We’ve approached that time in the offseason when things generally seem to slow down. Most of the significant free agents have already signed, and those that have not signed could be unclaimed until late into February in the hopes that Scott Boras was correct when he told Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse they would get big money this year. But there a few pieces of fairly significant news that happened over the past couple of days.
Justin Upton to Atlanta? The big rumor yesterday was that the Braves and D-Back are close on a deal that would ship Justin Upton to the Braves. Who the Braves would give up has not really been hammered down, but it has been reported that young stud shortstop Andrelton Simmons would not be a part of the deal. However, odds are that at least one of the Braves elite pitching prospects (I’d bet on Julio Teheran being a part of the deal) would go to the D-Backs.
The Braves already picked up the elder Upton brother, B.J., in free agency to play center field. Picking up Justin would give the Braves what would probably be the best outfield in baseball, at least considering offense and defense together, and would give them an offense that would rival anyone in the National League. I’d still give the edge in the NL East to the Nationals because I like their pitching staff more, but it would not be by much.
Delmon Young ends the Alfonso Soriano to the Phillies Rumors. The Phillies signed Delmon Young to a one year, $750,000 deal on Tuesday. While the money is nothing, the thought that Delmon Young could play enough in the field to be worth a roster spot at this point is almost comical. However, this does mean that the Phillies probably would not be looking at Alfonso Soriano, at least to start the season.
The Bulls have been playing well despite not having Derrick Rose available for a single minute of game time thus far. With Rose nearing a return, the Bulls could be better off in the long run for not having had Rose. At this point, the Bulls are only a half game behind the Pacers in the division and one game out of the 2 seed in the East. And a couple of players have really taken Rose’s absence to step up the game, most notably Jimmy Butler. Butler, who was the 30th pick in the 2011 draft, could end up being the best value pick of that draft.
Late Update: The Cubs have signed right handed outfielder Scott Hairston to what is reported to be a two year, $6 million deal. This likely means that the Cubs will be running strict platoons in both right field and center field, with Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus batting against right handed pitchers and Dave Sappelt and Hairston batting against left handed starters. Those could both be above average platoons, and all three of Schierholtz, DeJesus and Hairston would be easily tradeable if they put up solid showings.
Although this will put a crimp in the style of the Tony Campana lovers. Barring trade or injury, he will almost certainly be heading back to Iowa. As I’m of the mind that Campana will never do enough at the plate to take advantage of his speed, I don’t mind the Cubs deciding they don’t want to use the 25 man roster spot on Campana.