Well, that was fun, wasn't it?
On the day before Thanksgiving, baseball's annual Hot Stove Season was actually, legitimately kind of hot. Three pieces of news dropped within an hour on Wednesday morning, and all three deals could have an impact on the postseason in 2020 (or maybe 2021).
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After a couple of slower-than-slow offseasons, when signings and deals trickled in all the way through spring training, a sudden burst of news was nice. And maybe we can all hope against hope that it's a sign of things to come, even though that might be a pipe dream.
Anyway, let's take a look at the deals and do a little evaluating.
Padres and Brewers reportedly complete four-player trade
Details: San Diego sends INF Luis Urias and SP Eric Lauer to Milwaukee for SP Zach Davies and OF Trent Grisham.
Need to know: There is a healthy amount of upside with this deal for both sides. The Padres get an established starting pitcher in Davies; he's made 111 starts in the big leagues and has a 3.91 ERA, including a 3.55 mark in 33 starts last season. Davies, who is heading into his age 27 season and has two years of arbitration before he's free-agent eligible after 2021, adds a bit of certainty to the Padres' rotation, though his arrival shouldn't end their inquiries into top-half-of-the-rotation starting pitchers.
And Grisham, though he's best known for his defensive miscue in the wild-card game — he was in there for the injured Christian Yelich, remember? — is an intriguing player. Grisham had a bit of a breakthrough season in 2019, poking 26 homers in 97 minor-league games last year at Double-A and Triple-A, and then hitting six more in 51 games in the majors. He just turned 23 at the start of November.
The Brewers get a potential star in Urias. Heading into the 2019 season, he was ranked in the top 50 of pretty much every prospect list, as high as No. 17 by Baseball Prospectus. And he produced offensively at the plate in Triple-A (though Pacific Coast numbers were incredibly inflated across the board), batting .315 with 19 homers in 73 games. His MLB numbers haven't been impressive, though he's still only 22 years old. In 302 PAs, Urias has a .318 on-base percentage and 75 OPS+. He can play either second or shortstop, but he'll be at shortstop with Keston Hiura at second in Milwaukee.
Lauer, 24, was a first-round pick by the Padres in 2016, and he's already made 52 starts in the bigs. The lefty has a 4.40 ERA/4.35 FIP in his career, and he improved a troublesome walk rate a bit in his second season (3.1 per nine innings, down from 3.7 as a rookie).
Rangers reportedly sign free agent Kyle Gibson
Details: The Rangers and Gibson reportedly agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal.
Need to know: If this is the first step in an aggressive offseason plan — as many in the sport expect — then it's a solid move. If this is the big move, Rangers fans are going to be pretty disappointed.
Gibson was a middle-of-the-rotation guy for a Twins team that won the AL Central in 2019, and that's what the Rangers hope he'll be for their division title-contending teams the next few years. He averaged 30 starts a season for Minnesota the past six years, posting a 4.42 ERA and 4.25 FIP. The Rangers have had outstanding results with similar free-agent pitching finds recently.
Mike Minor: 3 years, $28 million
Lance Lynn: 3 years, $30 million
Kyle Gibson: 3 years, $30 million
If the Rangers get anything close to the Minor/Lynn level of production from Gibson, they’re going to be a lot of fun in 2020
— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) November 27, 2019
But, as we mentioned, Rangers fans have their sights set higher. The club is opening a new stadium in 2020, and rumors have been flying that the Rangers will be involved with bringing in shiny new superstars to help christen the building. Maybe they will target Texas native Anthony Rendon — the most perfect replacement for Cooperstown-bound Adrian Beltre a Rangers fan could imagine — or one of the top-of-the-rotation aces available on the market.
Will that happen? Stay tuned.
Padres reportedly sign Drew Pomeranz
Details: It's a three-year deal for Pomeranz, though the money hasn't been reported yet.
Need to know: No free-agent-to-be turned around his prospects midseason like Pomeranz. He wasn't good, at all, as a starter with San Francisco, posting a 5.68 ERA in 21 games (17 starts) before he was dealt to Milwaukee. There, though? Outstanding. The Brewers put him in the bullpen, and he struck out 45 batters in 26 1/3 innings, allowing just 16 hits and eight walks. He was a huge part of Milwaukee's late-season push into October.
The Padres have been pointing toward 2020 as their return to contention for a while now, what with all the young, high-ceiling players in their system and outside additions, like last spring's signing of Manny Machado. Spending money to add a bullpen piece like Pomeranz — a lefty who will team well with dominant closer Kirby Yates — is yet another signal that the front office sees 2020 as the year, too.