The NL’s Best (And Worst) Moves (and Non-Moves)
With the Johan Santana saga finally resolved the other day, I’m assuming all of the teams are done dealing. Now it’s about time for pitchers and catchers to report. I’ve decided to look at each team’s offseason move and finger their best and worst move. So here’s the National League. I’ll do the American League later on because as the dominant and more significant league, they deserve more of my attention. I know you’re all looking forward to my picks, but those don’t come until the day before the first game.
Best Move: Trading Edgar Renteria to Detroit. They added two guys who will eventually make a major-league impact and opened short for Yunel Escobar.
Worst Move: Trading for Mark Kotsay. He probably won’t be healthy and they don’t have a ready-made solution if he goes down. They have a handful of good centerfield prospects, but they’re all a year or more away.
New York Mets
Best Move: Trading for Johan Santana. Duh. And what makes it better is that the Yankees and Red Sox didn’t want him, so the Mets didn’t have to part with their best prospects or anyone that would be on their major league club this year. They stripped their farm system to thin levels, but they’ll be the National League favorites.
Worst Move: Trading Lastings Milledge. For who? Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. Two guys who haven’t been even good in a few years.
Best Move: Trading Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit. I hate the way Florida operates it’s team, but if you’re going to do it, getting a top 10 hitting and pitching prospect in baseball (along with a lot more) is the way to go.
Worst Move: Trading Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit. It helps for 2009 and 2010. But not now. They’ll be terrible this year.
Best Move: Obtaining Brad Lidge from Houston. Michael Bourn was expendable and worth a lot less than Lidge. Pujols killed Lidge’s status as a dominant closer, but he’ll be a lot of help to a usually suspect Philly bullpen.
Worst Move: Re-upping with JC Romero. In July he was worth a minor-league contract and after a short successful run, he’s worth three guaranteed major league seasons?
Best Move: Obtaining Lastings Milledge from the Mets. A bad trade for one team is bound to be a good trade for their partner. A change of scenery will help Milledge and he’ll have plenty of opportunities now.
Worst Move: Not picking their first baseman. Dmitri Young and Nick Johnson can only play first base at this point in their careers. Both a pretty good players. But they both can’t play at the same time. They should have traded one of them for some pitching help.
Best Move: Parting ways with Mark Prior. Yeah, he had a good ’03 and a ton of potential. But it was time for a much needed divorce.
Worst Move: Lack of middle infield activity. Fontenot, Theriot and Ronny Cedeno? The Cubs could do much better.
Best Move: Trading Brad Lidge to Philadelphia. See Prior/Cubs relationship. Time for the separation on both sides.
Worst Move: Kaz Matsui’s 3-year contract. What? Kaz Matsui can get a 3-year contract? Then I can probably demand one with a player option. He’s no better than Chris Burke or Mark Loretta. But he is more expensive.
Best Move: Trading Josh Hamilton to Texas. They made room for Jay Bruce and strengthened their weak pitching staff.
Worst Move: Signing Francisco Cordero. Cincinnati isn’t going anywhere this year or next, so why waste your money on a high-priced closer when you don’t need one?
St. Louis Cardinals
Best Move: Uhh…I’m struggling with one here. They needed to trade Edmonds as he was a few years removed from being a threat at the plate and is still an overrated fielder. I’ll settle on claiming Brian Barton in the Rule V. Solid player and lets Colby Rasmus get a shot in center.
Worst Move: If Rolen and LaRussa weren’t babies, I’d have picked this one. But Rolen needed out. So signing Aaron Miles is a worse move. He’ll take time away from Brendan Ryan, who they need to see if he’s as good as he showed last year (I don’t think so).
Best Move: Signed CF Mike Cameron. Even considering his 25-game suspension to open the season, come May, the Brewers defense improves immensely. Cameron’s addition enables the Brewers to move Bill Hall back to third and shift Ryan Braun’s .898 fielding percentage to left.
Worst Move: Signing Eric Gagne. In a panic move after the lost Francisco Cordero, the Brewers got a closer who hasn’t come close to approaching his 2002-2004 numbers.
Best Move: Obtaining Dan Haren. They moved quite a few pieces for him, but they were all expendable, and Haren will probably help them more the next three years than any of the pieces they moved.
Worst Move: I don’t think I dislike any of their moves. Maybe moving Valverde, but he’s much too inconsistent to not trade him for the old reliable Chad Qualls and change.
Best Move: Signing Troy Tulowitzki to a six-year deal, with an option. He’s really good and now his arbitration years and then some are bought out. Great deal for both sides.
Worst Move: Signing Kip Wells for $3.1 million. It’s only a one-year deal, but it’s Kip Wells.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Best Move: Signing Hiroki Kuorda. Instead of giving up their farm system for a Santana, Haren or Bedard or shelling out upwards of $50 million for Carlos Silva, they took a risk here. But it’s a good one.
Worst Move: Signing Juan Pierre last year. With Kemp, Ethier and now Jones, Pierre is at the bottom of the depth chart. It hurts this year too.
San Diego Padres
Best move: Signing Maddux, Wolf and Prior to one-year deals. If they work out, great, if not, no long-term damage done.
Worst Move: Trading for Jim Edmonds. He’s a very overrated defensive centerfielder, who won’t be getting any better in a huge outfield and his offense has been slipping for four straight years.
San Francisco Giants
Best Move: Letting Bonds walk. Just like with the Cubs and Prior, it was better for both sides to move on. No one seems all that interested in Mr. Bonds now, but the Giants can finally move on not focused on Bonds.
Worst Move: Signing Aaron Rowand. The Giants aren’t going to be contending anytime soon, yet they signed a centerfielder coming off a career year in a hitter’s park for five years. But it’s not worse than Barry Zito.