Yesterday turned interesting in a hurry, huh?
At first, we just had a run-of-the-mill offseason day, with teams quietly making tweaks to their 40-man rosters ahead of the midnight deadline to do so.
The Nationals added Sammy Solis, Michael Taylor and Aaron Barrett to their 40-man roster and designated left-handers Fernando Abad and Tyler Robertson for assignment, leaving them with a full 40-man roster.
Then, minutes later, I had a bunch of people in my Twitter timeline talking about how former major leaguer Jose Canseco had been pulled over by the police with goats in his car, and how one of the goats was wearing a diaper. Yes, apparently this actually happened, and it left me with many questions I’m sure will never be answered.
Then, out of nowhere, news broke of a blockbuster trade that was so big that it probably doesn’t even happen in most fantasy leagues.
In the deal, the Tigers sent first baseman Prince Fielder and $30 million to the Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler, a trade that swaps a five-time All-Star for a three-time All-Star and gets an estimated $76 million off Detroit’s books.
So much for a quiet Wednesday night in the baseball world.
This deal comes just two years after the Tigers inked Fielder to a massive nine-year, $214 million contract, and it completely adjusts how Detroit can view its potential spending over the next few years.
There had previously been talk that the Tigers wouldn’t be able to afford a contract extension for Max Scherzer, who just won the American League Cy Young award for the 2013 season, and so Scherzer’s name was reportedly getting kicked around by the Tigers in trade talks.
The Nationals were one of the teams linked to Scherzer, both because he’s a talented pitcher and the Nats are looking for a talented pitcher, and also because Scherzer has ties to Nats general manager Mike Rizzo, who previously was the scouting director in Arizona, where he selected Scherzer in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
Now, with Fielder’s enormous contract not accounting for a large chunk of the Tigers’ payroll, Detroit has the financial flexibility to keep Scherzer around and ink him to a long-term deal. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski admitted as much last night on a conference call discussing the Fielder/Kinsler trade, telling reporters that the deal “makes it more possible” that the Tigers lock up Scherzer long term.
If the Nats were indeed interested in making a deal for Scherzer, yesterday’s trade sure doesn’t seem to help in their pursuit of the Cy Young winner.
Back to the Nats’ roster moves yesterday, I was asked in the comments section what I thought of the Nationals’ decision to add Solis, Taylor and Barrett to the 40-man roster and DFA Abad and Robertson. For those who might have missed my thoughts, or for those who want to read them again, here you go:
The way I see it, the Nats needed to add Solis and Barrett to the 40-man, otherwise those two would have been snatched up in a hurry in the Rule 5 Draft. Solis was a no-brainer to be added to the roster, as he appears fully healthy after Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2012 and is closing in on being major league ready, and Barrett has lots of promise as a hard-throwing reliever.
Had Taylor been left unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft, he probably wouldn’t have stuck on a major league team’s active roster all season (as is required in order for a claiming team to keep a Rule 5 pick), but he’s an advanced defensive player with a lot of potential, and the Nats didn’t want to risk anything.
As for the two players the Nats designated for assignment, Robertson was a fairly easy decision, but the Abad move surprised me a bit, largely because he’s a left-hander who had success in the major leagues for a somewhat extended stretch last season. Those guys don’t grow on trees.
That said, Abad’s splits against lefties were not at all good, and he really dropped off over the final couple of months of the season. The Nats needed to clear two spots in order to add Solis, Barrett and Taylor to the 40-man, and instead of cutting loose someone with a bit more upside - like Christian Garcia or Erik Davis, for example - the Nats let go of a lefty who had big-time trouble getting out lefties.
Look at that - I just made it through the entire blog entry without making a joke about how the Nats made “Abad decision” with their roster moves yesterday.