Fangraphs’ Tony Blengino examines Marco Estrada’s curious skill set, pointing out that metrics such as FIP don’t give the soft-tossing righty full credit for his unrivaled ability to limit line-drives. Additionally, hitters league-wide do less damage on fly-balls hit off pitches thrown between 75 and 94 mph, Blengino notes, so Estrada’s lower velocity and extreme fly-ball tendencies actually work reasonably well together. With a lack of line-drives, more weak contact than average on grounders and limited damage on his glut of fly-balls, Estrada could be a huge bargain this winter if he can he had on a two- or three-year deal worth $8MM or so per year, Blengino writes. Blengino notes that Estrada “lives on the head of a pin,” and even minor changes in his arsenal could be significant detriments, but with a relatively minimal price tag, he concludes that Estrada is worth the risk in the aforementioned price range.
More from the AL East as the Blue Jays look to rally back against the Rangers in the decisive Game 5 of the ALDS…
- The Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo A. Encina writes that Orioles GM/executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter laughed off reports of tension between the two when asked about their reportedly strained relationship. Duquette characterized such reports as little more than gossip, while Showalter said that it’s healthy for the two to disagree. “We better disagree about some things and kick things around,” said Showalter. “I disagree with my coaches. They disagree with me. That’s the least of our challenges. Throughout the organization we have a healthy draw of opinions, almost too much sometimes.” Encina went on to look at some of the things that went wrong this year, noting that many within the clubhouse were furious to see Tommy Hunter traded shortly after the team strengthened the roster by adding Gerardo Parra. Players felt it was a cost-cutting measure when the team should be striving for the playoffs.
- The Orioles made a run at Colby Rasmus as a replacement for Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz last winter, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Baltimore was willing to match Rasmus’ 2014 salary of $7MM on a one-year deal but didn’t want to go beyond that point. When the Astros offered $8MM, the Orioles backed out of the pursuit. While many will look at Rasmus’ postseason heroics and chalk it up as another missed opportunity for Baltimore, Connolly points out that Rasmus’ marginal regular season production wouldn’t have been enough to make a big impact on Baltimore’s bottom-line results this season anyway.
- The Orioles have offered 2016 contracts to each member of their 2015 coaching staff, Duquette told reporters, including MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko (Twitter link). The Orioles are hoping to finalize each of those deals this week, he adds.
- Outfielder Chris Young had a strong rebound season as a platoon outfield option for the Yankees in 2015, but the free-agent-to-be told Dan Martin and George A. King III of the New York Post a few days ago that it’s still too soon to tell whether he’ll be back in 2016 or not. Young said that he being with the Yankees from late 2014 through the 2015 season and made some adjustments in the Bronx that helped revive his production. However, I’d point out that as a free agent this time around, he’ll have a much stronger case than last winter. Fourth outfield types such as Rajai Davis and Nate McClouth have signed two-year deals worth between $10-11MM in total over the past few seasons, so Young will certainly be looking at an increase on his $2.5MM base salary from 2015.