Just in time for the holidays we've got plenty of MLB trades and signings to discuss.
Norichika Aoki to the Brewers: Aoki is probably off a lot of people's radars with all of the noise surrounding Yu Darvish. Still, he's worth profiling as the Brewers won the bid for his rights. Like Texas and Darvish, Milwaukee will still have to sign the 29 year old, small framed (5'9, 170 lbs) center fielder to a contract. However, unlike the Rangers who are trying to fill a gaping hole in their rotation after the departure of C.J. Wilson, Aoki presently doesn't appear to meet any needs the Brewers may have. They already have two center fielders in Nyjer Morgan and Carlos Gomez. Aoki on paper doesn't appear to boast as much speed as Morgan or Gomez (never attained more than 20 steals in Japan) but has much better plate discipline (generally around the .400 OBP mark) than either of the Brewers other options. With Ryan Braun possibly facing a suspension it appears that Milwaukee is looking for some outfield depth. We'll have to wait and see how 2012 unfolds to find out though.
Jason Kubel to the Diamondbacks (2 years $15 million): I really think this is a great sign by Arizona. Kubel is not a game changer but he's a similar bat to former team mate Michael Cuddyer who recently signed for almost $10 million per year with the Rockies. In other words, I think the Diamondbacks got a similar player and saved money in doing so. I would expect a small increase in power numbers for Kubel in the hitter friendly Chase Field if he can stay healthy. In my opinion, the veteran left fielder is a great fit for an organization trying to recapture the NL West division title.
More in a bit....