explained why the Mariners probably over-valued Cruz. Still, given how excruciatingly bad the Mariners DHs were last year (they batted .190 with a .266 on base percentage and .301 slugging percentage and 171 total bases, all easily the worst in the league), Cruz should make them better.

2016+ Impact: I think Saunders is an OK player who won't be a free agent until 2017, while Cruz turns 35 next July. I could see the Saunders trade haunting the Mariners at least until his free agency.

Traded forRP Ross Detwiler
Traded away2B Chris Bostick, RP Abel De Los Santos
Free agents signed: Nobody

2015 Impact: I guess we can conclude that if the Rangers are trading two prospects for a 28-year-old reliever they must think last year's worst-in-the-league 67-95 record was a fluke. Actually, that's a little unfair: Detwiler was a pretty good starter for the Nationals in 2012 but became kind of the odd man out in the team's rotation, winding up in the bullpen. He's a reasonably good candidate to benefit from a change of scenery.

2016+ Impact: If the change of scenery works, this could be a nice pickup for the Rangers. If it doesn't, one of the prospects could make them regret this move.

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