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IN THIS ISSUE

American League

National League

BALTIMORE ORIOLES
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Signed DH/LF-R Delmon Young to a one-year deal worth $2.25 million. [12/24]

Young will begin his final season as a 20-something-year-old with the Orioles. Why not? He posted the highest True Average of his career in '14, albeit in a role so limited that he failed to top 300 plate appearances for the first time since his rookie campaign, back in 2006. He's never going to be better than a well-below-average runner or fielder—at least not on this plane of existence—so the best you can hope for is him threatening .300, as he did often earlier in his career. Here's hoping Young, who has stayed out of headlines the past few years, has learned from his past errors; not because it'll make for a good age-29 season, but because it'll lead to a productive post-30 life.

Fantasy impact

Young is still somehow only 29 years old, which is kind of amazing. The Orioles used him sparingly last season and lucked into some quality production when they did. Young hit .302 despite strikeout and walk rates that continued their recent death spirals, and he managed to return $10 of AL-only value despite logging only 255 plate appearances. In addition to the ballpark, the role will likely be the same next year: part-time DH, occasional emergency outfielder, and right-handed bench bat for 250-300 plate appearances. That projection is production-dependent, however, and unless Young gets bailed out again by a BABIP in the .360 range he's just not a good bet to return value worthy of any kind of draft day investment outside of the deepest of AL-only formats. —Wilson Karaman

MINNESOTA TWINS
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Signed RHP Tim Stauffer to a one-year deal worth $2.2 million; outrighted C-R Eric Fryer to Triple-A Rochester. [12/23]

Disappointments from the '03 draft who have found their niche for $200, Alex. Stauffer transitioned to the bullpen in 2013, following the latest in a long line of health woes. He's taken to the new gig well, posting solid strikeout and strikeout-to-walk rates while completing more than 130 innings. There are easy jokes to crack about how Stauffer, whose velocity and stature are unimposing, is the ideal Twins pitcher. Perhaps so, but if he stays healthy then his deep arsenal, command, and deceptively short arm action should allow him to serve as a competent middle reliever.

ATLANTA BRAVES
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Signed C-L A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal worth $2 million. [12/24]
Signed RHP Jason Grilli to a two-year deal worth $8 million and includes a club option worth an additional $3 million. [12/23]

Excepting the Nick Markakis signing, the Braves have behaved like a team in transition this winter. They've added a number of veterans on cheap, short-term deals who are coming off shaky seasons, hopeful that one or two will rebound and create trade opportunities.

Of these two, Grilli is the safer bet to produce. He looked better with the Angels than he did with the Pirates last season, showing a quality fastball-slider combination and allowing zero home runs over 40 appearances. Whether the Braves opt to use him in the seventh, eighth, or—heaven forbid—the ninth following a Craig Kimbrel trade is anyone's guess. He ought to help them preserve what late-inning leads they do hold next season, even if that number is less than it has been in recent seasons.

Pierzynski, on the other hand, might get designated for assignment before June. The catcher's portion of the free-agent market is barren, so it's not surprising to see him get a job. Still, he's coming off a miserable season, during which he didn't hit for average or power. Pierzynski isn't much of a defender—his best asset behind the plate is either game-calling or opposition-pestering—meaning that, if he's going to stick around for long as Christian Bethancourt's backup, he'll have to provide some punch.

MIAMI MARLINS
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Claimed RHP Preston Claiborne off waivers from the Yankees. [12/23]

You can't help but to wonder if the Marlins asked about Claiborne during the Martin Prado trade negotiations. Whether they did or they didn't, they obviously liked him to some extent, and for good reason. Claiborne misses bats with a four-pitch arsenal—two fastballs, a slider, and a changeup—and throws more strikes than his walk rate, inflated by intentional passes, otherwise indicates. He's had some platoon issues thus far, and he's probably looking at a career in middle relief. Still, it's a win anytime you can add a potential contributor off waivers.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
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Agreed to two-year deal with RHP Jordan Walden worth $6.6 million and includes a club option worth an additional $5.25 million. [12/23]

A likable deal from the Cardinals' perspective for reasons that don't require a lecture or a quiz. But hey, since we're here, let's compare answers anyway. I have: At minimum, the Cardinals gained cost control over a quality reliever's final two arbitration-eligible seasons, and, at maximum, they also bought out a free-agent year at a reduced cost. What did you put? Same thing? Great.

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oldbopper
12/30
I had to look twice when it said that Delmon Young wasn't 37 years old. Seriously, there are going to be a lot of DH opportunities for the Birds with Cruz cruising to Seattle and I would not be surprised if Young doesn't get most of them.