Post by – Pigpen
Let’s kick off our review of offseason moves (so far) with a look at the NL East. Transaction lists courtesy of MlbTradeRumors.com.
- Acquired/Re-signed: Tim Hudson, Juan Abreu, Mitch Jones, Scott Proctor, Melky Cabrera, Arodys Vizcaino, Michael Dunn, Brent Clevlen, Joe Thurston, Jesse Chavez, Takashi Saito, Billy Wagner, Troy Glaus, Eric Hinske
- Lost: Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Boone Logan, Javier Vazquez, Buddy Carlyle, Edgar Osuna, Jorge Campillo
After failing to move apparent-cry baby Derek Lowe, the Braves flipped personal favorite Javy Vazquez to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera and prospects, at least one of whom is a very high-upside type. Vazquez was an easy top 10 started in the NL last year, and it seems clear that they were forced to move him, in part, because of the signing of Kenshin Kawakami last off-season, as they just did not have the payroll space to support 4 starters making $6+ million per year. That said, Tommy Hanson is a fine replacement for Vazquez, particularly when you consider his age and salary. With Hanson and Kawakami set, if Hudson comes back strong like he did in August, and Lowe can find his sinker again, those four and former Tiger farmhand Jair Jurrjens form a solid rotation.
Trading out Gonzalez and Soriano for Saito and Wagner saved them a good chunk of change, but did it make them better? That’s not clear and seems unlikely. The conventional wisdom, as dispensed by GM Frank Wren, was that it would lead to the Braves signing a bat for the outfield or first base. This lead to a lot of disappointed Braves fans when Bay and Holliday signed elsewhere, and Atlanta’s big offensive splash was Troy Glaus.
Letting Kelly Johnson go for nothing was a mistake. He still has value.
- Acquired/Re-signed: Hunter Jones, Jose Alvarez, Luis Bryan, Robert Bono, Jorge Jimenez, Clay Hensley, Brian Barden, Donnie Murphy
- Lost: Alejandro de Aza, Scott Proctor, Ross Gload, Jeremy Hermida, Nick Johnson, Matt Lindstrom, John Raynor
The Marlins have been very quiet this off-season. After failing to sign Josh Johnson to an extension, the Marlins moved into the bidding for Aroldis Chapman. A Chapman signing could make a lot of sense for this perennially(or is it periodically?) cash strapped franchise as a rotation lead by Johnson/Nolasco/Miller/Chapman could look really nice in the next 2 years. Always-on-the-block Dan Uggla is still, well, on the block.
- Acquired/Re-signed: Chris Carter, Alex Cora, Elmer Dessens, Chris Coste, Mike Hessman, Henry Blanco, Clint Everts, Ryota Igarashi, Kelvim Escobar, Jason Bay
- Lost: Wilson Valdez, J.J. Putz, Lance Broadway, Brian Schneider
The Red Sox signed Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre for roughly what the Mets paid for Bay. This is why they are the Mets, and the Red Sox are the Red Sox. After trading him back in 2002, the Mets now get a premier bat to add to the Beltran, Reyes, and Wright triumvirate. That said, with his defense already in question, can he hold his value for the next 5 years?
Moreover, was spending this kind of money on an outfielder the right move? As Keith Law put it, Bay’s money may have been better spent on John Lackey because after Santana, the Mets’ rotation is thin, with four of their five starting pitchers (including Johan) returning from injuries and/or surgery.
Escobar is a fine signing, but if he is the best pitcher the Mets sign this off-season, they may be looking at a 4th place finish in the NL East.
- Acquired/Re-signed: Andy Tracy, DeWayne Wise, Wilson Valdez, Paul Hoover, Brian Schneider, Juan Castro, Placido Polanco, David Herndon, Cody Ransom, Chris Duffy, Ross Gload, J.C. Ramirez, Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, Roy Halladay
- Lost: Jack Taschner, Eric Bruntlett, Cliff Lee, Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, Travis d’Arnaud, Pedro Feliz, Rodrigo Lopez, Carlos Monasterios
Moving Lee for Halladay will not make a difference to Philadelphia’s win total in 2010, but it did allow the team to restock their farm system, while signing a player who wanted to play for Philly, and was willing to leave a lot of money on the table to do so. Overall, it was a good move for Philly, but why didn’t they go for BOTH Lee and Halladay in July if they had the prospects to do so? They still could have traded Lee this offseason. It’s also crazy to think that the 2 year, $13 million contract they gave Jamie Moyer after the 2008 season may have been the key to not keeping both in Philly in 2010.
In my mind, the Polanco signing negates a lot of the value you get from Utley. Most teams have a mediocre offensive player at 2nd and a power hitter at 3rd. The Phillies now have just the opposite. In a year in which there were other options available on the free agent market (Figgins, Beltre, Scutaro, Tejada, Uribe, etc.), and the trade market, guaranteeing 3 years to Polanco seems like a mistake.
This team is clearly the favorite in the NL East going into the season (barring the Mets or Braves making a number of significant additions), and has a clear window to compete for the next 2 seasons, but questions really loom thereafter. Not only did they have the oldest average age last season (admittedly, a 47 year old Jamie Moyer hurt there), but Howard, Ibanez, Lidge, Rollins, Werth, Hamels, Moyer, Madson, and Blanton are all set to become free agents in the next two seasons.
- Acquired/Re-signed: Jamie Burke, Doug Slaten, Scott Olsen, Brian Bruney, Jerry Owens, Ryan Speier, Ivan Rodriguez, Logan Kensing, Joel Peralta, Pete Orr, Jason Marquis, Eddie Guardado, Josh Whitesell, Eric Bruntlett, Matt Capps
- Lost: Josh Bard, Jamie Hoffmann, Zech Zinicola
The Nationals spent their offseason throwing away money and I honestly don’t even want to talk about it.
The Pudge signing is a waste of money. 2 years for a 37 year old catcher with about a billion innings caught? No thank you. Yes, he does instantly become the 2nd most recognizable player on their roster, but is he really going to sell enough tickets with his star power to justify his salary? Pudge is not a leader in the clubhouse, and is notorious for not working with pitchers. Indefensible.
The other 2 big signings were Jason Marquis, and Matt Capps. Both wastes of money. When you are a 103 loss team, you need to be spending money on the draft and international free agents, not paying market price for league average pitching.
This is why bad teams stay bad. Can we start talking about Stephen Strasburg now?