- In some cases, there's an excuse:
And said excuse is a natural amount of stupidity that cannot be quantified (see the Pirates of Pittsburgh or shall we call them the Pirates of Penzance? The Pittsburgh Pirates are more of a comic opera if you ask me.)
Apart from that, the number of teams that had bad/bewildering winters is long and remarkably entertaining.
Let's take a look:
They dumped the salary of Curtis Granderson because after three years of diminishing returns on his overpaid roster, owner Mike Ilich closed the vault and they had little else to bargain with; no one's taking the contracts of Dontrelle Willis, Magglio Ordonez, Jeremy Bonderman, Carlos Guillen or Nate Robertson.
They dealt Edwin Jackson in that same deal after he pitched brilliantly for them over the first half and ran out of gas due to overwork; the main player they got in return from the Diamondbacks----Max Scherzer----won't be as good as Jackson; and they acquired lefty Daniel Schlereth, in whom I'm not impressed. The key to that entire trade for the Tigers will be the development of center fielder Austin Jackson, who they got from the Yankees.
Despite their claims to the contrary, this wasn't a winter of replenishing a depleted farm system; it was a winter of dumping as much money as they could because of remaining bad contracts.
Their big move this winter was signing veteran backup catcher Mike Redmond.
Kansas City Royals
Collecting journeyman outfielders is always a good idea, especially when the outfield is probably one of the few areas where the Royals didn't need much help (at least in comparison to their other trouble-spots).
Rick Ankiel? Scott Podsednik?
Ankiel is feast or famine and can't catch up to a really good fastball; Podsednik is useful for a contending club, but not as an everyday player and definitely not in center field; they've been said to be willing to deal David DeJesus.
Why? I dunno.
They signed Jason Kendall to be their everyday catcher which will only hinder their weak offense even more.
Where's the bullpen help they desperately needed?
This organization is a nightmare and the moves they made are befitting an expansion team, except an expansion team has an excuse----they're an expansion team!
What's the Royals' excuse apart from being the Royals?
Actually, that might be enough of an excuse. Never mind.
The trade of Kevin Millwood brought back the talented, but recovering from injury reliever Chris Ray. They signed Rich Harden who's always hurt; and Vladimir Guerrero, who can still hit, but isn't the wrecking crew he once was. The Rangers had better hope their young pitching is ready or else they're going to fall back from their 87-win 2009.
Let's see if I understand this correctly. They're going to take advantage of the market by focusing on defense...and they kept Jack Cust.
They needed run-producing bats...and they signed Coco Crisp and pursued Marco Scutaro.
They needed a veteran anchor for the starting rotation who could gobble innings and stay healthy...and they spent $10 million on Ben Sheets.
If this is the endgame of Billy Beane's Moneyball-crafted genius, maybe I don't want to be called a genius after all.
Arrogance breeds stupidity.
The Roy Halladay for Cliff Lee swap was a lateral/backwards move.
They needed bullpen help and signed Jose Contreras. They needed rotation help and didn't get it. They were in the market for a third baseman and signed Placido Polanco and shifted him from second base. They exercised Jimmy Rollins's contract option for no reason other than they didn't want to hear his mouth, which they're going to hear anyway. Lucrative contract extensions were doled on Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino and they've gutted the farm system.
The only positive thing they did to improve the club this winter was to sign Ross Gload; aside from that, the winter of 2009-2010 will be seen as having sown the seeds of the Phillies downfall.
All they needed to become legitimate World Series contenders was a power bat for left field or first base. That's it.
Instead, they traded Javier Vazquez----who had value----for Melky Cabrera.
They let Adam LaRoche----who never wanted to leave Atlanta either time he was jettisoned, first by trade to the Pirates, and now by indifference and/or apathy----sign with the Diamondbacks for one year and $7 million; and they rolled the dice on the oft-injured Troy Glaus to play first base.
In the span of two days, they went from a National League favorite to a team with many positive attributes and drastic holes. Nice work.
They're sticking their fingers in the dam as other leaks spring and it's going to burst sooner rather than later.
They got Milton Bradley off the team, but had to take Carlos Silva from the Mariners to do it. Signing Marlon Byrd and are trying to pass that off as a major improvement is the height of fantasy; and they brought in the returning from injury Xavier Nady. Their contract situations are still a mess; they're old and fading and a major collapse is possible.
All they did this winter was make things worse in the long-and-short-term.
Doug Davis is a solid enough pickup for the back of the rotation on a short-term deal; but $30 million for Randy Wolf?
Trading J.J. Hardy for Carlos Gomez was a salary dump and they've done little to make themselves more than an 81-81 team at best.
Getting Orlando Cabrera on a one-year deal was a good move, but they needed a power bat for the outfield and didn't get it. No one appears to know exactly what the Reds are----specifically the Reds.
Are they trying to clear the high-priced pitchers Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and Francisco Cordero? Are they trying to contend in a moderately weak division? Going back to mid-season 2009 when they traded for Scott Rolen, their decisions were curious if not odd.
They traded for Aaron Miles. Yay.
The one big win could (and I think will) be the signing of Cuban free agent Aroldis Chapman, but it's hard to see him helping them this year.
A three-year contract for Brandon Lyon? I'm curious, what good is a closer (especially one who can't close) on a team that won't have all that many games to close to begin with? It's like the tree falling in the woods...
The trade for Matt Lindstrom was a good move; but they needed rotation help more than relief pitching and all they did was sign Brett Myers.
They need to do a housecleaning, starting with GM Ed Wade.
The Pirates, being the Pirates, do things that defy logic even to a lunatic.
Non-tendering Matt Capps was ridiculous; they could've traded him for something, anything. They have someone who should receive an opportunity to close in Joel Hanrahan...and signed Octavio Dotel. They overpaid for Brendan Donnelly; signed Ryan Church and traded for Akinori Iwamura.
To quote Bill Lumbergh, "Grrrreaaaaattttt."
Los Angeles Dodgers
Frozen in place because of the divorce proceedings of the McCourts, the Dodgers haven't done much of anything. They kept Vicente Padilla; signed Jamey Carroll and Reed Johnson. Big deal.
They needed help for their rotation and didn't get it and I'm still waiting for an answer (aside from convenience of comedy and piling on) as to why the Mets have been such a target for ridicule and the Dodgers----whose off-season has in fact been worse----haven't received similar abuse.
Does Huston Street warrant being called a closer if, more often than not, he's closing the game for the opposing team?
Street was signed to a lucrative contract extension for 3-years and $22.5 million. Bad idea.
They needed starting pitching and haven't gotten it. Hoping Jeff Francis is healthy is about all they have to hang their hats on.
San Diego Padres
The Padres are collecting Hairstons.
We won't be able to get a gauge on new GM Jed Hoyer until he actually does something. He's been rightfully stringent in his demands for Adrian Gonzalez in a trade. Jon Garland's signing is a non-entity for a team that's going to lose 95 games.
- Viewer Mail 2.5.2010:
Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Tim Lincecum:
Hope you can squeeze in your thoughts on the Lincecum arbitration situation too next post.
The debate is running wild...
I'll get to Timmeh in the coming days. The Prince is somewhat fried for a multitude of reasons...
Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE the Drywall guy:
How to Hang Drywall is a pretty funny name for a blog.
But it strangely serves its purpose. You have to respect someone who sees a hole and exploits it like an old-school Emmitt Smith. More than we can say for PECOTA.
Gabriel (Capo) writes RE Kevin Gregg:
Actually, I was in shock of learning of Gregg's possible signing. Then I went nuts with the completion of the deal. I have faith on the Jays' GM, but...it's Gregg.
That's what I get for mocking my brother's Cubs.
At least the Blue Jays aren't signing him with the thought that he'll be able to close for a contender as the Cubs had done when they traded for him. I'm not sure of the thought-process in signing Gregg either. The Blue Jays have other options to close and it's not as if they're getting Gregg all that cheaply.
For Kevin Gregg?
With my damaged elbow, I could walk people and give up game-ending homers for a quarter of the salary if that's what they're in the market for.
I'm ready to rock. Or to be rocked. Whichever.