On Friday, the Braves traded outfielder Cameron Maybin to the Tigers for lefty pitchers Ian Krol and Gabe Speier. It’s the latest in what has amounted to a fire sale for the Braves, as they have traded outfielders Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, closer Craig Kimbrel, and shortstop Andrelton Simmons within the last calendar year, plus a few days of change.
The Braves acquired Maybin from the Padres in that Kimbrel trade this past April. The 28-year-old had spent the previous two seasons battling injuries and hadn’t lived up to his billing as one of the game’s best prospects from 2006-09. In 2015, however, he hit .267/.327/.370 with 10 home runs, 59 RBI, 65 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases in 555 plate appearances. Though the numbers are pedestrian compared to the league average stats for outfielders, the performance represented a rebirth for Maybin and the Tigers are hoping to have his potential realized. The Tigers drafted him in the first round (10th overall) in the 2005 draft before sending him to the Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis trade in December 2007.
Krol, 24, has already been traded three times in his young career. He was drafted by the Athletics in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, then sent to the Nationals in March 2013 to complete a three-way trade agreed upon in January that featured John Jaso and Mike Morse. In December 2013, the Nationals sent him to the Tigers in the Doug Fister deal. In 88 career innings at the big league level, Krol has a mediocre 4.91 ERA with a 76/38 K/BB ratio. The Braves may simply want to use him as a lefty specialist as Krol has held lefties to a .745 OPS compared to .944 against right-handed hitters.
Speier, 20, completed his first season of A-ball with West Michigan this past season, finishing with a 2.86 ERA and a 36/12 K/BB ratio over 44 innings. He’s the son of former infielder Chris Speier.
A’s, Blue Jays Swap Arms
Chavez, 32, is a former Blue Jay as the club selected him off waivers from the Royals in October 2011, then was purchased in August 2012 by the A’s. Chavez was initially used out of the bullpen, but the Athletics moved him into the rotation in 2014 and the right-hander was a solid mid-rotation option. Overall, in four seasons in Oakland, Chavez compiled a 3.98 ERA with a 330/118 K/BB ratio over 363 2/3 innings. He will compete for a spot in the Jays’ starting rotation, but could also contribute out of the bullpen if necessary.
Hendriks, 26, broke out in 2015, ending the regular season with a 2.92 ERA and a 71/11 K/BB ratio in 64 2/3 innings. The right-hander struggled mightily in the previous four seasons, racking up strikeouts at a subpar rate. Neither his control nor his aversion to home runs was good enough to make up for the lack of whiffs. However, he now figures to slot in behind closer Sean Doolittle in the Athletics’ bullpen. Given Doolittle's spotty health history, fantasy owners may want to sneak Hendriks onto their rosters as a potential Plan B.
Dodgers to Name Dave Roberts as Manager
Roberts, 43, played parts of 10 seasons in the big leagues, garnering a reputation for his speed. He swiped 243 bases in 301 attempts for an outstanding 80.7 percent success rate. He also stole a series-altering base in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees as a member of the Red Sox. In the bottom of the ninth inning, with his team trailing by a run against closer Mariano Rivera, Roberts pinch-ran for Kevin Millar, who had drawn a leadoff walk. Roberts then stole second base and promptly came around to score on a Bill Mueller single to center field. The Red Sox went on to win that game and then the next three, becoming the first team to come back from a 3-0 series deficit. The Red Sox then swept the Cardinals in the World Series to end their 86-year championship drought.
Roberts and Dave Kapler were the two finalists for the position. The Dodgers had to this point never hired a minority manager. Roberts is currently one of three minority managers along with Dusty Baker and Fredi Gonzalez.
Harper, Donaldson Win MVP Awards
The Baseball Writers Association of America announced on Thursday that Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson and Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper won the Most Valuable Player Awards for their respective leagues.
Harper, 23, got all 30 first-place votes. Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt finished second and Reds first baseman Joey Votto finished third. Donaldson, 29, got 23 of 30 first-place votes, beating out Mike Trout and Lorenzo Cain.
Harper had an historic season, leading baseball with a .460 on-base percentage, .469 slugging percentage, and 1.109 OPS while leading the league with 118 runs scored and 42 home runs. He hit .330, knocked in 99 runs, and walked 124 times compared to 131 strikeouts as well. By adjusted OPS – OPS that adjusts for league and park factors and sets 100 as the average – Harper (195) and Ted Williams (235) are the only players to post as high a mark at the age of 22 or younger. Expanding the age threshold to 23 yields Williams again (216) and Ty Cobb (206).
The Blue Jays acquired Donaldson in a trade with the Athletics nearly one year ago, sending Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin, and Franklin Barreto to Toronto. Donaldson led the majors with 122 runs scored and led the league with 123 RBI while batting .297/.371/.568 with 41 home runs and 41 doubles. He became the first player since Vladimir Guerrero in 2004 to win the MVP Award in his first season with a new team.
Quick Hits: On Sunday, the Dodgers signed Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz and second baseman Omar Estevez to deals worth $15.5 million and $6 million, respectively, pending physicals … The Orioles signed Korean first baseman Ji-Man Choi on Sunday … The Nationals and Dodgers are believed to be “at the top of the pack” for free agent reliever Darren O’Day … Free agent starter John Lackey said he wants to stay in the National League … The Nationals signed outfielder Chris Heisey to a minor league contract on Saturday … The Pirates are reportedly shopping second baseman Neil Walker … Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna is believed to be available in a trade because owner Jeffrey Loria “can’t stand the guy” … Marlins starter Jose Fernandez reportedly asked to be traded on two different occasions due to conflict with the team, according to a report … The White Sox have let teams know that outfielder Avisail Garcia is available in a trade.