PT TODAY: Washington signs several veterans for 2020

Team-by-team playing time allocation charts can be found in our Teamview pages.

National League | American League
 
Nationals | Asdrubal Cabrera agrees to terms
The Washington Nationals agreed to terms with free-agent INF Asdrubal Cabrera on a one-year contract worth $2.5 million Saturday, Jan. 4. He also has an opportunity to earn an additional $500,000 in incentives.  Source: MLB Network - Jon Heyman
 
BHQ take: Cabrera spent the first two-thirds of 2019 with Texas and was in the midst of his worst season since 2014. Over 93 games, he had 12 homers, but only a .711 OPS. Then he was released by the Rangers in early August and signed by the Nationals. Over 38 regular season games with the World Champions, he batted .323 (nearly 100 points better than with the Rangers) and had a .969 OPS. When you combined the two performances, Cabrera’s 2019 resembled his recent career output. His PX of 98 was just slightly below the average of the prior three seasons, and his xBA of .260 matched his 2018 xBA and was only slightly off his 2016 and 2017 xBA’s. Cabrera has played all four infield spots (although his three appearances at first with Washington late last year were his first there). With Trea Turner at short, Cabrera will likely see action at second and third; however, with Washington’s signing of Starlin Castro, he looks ticketed to third base. Indeed, right now the switch hitter could see plenty of action there, especially if Washington sends Carter Kieboom back to the minors, which reportedly is their current thinking. One other note, if you’re looking for a platoon split, there really isn’t much of one, his OPS for his career is nearly identical against righties and lefties. He does exhibit more power when facing righties.  —Phil Hertz
 
Impact: Med
Cabrera, Asdrubal        
 

 
Nationals | Starlin Castro to join Nats
Free-agent INF Starlin Castro agreed to terms with the Washington Nationals Friday, Jan. 3, according to sources. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Castro is expected to play second base for the Nationals.   Source: The Athletic - Ken Rosenthal
 
BHQ take: Washington is certainly hoping that Castro’s 2019 second half - 122 PX, .300 xBA, 17 homers - is predictive of what he will do in 2020. However, the more likely result is he’ll wind up with his typical season: lots of contact, few walks, a decent .265 xBA and, perhaps most importantly to the Nationals, someone who will be available almost every day. Castro’s expected to play second most days - meaning Howie Kendrick becomes a leading contender for the bulk of the first base playing time in DC. Castro did play 45 games at third base in 2019, but the Nationals signing of Asdrubal Cabrera likely means Cabrera will be the initial choice at third. (This assumes that Washington will come up empty-handed in their pursuit of Josh Donaldson.) The signing of Castro (and Cabrera) now raises the possibility that highly touted prospect Carter Kieboom will return to Triple-A, at least for the start of the 2020 season.  —Phil Hertz
 
Impact: High
Kieboom, Carter        
Castro, Starlin        
Kendrick, Howie        
 

 
Nationals | Will Harris signing with Washington
Free-agent RP Will Harris agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract with the Washington Nationals on Thursday, Jan. 2, according to sources.  Source: ESPN - Jeff Passan
 
BHQ take: Harris is coming off five straight productive seasons as a solid, or better, reliever with the Astros (although he was the losing pitcher in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, ironically enough against the Nationals). In his MLB career, Harris has never has a BPV below 107 and that number was compiled as a rookie. Over the last four years, his lowest BPV was 144 in 2019. His ERA of 1.50 in 2019 was a career low, but note his xERA was 3.13, so he was a bit lucky. The expectation is that Harris will set up Sean Doolittle, but given Doolittle’s F Health grade and his slump late in 2019, there could be some chances for saves for Harris along the way. Harris’ signing likely means Daniel Hudson, who supplanted Doolittle as the Washington closer late in the season and in the postseason, will be pitching for a different team in 2020.  —Phil Hertz
 
Impact: Med
Doolittle, Sean        
Hudson, Daniel        
Harris, Will T        
 

 
Reds | Cincinnati lands Shogo Akiyama
Free-agent OF Shogo Akiyama (Japan) reportedly agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds on Monday, Dec. 30. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.  Source: New York Post - Joel Sherman
 
BHQ take: Akiyama joins a crowded CIN OF, as CIN's 40-man roster contained 10 OF without Akiyama. Akiyama has been known throughout his Japanese career for excellent on-base skills, including strong contact ability, translating to both high Batting Average and lofty On-Base Percentage. He could be an answer to CIN's clear need for increased OBP. The player potentially most impacted by the addition of CF Akiyama is versatile Nick Senzel. Senzel was an infielder throughout his minor league career before his Triple-A position switch to CF preceding his May call-up to begin his 2019 rookie season. Oft-injured Senzel is coming off shoulder surgery for a torn labrum and it is unknown whether he will be fully recovered by the start of spring training. Senzel could potentially move to another OF position to accommodate Akiyama in CF, or could return to the infield, though CIN's only apparent infield opening currently is at SS. Trade speculation has also followed Senzel, as he is widely viewed as a potential trade chip in CIN's efforts to add another top-flight hitter to its lineup.   —Tom Kephart
 
Impact: High
Akiyama, Shogo        
Senzel, Nick        
 

 
Marlins | Corey Dickerson details
Updating a previous story, Miami Marlins OF Corey Dickerson is signing a two-year, $17.5 million contract Saturday, Dec. 28, pending a physical.  Source: MLB.com - Mark Feinsand
 
BHQ take: Dickerson is coming off an injury riddled 2019; however, when he played, he put up nice numbers. He wound up with 12 homers, a .287 xBA and a 133 PX over 314 at bats. Note, however, his xPX of 112 was a little less robust, so don’t overpay in expectation of a home run surge. Dickerson is one of the few left-handed hitters likely to get substantial playing time with the Marlins in 2020. That likely means he will be in a corner outfield position every time a righty toes the rubber. He may also see plenty of action against righties, given the other alternatives available to the Marlins and the fact that he’s been decent against lefties. Note, however, that his .718 OPS against them is significantly less than the .866 OPS he has against righties.  —Phil Hertz
 
Impact: Med
Dickerson, Corey        
 

 
 
 
American League | National League
 
Angels | Jason Castro lands with LA Angels
Free-agent C Jason Castro on Thursday, Jan. 2, agreed to a one-year, $6.85 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, according to sources. The deal is pending the results of Castro's physical with the Angels.  Source: ESPN - Jeff Passan
 
BHQ take: The left-handed-hitting Castro now appears to be the Angels' primary catcher after enjoying a power resurgence (13 HR, 125/177 PX/xPX) with the Twins over 237 AB. Perhaps baseball changes are under foot following the 2019 MLB HR debacle -- but Castro will now play half his games in park that has been MUCH friendlier to LH HR hitters recently. A career .195 BA vL suggests a strict strong-side platoon role -- and LAA has time for more moves to improve its behind-the-plate depth. But this looks like a decent landing spot for Castro.   —Jock Thompson
 
Impact: High
Castro, Jason        
 

 
White Sox | Luis Robert lands mega-extension
Chicago White Sox OF Luis Robert agreed to a six-year, $50 million contract extension Thursday, Jan. 2. The deal includes two club options for 2026 and 2027. RHP Tayron Guerrero was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.  Source: MLBRosterMoves
 
BHQ take: This should eliminate most, if not all, the worry about Robert starting the 2020 season in CF for the Sox instead of the minors. This marks the second straight year that the Sox have signed a top prospect before the start of the season (Eloy Jimenez). Robert had a slash line of .297/.341/.634 with 16 HR and seven SB in just 202 AB at Triple-A. The five-tool talent is Chicago's top prospect and was given a 9C rating in our organizational report.  —Rick Green
 
Impact: Med
Robert, Luis        
Guerrero, Tayron        
 

 
Yankees | Domingo German handed 81-game ban
New York Yankees RHP Domingo German will miss the first 63 games of the 2020 season as part of an 81-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy. The ban is retroactive to Sept. 19 when he was placed on administrative leave for an incident that occurred earlier that week.  Source: Yahoo! Sports - Hannah Keyser
 
BHQ take: German will be eligible to return on June 5, costing him and the Yankees about 10 weeks of the 2020 season. As recently noted, he was expected to be part of a three-way competition for the fifth spot in the rotation with J.A. Happ and Jordan Montgomery, but it now seems possible that NYY will seek to expand that competition with some other alternative arms. Stay tuned.   —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: Med
German, Domingo        
 

 
Red Sox | Kevin Plawecki lands with Boston
Free-agent C Kevin Plawecki signed a one-year, $900,000 contract on Thursday, Jan. 2.  Source: USA TODAY Sports - Bob Nightengale
 
BHQ take: Red Sox primary catcher Christian Vazquez led all AL catchers with 521 plate appearances in 2019, so there is not an abundance of playing time available for Plawecki, and Plawecki's career batting line (.218/.304/.332 in 861 AB) does not offer any interest in even the deepest of AL-only leagues. However, those in alternative formats might note that Plawecki threw two "three-up-and-three-down" ninth innings in 2019 blowout games, so he could see some pitching action in 2020 as well.   —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: Low
Vazquez, Christian        
Plawecki, Kevin        
 

 
Twins | Minnesota inks Homer Bailey
Free-agent RHP Homer Bailey signed a one-year contract with the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, Dec. 31. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.  Source: The Associated Press
 
BHQ take: The 33-year-old Bailey split 2019 between KC and OAK, going 13-9 with a 4.57 ERA in 31 starts. He'll slot into the middle of the Twins rotation. Bailey had quite the run at the end of 2019, posting a 3.22 ERA in August and September while with OAK. However, don't bank on a continuation of that form. In the four seasons prior to 2019, his best ERA was 5.56 in 2015 and his best WHIP was 1.64 in 2018. The Twins also added Rich Hill, but he had surgery in October and will be out until at least June. The 40-year-old went 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 48.2 IP in 2019 while with the Dodgers. An 89% strand rate helped the sub-3.00 in 2019. He remains an injury risk.  —Rick Green
 
Impact: Low
Bailey, Homer        
Hill, Rich        
 

 
Orioles | Baltimore adds Kohl Stewart
Free-agent RHP Kohl Stewart agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles Sunday, Dec. 29, worth $800,000. The team also designated RHP Marcos Diplan for assignment.   Source: MASNSports.com - Roch Kubatko
 
BHQ take: Kubatko notes in his article that the Orioles are aiming to have eight starting rotation candidates heading into spring training, and Stewart joins that competition with this signing to a split contract (so he can be sent to the minors if needed). Stewart has had minimal MLB exposure with unexciting results (34 K/ 26 BB in 66 IP), and his Triple-A track record is just slightly better (7.6 Dom, 2.0 Cmd in 136 IP). However, he does keep the ball in the ballpark (1.0 hr/9 across Triple-A and the majors); an important skill in Camden Yards, which yields above-average HR rates from both sides of the plate.   —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: Med
Diplan, Marcos        
Stewart, Kohl        

 

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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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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.