Projecting 2013 Stats for MLB's Top 25 Offseason Free Agent Signings, Trades
It's been a busy offseason already in MLB, with a handful of blockbuster trades and the $100 million signings of Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke.
The trio of Michael Bourn, Kyle Lohse and Adam LaRoche remain unsigned, and Justin Upton could still be on the move at some point. But for the most part, the offseason's action is likely behind us.
So here is a look at the offseason's top 25 signings and traded players and my statistical projections for their 2013 seasons.
Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians
20 GS, 4-7, 5.05 ERA, 95 Ks, 110 IP
Bauer tore through the minors as a 21-year-old last season, but struggled upon his arrival in the majors with a 6.06 ERA in five starts.
He'd likely get more minor league seasoning on any other team, but he'll have a real chance to crack the Indians' rotation out of camp.
My guess is he makes a few rough early-season starts and is sent down, then pitches well enough upon his return to stick in the rotation for the rest of the season. The potential is certainly still there, but don't expect miracles in his first season in Cleveland.
Mark Buehrle, Toronto Blue Jays
31 GS, 15-8, 3.60 ERA, 120 Ks, 210 IP
Buehrle has won 13 games in each of the past four seasons, and pitching as the No. 3 starter in a revamped Blue Jays rotation he has a good chance to improve on that number.
He has a 3.82 career ERA, but with so much talent around him and a team that should be right in the thick of the playoff hunt, I expect him to have one of the better seasons of his career, even at the age of 33.
Shin-Soo Choo, Cincinnati Reds
.275/.370/.450, 15 HR, 60 RBI, 95 R, 28 SB
With his trade to the Reds, Choo will make the move to center field and will assume the role of leadoff hitter on one of the better offenses in the National League.
It will be hard for him not to be an improvement over the .581 OPS the Reds got out of the leadoff spot last season. Choo should have no problem topping .800.
If he can stay healthy, he should approach 100 runs scored, and I also expect him to run a little more, which should put him in position to top his previous career-high of 22 stolen bases.
Ryan Dempster, Boston Red Sox
29 GS, 11-10, 4.25 ERA, 165 Ks, 180 IP
Dempster enjoyed a terrific season with the Cubs last year, posting a 2.25 ERA over 16 starts before being traded to the Rangers at the deadline.
While he went 7-3 in 12 starts after joining the Rangers, he posted a less-than-impressive 5.09 ERA in what was his first taste of pitching in the American League.
The Red Sox signed him to a two-year, $26.5 million deal and he'll be slotted behind Jon Lester in the Red Sox rotation. Don't expect him to match the success he had with the Cubs last season, but he should be a solid starter for a new-look Red Sox team.
R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays
33 GS, 17-8, 3.20 ERA, 200 Ks, 225 IP
With a move to the American League and into a dome, there is a solid chance that knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will experience a step back from his fantastic 2012 campaign.
That said, he should still be a front-line starter for the Blue Jays and could be a legitimate Cy Young candidate once again if the team plays up to its potential.
Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
31 GS, 16-7, 3.30 ERA, 190 Ks, 205 IP
The Dodgers paid big this offseason to add the market's top pitcher in Greinke, giving him six-year, $147 million deal.
The 29-year-old has never been a legitimate ace aside from his Cy Young season with the Royals in 2009, but he has been a consistent, front-line guy.
He'll be slotted behind Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers' rotation, and with a move to a pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, he is in line for a solid season as the Dodgers look to make a playoff push.
Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels
.290/.355/.550, 31 HR, 110 RBI, 90 R
Moving away from the hitter's paradise that is the Ballpark in Arlington will likely cut into Hamilton's overall numbers, but he should remain one of the league's better run producers.
However, he won't lose much in the way of a supporting cast surrounded by the likes of Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout, so he should still have plenty of RBI opportunities.
He'll likely miss his standard 25 or so games, but he remains productive enough to make up for that with a 30- home run, 100-RBI season.
Joel Hanrahan, Boston Red Sox
60 G, 2-4, 32-of-37 SV, 2.75 ERA, 9.5 K/9
Hanrahan has been among the game's top closers the past two seasons, saving 76 games with a 2.24 ERA and 9.0 K/9 for the Pirates and making the All-Star team both seasons.
The Red Sox acquired him in a six-player deal and he'll assume the closer's role after Andrew Bailey battled through a thumb injury after being acquired last offseason.
After a 93-loss season, the Red Sox appear to be in a better position heading into this coming season, so Hanrahan should have plenty of save chances. It'll simply be a matter of how he adapts to life in the AL East.
Tommy Hanson, Los Angeles Angels
30 GS, 13-10, 4.60 ERA, 160 Ks, 175 IP
Once a top prospect for the Braves, Hanson looked the part of a future ace with an 11-4 record and 2.89 ERA in his rookie season in 2009.
However, he has never taken the next step and was average at best last season, going 13-10 with a 4.48 ERA over 31 starts for the Braves.
He was dealt to the Angels for reliever Jordan Walden and he'll serve as the Angels No. 3 starter. He's an innings-eater if he's healthy and should win double-digit games. But he was very hittable last season and could have an even worse ERA in the American League, although he does move to a pitcher's park.
Dan Haren, Washington Nationals
24 GS, 10-6, 3.85 ERA, 115 Ks, 140 IP
Haren joined the Nationals on a one-year, $13 million contract this offseason after a disappointing 2012 season in which he went 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA.
He battled back and hip problems that could be issues again this coming season. But the Nationals aren't expecting him to be anything more than their No. 4 starter.
I expect him to miss time due to injury. But when he is on the field, his numbers should be more than good enough to fill out the back-end of the Washington rotation.
Torii Hunter, Detroit Tigers
.270/.335/.450, 15 HR, 75 RBI, 85 R
After struggling through a season of Brennan Boesch, the Tigers shored up their right-field situation quickly this offseason when they signed Hunter to a two-year, $26 million contract in the middle of November.
The 37-year-old had one of the best seasons of his career last year, hitting a career high .313 and driving in 92 runs.
Slated to hit second in the Tigers' order, he'll likely score more runs than he drives in this season. While he may not hit .300 again, he will be a significant offensive upgrade over last season's crop of right fielders.
Edwin Jackson, Chicago Cubs
32 GS, 11-11, 3.90 ERA, 175 Ks, 200 IP
The Cubs gave Jackson a four-year, $52 million deal after missing out on fellow free-agent target Anibal Sanchez, and he'll follow Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija in the Chicago rotation this coming season.
He's never been a staff ace, but there's something to be said about the durability and consistency that Jackson has shown throughout his 10 years in the big leagues.
He's a safe bet to win double-digit games, post an ERA right around 4.00 and approach 200 innings. While that's not going to win him any Cy Young awards, he is a welcome addition to what was a terrible Cubs rotation.
Josh Johnson, Toronto Blue Jays
27 GS, 13-6, 3.25 ERA, 180 Ks, 185 IP
Johnson showed what he is capable of in 2010 when he led the NL with a 2.30 ERA. And after making just nine starts in 2011, he stayed healthy last season but put up mediocre numbers.
He went 8-14 with a 3.81 ERA, but did it pitching in a rough situation in Miami. Moving to a contender could certainly boost his numbers, as he will be a front-of-the-rotation starter on a legitimate contender.
Health is always a concern, and he could miss a few starts, but I expect Johnson to have a solid season as the Blue Jays' No. 2 starter.
Hiroki Kuroda, New York Yankees
32 GS, 14-10, 3.60 ERA, 165 Ks, 200 IP
The Yankees brought Kuroda back on a one-year, $15 million deal after he won 16 games with a 3.32 ERA last season.
He was the Yankees' only truly reliable starter outside of CC Sabathia, and the team was wise to bring him back, even at the age of 37.
He's a reliable No. 2 starter and should approach 15 wins again this season, though there is a good chance his ERA could begin to rise along with his age.
Brandon McCarthy, Arizona Diamondbacks
22 GS, 7-5, 3.25 ERA, 110 Ks, 125 IP
Though he's struggled to stay on the field, McCarthy has shown flashes of being a staff ace over the past two seasons in Oakland, going 17-15 with a 3.29 ERA.
That potential was enough to get him a two-year, $18 million contract from the Diamondbacks, and he'll join a talented team capable of legitimate contention.
At this point, there is no reason to think McCarthy won't miss some time with shoulder or arm problems. But he can still make a significant impact on the Diamondbacks if he can make 20 or so starts.
Kendrys Morales, Seattle Mariners
.275/.330/.460, 23 HR, 90 RBI, 65 R
The Mariners finally found a way to upgrade their offense when they dealt Jason Vargas to the Angels for the slugging Morales.
Morales looked like he'd be the game's next big run producer when he posted a .306 BA, 34 HR, 108 RBI line in 2009. However, injuries cost him most of 2010 and all of 2011, and he was not the same last season.
The Mariners are still lacking in complementary pieces, so even hitting cleanup Morales won't get all that many run-producing chances. But he should surpass the 20 home runs and 86 RBI that Kyle Seager posted last season to lead the team.
Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays
.270/.325/.460, 14 HR, 60 RBI, 45 R
The Rays finally pulled the trigger, dealing some of their pitching depth for offense, as they shipped James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals for a prospect package built around Minor League Player of the Year Myers.
The team won't rush Myers (h/t CBSSports), so he'll likely start the season in the minors. But he'll be called up at some point and has the potential to make a serious impact.
While I don't expect a Ryan Braun-type debut, Myers should provide as much power as anyone in the Rays' lineup outside of Evan Longoria once he arrives.
Angel Pagan, San Francisco Giants
.270/.325/.430, 9 HR, 55 RBI, 85 R, 25 SB
The Giants took a serious risk in signing Pagan to a four-year, $40 million deal, as he had a solid year last year but hit just .262 with a 1.0 WAR in 2011.
He'll again be slotted in the leadoff spot, so he should have plenty of run-scoring and stolen-base opportunities.
I expect his triple-slash numbers to decline a bit across the board, but he should remain an asset atop the Giants' lineup. Four years from now could be a different story, but another solid season seems reasonable for 2013.
Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays
.305/.350/.475, 18 HR, 60 RBI, 110 R, 35 SB
Reyes failed to match his batting title-winning .337 average of 2011 last season, but still turned in solid numbers despite a terrible situation in Miami.
With the Blue Jays' free-swinging mentality, Reyes should put up some of the better power numbers of his career, and hitting in front of guys like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion he should score a ton of runs.
I expect Reyes to put together a huge season as the catalyst of the new-look Blue Jays. He could be a bona-fide MVP candidate if the team performs up to expectations and he stays healthy.
Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers
32 GS, 12-9, 3.70 ERA, 170 Ks, 200 IP
Sanchez joined the Tigers at the deadline last season and posted a 3.74 ERA through 12 starts before turning in a terrific postseason, allowing just four earned runs over 20.1 innings of work in three starts.
That made him the market's most sought-after arm outside of Zack Greinke, and he scored a five-year, $80 million contract to re-up with the Tigers.
The 28-year-old battled arm problems early in his career, but he's topped 190 innings in each of the past three seasons and should be a great No. 3 starter behind Justin Verlander and Doug Fister on a good Tigers team.
James Shields, Kansas City Royals
32 GS, 14-9, 3.60 ERA, 225 Ks, 230 IP
The Royals mortgaged a big piece of their future to acquire Shields and Wade Davis from the Rays, sending top prospect Wil Myers along with pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery to Tampa.
That said, Shields gives them exactly what they needed as a proven, front-of-the-rotation innings-eater to lead their overhauled pitching staff.
His win total could take a hit, but expect an ERA under 4.00 and a ton of innings. Shields has made at last 31 starts and thrown at least 200 innings in each of the past six seasons.
Denard Span, Washington Nationals
.285/.340/.390, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 90 R, 20 SB
The Nationals finally got their center fielder and leadoff hitter when they shipped pitching prospect Alex Meyer to the Twins for Span.
He doesn't have much power, but he hits for a solid average, has a .357 career OBP and should steal around 20 bases.
Hitting in a Nationals lineup that is deeper top to bottom than the Twins were last season, Span should have more run-scoring opportunities if he can prove to be the catalyst the Nationals are hoping he'll be.
Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians
.270/.365/.460, 20 HR, 85 RBI, 75 R
The Indians spent big to land Swisher, giving him a four-year, $56 million deal to hit in the middle of a young, promising lineup.
His home run total will likely take a hit with a move out of Yankee Stadium, but he should be able to keep his streak of 20-HR seasons alive.
The Indians' lineup could surprise, as Swisher will be surrounded by the likes of Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana. He should approach the numbers he's put up over the past four seasons with the Yankees.
B.J. Upton, Atlanta Braves
.255/.310/.470, 31 HR, 85 RBI, 85 R, 33 SB
Count me among those who believe Upton will benefit greatly from a change of scenery, as all of the tools that once made him one of the top prospects in baseball are still there.
He hit a career-high 28 home runs last season, and with a move away from Tropicana Field he could put up the first 30/30 season of his career.
He's unlikely to hit better than .270 because of how prone he is to the strikeout, but he has a chance to be a dynamic offensive player hitting in the No. 2 spot in a solid Braves lineup.
Shane Victorino, Boston Red Sox
.275/.345/.490, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 85 R, 30 SB
Victorino struggled through one of the worst seasons of his career last year, but that didn't deter the Red Sox from signing him to a three-year, $39 million deal.
The 32-year-old contributed a little bit of everything offensively during his time with the Phillies, and he should bounce back and do the same hitting out of the No. 2 hole for a new-look Red Sox team.
Considering the contracts that guys like B.J. Upton and Nick Swisher received, Victorino could wind up being one of the steals of the offseason at $13 million per season if he can put up the sort of numbers that he's capable of.