The massive gears of the offseason’s machinations have begun to turn, slowly picking up speed. The Astros signed Josh Reddick to a four year, $52 million contract. As he was traded midseason, Reddick doesn’t cost Houston a draft pick, and they have purchased his solidly average services for $13 million AAV. They also added Brian McCann‘s age-33 and 34 seasons for $23 million and a pair of talented 20-year-old arms in the low minors–J.J. Cooper of Baseball America discusses them here as organizational top-10 and top-25 prospects prior to the trade, and our very own Mauricio Rubio has a lot more information here!
Reddick was a player that seemed like someone who could help the 2016 White Sox when they got off to their great start, but as we have discussed at length here, Rick Hahn et al. let the ’16 squad die on the vine instead of helping it. Now we have the White Sox posturing about shopping their core, which is easier said than done. It would be a very White Sox thing for them to try to pick a direction, hesitate, and still fail to do so, leaving themselves trying to buy instead when it’s too late.
I have yet to have anybody persuade me that they shouldn’t try to win one more time in 2017, and at first I was annoyed to see a guy like Reddick get plucked off the market. However, while he would make the ’17 White Sox better, a center fielder would be a much better fit. The clearest impact here is that Dexter Fowler, someone who could really move the needle for a playoff push, now has a contract he can point to and say, “I’m way better than that guy, so give me way more money.” Those four year, $60-70 million estimates for Fowler are looking even more accurate today.
The McCann trade essentially eliminates the possibility of Jason Castro returning to Houston. Several suitors have been connected to Castro, but one argument is that he is a fit for the White Sox regardless of what direction they choose. On a rebuilding team with their aces traded away, Castro’s great receiving and framing skills will help get the most out of the young, wild arms the White Sox would be counting on developing. If they choose to go for in in 2017, he will help the front line starters actually reach their potential instead of being sabotaged by their defense, as they were in 2015, or by awful pitch framing as they were in 2016.
As this was drafted, it was announced that St. Louis had signed Brett Cecil for four years, $30 million. Cecil is good and this deal is probably fair, but this does feel like it supports the hypothesis that the reliever market is going to balloon pretty significantly, which may make the remainder of David Robertson‘s contract a lot more appealing in trade to a playoff hopeful who loses out on the Uber Closer Free Agent Sweepstakes.
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