Best MLB offseason moves: Part I
By Beau Eastes
Our list of baseball’s top offseason trades, signings and extensions
Kansas City Royals pitchers and catchers report to beautiful Surprise, Arizona on Feb. 14, approximately one glorious month from now, depending on when you’re reading this.
Surprisingly – ha! – the offseason is far from over. If you’re a free-swinging slugger whose glove is best used as a paperweight, there’s a good chance you’re still unemployed.
That being said, here’s 10 of our favorite moves of the hot stove season. Part I, anyway.
Heck yeah we’re going to get multiple posts out of this!
10: Seattle acquires Kansas City outfielder Jarrod Dyson for starter Nate Karns
This could turn out to be a shrewd move for the Royals that nets them four years of a power arm who’s yet to tap his potential.
In the short-term, though, the Mariners become one of the most intriguing teams in the American League with Dyson and Jean Sugura hitting in front of Robinson Cano. Even as Kansas CIty’s fourth outfielder, Dyson was arguably the Royals best position player last season, posting career highs in average (.278), on-base percentage (.340) and OPS (.728). Despite playing in just 107 games, Dyson swiped 30 bases in 2016.
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Never able to earn a full-time spot with Kansas City, the 32-year-old speedster looks to be the Mariners’ starting left fielder. If his numbers from last year translate over a full season, Seattle could be a contender for the AL West.
9. The Miami Marlins sign relief pitcher Brad Ziegler to a a two-year, $16 million deal
Not nearly as sexy a pick as some of the other relievers on the free agent market, Ziegler nevertheless was excellent for Boston last year after coming over in a mid-season trade with Arizona. In 29.2 innings with the Red Sox, Ziegler posted a 1.52 ERA and recorded 31 strikeouts against just 11 walks. (He wasn’t too shabby with the Diamondbacks either, recording a 2.82 ERA over 38.1 innings of work.)
One of the most underrated relievers in the game, Ziegler has a career 2.44 ERA over nine seasons. Not your typical fireballer – he’s a submarine pitcher who relies heavily on ground balls – Ziegler should bolster Miami’s bullpen for a fraction of the cost Chapman (five years, $82.5 million), Jansen (five years/$80 million) and Melancon (four years/$62 million) signed for. Ziegler has also shown he’s more than capable of finishing games if closer A.J. Ramos falters. He notched 30 saves for Arizona in 2015 and recorded 22 for the Diamondbacks and Red Sox combined last year.
8. The Milwaukee Brewers sign first baseman Eric Thames on a three-year, $16 million deal
Not surprisingly, we here at Kings of Kauffman are partial to creative low-risk, high-reward moves from small-market clubs. A former fourth outfielder for Toronto and Seattle, Thames went to the Korean Baseball Organization and turned into the second coming of Barry Bonds. In three seasons with the NC Dinos, Thames hit .3.48 with a .450 on-base percentage, an OPS of 1.171 and 123 home runs over 388 games.
Next: Four wild ideas that would make the Royals contenders in 2017
Yes, the KBO is hardly the National League. But with the deal Thames signed, he’ll be a success for the Brewers if he’s merely league average. Anything better than that and Thames could be the steal of the offseason.