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MLB Trade Rumors: Nationals Shock Baseball World and Other Thoughts

Here are early afternoon baseball thoughts, as I just got back from a 3 mile run in the cold temps on my day off.

The Nationals shocked the baseball world yesterday as they signed right fielder Jayson Werth to a 7 yr., $126 million contract . I know Werth is good, he's a solid fantasy outfielder, but man, what are the Nationals thinking? It appears Mike Rizzo is stoked to put a winner on the field, but I am not sure this is the right way to go about it. I am curious how much they will have to pay Ryan Zimmerman in a few years. He must be all smiles today.

As for Werth's fantasy value in Washington, I have to say it drops a bit, but I could still see him hitting 20+ HRs, driving in 80+ runs and stealing 15 bases in 2011. In his career, in 88 at bats in Washington Nationals Park, he has hit .307-.390-.580 with 6 HRs, 6 doubles and 13 RBIs. Of course, that has come hitting AGAINST the Nationals pitching, so I wouldn't extrapolate those stats over 600 ABs.

I was listening to XM Radio's MLB channel this morning, and Nat's manager Jim Riggleman stated that he would like to see what Mike Morse could do with 500 at bats playing first base in 2011. That is if they don't sign a free agent first baseman, I assume.

The Diamondbacks traded third baseman Mark Reynolds to the Orioles for David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio. I like what new GM Kevin Towers is doing in Arizona, stocking the bullpen after the horrendous 2010 performance of their bullpen, and ridding the team of a big strikeout guy. Sure they lose his power, but have replaced him with the platoon of Geoff Blum and recently signed Melvin Mora. Who gets more ABs at 3B in Arizona in 2011? I could see an even split. Reynolds value really doesn't take a hit as he goes from one hitters park to another. Former Dodgers prospect Josh Bell's value takes a big hit, as he certainly won't be playing third base for the Orioles for the next two years. Third base just got a little thinner in NL-only leagues.

The Brewers landed themselves a very good starting pitcher in Shaun Marcum on Sunday night, giving up top prospect Brett Lawrie in the process. Lawrie was blocked at second base by resurgent Rickie Weeks, and in the outfield by Ryan Braun and Corey Hart, so he was expendable. Plus the fact that he refused to play in the Arizona Fall League, which upset the front office, had to play into his departure from Milwaukee I assume.

Marcum went 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA, 3.74 FIP and a 3.90 x FIP in 2010. His K/8 rate of 7.60 and BB/9 rate of 1.98 are solid. Marcum saw his innings increase from 151 to 195 in 2010, so he is a candidate for regression, but the Brewers have to be happy with this deal. Apparently the Blue Jays are rumored to be willing to flip Lawrie to the Royals as part of a package for Zack Greinke. Should be interesting if Greinke actually gets dealt during the winter meetings that started today. Jason wrote about Marcum here back in October.

The Brewers are busy today, as they are dangling center fielder Lorenzo Cain for another starting pitcher. Should tehy deal Cain, the Brewers would go with either Carlos Gomez or Chris Dickerson in centerfield in 2011. Gomez's value should see an increase in 2011, anyway, especially with new manager Ron Roenicke's intention to be more aggressive on the base paths.