Quick Hits: Buxton, Heyward, Padres, Saunders

Byron Buxton holds the top position in Baseball America's 2014 ranking of the top 100 prospects in the sport.  It's no surprise that Buxton was ranked #1 given that the Twins outfielder was similarly ranked in BA's midseason top 100 last summer.  Red Sox infielder Xander Bogaerts, Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (who qualifies for the list despite his long career in Japan) and Cubs shortstop Javier Baez round out the top five.

Here's some more from around baseball….

  • Baseball America's John Manuel picks out some of the best and worst rankings from the past 24 years of BA's Top 100 Prospects lists.
  • The Braves signed long-term extensions with several core players but only extended Jason Heyward through his two remaining arbitration years.  While some believe that this means Heyward's time in Atlanta is limited, MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby writes that "the expectation is that after next season, the Heyward deal can be expanded so that he, too, will be locked up at least through the first year in the new ballpark."  Such a deal would require extending Heyward through at least his first two free agent years, which could get very expensive for the Braves if Heyward finally breaks out into stardom, as many have predicted for the young outfielder.
  • Padres chairman Ron Fowler told reporters (including Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune) that the club is prepared to raise payroll even further beyond the current $87MM+ projection for 2014. 
  • In regards to negotiations with Chase Headley on a multiyear deal, Fowler said, “There has been dialogue and we will continue to have dialogue at the appropriate time through the appropriate sources.”  Headley recently hinted that not much progress was being made and that talks could be tabled until after the season.
  • According to a talent evaluator who has seen Joe Saunders throw, the veteran southpaw could be the "steal of February," the evaluator tells FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link).  Saunders posted a rough 5.26 ERA over 183 innings for the Mariners last season.  "No one saying he’s a star, but he’s a major-league pitcher," Rosenthal writes.
  • The Nationals' acquisition of Doug Fister from the Tigers is the best transaction of the 2014 offseason, as judged by Fangraphs' Dave Cameron.  The Fister trade headlines Cameron's list of the winter's top 10 moves.
  • Though Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts denied that his club's profits were going anywhere but back into the team, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders why the Cubs' revenues haven't been reflected in the Major League payroll.
  • NC State left-hander Carlos Rodon stands alone in his own tier atop ESPN's Keith Law's four-tier breakdown of the 2014 draft's top prospects (Insider subscription required).


54 Responses to Quick Hits: Buxton, Heyward, Padres, Saunders Leave a Reply

  1. NYBravosFan10 1 year ago

    I still feel that Heyward’s deal was absolutely perfect. Get him locked up so that there is no more arbitration talk but not so locked up that you’re stuck with him if he fails or develops a reputation as injury-prone. If he breaks out and stays healthy this year then start talking long term extension. People that are insisting that the two year deal means that heyward is gone aren’t looking far enough into the situation.

    • rundmc1981 1 year ago

      Absolutely. It provides him confidence that he’s not necessarily playing for a paycheck – though he is – while allowing ATL 2 years to see what he can really do in terms of providing consistent production.

      • pft2 1 year ago

        I think players playing for a paycheck do better than those who are content with a big deal. I fully agree with the 2 yr deal if the alternative is much longer, he simply has not shown enough for a bigger commitment. However, any deal lacking free agent years makes me wonder what is the point? Perhaps to see how he responds to money that changes his lifestyle I guess.

    • Michael Gardiner 1 year ago

      I estimated on reddit with the new ballpark they are likely to see a large jump in payroll probably to as much as $130M because of the promises it brings. The arbitration and upward payments of players the Braves have a lot of money available.

  2. kungfucampby 1 year ago

    The fact that Dombrowski still has to explain the Fister deal shows just how awful it was.

    • bhambravesfan 1 year ago

      People said the Mclouth to ATL deal was horrible for the Pirates at the time too. Meanwhile Charlie Morton, and Jeff Locke are the Priates 3 &4 starters. They used Gyorkys Hernandez to get Gaby Sanchez. Same with the Marlins trade of Uggla, it looked horrible at the time. It is simply trading the present for the future. Only time will tell.

      • Michael Gardiner 1 year ago

        The Uggla deal still is terrible in terms of the trade. I don’t think anyone would have not traded Dunn and Infante for Uggla. What makes it look bad is the extension he signed.

        McLouth deal started to look bad early on because the prospects Pittsburgh got looked like they were falling apart.

  3. pft2 1 year ago

    BA should have a better metric than just making MLB for a cup of coffee. They should also look at those who did not make the rankings, and biggest misses there. I would think WAR, imperfect as it is, would be ideal for such analysis.

    • LazerTown 1 year ago

      I agree. And while WAR isn’t perfect it is really the best tool we have to compare a player’s worth.

      • My biggest point of contention with WAR is when people try to use it to approximate a dollar figure to it. It’s a great tool for evaluating a player’s true worth relative to what could be there instead of said player, but the worth of a win should be something to consider and not an absolute. WAR can’t take the market, service time, or relative player salaries into the equation yet some people treat its evaluation as the end all be all of what a player should get.

        • PXDX 1 year ago

          Agreed, money has absolutely nothing to do with what a player should earn, player output and contract money are on two totally separate realms.

          • I remember when JD Drew was on the Red Sox, there were people who argued that he was worth more than his contract using WAR and a few other statistics yet the contract is almost always regarded as a pretty bad deal save for a key grand slam and some clutch hitting in the summer of 08.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            Adrian Beltre apparently “earned” his deal with Seattle, but good luck telling M’s fans that.

            If you get paid like a superstar, you have to put up the superstar numbers in the basic superstar categories (HR, RBI, BA), not saber ones, or Joe Fan will be mad.

        • LazerTown 1 year ago

          There also isn’t a linear relationship. I could get Kelly Johnson this winter who should give you 2 WAR for $2M. Or 6 WAR Cano for $24M aav, but he won’t be 6 WAR whole contract. It’s false to say $6M per WAR. Maybe for the top guys, but a 1 WAR player should not be making $5M usually, but if they are reliever it’s different scale.

      • My biggest point of contention with WAR is when people try to use it to approximate a dollar figure to it. It’s a great tool for evaluating a player’s true worth relative to what could be there instead of said player, but the worth of a win should be something to consider and not an absolute. WAR can’t take the market, service time, or relative player salaries into the equation yet some people treat its evaluation as the end all be all of what a player should get.

      • DMiles5149 1 year ago

        I think it’s the eye test. Are Carlos Gomez and Matt Carpenter really better players than Paul Goldschmidt? Maybe I’m wrong, but if I’m starting a team I’d pick Goldschmidt before them. Josh Donaldson better than Miguel Cabrera? Not in my eyes.

        • PXDX 1 year ago

          Hitter, no, all round player? Yes — at least last season. You seriously think Mig-Cab is even in the conversation defensively with Donaldson? Do you not think 3B defense matters? WAR adds everything together and Cabrera was a 1B playing 3B–poorly. Donaldson should have won a gold glove for his work there.

          • DMiles5149 1 year ago

            I understand it throws defense in there. So, before 2013, if they had the same exact years they had, you would take Donaldson over Cabrera? For just that one year.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            Its all moot now because Cabrera is back where he belongs at 1B, and he’s okay at 1B. But he was completely terrible at 3B, and Detroit should have never gotten Prince, or at least made him a full-time DH.

          • DMiles5149 1 year ago

            No its not. It’s perfectly valid. I’m asking, going to into last year. With the same season happening who’s season would you prefer? And if you go by WAR, you’re taking Donaldson. Over the best hitter in the game because he’s a much better defender. And you also are taking his 3-21 ALDS against the TIgers with no runs, rbi’s, or XBH. He did however walk once and only struck out 8 times. You’re right, WAR really does tell you who’s better.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            Snippy! So you cherry pick a small sample scale in the playoffs, but the one where Cabrera did absolutely nothing for the last 2 months is a bigger one. Donaldson was more valuable than Cabrera. He hit really well too, if you want a grade, Cabrera gets an A- for hitting, a D for defense, Donaldson gets a B for hitting, and an A for defense. If you are picking strict 3B, there’s not a lot separating them, but I respect defense and watched Miggy roll around all year letting ball after ball get by him. Detroit is really lucky they had great pitching last year, because Miggy didn’t help them at all. Not to mention they got Iglesias to help him out halfway through the year.

            Bringing up the playoffs when you never mentioned it before means you are just grasping at straws. Look, I love Miggy as a 1B and he’s one of the great hitters of all time, but he stunk as a 3B, and Donaldson was born to play there and deserved a gold glove. JD also hit and had a better WAR because of all factors, not just one.

          • DMiles5149 1 year ago

            How am I grasping at straws? The whole point of my posts are to say WAR isn’t everything, it’s an overrated stat. Everyone just throws it around like it’s the end all be all. And honestly if you’re taking Donaldson over Cabrera (even if he’s playing 3rd) then I don’t know really wish to continue this debate. We’ll agree to disagree. I understand defense is important. But it’s not that important to pass up the best hitter in the game.

      • DMiles5149 1 year ago

        I think it’s the eye test. Are Carlos Gomez and Matt Carpenter really better players than Paul Goldschmidt? Maybe I’m wrong, but if I’m starting a team I’d pick Goldschmidt before them. Josh Donaldson better than Miguel Cabrera? Not in my eyes.

    • oh Hal 1 year ago

      Someone should, although I don’t see any of the consumer retailers of “scouting” doing that. Keith Law is probably the best known “scout” on the planet and likely makes a high income due to the fact. He or ESPN isn’t going to spend significant time evaluating how bad he is at his job, much less how it could be improved.

    • oh Hal 1 year ago

      Someone should, although I don’t see any of the consumer retailers of “scouting” doing that. Keith Law is probably the best known “scout” on the planet and likely makes a high income due to the fact. He or ESPN isn’t going to spend significant time evaluating how bad he is at his job, much less how it could be improved.

  4. HolaAmigas 1 year ago

    Angels could always sign Saunders who was originally one of their own. He did pretty well in Anaheim compared to his last few seasons. Low risk high reward

  5. Unassisted Triple Play 1 year ago

    I sure do like Byron Buxton! I hope he hits it HUGE in the pros and will inspire more young African Americans to pursue an athletic career in baseball. It’s scary to think about but Buxton could be a faster, taller, and better version of Andrew McCutchen and that is saying a TON! Keep it up officialbuck!

    • bhambravesfan 1 year ago

      Still wish the top prospect list wouldn’t rank people so high that haven’t hit above single A. Buxton could be one of the best player in MLB “if” he can keep pace with what he has done in the low minors. He has McCutchen’s skill set with Heyward’s hype

      • Curt Green 1 year ago

        Right now, Buxton hype is the only thing Twins fans have!

      • Curt Green 1 year ago

        Right now, Buxton hype is the only thing Twins fans have!

  6. rct 1 year ago

    Excited to see Dominic Smith already on the top 100 list (even if it’s at 92). Only has 51 games of rookie ball under his belt. MLB.com also lists him as the #2 first baseman. Really hope he has a great 2014.

  7. Why would Heyward want or agree to a 1-2 year deal for his FA years? Who would “expect” that to happen either? The only way that happens is if they offer him something like 2/60 or if he underperforms and accepts the QO. But if he’s good, there’s no reason he’d want to and no precedent to “expect” something like that to happen.

    • 14 Rocks 1 year ago

      I agree. If Heyward is given a contract extension next year it will be something like Freeman’s 8 year deal, not a 1 or 2 year deal. He would be crazy to accept that.

  8. CodyBedell 1 year ago

    Can’t wait to see Xander Bogaerts play a full season. What he did in the WS was eye opening, I’m 95% positive this kid is the real deal. He’s the next Machado.

    • John DeHart 1 year ago

      isn’t it kind of silly comparing Bogaerts to a player who hasn’t even had a full year of playing time yet? wouldn’t it make more sense to compare him to a player who has a body of work already?

      • CodyBedell 1 year ago

        What has Machado done to make anyone think he’s not going to keep playing at this level? But to appease you he’s the next Hanley Ramirez with a better attitude and work ethic. Talent only takes you so far, you’ve got to continuously work on your game, this kid Xander works hard and does not take games off and quits like Ramirez has done more than a few times.

        • John DeHart 1 year ago

          I’m just saying let’s not anoint Machado, yet, as the next young superstar. The second comment you made is fair :)

      • CodyBedell 1 year ago

        What has Machado done to make anyone think he’s not going to keep playing at this level? But to appease you he’s the next Hanley Ramirez with a better attitude and work ethic. Talent only takes you so far, you’ve got to continuously work on your game, this kid Xander works hard and does not take games off and quits like Ramirez has done more than a few times.

  9. greatgame 1 year ago

    You mean career K/9 5.1 Saunders?

  10. Pennsy 1 year ago

    As a Nats fan I hope Ray really is everything Dombrowski hopes for. If Fister plays well for the Nats, and a couple of scrap pieces from the Nats’ system turns dividends for the Tigers, it becomes a real win/win. It will be much easier and much cheaper to deal from MILB depth for MLB pieces if the farm gets a reputation for being especially productive.

  11. schaddy24 1 year ago

    When is Wittenmyer ever stop the Cubs bashing train? Everyone knows he’s a Sox guy, and that he’s been bitter ever since Theo stood him up in an interview. The Cubs payroll hasn’t gone up because it doesn’t make sense to spend on FA’s if you are planning for the future. Good teams spend on FA’s AFTER they have a core in place. SMH

    • Paul Shailor 1 year ago

      I mean you are ignoring the fact maybe some players dont want to play for a fan base that bullied a person into seclusion for the rest of his life to the point where he had to hire a team of lawyers. Hard to get FA if no one wants to go there.

      • schaddy24 1 year ago

        You are totally missing the point. The Cubs aren’t even offering FA deals beyond 1 year because they want to see how the prospects do in the majors. Once they have a firm grasp on the team in 3 years, they will begin offering large FA deals to supplement the roster that they built internally. Besides, I have NEVER heard a FA say he wont go to CHC because of the Bartman fiasco. Personally I feel really bad for what happened to Steve, and I hope that he has found some kind of peace.

  12. Strugz 1 year ago

    Its pretty clear to me why the Cubs major league roster isn’t reflecting the revenue. Same goes for when people recently similarly questioned Houston. Tanking seasons means higher draft picks. Its this organization’s way of building for the future.

  13. PXDX 1 year ago

    That Fister trade was so 1-sided MLB should have intervened. Did Detroit even let everyone know he was available? Fister is a top 3 SP on any team. Unbelievable that the Nats gave up so little to get him.

    • Paul Shailor 1 year ago

      We got a utility guy that we sorely need, a reliever which we always need, and a prospect dombrowski likes as a SP. I admit WAS won, but it wasnt so one sided. Furthermore, DD rarely gets hosed in trades and his successes far outweigh his failures. I remember when we traded grandy and jackson people were complaining but we got Austin Jackson and Scherzer and clearly won that deal when all is said and done.

      • PXDX 1 year ago

        Its the most 1-sided deal in many years. I am sorry for your loss. I would be furious and calling my GM every name in the book my team got that minuscule return on an excellent pitcher like Fister. Ian Krol? Gross. Terrible. You should have rioted.

        • Paul Shailor 1 year ago

          Most one sided deal in years? Look at the Miggy Cabrera deal buddy. Krol isnt terrible, but whether it is a win/win will depend on how Ray does. It really is that simple. We added a bullpen piece we needed and a utility guy we desparetly needed. I am not saying the Tigers won, but to call it the most lopsided deal in many years when the main piece the tigers acquired is still in the minors is just reckless.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            Then why is every single national sportswriter saying it?

            Only the most biased Tigers fan would defend this deal. I wanted my team to get Fister, we could have offered a better deal!!!!

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            Then why is every single national sportswriter saying it?

            Only the most biased Tigers fan would defend this deal. I wanted my team to get Fister, we could have offered a better deal!!!!

          • Paul Shailor 1 year ago

            Name one sportswriter that said it was more onesided than the deal for cabrera. Please name one. That is all I ask.

            I am not defending the deal per se as I still would not have done it. I am just saying its not the most one sided deal ever and it could end up working out and to give DD the benefit of the doubt it could come close to even in the future. ITs not like we traded away a future hall of famer for peanuts. Heck we traded Jon Smoltz for Doyle Alexander! Its not terrible, but we def lost it. As evident by me saying “I admit WAS won, but it wasnt so one sided.”

  14. Paul Shailor 1 year ago

    Again, saying 2014 isnt “many years” as you say. So like I said, name one sportswriter. Saying 2014 does not mean its the worst deal in recent memory.

    Okay so the Miggy deal happened 6 years before the fister deal, clearly that is beyond your “many years” timeframe. What about the meyers trade last year? The Tigers can at least say they have 3 pitchers better than Fister, the royals can say they had no other quality RF and traded him away to miss out on the playoffs. What about any of the Cliff lee trades? Hows Justin Smoak working out? Are those recent enough?

    Again I am not saying they couldnt have gotten more or that they won the trade, just that your assertion that it is the worst trade in many years(which many is apparently 5 is the cutoff as 6 is too far). It isnt.

    Furthermore lets say you come to the conclusion that meyers, lee were more fair and worked out better for their teams. A ridiculous argument considering smoak is nonexistant and the royals missed the playoffs but okay. Still, Lee and even shields are better more consistent pitchers so if you had to screw up a deal trading away one you would pick fister.

  15. Paul Shailor 1 year ago

    Again, saying 2014 isnt “many years” as you say. So like I said, name one sportswriter. Saying 2014 does not mean its the worst deal in recent memory.

    Okay so the Miggy deal happened 6 years before the fister deal, clearly that is beyond your “many years” timeframe. What about the meyers trade last year? The Tigers can at least say they have 3 pitchers better than Fister, the royals can say they had no other quality RF and traded him away to miss out on the playoffs. What about any of the Cliff lee trades? Hows Justin Smoak working out? Are those recent enough?

    Again I am not saying they couldnt have gotten more or that they won the trade, just that your assertion that it is the worst trade in many years(which many is apparently 5 is the cutoff as 6 is too far). It isnt.

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