The Hot Stove got warm in a hurry today as there were 4 significant deals made.
1. Blue Jays sign Kendrys Morales to a 3 year/$33 M FA contract. Kendrys Morales hits dingers, lots of them, but not a lot else. He might be the slowest player in all of baseball and can't really play any position. Fortunately, the Jays play in a DH league which is what Morales will be. He is affordable insurance against them losing both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion via free agency, both of whom figure to be much more expensive than Morales. Morales will play his age 34 season in 2017. He has a long injury history but has been healthy enough to DH full-time the last 2 seasons for the Royals. He's a switch-hitter.
2016 Royals: .263/.327/.468, 30 HR, 618 PA.
KC is a tough park to hit dingers in while Toronto and most of the AL East parks are dinger friendly, so I could see him parking 40 or more per season…if he stays in one piece. For the upside, it's nice value for the Blue Jays and it leaves them with money to spend elsewhere on the roster.
2. Dodgers trade Howie Kendrick to the Phillies for Darin Ruf. Howie Kendrick has always hit for average, albeit a fairly empty average, which is just fine for a middle infielder. He doesn't play 2B much anymore and he didn't even hit for much of an average last year. Ruf has intriguing RH power but can't really play any position well. He started off poorly at the plate last year and got shipped out to AAA where he raked as he always has at AAA. He is probably no more than a RH platoon bat or bat off the bench in the majors.
Kendrick is entering his age 33 season and has 1 year left on a contract that will pay him about $10 M for 2017. Ruf is arbitration eligible for the first time this season and probably will get a contract for under $1M if the Dodgers even tender him a contract. Let's face it. This was mostly a salary dump and roster-clearing move by the Dodgers. The curious part is how Kendrick fits into the Phillies rebuild. They were reportedly looking for a "veteran presence." He will give them that.
3. Angels sign RHP Jesse Chavez for 1 year/$5.75 M. Chavez is entering his age 33 season. He pitched exclusively in relief last year for two teams. The Angels say they will give him a chance to start. Most likely ends up in a swingman/long-middle relief role.
4. The Braves signed 44 yo RHP Bartolo Colon to a 1 yr/$12.5 M deal. He'll pair up with RA Dickey who they signed yesterday to give the Braves a pair of veteran innings eaters to support young aces Julio Tehran and Mike Foltynewicz.
Colon 2016: 15-8, 3.43, 191.2 IP, 1.5 BB/9, 6.01 K/9.
Dickey 2016: 10-15, 4.46, 169.2 IP, 3.34 BB/9, 6.68 K/9.
Dickey should be helped by moving out of Toronto and the AL East.
These are a couple of solid signings by the Braves to make them more competitive in their rebuild years.