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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

6 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

djardine

"Wright should be part of their next competitive team."

As these prospects appear distant at best, one is tempted to ponder whether this will be as a player or a member of the management.

Nov 30, 2012 13:15 PM
rating: 8
 
mikestack

I wouldn't be too sure, the Mets have a flock of young pitching and piles of money coming off the books after next season. If Wright's contract is indicitive of a new willingness to spend in the future, things could be different in Queens quickly. Moreover, the Mets' record over the past few years, while not exactly good, has been better than the media's perception of it.

The team will have to make some good decisions in the next year or two and maybe have a prospect or two reach or come close to their potential, but it's easy to see how the 2014 or 2015 Mets are competitive.

Disclaimer: lifelong Mets fan.

Dec 01, 2012 07:27 AM
rating: 3
 
DrDooby

The Mets have a ton of young pitching up & down all minor league levels.
That will ultimately make or break where this franchise is headed over the next 2 to 5 years...

Dec 02, 2012 01:29 AM
rating: 0
 
Pat Folz

When I saw news of the Hanson-Walden trade this morning:
"Whaaat? The Braves got fleeced!"
::checks stats, remembers last 2 years::
"Whaaat? The Angels got fleeced!"

Tommy Hanson, forever a budding ace in my mind. Hope he works it out in LA, he was fun for awhile.

I'm totally on board with what Sheehan said on Twitter: now the Braves have to trade Kimbrel. His value will (probably) never be higher, and you just know some team will give the farm for him. Detroit maybe? ...Yankees? ........Angels?

Nov 30, 2012 13:29 PM
rating: 7
 
SaxonB
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Don't seem too high on Hanson. In fact, it's almost glaringly obvious.

Real, personal opinion on him would be much appreciated.

Nov 30, 2012 21:45 PM
rating: -4
 
Oldwell89

Hanson has some mechanical flaws that look like they could lead to more injuries, but I'm sure there's a chance he could make adjustments and maintain his stuff. Walden has control issues but Braves can get good innings out of him and no pressure to be the man at this point. I actually think this was more about using that money in another area of potential need and seeing what they might have between some of the younger starters.

Dec 01, 2012 07:03 AM
rating: 0
 
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