AL Notes: Defensive Value, White Sox, Astros, Fuld

As defensive metrics gain precision and acceptance, we can expect an increasing move toward player contracts that better reflect the contributions of premier glovework, writes Doug Mittler for ESPN The Magazine (Insider link). "The market is established by offense because defensive numbers are difficult to ascertain,"  said Mets GM Sandy Alderson. Mittler says that current bargains, like Alex Gordon of the Royals and Ryan Hanigan of the Rays, may be harder to find in coming seasons. (I would suggest that some recent extensions of defense-first players — including those of Andrelton Simmons of the Braves and Elvis Andrus of the Rangers — may reflect just that kind of movement in the market.) 

Here's the latest out of the American League:

  • It is early, of course, but the White Sox look like a very different club on the offensive side of the ledger, writes Grantland's Jonah Keri. The preliminary results have put a shine on an offseason that, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes described, brought significant MLB-ready talent into the South Side. Like Dierkes, Keri advises caution for the prospects this season but foresees a bright future for some of the team's young position players. 
  • An alternative method of rebuilding — the Astros' total strip-down of MLB talent and payroll — took another important step forward with the debut of George Springer. In an interesting interview with Drew Fairservice of, club GM Jeff Luhnow said that he hopes the club's pool of prospect talent will "have an expectation to win" after experiencing success together at the minor league level. And he made clear that Houston will look to take full advantage of its substantial amateur spending dollars. Looking ahead, Luhnow explained that the club is already thinking about how to manage inevitable payroll increases: "With so many young players coming through the pipeline, we’re not going to be able to lock them all up. Just keeping them all through arbitration is going to get expensive and we also want to dip into the free agent market so we’ll have to be wise about how we spend the dollars. Our flexibility gives us the opportunity to make the right investments at the right time."
  • As noted earlier, recently-designated Athletics outfielder Sam Fuld is expected to draw interest from several clubs, according to a report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). The Twins and Angels are among the teams that are likely to be involved on Fuld, says Slusser.

Leave a Reply

7 Comments on "AL Notes: Defensive Value, White Sox, Astros, Fuld"

1 year 4 months ago

The Chisox have been impressive the 3-4 games have watched them this year. They are still mostly hackers, but the entire team seems to have gelled together and Adam Eaton, whom I thought got robbed sending away Santiago fo is the perfect guy to hit leadoff for that team.

Ramirez seems to be interested in playing again, Dunn has looked like that hole (belt high) is covered early on. I just wonder if teams will stop throwing them strikes again?

1 year 4 months ago

Offensively, yes, but that bullpen……………………

1 year 4 months ago

That bullpen isn’t that good. Boston should have won that game way before they ended up doing it. Chicago was handing the game to them.

1 year 4 months ago

Eaton looks pretty good. Small sample size but he looks as if he might be the real deal.

1 year 4 months ago

If Luhnow is telling the truth about the projected struggle in keeping the upcoming prospects through their arb years, why did he promote Springer yesterday? With or without Springer, the Astros are not going to be contenders this season. Yet they just traded 2 cheap months of 24 yo Springer on a bad team for 1 expensive year of 30 yo Springer on what most expect to be a good team.

1 year 4 months ago

I think the market is more determined by offense not so much because of the difficulty to gauge defensive metrics, but more because defensive driven players are easier to keep stockpiled in the minors. It’s easier to replace a player who can’t field the ball than one who can’t hit it, which means offensive players are inherently worth more.

If Sandy is having that much trouble reading defensive stats, maybe the Mets should replace him. Reading them requires a little more finesse than RBI’s or HR’s, but that’s not something they should really want their GM saying to the media. Surely someone in that FO watched that Hollywood film about baseball starring that guy from Troy.

1 year 4 months ago

“Sam Fuld is expected to draw interest from several clubs…The Twins and Angels are among the teams”

I keep reading this but I find it difficult to believe the Angels would change their platoon system with Shuck and Cowgill for a someone who’s not hit any better the last few years. What am I missing? Maybe the fact that Calhoun has gone down for 5 to 6 weeks?