Player movement is the lifeblood of every baseball offseason. So as the 2021 season picks up pace, let’s look at how it is going for some of the players who are now plying their trade in new ZIP codes from around the senior circuit.
National League East: The Mets were the most active team in the division thanks to new owner Steve Cohen. The new arrivals have not exactly set the world alight so far. Francisco Lindor is slashing .214/.400/.214 and James McCann is at .214/.313/.214. On the pitching side, Trevor May had an implosion in his debut, and has an ERA of 7.71, granted it is over 2 ⅓ innings. Taijuan Walker was strong in his first start, allowing two runs over six innings. In Atlanta, Charlie Morton is as expected. He has a 3.27 ERA in 11 innings over his first two starts. Special shout out to Pablo Sandoval; Panda has two homers in five plate appearances off of the bench. Dylan Floro has hit the ground running in Miami no runs allowed in his first 3 ⅓ innings is a great way to introduce himself to the folks in the 305. Jonathan Lucroy (Yes, that guy) has been called into emergency duty in Washington. He is off to a .400/.400/.500 line over his first ten plate appearances. So maybe his bat is not moribund just yet. For the Phllies, it is all about the bullpen. The roller coaster ride known as Jose Alvarado has come through a 3.00 ERA, with 7 strikeouts, and a save in his first three appearances. I have always liked his stuff, but the control can be a major issue.
National League Central: The Brewers add second baseman, Kolten Wong, and his .105/.346/.105 so far won’t have the fans thinking the Cardinals made a mistake. Occam’s razor applies when looking at St. Louis; the simple answer is Nolan Arenado is good. His .345/.367/.586 is just him doing what he does. Starting out .095/.167/.238 in 24 plate appearances for Joc Pederson might mean the Dodgers knew what they were doing letting him leave for Chicago. Jake Arrieta has been an old face returning to his new place. A 2.25 ERA over 12 innings might have us thinking it is 2015 all over again. Tyler Naquin has looked like a dude in Cincinnati. He has come out hot so far, going .318/.444/.1000 will get it done anywhere; Cleveland may be left to wonder if they messed this one up by letting him leave. The Pirates offseason additional can be summed up with one big shrug emoji. For the sake of full coverage, we can say their Tyler Anderson and his 5.23 ERA over 10 ⅓ frames in his first two starts fits in with Pittsburgh’s particular brand of mediocrity.
National League West: It is safe to wonder why Asdrubal Cabrera is playing so much in Arizona. He is 35, and sporting a slash line of .217/.379./.391 in his 29 plate appearances. This makes me wonder how is it possible he is an upgrade over what they already had in the organization. I am still curious about which Trevor Bauer will be taking the bump every fifth day in Los Angeles. His 4.15 ERA in his first two outings, not to mention the questions about his possible usage of foreign substances on the baseballs, is enough to leave the Dodgers faithful wondering what the club has signed up for. On a less volatile note, Corey Knebel has been a stealth addition to the bullpen in L.A. The former Brewer hasn’t allowed a run while striking out six of the eleven batters he has faced so far. Anthony DeSclafani was solid in his Giants debut. One run allowed in five innings is a solid ice breaker. He will need to add some innings before he has people in San Francisco forgetting about Madison Bumgarner. Blake Snell has been the same as ever; good when he pitches, but he doesn’t pitch that long. A 1.86 ERA while averaging less than five innings per start is proof of that. Yu Darvish has to keep the ball in the park. 2.53 HR/9 won’t help get the Padres where they want to go. Austin Gomber was the primary piece Colorado received in the Nolan Arenado trade. He had shown his solid mid-rotation arsenal and cobbled together a 2.89 ERA, but the base on balls will have to improve as 10.61 BB/9 isn’t the stuff of legends.
The guys in new locations really have the ability to swing the races around the league. Tyler Naquin has especially made a strong first impression for the hot offense in Cincinnati.