Hot Stove Update – 11/17

Here are the top stories from today’s Hot Stove action.

Tigers Acquire Francisco Rodriguez from Brewers

In a not-so-surprising deal, the Milwaukee Brewers parted ways with their closer of five seasons, RHP Francisco Rodriguez, affectionately dubbed “K-Rod”. On the other end of the deal were the Detroit Tigers, who sent a Class A Advanced infielder, Javier Betancourt.  The deal makes sense for the Tigers, who’ve struggled in the bullpen for the past few seasons, especially considering Rodriguez’s stellar 2.21 ERA in 57 innings pitched in 2015, with 38 saves. Over his fourteen-year career, Rodriguez has a 2.69 ERA with 386 saves. The Brewers are slated to get a player to be named later, and the Tigers possibly may acquire one as well, according to GM Al Avila, who told that there’s a scenario where Detroit “could receive a second player as well”. Rodriguez will make $7.5 million next season, and has a $6 million club option for 2017.

TL;DR: The Tigers get a great closer for a relatively low price.

-There were almost serious discussions Freddie Freeman deal which sent him to the Astros

Continuing the Braves’ crazy fire sale of the past year, which has been capitalized by sending SS Andrelton Simmons to the Angels, an exclamation point could’ve been put on the sequence with a trade of the face of the franchise, 1B Freddie Freeman. The trade would’ve involved five players, and Freeman was apparently a key part of the discussion, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Passan. Talks fell apart, and some hypothesize it’s due to Freeman’s monstrous contract of over $100 million (an extension signed after the Braves’ 2013 season, the last one in which they won over 80 games.) Even though Freeman didn’t leave in that instance, with the current state of the Atlanta Braves and Freeman’s talent, he could easily be wearing another uniform of a team on the brink by opening day.

TL;DR: Freeman stays a Brave… for now.

The Pirates are listening to inquiries about Neil Walker

After 3B Jung-Ho Kang’s breakout rookie season, there are questions in Pittsburgh about SS Neil Walker, especially with IF/OF Josh Harrison waiting and ready, and even more questions now, as his free agency looms next winter. Naturally, the Pirates are listening to offers. According to Roch Kubato of MASN Sports, the Baltimore Orioles and the Pirates discussed a deal, but nothing came of it. Walker is an above average hitter (career .272 hitter), and posted a .269/.328/.427 (OPS+) line last season with 16 home runs and 71 RBI over 603 plate appearances. However, Roch notes that the belief is that the Pirates would be much happier to part with 3B/1B Pedro Alvarez (positions the Orioles are weak at), but would like young pitching, which the Orioles aren’t eager to give up. Walker is slated to make around $10 million next season, per Roch.

TL;DR: Mainly speculation and inquiries for now, but the Winter Meetings may send Walker to Baltimore. 

The Dodgers’ managerial search is down to two candidates

It’ll either be Gabe Kapler (already in the Dodgers front office) or Dave Roberts (San Diego Padres coach), according to Jerry Crasnick of The second interviews are underway and a decision will be made by Friday or Saturday.

Bud Black and Ron Roenicke will join the Angels

 Black will join the Angels in a front office role, and Roenicke will join as the third base coach. A kind of happy ending to Black’s long odyssey that took him from coast to coast.

Jake Arrieta and Dallas Keuchel took home the Cy Young awards.

Both won 20+ games, while Keuchel (LHP) posted a 2.48 ERA and led the Houston Astros to the playoffs, and Arrieta (RHP) posted a 1.77 ERA and led the Chicago Cubs to the NLCS. There was more question in the NL as many wondered if Zach Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers deserved the award more. Arietta won by an extremely slim margin (four votes).


Four elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

The Baseball Writers Association of America announced today that they have elected four players to the Baseball Hall of Fame for the Class of 2015.

The Class of 2015 is made up of John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Craig Biggio. The winners consisted of three pitchers, a new record for an election). To be elected, you must surpass the 75% mark on all ballots which are filled by all members of the BBWAA.

Martinez, Smoltz and Johnson are first-ballot Hall of Famers. Biggio has had a little more trouble earning his enshrinement in Cooperstown after coming extremely close the past two seasons.

Johnson was a 300 game-winner and struck out 4,875 hitters over his illustrious career, not to mention his five Cy Young awards. He spent the first decade of his career with the Seattle Mariners and then split time between the Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants.

Martinez was a 200 game-winner with a ridiculous 2.93 career ERA and won three Cy Young awards. He also led the league in strikeouts three times. He started his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and broke out with the Montreal Expos before helping the Boston Red Sox win their first World Series in 86 years and finished his career with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.

The story of Smoltz never ceases to amaze, sitting out the entire 2000 season after recording 11 great seasons as a starter and then converting into a reliever. He finished his career playing every season as a member of the Atlanta Braves excepting his final. He has over 200 wins and over 150 saves, a feat that is unheard of.

Biggio was an “Astro for life”, recording an illustrious 20 year career in Houston and is regarded as the best hitter in Astros history with a .281 average, 1175 career RBI and 291 home runs over his career.

Jed Lowrie, Astros agree to three-year deal

The Houston Astros have reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with Jed Lowrie worth $23 million guaranteed.

Last year with the Oakland Athletics, Lowrie hit .249/.321/.355 (93 OPS+) with 6 home runs and 50 RBI.

The Astros have already enjoyed a busy offseason, adding Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek and David Robertson.

Over ten years, Lowrie has hit .261/.330/.411 with 56 home runs and 284 RBI.