Signed OF-L Ben Revere to a one-year, $4 million contract. [12/23]
Last season was brutal for Revere, but when he’s healthy and able to slip into a role that suits him he’s still a useful player. Revere is stretched in center field despite his very good speed, which is predictably beginning to decline as he nears 30. In Anaheim he should be the third name on the depth chart there. He’s a fine defender in left field, though. He adds runs with his legs. He makes a ton of contact.
In Yunel Escobar, Albert Pujols, C.J. Cron, and Martin Maldonado the Angels have a fistful of players whom Revere could replace as a pinch-runner late in games and over whom he would add significant value. He’s also a pretty fair potential platoon partner for Cameron Maybin in left field. If nothing else, a guy who can come off the bench when all you need is a ball put in play has value. For the market price of less than half a win, Revere provides a pretty high floor. —Matthew Trueblood
Signed C-L Alex Avila to a one-year, $2 million contract. [12/23]
Nepotism schmepotism. After a yearlong hiatus to Chicago, Avila rejoined the team run by his father, Al Avila, and did so just before Christmas. Some kids get a hoverboard or a new pair of shoes, but Avila gets a return to the Motor City as James McCann’s backup.
He'll be 30 years old in a few weeks and his skills have been steadily declining since a 5.6 WARP peak in 2011. Last season he barely topped replacement level with the White Sox, but truth be told and jokes aside, he genuinely does offer something of value to Detroit as a backup catcher. Even as his hitting has dipped, his ability to reach base with consistency has remained relatively steady. Avila is unlikely to see much more than 200 plate appearances, but he's still good for a sprinkling of power when called upon. —Jared Wyllys
Acquired 1B/OF-R Peter O'Brien from Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Sam Lewis. [1/3]
O’Brien has plus raw power and, thanks in part to a series of friendly home ballparks, has posted robust numbers throughout his minor-league career. Over nearly two full seasons at Triple-A, O’Brien has hit .270/.315/.530 with 50 home runs. But the lofty power numbers obscure his poor pitch recognition skills and propensity to chase pitches outside of the strike zone, deficiencies that have been starkly apparent in brief big-league cameos.
The Miami native has struck out in 40 percent of his MLB at-bats and has routinely looked lost against quality major-league arms. Defensively, O’Brien doesn’t have a true home. A battle with the yips pushed him out from behind the plate in 2015, and while he’s playable at first base and in the outfield corners he isn’t an asset. Ultimately, O’Brien’s power is alluring but he probably peaks as an up-and-down guy. —Brendan Gawlowski
Signed OF-R Rajai Davis to a one-year, $6 million contract. [1/3]
Davis has traversed a sizable portion of the baseball globe in his 11-year career. His brief stay in Cleveland was punctuated by a heroic World Series home run that somehow didn’t prove to be enough. Even still, he can forever hang his hat on stopping the collective hearts of Chicagoans on November 2, 2016.
Davis is at the point in his career where he’s better suited to be a fourth or even fifth outfielder, but in Oakland he appears lined up to start in center field. Davis is fast and can still steal a lot of bases, but he fields poorly in center and has rarely been a big plus offensively, particularly if used atop the lineup. It's the latest in a long line of odd moves for the A's. —Jared Wyllys
Signed RHP Drew Storen to a one-year, $3 million contract. [1/3]
Since he came up in 2010, Storen has been one of the 20 most durable and reliable (if rarely dominant) relievers in baseball. He’s practically the same age as Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel, and Aroldis Chapman, and although he never blossomed into the elite closer for which the Nationals once hoped, he’s held his own most of the time. His one really bad half-season to date, the first half of 2016, just happened to be really poorly timed.
That’s one reading of his career. The other is this: Storen lost 2-3 miles per hour off all three of his pitches in 2016. He figured out how to pitch with his diminished stuff in the second half, but it would have been more encouraging if he’d simply rediscovered that lost zip. If he’s healthy, and if this velocity loss is permanent, maybe he can find a way to get something back on the changeup and become a ground-ball maven. Perhaps he can sustain the success he found in the second half, pitching off his slider. Usually, though, a 28-year-old whose velocity goes missing isn’t healthy or isn’t likely to stay that way for long. —Matthew Trueblood