CodyRoss (Source: USAToday)


Hoppy’s Senior Circuit Review – Happy Holidays!!!

Well after the big free agent signings and trades over the last few weeks, this past seven days almost seemed a little dull. That’s ok though, the holidays are in full swing, so let’s enjoy them while we can. Let’s get it!


Some Signings This Past Week from the NL:

  • Edwin Jackson is usually good for 30-plus mostly/almost above-average starts a year - is that worth a four-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs? Not even close. But Jackson is 29, allowed fewer base-runners than ever last season and posted a career-best strikeout rate so the Cubbies felt it good to lay a huge deal on him and likely make him their #1 starter…maybe Theo knows something we all don’t? I don’t expect much from EJax in Chicago, they are still horrible, maybe 10-12 win with a 4.00 ERA and a 160K:70BB ratio.


  • Mike Adams will most likely return to his pre 2012 form for the Phillies and he'll be worth every penny of his new two-year, $12 million deal that also has a vested option for a third season. Quick comparison: From 2008-11. Pitcher A: 242 2/3 innings, 266 strikeouts, 1.71 ERA, .179/.234/.275 opponent triple-slash. Pitcher B: 258 1/3 innings, 254 strikeouts, 1.71 ERA, .189/.227/.271. Pitcher A was Mike Adams. Pitcher B was Mariano Rivera. Adams is like an ATM and the thoracic outlet syndrome surgery is a thing of the past. Expect top shelf RP numbers once again as Adams locks down the 8th before Papelbon all year long.


  • Cody Ross inked a 3 year-$26M deal with the Diamondbacks this week that includes a club option fourth year for 2016 as well. Ross had 22 home runs and 81 RBIs last season in Boston. Ross, who was the 2010 NLCS MVP after a torrid playoff run, is a solid outfielder who committed only one error each of the past two seasons. Ross joins Upton, Kubel and Parra in the ARZ outfield, so likely the D-Backs are still working on a deal to move either Kubel or Upton. Fantasy wise, Ross should continue to put up 20HR-75RBI with a .265 AVG and .800 OPS, worthy of an OF3-4 spot.


  • Francisco Liriano inked a 2 year-$14M deal with the Pirates this past week. In 2006 the whole world expected Liriano to be the next Johan Santana pre-Mets and to sign a $200M deal when he hit free agency, then he tore an elbow ligament…today, we question what the Pirates are spending $14M on. After being comeback player of the year in 2010, he threw a no-hitter on May 3rd, 2011 and in 168 career games, Liriano is 53-54 with a 4.40 ERA. Last season he was 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA…hardly worth $7M per season. No recommendation will come from me to draft Liriano.


Rants and Ramblings:

The Boston Red Sox are reportedly close to trading for Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. It is not 100% clear what the Pirates are seeking in return for Hanrahan, who has 76 saves over the past two seasons, but it sounds like PIT will get 4 players in return for their stellar closer. Hanrahan is also entering the final year of his contract. The Red Sox already have a closer with Andrew Bailey, but Bailey is still considered a question mark after missing most of last season with injuries and was not effective when he did pitch.


Hanrahan, an All-Star in each of the last two years, could get a big raise in salary arbitration from his $4.1 million salary this year. That pay hike reportedly may be in the $7 million range – this leads me to believe Boston might have plans for an extension with Hanrahan. Just another solid NL player moving to the AL…not sure what PIT has in mind here after making up more ground in the NL Central in 2012, with a lot due to Hanrahan being a solid closer. Boston will gain a solid closer, a hole they have had since Papelbon left. Hanrahan is still good for 30 saves in Boston, even in the AL East.


So who is left for free agents from the NL? Michael Bourn and Adam LaRoche remain as the top NL hitters and Kyle Lohse is the top NL pitcher left on the board.


  • LaRoche and the Nationals have been working on a deal for the first basemen for the past few weeks, but it appears the two sides are at a stalemate – my guess is LaRoche thinks his one season where he put up slightly above average numbers for the whole year is worth much more than the Nats, and likely other teams, feel. His best collection of numbers came in 2012 and he won’t have that season again, especially if he leaves Washington. Draft accordingly in 2013.


  • Lohse was waiting to see how Greinke set the market and I think EJax getting 4 years for $52M isn’t really comparable to what Lohse will likely get in years at age 34, but at $13M per it will be what Lohse looks for. After turning down the 1 year $13M qualifying offer from STL, I doubt Lohse gets much more than that as AAV, but getting 3 years isn’t out of the question. Regardless, if and when Lohse leaves STL, his fantasy value will likely plummet, just as most Dave Duncan refurbishments do when the leave the safety of the Duncan-created bubble


  • As for Bourn, not sure who else outside of maybe TEX or SEA, or some mystery team, will be interested in Bourn – primary reason is that his agent is Boras and Bourn is the best outfielder left on the FA market, so Boras will not doubt drive his costs up between any potential suitor he can find. Bourn will find a team in the end, and will get a deal for 5 years I am sure. What I cannot be sure about is how much longer Bourn will be a top shelf defender and lock for 45+ stolen bases and 90+ runs, speed guys never age well and Bourn is 30. I suspect he will give another above-average year in 2013 wherever he lands, and again in 2014, but after that the decline will start fast. Caution is needed in keepers after the next year or two, but for now he is still a very good OF option in most leagues, just because of his SB and runs combined with few K’s and a decent AVG.


Just for fun, let’s check out the 5 biggest blasts in the NL from 2012 as the start of spring training is but 2 months away:


  1. 1.Giancarlo Stanton @COL on August 17th launches this 494 foot moon shot…this is just ridiculous really…
  2. 2.Cameron Maybin @ARZ on July 2nd hit this 485 foot solo bomb.
  3. 3.Justin Maxwell @COL slugs this 471 foot shot on May 28th that almost leaves the stadium in a hurry!
  4. 4.Ryan Ludwick @CIN hit this 469 foot solo dinger June 27th, his second of the game, in a mostly empty home stadium…
  5. 5.Michael Morse @WAS hit this 465 foot three run home run July 20th…expect a lot more of this form him once he gets entrenched into a starting role and plays 150 games.


And to all – merry Christmas, happy holidays, or joyous whatever it is that you and yours celebrate! Be safe and happy during this holiday season!


Catch me on twitter @CanuckHoppy 

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