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November 30, 2012

Transaction Analysis

New Contracts in New York

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

ANAHEIM ANGELS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired RHP Tommy Hanson from the Braves for RHP Jordan Walden. [11/30]

Had someone told you about this trade a year and a half ago you wouldn’t have believed them. Hanson entered the 2011 All-Star break with a 2.44 ERA. He struggled in his final five starts of the season, allowing eight home runs and 24 runs in 26 2/3 innings pitched before his season ended due to a right shoulder impingement. The Braves reworked Hanson’s delivery over the offseason, in an attempt to ease the strain put upon his arm, but he lost more velocity and effectiveness.

Where Hanson’s career goes from here is anyone’s guess. The Angels will likely tweak Hanson’s mechanics again, perhaps ridding him of a lengthy pause in his wind-up. From there, it all rides on Hanson’s ability to stay healthy and maintain or improve on his current stuff. Further deterioration will drop his stock from potential back-end starter into the abyss. In the interim, Hanson is arbitration-eligible for the first time, and figures to receive a decent raise. 

NEW YORK YANKEES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed RHP Mariano Rivera to a one-year deal worth $10 million with additional money available in award and performance bonuses. [11/29]

Seeing Rivera return to the Yankees on a one-year deal is about as unsurprising as seeing Andy Pettitte return to the Bronx on his own one-year deal. The 43-year-old appeared in eight games last season and pitched well before tearing his ACL and meniscus in a ball-shagging accident. Rivera has shown an inhuman-like ability to fend off aging in the past, but returning from a serious injury is a new one. As always, it’s tough to bet against Rivera defying the odds. No matter what happens on the field, this could mark Rivera’s final contract.

ATLANTA BRAVES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired RHP Jordan Walden from the Angels for RHP Tommy Hanson. [11/30]

Walden is a power arm. His fastball is heavy and sits in the mid-90s. He complements the heat with a wipeout slider that he has trouble controlling on occasion. There’s also a changeup in his arsenal, a residual from his days as a starter. Walden has more than 100 solid big-league innings under his belt, but there are some concerns. He spent time on the disabled list last season due to a strained biceps, and the Angels' quick hook last April suggests they never seemed to trust him as a closer. That last part won’t matter in Atlanta, where Walden, along with Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, and perhaps Eric O’Flaherty, should form one of the strongest bullpens in the league.

Shedding Hanson saves the Braves a few million, money that they can use in their pursuit of a new left fielder. Look for the Braves to non-tender Jair Jurrjens later tonight, freeing additional funds.

NEW YORK METS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Re-signed 3B-R David Wright to a seven-year extension, beginning in 2014, worth $122 million. [11/29]

Wright receives more money than Evan Longoria or Ryan Zimmerman did, but that’s to be expected based on the players’ proximity to free agency. There is a good deal of risk here. While Wright is the face of the franchise and a top-flight talent, the Mets are gambling on his ability to remain productive through his mid-30s. But this is a New York sports franchise. They’re supposed to keep their own stars and add others. Trading Wright or allowing him to walk like Jose Reyes would’ve been a public relations nightmare. New York is unlikely to conquer the NL East in 2013, yet Wright should be part of their next competitive team.

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

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