What We’re Reading: December 15

Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings typically make for great theatre, and this year’s installment in Maryland certainly did not disappoint.  Numerous marquee names switched teams via trade and several free agents signed lucrative deals as teams continue to jockey for position ahead of the upcoming 2017 season.  With baseball’s hot stove season now in full swing, we took a look this week at interesting off-season baseball reads.

  • The Red Sox executed the blockbuster trade of the week, sending Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and others to the White Sox for all-world lefty Chris Sale. Dave Cameron argues that, although the Red Sox paid a hefty price, this trade makes the Red Sox the team to beat in the American League.  Additionally, the sale is as cheap as he is great: his next three years only cost the team $38 million, a bargain of roughly $100 million according to Cameron.
  • Two marquee center fielders also found new homes last week; the White Sox shipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals, and the Cardinals signed free agent Dexter Fowler. Fangraphs published an in-depth comparison of the two acquisitions, and while roughly equivalent on offense, Eaton has a slight edge because he is younger, projects slightly better with the glove, and will cost considerably less than Fowler moving forward.
  • Implicit in the wheeling and dealing of the baseball off season is each team’s predictions about the health of their players in 2017. To that end, Jeff Zimmerman at Hardball Times examined the 2016 injury landscape while also looking towards the future of injury analysis. The Dodgers, Athletics, and Braves were bit particularly hard by the injury bug last year, losing a combined 6,931 player days to the disabled list!
  • Dave Shoenfield of ESPN examined the state of the baseball front office and concluded that front offices are smarter than ever before. With the departure of Dave Stewart in Arizona, all 30 teams are now using data to make decisions; winning is harder as a result.  Because each team is on a (relatively) level playing field, Shoenfield argues that front offices need to take bold risks in order succeed in the short term.