Karl-Anthony Towns recovered from a shot to the mouth that left him down on the court and finished with a season-high 37 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 116-111 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.
For those wondering about the trends, well, they are myriad. Arrieta averaged 94.6 mph on his fastball when he was arguably the best player in all of fantasy. In 2016, that fastball slipped to an average of 93.7 mph. Last season it was at 92.1. That is a very big deal. Let us not blindly presume he is heading the way of fallen Seattle Mariners king Felix Hernandez, but being purely objective, when a pitcher sees such a stark decrease in velocity that quickly, it tends to be worth worrying about for either statistical or health purposes.
Unfortunately, there is more. Arrieta permitted 26 home runs over 64 starts in 2015-16. Last season, Arrieta permitted 23 blasts in 168 1/3 innings, as his hard-contact rate spiked, left-handed hitters had far less trouble with his stuff and/or deception, and his ground ball rate continued its predictive descent along with it. Arrieta’s FIP was 4.16, which is below average and likely more reflective of how he pitched, rather than his ERA. Now, we can all live with an ERA even in that somewhat bloated range, in theory, if it comes with a decent WHIP and strikeouts and wins and … this just is not as sure a thing anymore.
Butler entered free agency in a weird spot following his mysterious Super Bowl benching, and the buzz in Indy was that he wouldn’t find the deal of his dreams in free agency. I could see him taking a one-year deal for $9 million or so plus incentives, then hitting the market again in a year, perhaps under better circumstances. — Graziano
His résumé makes him one of the top two wideouts on the market, but he’s coming off a season lost to a Week 1 torn ACL. Robinson could find himself following the 2017 Alshon Jeffery model. Remember, Jeffery couldn’t get the long-term deal he wanted on the market, so he signed with the Eagles for one year and $9 million plus incentives that could push the deal to $14 million. He got his extension from Philly late in the season, and obviously things worked out well there for everyone. — Graziano
Davis has another year of arbitration eligibility left on his deal. Oakland has a lot of under-25 big leaguers, or others close to that, to replace him in the lineup and avoid that expense. For a contender looking for some middle-of-the-order pop, Davis would be attractive, and the cost in prospects likely wouldn’t be prohibitive.