Say hey, baseball: Melky Cabrera makes the White Sox legit
In Monday’s baseball, we find Melky Cabrera on the White Sox, Cespedes’ fire-breathing car, and Brett Lawrie getting pizza.
Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day, and trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk isn’t easy. It’s OK, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end.
The White Sox added a few key pieces this winter by signing David Robertson to close, Adam LaRoche to DH, and trading for Jeff Samardzija to slot in behind Chris Sale in the rotation, but they still had at least one too many holes in the lineup to be taken very seriously. They took care of that by handing $42 million over three years to free agent Melky Cabrera, one of the top hitters available this winter, which has the added benefit of removing Dayan Vicieodo’s lifeless bat from the lineup.
Cabrera is just 30, and even though he has a 126 OPS+ over the last four years, he settled for a deal that looks like a bargain for the White Sox. Cabrera has been great almost without interruption since breaking out with the Royals in 2011 — in 2013, a benign tumor in his spine was more than enough of an excuse for a down year — and now the White Sox have finished off their entire offseason checklist. Avisail Garcia will be back to take over in right field, the other corner outfield spot Chicago got nothing out of in 2014, and suddenly the middle of the White Sox order has Cabrera, Jose Abreu, and LaRoche in it.
With Matt Kemp (almost) traded, Yoenis Cespedes on the Tigers, and Cabrera signed, the outfield market has thinned in a hurry. Justin Upton could still be traded, but that would still leave quite a few teams without the major outfield upgrade they were hoping for. Looking at you, Mariners. The Blue Jays, Cabrera’s previous team, could probably use an outfielder as well, but hey, at least they got a first-round compensation pick for losing Melky, which sort of replaces the one they spent to bring Russell Martin aboard.
- While we’re on the subject of compensation picks, Baseball Prospectus checked in with multiple teams to see what kind of math they use when valuing compensation picks.
- The Matt Kemp trade needed that “almost” because he has yet to take his physical. He’ll do so on Tuesday, though, and the Padres and Dodgers have until Thursday to make that swap official.
- New Dodgers’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy loves legendary Dodgers’ announcer Vin Scully, and now Scully will be calling his home games.
- Yoenis Cespedes has a Lamborghini, and that Lamborghini shoots fire. His trade also made a young Red Sox fan cry, and his parents put video of it on the Internet because you only get so many opportunities to memeify your child.
- Maybe Cespedes can meet up with this kid and get some pizza, much like Brett Lawrie did when he met with the young fan who cried over his trade.
- Jordan Zimmermann has been all business when it comes to signing an extension with the Nationals instead of becoming a free agent for next offseason. He’s giving them until Opening Day to submit a satisfying offer, but who knows, he might be traded by then if the two sides are far apart.
- The Yankees make far more money than they spend, and it might be time to narrow that gap in order to get the team back to where it should be. And hey, they might, as they are still considered in play for Max Scherzer until he signs elsewhere.
- The Rangers want James Shields in their rotation, but it’s easy to infer that they aren’t that committed to bringing him aboard given they aren’t even sure what quality of team he would be joining. Also that whole he’ll cost more than twice their reported available budget thing.
- Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang will be posted on Monday, and MLB teams still looking for middle infield help can bid on his services starting then.
- Many A’s fans are wondering why their team would deal Samardzija for Marcus Semien. This could answer those questions for you.
- The Nationals and Bryce Harper avoided their grievance and settled on a salary for 2015. Remember that this whole debacle means little when it comes to their chances of extending the young star before he hits free agency.