Tag Archives: signings

Winter Meetings Bringing Some Winter Depression

As I heard the Miami Marlins making it rain with their signings of Reyes, Buerhle, and Bell simply because they’re moving into a new stadium and now have more money. It couldn’t help make me wonder if the A’s could do the same thing if they were moving into a new stadium as well. Maybe they won’t spend on that same level, but it does give me some hope that they will be able to spend like the big boys one day. Unfortunately that we won’t really know if that day exists anytime soon because the MLB still hasn’t made any rulings on the A’s stadium situation and possible move to San Jose after three very long and frustrating years of waiting. All the 1,000 A’s fans have had to look forward to is if Andew Bailey or Gio Gonzalez gets traded for a bunch of minor league guys this off-season. At least last year they were throwing offers out there to Beltre and other free agents. This off-season it’s back to standard operating procedure. Our spending has gone down for three straight years, and even when we are in the free agent market nobody wants to come to Oakland unless they’re a semi-washed up pitcher or reliever. Even guys that want to stay in Oakland like Josh Willingham for a discount nonetheless, which is unheard of, since no hitter ever wants to stay in the spacious Coliseum can’t sign with the team because we’re waiting on the MLB’s ruling. I don’t fault Billy Beane like some have in recent years, because it’s impossible to build a team or plan for the future when you don’t know where you’ll even be.

Then the news broke that CJ Wilson and Albert Pujols will be joining the division rival LAAAAAAA for about $325M. No big deal for Moreno, just a couple additions to get more people in LA waving those game changing rally monkeys. I do hope whoever runs the CJ Wilson is a douche site keeps it going. It makes a ton of sense for the Angels to do this to try and take over the LA market while the Dodgers are in a rough downtime, and while doing so they also stole the division rival Rangers #1 starter. Weaver, Haren, Santana, and Wilson is a ridiculous rotation that was already good last year. Trumbo and Pujols makes for a solid heart of the order. The A’s haven’t spent as much as Moreno did in one day on payroll for the last four years combined made me even more depressed. While I’m not overly worried that Pujols will live up to his humongous contract, it will suck to see him playing against Oakland for 18 games a season. Another thing for A’s fans to be depressed about is the fact the Astros are joining their division which means we have more even competition to get that 3rd place finish next year. Fortunately you need 25 guys to play well to win, so there’s a little hope, but a more likely scenario is having to hitch more of my rooting interest on the Warriors and Raiders for the next couple years…

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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…


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!


Big Baseball Moves

I don't like the Yankees, the Sox's, or big John Lackey, but I'm fully rooting for Lackey to throw some punches in one of their heated divisional games!

The Red Sox picked up John Lackey Monday, which was a solid move. I really like waving goodbye to Lackey from the AL West that is, he seemed to dominate the A’s every time he took the mound. Boston also made one other surprising signing as well. No, not Jason Bay. Matt Holliday?!? Nope, it looks like they are picking up Mike Cameron. Really!?! Interesting move Theo… I guess it’s a defensive upgrade getting a 3-time Gold Glover. Cameron has some power, and he is cheaper than the two mentioned guys. We’ll see how it pans out. I guess he could be a Johnny Damon type guy for them who has been known to be a good mentor and clubhouse guy. I just don’t see how it helps them compete with the Yankees, but oh well, I don’t really like them anyways. Another move that I saw, was the Red Sox offered Chapman a contract for $15.5 million! Ladies and gentlemen strap in for the next relevant Chapman!

The other shocking moves made Monday was the trade that sends Roy Halladay to the Phillies, and Cliff Lee is going to Seattle. I don’t really understand why they wanted to give up prospects, when they could just turn around and sign Lee keeping the prized youth, but if they sign Halladay to a long extension it might be worth it. I could really care less about Halladay landing in Philly, the main reason stems from me not really caring about the NL all that much. I’m just worried the A’s will now have to face Lee now five times a year. In the end, I’m really curious to see how Phillies top prospects pan out, they’ve had a good run of home grown talent over the last few years, so I’m sure whatever they gave up to make Toronto happy, must have been worth it!

In A’s news, we let go of JacKKK Cust, and inconsistent, wrongfully named, Santiago Casilla. I see this as an addition by subtraction. Our defense just improved by not having to ever put Cust in the field again. He makes a little leaguer trying to catch a ball during the home run derby look like a all-star out there. He also clogs up the bases with his slow station to station movements, and kept speedy guys from moving around the bases at times. This team is moving into a speed era it appears, and Cust doesn’t suit that. All in all, it’s been a crazy day for the MLB off-season!


The New Salary Cap Kills Dreams, and Gives Other’s Hope

Stern

Today the salary cap numbers were released for the NBA, and as projected the cap space for next season dropped by close to $1 million from $58.68 million this past season to $57.70 million this upcoming season. It is also projected to drop 5% more next year during the extremely hyped free agency class of 2010.  I know that I’ve been a little depressed and couldn’t really tell what the motivations were for the moves made by my Warriors, but now I feel that this is going to give us the boost we needed, as it may help us get rid of our horrendous owner (back to that later).

Teams that have been clearing cap space for the 2010 free agent bonanza are suddenly realizing that they may not have the cap room they first thought. The Knicks have been the most adamant in trying to get a superstar to the big apple in 2010, as they have been dumping salary like Steinbrenner gives out $100 million contracts. Their obvious goal was to make enough room under the cap to sign a combo of star players and bring the franchise back to contention for a championship. Since they were trying to clear out enough money to sign a combo of players, they haven’t really developed much of a team.80391809NB002_CAVS_CELTICS NB001_ROCKETS_KNICKS During the tirade of trades that would be off the books by 2010 the projected cap was in the $60 million range. Now it appears that number will be around $8 million less than what was projected a year ago to spend on the superstar summer. Basically, instead of signing two superstar free agents, they will have to settle for one superstar and one MLE player. In the Knicks case, it seems that not developing a team worthy enough to entice a superstar, is going to hurt them next summer. As of now, it seems much more likely that Cleveland, Toronto, and Miami can retain their franchise guys, and possibly, for slightly less money than they had originally thought. Does it sound very tempting to a player like Lebron to go to a lottery team like the Knicks or stand pat and keep trying in Cleveland where he knows he’s close. If Lebron isn’t moving to a team with a player like Bosh, Wade, or Amare there isn’t a point for him to leave.  I’m sure he believes he could make them a playoff team, but I doubt he could talk himself into thinking that they were a championship caliber team.

What does this do to the Warriors you may ask? Not only is the cap not a concern to me, even though the Warriors have a lot of their money tied up for many years down the road, it actually could be a franchise changing year for the good of the team! Being a lifelong Warriors fan, I wasn’t old and wise enough to enjoy the early teams they had with Run TMC, so I’m stuck with the visions of the Chris Cohan era, which has produced a whopping 1 playoff appearance in 15 seasons! RunTMC_160x140 This recent news has helped our horrible owner have what alcoholics like to call “a moment of clarity”. Even if this team does get blown up because of the sale, is that really the worst thing that could happen to this franchise? I love the way their team is set up with youth and some veterans, but any longtime Warriors fan will tell you that it can’t get much worse as long as the new owner doesn’t take us for a Donald Sterling type ride. I’d love to see a front office that actually has relationships with the GM, coach, and players. What a concept!


The Sad State of the NBA

With the draft wrapped up and the free agency about to kick into full swing (Highlighted by Ben Gordon and Hedo Turkoglu), it seems like the NBA is in a different state than it has been for most seasons with the vicious economic decline. Instead of hearing about the best players being traded, we hear more about hedo_300_080204the rumors on how so many NBA teams are losing money, and are definitely going to have even more troubles with their payrolls next season. Money is the most valuable part of every organization and it seems that more teams are interested in shedding cap space, than making their teams better to compete for a title. Trade offers aren’t even about talent as much as who is getting the player with the big contract that expires next year. 12 teams accepted the leagues offer to borrow between $13 and $20 million. I won’t completely blame it on players and situations like the highly chronicled Darius Miles who is still sucking cap space away from Portland and just violated the leagues drug policy again. large_DariusBut, he is definitely one of the reasons the league needs to review the collective bargaining agreement before the seemingly imminent lockout in 2011.

My biggest concern for the NBA is the shrinking cap space each season. If the economy continues to go the way it has, the cap will keep falling. In turn, this will make it impossible for teams to stay under the cap especially with the current contract constructions weighted at the end, and put some teams over the cap before the next season even starts. This year will only be the second time in league history that the cap has been lowered from the previous season. Teams know this, and it is making them thriftier than ever. Why do they want to risk hitting the luxury tax for making it one round deeper in the playoffs? They really don’t, and this is going to be the NBA’s biggest problem during the recession! The objective for mediocrity in the league is not going to keep fans around, and without the fans the league will obviously struggle. The seats are already empty in the smaller market areas and terrible franchises. I watched many Clippers games (more than I’d like to admit) this year and most of the time you could hear the other teams fans that happen to live in L.A. at the games cheering over the Clippers’ fans (if there actually were any).

So with Amare on the block, and few interesting free agents out there, what will happen this offseason you ask? I think it’s going to be a lot of low-balling, and there will definitely be a lot of teams giving away superior talent just to relieve their books. With all of the talks surrounding my Warriors, and Amare Stoudemire possibly going to them, I took a step back to see what could possibly be behind it. Sure Amare is a great player when he’s healthy, but even he felt that the Warriors are giving up too much talent for him to want to go to there. It makes me wonder if the Warriors original objective was to have Stoudemire for a one year rental and have a lot of money come off the books instead of having: Biendris (5 years), Wright (3 years), and  Bellinelli (3 years). brad-millerWere the Warriors making a money dump like the Kings did when they gave away Brad Miller to save themselves millions off the cap in the long run? I feel like I can’t trust any move my team is making this offseason without wondering, was this done just for the pocketbook or did they really try to improve the team to make them a contender…