Best: Will Middlebrooks. This is a good pick-up for a rebuilding Brewers club. Once a top prospect in the Red Sox organization, his career has not lived up to expectations. This is a minor league deal with an invite to spring training though, so it’s low risk possible high reward. I’m by no means saying this will work out because he hasn’t proved anything in the pros but if the top prospect talent shows up to Milwaukee, at only age 27, the Brewers could very well find their future third baseman.
Worst: Chris Carter. The big guy still has pop in the bat, but is a huge defensive liability, and now in the NL he will have to play first or a corner outfield spot. His strikeout rate is also concerning at the dish, and always has been. Last year he struck out in almost 39% of his at bats. Now obviously, the team had a void to fill, but at the very best if he posts a good season, I see him being trade bait around the deadline. AT THE VERY BEST…
Yargs 2016 Prediction: 4th NL Central
Best: Neftali Feliz. I’ve had some crazy choices so far, but this one might be by far the craziest. Feliz was a very good closer in his days with Texas and still has a live arm. In 2015, teams hit him pretty hard and it was the worst season of his career. But why the best move? Let’s look at some Bucco history. When the Bucs signed AJ Burnett, many thought he was washed up and would never live up to his days in Toronto and would stay the AJ that stunk it up in New York. The Bucs turned him around. When the Bucs signed Edinson Volquez, many thought his days were done and he’d never regain the live arm he had in his glory days with Cincinnati. The Bucs turned him around and he just won a ring with the Royals. So those are starters what about relievers you may ask. In three seasons with the Bucs he has a combined 100 saves (51 coming in 2015) and in those three years opposing hitters have an average of .208. So yeah, it’s crazy, but the evidence is there.
Worst: John Jaso. This actually isn’t a terrible move by the Bucs because Jaso will make contact unlike Pedro Alvarez. My biggest worry here is that Jaso only has five innings of experience at first base under his belt. Pedro was already a huge defensive liability, and now I worry the same of Jaso. Offensively, he doesn’t possess the same power as Alvarez by no means, but in 158 at bats Jaso only struck out 39 times. In 153 at bats (first two months) Alvarez struck out 42 times. Offensively good, Defensively, this a scary deal.
Yargs 2016 Prediction: 2nd NL Central
Best: There were no good moves here. I’ll be honest, the Reds could have a good lineup but I guess if anything came out of the trades they made this offseason, maybe there team will be decent down the road. The Reds have no rotation, no bullpen and only two consistent options in their lineup.
Worst: Todd Frazier. I have nothing to say here, they got one good prospect in Jose Peraza and he plays second base where they currently have some guy named Brandon Phillips playing!
Yargs 2016 Prediction: 5th NL Central
Best: Jason Heyward. This team is absolutely scary good. Heyward enjoyed a very good and consistent season in St. Louis, following it up with a postseason which he hit .357. He’s gonna take over everyday duties in centerfield which can be a little concerning saying most of his pro experiences have been in right, but he does have experience at the position. At age 26, he’s in the prime of his career and he will be the catalyst that powers this Cubbie ball club. Thinking of him, Rizzo, Bryant, Zobrist and Schwarber all in the same lineup is insane.
Worst: This team is one stud arm away from really locking up a title. They can’t continue to count on Arrieta, Lester and now Lackey. I believe they should’ve traded Javier Baez or Jorge Soler to try and get a power arm for their rotation. Both are outstanding players and have a bright future in this league, so I don’t blame the Cubs for not pulling off a deal, but I feel this would’ve taken them to the next level.
Yargs 2016 Prediction: NL Central Champs
St. Louis Cardinals:
Best: Mike Leake. It was a quiet offseason for the Cards as they watched Lackey and Heyward leave and go to the rival Cubs, but this move for Leake fills the void that Lackey left. He’s not the most powerful and dominating arm, but he will give you innings.
Worst: Receiving Jedd Gyorko for Jon Jay. No Jon Jay wasn’t a superstar or anything, but Gyorko is another one of those guys who have failed to live up to expectations. A former top prospect of the Padres, received an extension after a good year in 2013 but then it all went downhill quickly. He is only 27 though, and he’s just going to be a depth option, so maybe a change of scenery was necessary, but Jay was a .287 career hitter, Gyorko is a career .247 hitter.
Yargs 2016 Prediction: 3rd NL Central
Coming up soon we’ll finish it all off with the NL West, stay tuned!