Even though the National League representative for the World Series has yet to be determined, baseball’s hot stove is already heating up. A number of deals were announced over the last 24 hours. One included Houston native native Chris Young being sent to an American League West foe, and another included a manager switching teams.
The Oakland Athletics acquired Young from Arizona in exchange for infielders Cliff Pennington and Yordy Cabrera. The D-backs then sent Cabrera to Miami for reliever Heath Bell. Both Oakland and Arizona appear to be winners in these deals while the Marlins continue to dump salary after overspending last winter.
Oakland adds Young to a strong outfield mix that already includes Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, and Josh Reddick. Like Young, all three of these guys are above average defenders. But it looks like one of them could be seeing some time as a designated hitter. Unless, of course, Billy Beane sends Crisp packing. Beane is famous for dealing away high-priced talent and coming out smelling like a rose. Crisp is owed $7.5 million in 2013 and has a $1 million buyout for 2014. Those numbers could look like a bargain to clubs looking to obtain a player of Crisp’s caliber.
The Diamondbacks turned this deal into a winner by flipping Cabrera to the Marlins for Bell. Cabrera, a second round pick in 2010, has not progressed through the minors as was expected. Bell had a rough go of it in Miami, but a rebound to form is likely with the change of scenery. Prior to his nightmare 2012 season in Miami, Bell turned in three straight years of 40 or more saves and a sub-2.75 ERA with the Padres. With closer J.J. Putz already signed to a contract extension, Bell figures to work in a setup role in Arizona alongside David Hernandez.
Pennington is also a candidate to have a bounce back season in Arizona. Pennington had his worst year offensively in 2012, a season that included a lengthy stay on the disabled list with left elbow tendinitis. The A’s opening day shortstop, Pennington returned to Oakland late in the season as the team’s starting second-baseman. If he can prove himself in Spring Training Pennington could win the D-backs starting shortstop job. The hitter-friendly environment of Chase field will be welcomed change for Pennington after spending his entire career in Oakland.
In another move announced on Saturday, the Boston Red Sox finally got their man. John Farrell will take the managerial reigns at Fenway and the Red Sox will be required to send compensation to the Blue Jays for poaching their manager. It had been rumored that Adam Lind would also be heading to Boston from Toronto, and that the Blue Jays would receive Red Sox infielder Mike Aviles. The Aviles portion of the rumor is said to be a done deal (according to WEEI.com in Boston) but Lind will be staying in Canada for now. WEEI is reporting that the Jays will send Boston cash and a player to be named later, most likely a high level prospect.