Tag Archives: moves

MLB Winter Meetings

Probably the most exciting time of the MLB offseason is seeing the hundreds of millions of dollars flying around. The winter meetings always produce plenty of rumors, and usually end with at least a few big names traded or signed to new teams. I was especially excited about this year, since I wrote a while back that the A’s actually have some money to spend on some free agents this year. It has just made me follow the winter meetings all that much closer! Here’s a few thoughts on the things I thought that were interesting that have taken place so far.

Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox seems like a solid deal for both sides. The Padres lost their best player and fan favorite, but got prospects that they are very familiar with since Jed Hoyer (Padres GM) used to work in Boston’s front office. We won’t know if the trade was all that even until the prospects hit the majors for a couple of years, but if they somehow pulled a Hanley Ramierez type player out of the deal it might not be as lopsided as everyone thinks right now. The Padres knew they couldn’t afford him next year, and I thought that they would give it a run this year after last year’s solid season. I thought they’d wait and see where they were at the All-Star break, but it’s probably better to trade a healthy Gonzalez now, instead of risking that he’ll be injured with diminished value later. Adrian just shot up my draft board for fantasy baseball. Just look how good Beltre did last year moving from the unfriendly hitting confines of Seattle to the playing pepper with the Green Monster.

Jayson Werth’s megadeal of 7 years and $126M seems like a horrible signing to me. Boras gets money for his clients though, and his clients are always happy with the deal. Does Werth have Carlos Beltran written all over it? Don’t get me wrong, I love the way Jayson plays, but for this much money after only two productive years in a hitters park is a head scratcher to me. Why are the Nats bogging down their payroll when they suck? It feels like the same kind of deal Gary Matthews got with the Angels. Just ask them how much they like that guy! Doesn’t signing Adam Dunn seem like a more reasonable option? I’d rather keep Dunn with less years, and maybe struggle for a year or two. When Bryce Harper and Steven Strasburg are playing at the level we all think they will, then would be the time to figure out what you need most and spend all your money. Not now, when you aren’t positive of what your team needs really are. I guess they might have a real plan if they really do throw “huge” money at Cliff Lee, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Tiger, Frank, and Jaime can all get a good laugh about this divorce stuff!

McCourt Vs. McCourt in court. Jaime and Frank finished up their first trial as they were competing for the rights to own the Dodgers in what has been a very messy divorce. The court ruled that Frank’s document stating he was the sole owner of the team will be thrown out because it was illegally made after the original prenup, so the team is still 50% hers and 50% his. If one of the two can’t buy the team outright, it’s been assumed that they will sell the team, which would make a lot of Dodger fans happy. Unfortunately though that won’t happen soon, and there will be another trial trying to prove that Frank’s original company was the reason they were able to purchase the Dodgers, so he will try to prove that he should have sole ownership. Looks like the Dodgers are going to be battling with Arizona for last place in the division this year.

The A’s offseason started with a bang as they made a couple trades and pickups with David Dejesus and Edwin Encarnacion. They won the rights to talk to Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma as well. We already dumped Encarnacion, and never really came close to signing Iwakuma, so I guess all that was smoke and mirrors. We may have just been blocking the Rangers and Mariners from Iwakuma since they were the two teams we outbid to have the rights to negotiate with him. It never really felt like a deal was getting done for him, especially for the money he was asking for to be our 5th starter.

I do want the A’s to spend this year, and they have the money to do so, but I think I’m more encouraged on what they haven’t spent their money on! They were rumored to be talking to Lance Berkman, which sounded like bringing back Giambi, Sweeney, or Piazza type in. I’m not a fan of that method anymore, because we’ve only gotten one Frank Thomas, and the rest looked washed up like they were. Now Berkman’s the Cardinals problem, and I still don’t understand why they got him when he has to play in the outfield, unless they want to slot him in instead of Pujols. Another guy they were rumored going after was Adrian Beltre. I was just as happy to see that they withdrew their contract offer to him, because he only plays good in contract years. I hope the Angels end up with him, and he turns into Seattle Beltre that didn’t care. I’d much rather go for a guy like Josh Willingham at a highly discounted price…

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Is the AL West the Best Division in Baseball?

I guess it might be a stretch, since none of the four teams residing in the AL West are truly considered a threat to knock the Yankees off their thrown, but is there really anyone that looks like they can derail the Yankees besides injuries? I don’t think so… Can you name the only division that had three teams finish the season with 85 wins? Surprisingly, it’s the AL West! Sure you can argue that the AL East had three 84 win teams, but the basement is a lot worse than it is in the West.

The Yankees have pushed over the $1 billion mark in payroll a long time ago, and the Red Sox aren’t all that far behind, so we’ve been trained to see the East as far superior. Surprisingly the AL West had a great record versus the East going 95-79 in 2009. I think the best team in the West (Angels) regressed a little over the off-season losing their horse/ace in Lackey, and their versatile infielder Figgins, and that has put the division up for grabs.

I felt that Seattle made the biggest push to be a force in the west by trading for a bonafied yearly Cy Young contender, Cliff Lee, and last year’s runner up Felix Hernandez was already there setting up one of the deadliest duos in the league. They also stole Figgins away from the Angels, which should get them two guys on base if Ichiro and Figgy are hitting one and two. Milton might be able to knock them in if he’s on the field for more than 80 games, but that’s a big IF.

The Rangers bolstered their roster, but there are question marks already on the health of the players they signed. Vlad seems past his prime, but if he can be productive anywhere, it’s going to be in Arlington where careers being revived happens. They also signed the often injured Rich Harden, which could be a boost if they have a plan b for all the starts he gets scratched from each year. They were in the race for the West crown up to the last couple weeks, and have a ton of young talent that will only be better this coming season. It seems like a lot of the experts are picking them to win the west this year, but those predictions don’t seem to have much confidence behind them.

I’ll do my A’s preview a little closer to the season when I’ve gathered all my expectations of them, but honestly, all I’m hoping for from them is to stay healthy for once. We’ve used the DL more over the past two years than anytime in franchise history, and broke records two straight years in a row for DL usage. Not a good stat for a young team trying to figure out what pieces go where, and far from a recipe for success! Not sure about the offense, but the pitchers must be happy to have a true ace on the staff in Sheets. They owned a better run differential than Seattle last year, so there’s some hope!

All in all, I’d say the top teams of the AL West aren’t as good as the AL East. From top to bottom though, the West has teams that will be able to pull out wins night in and night out. You know you aren’t getting that from Toronto or Baltimore, who have both probably already given up on this year. I’d say that one distinct advantage that the West has over the East is in the farm systems. The East gets better through buying free agents that most of the time we can’t afford, and the West gets better by building up their prospects from within. I’m pretty pumped to see how it all shakes out, and one thing is for sure, the West is up for grabs this year with none of the teams completely out of the picture. Can’t say the same for the AL East.

What really defines the best division in baseball? The degree of difficulty? The balance from top to bottom? General intrigue?

Maybe I’ve been worn down from all the northeastern hype, and the YES network, but I believe there’s a solid argument that the west is the “best” division in baseball!