PT TODAY: Sale switches Sox

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American League | National League
 
Red Sox | Boston acquires Chris Sale in blockbuster
Chicago White Sox SP Chris Sale was traded to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in exchange for top prospect 3B Yoan Moncada, SP Michael Kopech, OF Luis Alexander Basabe and P Victor X. Diaz.  Source: USA TODAY Sports - Bob Nightengale
 
BHQ take: Moncada is the near-term prize for the White Sox here, with the other prospects in the deal being longer-term investments. Expect the White Sox to be conservative in promoting the 21-year old, but a summer arrival in Chicago is within reach for the game's top prospect. For Moncada, the big development with this trade is that it introduces some positional ambiguity: he was on track for 3B in Boston, but either 3B or 2B could be his permanent home in Chicago. Watch Chicago's subsequent moves for some early leanings on that issue.  —Ray Murphy
 
Impact: Med
Moncada, Yoan        
 
BHQ take: Sale's arrival gives BOS arguably the top rotation trio in MLB, joining Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello and David Price in creating big problems for AL East teams in a three-game series. The interesting issues here are the domino effects from the acquisition. The Red Sox now clearly have a surplus of starting pitchers on the roster with Sale added to the mix, so player moves and role changes should be expected for the rest of the pitching staff. Also of note is the departure of Yoan Moncada in this deal, and Travis Shaw as part of the package in the Tyler Thornburg deal noted elsewhere. That leaves Pablo Sandoval as the leading candidate to cover 3B for BOS in in 2017, with the ever-present Brock Holt providing backup. Sandoval only notched six AB in 2016 before undergoing shoulder surgery and significant re-conditioning, so it would not be surprising to see another 3B candidate to appear during the course of the off-season.   —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: High
Sale, Chris        
Sandoval, Pablo        
Holt, Brock        
 

 
Red Sox | Red Sox ink Mitch Moreland
Free-agent 1B/DH Mitch Moreland (Rangers) signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal with the Boston Red Sox Tuesday, Dec. 6, pending a physical.  Source: MLB Network - Jon Paul Morosi
 
BHQ take: Moreland and his 2016 Gold Glove will move Hanley Ramirez into the vacated BOS DH slot most of the time, but Ramirez's significant platoon advantage versus LH pitching (.914 OPS for Ramirez, .673 OPS for Moreland) indicates that he should still be able to keep 20 game eligibility at 1B going forward. Fenway Park is not kind to left-handed power hitters like Moreland (-25% HR park effects) and he may need to inflict extra damage when visiting Yankee Stadium (+46% LHB HR) and Camden Yards (+16% LHB HR) in order to keep his string of 20+ HR seasons intact.   —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: High
Moreland, Mitch        
Ramirez, Hanley        
 

 
Red Sox | Tyler Thornburg sent to Boston
Milwaukee Brewers RP Tyler Thornburg was acquired by the Boston Red Sox for an undisclosed package Tuesday, Dec. 6.  Source: FOXSports.com - Ken Rosenthal
 
BHQ take: Thornburg is expected to slide into the setup role behind closer Craig Kimbrel, and should be an excellent source of relief strikeouts (12.1 Dom in 2016) and holds in his new role. He gets a huge break in park effects while moving from Miller Park (+49% LH batter HR) to Fenway Park (-25% LH batter HR), which is a good thing given his 32/23/45 GB/LD/FB splits in 2016.   —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: Med
Thornburg, Tyler        
 

 
Blue Jays | Steve Pearce agrees with Toronto
Free-agent 1B Steve Pearce (Orioles) agreed to a two-year, $12.5 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays Monday, Dec. 5.  Source: ESPN - Buster Olney
 
BHQ take: After bouncing around between three of the AL East teams since 2012, the RH-batting Pearce lands in the Rogers Centre, where he actually gets a small (net 3%) power bump over Camden Yards. There is no doubt that he enjoys hitting in this division, averaging a 125+ xPX and 10% bb% over the past five seasons. He's no longer limited to the short side of a platoon after posting a .792 OPS versus RH pitching in 2016, and with double-digit games played in 2016 at 1B, 2B, OF and DH, he can be a very useful asset in both real and fantasy baseball.   —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: Med
Pearce, Steve W        
 

 
 
 
National League | American League
 
Brewers | Travis Shaw sent to Milwaukee
Boston Red Sox 3B Travis Shaw, SS Mauricio Dubon and P Josh Pennington were sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for RP Tyler Thornburg Tuesday, Dec. 6.  Source: MLB Network - Jon Heyman
 
BHQ take: Shaw's acquisition will result in shifts in the MIL IF. He seems likely to platoon at 3B with RHB Hernan Perez, whose productivity earned regular PT in a super-utility role in 2016. Perez will still see PT at other positions, including the corner OF and middle IF. Shaw also likely will see occasional 1B PT when recently signed Eric Thames is out of the lineup. Shaw started hot with BOS after winning the 3B job in spring training, yet faded in the season's final four months, finishing with a .726 OPS. His 72% ct% and .240 xBA suggest little upside in his .242 BA. Villar will likely shift to 2B after splitting time between SS and 3B in 2016. His position switch likely results in platoon 2B LHB Scooter Gennett being relegated to a bench role or traded. The trade of Thornburg leaves a gaping hole at the back-end of the MIL bullpen. Corey Knebel, who pitched largely in a setup relief capacity after returning from early-season DL and minor-league stints, seems the early favorite to open the season as closer. Keep an eye on Jacob Barnes as a possible under-the-radar saves source here. Barnes posted a 130 BPV and 3.37 xERA, with 26 K/6 BB in 27 IP after his June call-up despite a late-season DL stint.   —Tom Kephart
 
Impact: High
Gennett, Scooter        
Perez, Hernan        
Thames, Eric        
Dubon, Mauricio        
Barnes, Jacob        
Shaw, Travis        
Knebel, Corey        
Villar, Jonathan        
 

 
Phillies | Philly adds Joaquin Benoit
Free-agent RP Joaquin Benoit (Blue Jays) agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies Monday, Dec. 5, worth $7.5 million, according to a source.  Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer - Matt Gelb
 
BHQ take: Benoit had 35 saves between 2013 and 2014 and as opening day 2015 approached, he was expected to be the Padres' closer. However, on Opening Night, San Diego acquired Craig Kimbrel and Benoit was consigned to set-up duties once again. Benoit will be 39 when the 2017 season starts, and his once elite skills have diminished. After registering three-figure BPVs consistently, in 2016 his BPV was a pedestrian 71. Nevertheless, he did have a 9.8 Dom, so if he can reverse the decline in his Ctl which rose to 4.5 in 2016, he could be a nice LIMA target. Benoit might even get a chance to close, given his competition in Philadelphia. Jeanmar Gomez was the Phils' closer for most of 2016, but his skills were less than pedestrian. He had a 6.2 Dom and a 2.1 Cmd and actually was removed from the closer role in September when he had a 5.83 xERA. OF course, if the Phillies do look elsewhere, there's no guarantee that Benoit will be where they look. For example, the Phils also have Hector Neris, who had a Dom of 11.4, a Cmd of 3.4, and an excellent BPV of 135 in 2016.  —Phil Hertz
 
Impact: Med
Neris, Hector        
Gomez, Jeanmar        
Benoit, Joaquin        
 

 
Giants | Mark Melancon signs with Giants
Free-agent RP Mark Melancon (Nationals) signed a four-year deal with the San Francisco Giants Monday, Dec. 5. Financial terms were not disclosed.  Source: MLBRosterMoves
 
BHQ take: Unable to pry Melancon from PIT at last July’s trade deadline (he ultimately wound up in WAS), the Giants lured him in with a four-year, $62M deal. He immediately becomes the team’s undisputed closer, a job that for the last half-decade had been passed back and forth between Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo, free agents both, with diminishing returns in 2016--particularly down the stretch. Melancon lacks the glove-popping stuff of some of the higher-profile closers, but his career 8.2 Dom is plenty good and the end results are inarguable: 98 saves in 104 opportunities in 2015-16, with a 0.91 WHIP and 1.94 ERA (3.00 xERA). Melancon’s ground-ball bent (54% in 2016) should play nicely for a Giants team that had the fewest errors in MLB, while his new home venue, AT&T Park, suppresses both left and right-handed HR hitters like no other. His arrival is a disappointment to Hunter Strickland and Derek Law owners who hoped to capitalize on the previously uncertain SF closer situation, but the two hard-throwing righties should have value in hold leagues, and Law in particular showed excellent (5.6) Cmd in 2016. Save opportunities for the duo should be scarce, though. Entering his age 32 season, Melancon’s next day on the DL will be his first.  —Rob Carroll
 
Impact: High
Strickland, Hunter        
Law, Derek        
Melancon, Mark        

 

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Playing Time Key

The playing time percentage changes at the bottom of most news items correspond to BaseballHQ.com's Teamview pages. The percentages approximate changes in AB, IP and Saves in the following manner:

  • For batters, each 5% of PT% ~ 31 AB (100% total for each position = 618 AB)
  • For pitchers, each 3% of PT% ~ 44 IP (100% total for a team's entire pitching staff)
  • For relievers, each 5% of Svs ~ 2 saves (100% of a team's total = about40 saves)

A complete explanation of BaseballHQ.com's playing time allocations can be found in the article "How the Projections are Created."


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