Looking Back At The AL’s Best & Worst Moves
In this post here, I listed what I thought was each American League team’s best and worst offseason move. Now that the season is just about over, I figured it was about time to look at how each of them turned out.
Best Move: Trading Miguel Tejada to Houston. Visa and steroid problems non-withstanding, Baltimore needed to start rebuilding and bringing in a handful of decent prospects for a guy past his prime isn’t too bad.
Worst Move: Doing nothing else. Bedard still hasn’t been moved and if the Cubs had offered me two young arms for Brian Roberts, I’d have done it. Just ship all your guys off for prospects wait
Tejada had a solid season for the Astros, and the haul of prospects they brought in contributed in their own ways. My original post was written on February 11, and the Erik Bedard trade hadn’t gone down yet. That obviously was their best move by far, as Adam Jones is a great defensive centerfielder and maturing as an offensive force. George Sherrill arguably could have been the MVP of the All-Star Game and they got this haul for a guy who pitched 81 innings this year.
Boston Red Sox
Best Move: NOT trading for Johan Santana. They already had a World Series caliber rotation, and if the Yankees weren’t in for him, there was no need to ship off a Jacoby Ellsbury or Jon Lester just to add $157MM.
Worst Move: I don’t think they have one. Everything they’ve done is pretty much smart baseball. Even when everyone’s least favorite loudmouth found out his shoulder sucked, they’re still the favorites for the World Series.
Jon Lester ended up going 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA in easily the toughest division in baseball and Jacoby Ellsbury leads the league in stolen bases. Santana’s been fantastic for the Mets, but he’s making $18 million more than Ellsbury and Lester combined.
New York Yankees
Best Move: Re-signing A-Rod. The Yankees needed Alex Rodriguez and Alex Rodriguez needed the Yankees. $275MM will most likely keep the best player in the Bronx for the rest of his career.
Worst Move: Not addressing their bullpen issue. With Joba Chamberlain looking to start and the only significant addition being LaTroy Hawkins, getting the ball from the starters to Rivera is still looking to be decided. Given, any number of the young arms could emerge as another Joba, but it probably isn’t something the Yankees are too confident in counting on.
A-Rod missed 20 games or so with a bum hamstring early in the season, but he still put up a .300-35-100 season on a surprisingly offense-less team. Their “worst” move turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the Yankees discovered some gems within their own farm system. Names like Brian Bruney, Phil Coke, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, Dave Robertson, Dan Giese and Al Aceves all turned out to be viable options for the Yankees. The addition of Damaso Marte at the deadline further strengthened a pen that looks to be pretty good in 2009.
Tampa Bay Rays
Best Move: Actually doing something. They started the offseason by dropping the “Devil” from their name and then spent some money locking up their young talent. They also used their extra outfielder to grab one of Minnesota’s extra young starter.
Worst Move: Signing Troy Percival. He’s probably not $11MM better than anything they could pull out of a loaded farm system. Maybe it’ll help a little, but the dude’s tossed 40 innings since 2005.
That “extra starter” was Matt Garza and he turned in a fine year for the division champion Rays. The “young talent” the locked up included 3B Evan Longoria, who should win Rookie of the Year. The tinkering they did proved to be just what they needed. Percival anchored the most improved bullpen when he was healthy, but he only managed 44 innings with a 4.63 ERA.
Toronto Blue Jays
Best Move: Trading Glaus for Rolen. Rolen may have the longer and larger contract and no bat, but he’ll immediately help an already impressive pitching staff.
Worst Move: If there was a year that someone other than New York or Boston could win the division since the mid-90s, it would be this year. So what does Toronto do? Stockpile average-to-useless middle infielders like Marco Scutaro, David Eckstein, Russ Adams and Joe Inglett
.260-11-50 isn’t that impressive of a line for Rolen, and he didn’t hold up too well either in Canada, but it was a trade that had to be done. So it ended up being Tampa Bay that took advantage of New York and Boston’s down years.
Chicago White Sox
Best Move: Obtaining Carlos Quentin? The whole Brian Anderson experiment failed and Ryan Sweeney proved to be nothing as well so Quentin’s as good a move as any.
Worst Move: Thinking they’re a contender this year. They re-signed Juan Uribe then traded an average arm for Orlando Cabrera. They traded three prospects for Nick Swisher. And they’ll still finish third at best in their division
Quentin certainly was their best move. He was a leading candidate for AL MVP before going down for the season. And although I got their best move right, I either underestimated them, or overestimated their division. They’re currently a half-game out of first with a game (or two) to play.
Best Move: Signing Betancourt. He’s been extremely reliable and consistent and $5.4MM isn’t bad for two more reliable years.
Worst Move: Not adding to their offense. I’m probably talking about Jason Bay. They’re weak at the outfield corners and even a Jason Bay down year is an upgrade. He’s easily worth Cliff Lee and Kelly Shoppach
Never again will I be fooled into thinking that relief pitchers not named Mariano Rivera are worth high-priced, multi-year deals. Never again will I be fooled into thinking Jason Bay is worth a .261-21-55 backup catcher and the impending AL Cy Young.
Best Move: Obtaining Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins. Lots of teams talk about making a big move, but never do. The Tigers actually did. Cabrera gives them arguably the best offense in the game. Now if only Zumaya could stay healthy…
Worst Move: Extending Dontrelle Willis. That 5.17 ERA isn’t going to look good once it gets through the AL exchange rate. I’d have waited until after this year to talk about an extension.
Finally, I got one perfect. Miguel Cabrera is one of the only Tigers not to blame for their hugely disappointing season, and Dontrelle Willis is probably one of the biggest reasons. How about these numbers: 0-2, 10.61 with a 32:13 walk to strikeout ration in 18.2 innings. And they’ve got that for two more years.
Kansas City Royals
Best Move: Moving their April 10 game from 1:00PM to 8:10PM. Now I can go.
Worst Move: Letting Arizona steal Billy Buckner from them for a middle infielder they have no room for.
Three Yankees hit home runs while Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera led the Yankees to a 6-1 win on April 10. Only relevant part of the Royals season.
Best Move: Getting Delmon Young from Tampa Bay. The Twins had extra pitching and the Rays had extra outfielders. Very even swap and beneficial for both teams.
Worst Move: Well .. other than the Johan Debacle .. signing Adam Everett. He’s just a good-glove, no-bat shortstop. But they already had Nick Punto…
Young has had a very nice season for the Twins and the Johan deal turned out pretty well for them. True, they ended up with Carlos Gomez and Phil Humber over Ellsbury and Lester, but they’re in position to win the AL Central tomorrow. Adam Everett came and went. Pointless move.
Best Move: Trading Orlando Cabrera. They’ve got a bunch of young shortstop prospects that are probably better than Cabrera. Getting a durable arm is just a plus.
Worst Move: Torri Hunter, easily. Along with GMJ2, they’re paying $30MM for centerfield through 2010. And now the Angels have 6 outfielders capable of starting
Orlando Cabrera’s been a mess in Chicago and Jon Garland won 14 games in nearly 200 innings for the Angels. Torii Hunter had a decent season, but they’ve got him for four more seasons and he’s not getting any better. But they put up the game’s best records so they can’t be too upset.
Best Move: Gobbling up everyone’s prospects. Some from the Braves for Kotsay, a bunch from Arizona for Haren and more from the White Sox for Swisher. And they still might deal Blanton.
Worst Move: Not trading Ellis and Johnson. They traded everyone else, and they want to rebuild. These guys don’t belong anymore
They played well for a while, but eventually faded and were stuck with some older guys. They released Johnson after failing to trade him when his value was decent and we stuck with Ellis all year. Haren had a nice season for Arizona, but they traded Swisher just in time.
Best Move: Finish the Bedard deal already. I’ll tell you then.
Worst Move: Carlos Silva. Seattle is going to pay him like a #2 starter and he’s probably more like a #5. Safeco helps flyball pitchers. Silva isn’t one. Not even lose.
I’ll tell you this now, no move they made was good. I’m even tempted to say that the Bedard trade was a worse move than signing Carlos Silva. And Silva went 4-15 with a 6.48 ERA. Another blow to Seattle? They win and Washington loses on the last day of the season so Washington gets the first overall pick in the 2009 draft. Seattle is just glad that 2008 is over.
Best move: Stockpiling one-year contracts. They won’t compete, but they’ll stay respectable until that farm system starts paying dividends.
Worst Move: Hanging onto Hank Blalock. Chris Davis is quickly approaching. Move Blalock now for a prospect or two. San Francisco or Philly would give up a decent prospect for this guy
One of those one-year deals was Milton Bradley. They finished second in a division that many pegged them to finish in the cellar.