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Fantasy Baseball Thoughts: Santana, Soriano and Others

Ray Guilfoyle takes a look the Ervin Santana deal and thoughts on where Rafael Soriano will land this offseason.

J. Meric

Well, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is certainly making his mark since taking over for Tony Reagins last offseason. He signed Albert Pujols to a huge contract, waived Bobby Abreu, overpaid for C.J. Wilson, and this offseason, he has made starters Dan Haren and Ervin Santana available in the trade market. Oh yeah, he promoted Mike Trout last May, and he turned into one of the best players in baseball, possibly THE best.

Yesterday, he dealt struggling starter Ervin Santana and $1 million to the Royals for pitching prospect Brandon Sisk, who projects as a reliever. Santana lead the majors in home runs allowed in 2012, giving up 39 bombs in 178 innings, or 1.97 home runs per nine innings, well off his 1.09 and 1.02 rates in 2010 and 2011. As a result, his ERA jumped almost 2 runs, from 3.38 in 2011 to 5.16 in 2012. What makes his season even more amazing is that his BABIP actually DROPPED in 2012, from .272 to .241, but 39 of the 165 hits he allowed, in 178 innings, landed over the fence. One thing that jumped out to me when reviewing his player page on FanGraphs, his BABIP is in a downtrend:

2009: .317

2010: ,288

2011: 272

2012: .241

Heading to Kansas City, Santana could experience a bounce back season in 2013, as it would be a real surprise if he allows almost two home runs every nine innings again. Then again, there were more home runs hit in Kaufmann Stadium than Angels Stadium in 2012. But, I wonder if the Royals pitching staff had more to do with that than the stadium in 2012, as the stadium was the second toughest on home run hitters in 2011.

Santana should only be drafted in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only leagues in 2013, as his home run rate should drop closer to career norms, with a positive impact on his ERA. He comes with risk, but the reward could be a return to a mid 3.00s ERA.

Late last night, ESPN's Jim Bowden tweeted that Dipoto is now working on dealing starter Dan Haren before Friday. Haren has a $15.5 million option for 2013 with a $3.5 million buyout. Some team like the Pirates or Padres could have interest in dealing for Haren with the hope of a bounce back season.

Yankees closer Rafael Soriano opted out of the last year of his contract with the team on Wednesday, and according to agent Scott Boras, is seeking a four year deal this offseason. Boras thinks he can get him a 4 year, $60 million deal, and while that may seem outlandish, he could come close to those terms. One team who could look to sign him this offseason is the Detroit Tigers. With Jose Valverde leaving via free agency, they badly need a more reliable closer, especially after Valverde's numerous implosions this season.

In what could be the Dodgers rumor of the day over the next few months, it was reported on Wednesday that the team has identified Rays starter James Shields as their #1 target this offseason. Shields has a $9 million club option for 2013 and a $12 million club option for 2014, both are no brainer decisions if he pitches like he did in 2012. Shields went 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 3.24 xFIP, with an improving strikeout rate (8.82 K per nine innings) and ground ball rate (52.3% in 2012 vs 46.2% in 2011).

As a Dodgers fan, I would love for GM Ned Colletti to deal for Shields as his contract is team friendly for the next two seasons, but I am sure he won't come cheap.

Baseball America released their Top 10 Boston Red Sox prospects for 2013, with shortstop Xander Bogaerts leading the way. Jim Callis was asked where he would rank Bogaerts in his Top 100, and he responded in the 21-30 range. I was shocked at his response and think he is waaaayy too low on Bogaerts.

What say you, Fake Teams readers?