Tuesday, December 12, 2006
-Toronto Blue Jays. Upgraded their offense with signing Frank Thomas. Best of all for the perennial third place finishers, the Red Sox and Yankees made no major moves, aside from the Yankees going back to the future by bringing Andy Petitte aboard. I think maybe the Blue Jays closed some of the talent gap.
-Detroit Tigers: No real defections and they brought aboard Gary Sheffield. Nice work.
-Los Angeles Dodgers: signed Randy Wolf, who could really do well in the spacious confines of Dodgers Stadium, got a good veteran catcher with Mike Lieberthal, re-signed Nomar, got Luis Gonzalez to a one-year deal and signed Jason Schmidt. Sure they lost J.D. Drew but the benefit was that Drew opted out of a deal that the Dodgers probably would have ultimately regretted in the long-run. Gonzalez is a low-risk, high-reward signing: if he plays well then it is money well-spent, if not then the Dodgers have committed to one season. Schmidt is the prize of the pack however, a terrific front-line starter to compliment Wolf, Brad Penny and Derek Lowe. If the Dodgers don’t have the best rotation in the N.L., I don’t know who does.
-The Phillies. Sure they lost out on Alfonso Soriano, but the Phillies did get a very, very inexpensive replacement for Abraham Nunez at third, plugging a big hole, and they upgraded the rotation by bringing two very tough, durable starters aboard. No major free agent defections. The team is definitely better off now.
-Oakland A’s: sure they’ve lost Barry Zito, but the team wasn’t even going to consider trying to resign him. Frank Thomas rehabbed his career and turned that into a big deal, so now the A’s will do the same with Mike Piazza. Low-risk, high-upside to bringing Piazza aboard.
-Houston Astros: They lost Andy Pettite. They likely lost Roger Clemens. And their big deal was signing Carlos Lee to a monster 6-year, $100 mil deal? That is insanity. When Astros fans watch Lee wheeze while striking out in 2010 and 2011 and 2012, they’ll remember this contract and rue the day.
-Boston Red Sox: fixated on the whole Matsuzaka thing, the Red Sox at the moment have spent $51 million bucks to talk with someone. That’s it. Sure, they brought aboard J.D. Drew, who is a decent player if a rotten personality, but they wildly overpaid to do it and now they need to figure out what in the heck to do with Manny Ramirez. For a team that made no major moves to stay in the ’06 pennant race, the Red Sox haven’t given their fans much to be enthusiastic about.
-Kansas City Royals: Gil Meche for five years and $55 mil? As Billy Beane noted in Moneyball, small market teams can’t be careless with their money the way big market teams can. This was pure carelessness. $11 mil a year for Meche? This is a deal that is going to badly hamper the Royals for years and years to come.
-San Francisco Giants: I wonder if the brass at Pac Bell Park will ever wake up and come to the realization that Barry Bonds is killing this team. The whole circus regarding Bonds assault on Hank Aaron and the steroids, his cancerous personality, his lousy play (he doesn’t bother with defense anymore and doesn’t really bother to do anything but hit home runs) is a major anchor on these guys. And they brought him back? Instead of taking the opportunity to move on and develop a new direction, they brought back the nightmare? This is subtraction by addition. When you add a negative number to zero, you get a negative integer.
Jury is still out …
-Chicago Cubs: They re-signed Kerry Wood to a fairly cheap one-year deal, they re-signed Ramirez to deal that was probably a little below market price, and they sign Alfonso Soriano and Mark DeRosa. If I am the Cubs I would have preferred to spend more on pitching, but c’est la vie. The Cubs have locked about $32 mil a season into the Ramirez / Soriano duo, so they had better produce, or the Cubs are going to be hurting for a long, long time to come.
Of course there are a lot of variables out there … Where will Barry Zito end up? The Mets? If so, then I’d categorize the Mets as a winner in this off-season. Are there any more trades? The Phillies seem poised to send Jon Lieber to the Pirates for relief pitching, so we’ll see who they get. Will Aaron Rowand be dealt? A major variable.
Tomorrow I have some thoughts on Pat Burrell.