- Hindsight will be the determining factor:
Certain teams have made moves this winter that could pay off big or blow up right in their faces. With viable reasons for making their decisions----on paper anyway----these teams can't be called "winners" or "losers" this off-season.
Let's take a look at those whose moves have been considered alternatively smart in some circles and bewildering in others:
Boston Red Sox
We'll know relatively quickly whether this newfound emphasis on defense is going to pay off for the Red Sox.
I don't think it will, but others are under the impression that their pitching will benefit so greatly from the acquisitions of Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre and the shifting of Jacoby Ellsbury to left field that the lack of offense will be a moot point.
Rather than stand behind what they've done, a large chunk of the Red Sox off-season has been spent on a smear campaign aimed at Jason Bay and by defending (pardon the pun) this defense-first agenda.
Methinks they doth protest too much.
There's a lot of worry in Boston that this isn't going to work. John Lackey will slide into the middle/front of the rotation and I have questions about his durability after two straight seasons that were cut short with injuries. The Angels didn't seem all that bothered to let him leave.
This whole thing could explode by May and cause a panic in Red Sox Nation.
Toronto Blue Jays
I was teetering on giving the Blue Jays a win for their off-season based on little more than that they finally fired GM J.P. Ricciardi.
New GM Alex Anthopolous managed to get something of value for Roy Halladay even though he had no choice but to trade him and very easily could have ended up with nearly nothing as the Twins did in their trade of Johan Santana.
Getting Brandon Morrow for journeyman reliever Brandon League will go down as a huge win; and they also pried top prospect Brett Wallace from the Athletics for Michael Taylor, who had a brief stopover after coming over from the Phillies in the Halladay trade. (I'd have kept Taylor myself.) They also got formerly "untouchable" Phillies pitching prospect Kyle Drabek.
Why the Blue Jays are on the verge of signing Kevin Gregg is beyond me.
Chicago White Sox
GM Kenny Williams made his moves for 2010 in mid-season 2009 as he took Alex Rios off the Blue Jays hands and traded for Jake Peavy. This winter, he signed J.J. Putz to be the set-up man for Bobby Jenks; and acquired Juan Pierre from the Dodgers.
Los Angeles Angels
They let Lackey walk without much struggle and signed Joel Pineiro to replace him in the rotation, something I see as an upgrade. I appear to be in the minority in this belief.
The Angels got Gary Matthews Jr. off the club and are paying his salary to do it; they smartly didn't overpay to keep Chone Figgins. Signing Fernando Rodney shores up the bullpen and they let the fading Vladimir Guerrero leave. The Angels winter could well come down to whether Brandon Wood can handle third base and put up something close to the power numbers he did in the minors.
It was a different off-season for the Marlins than usual as they didn't dump any of their larger salaried players for a chunk of another club's farm system. In years past, not only would Dan Uggla have been moved, but so too would Cody Ross, Jorge Cantu and possibly even Josh Johnson. Now, it appears that all will be returning.
I'm not sure if this is a positive.
The Marlins had a habit of giving hungry youngsters a chance to play and reloading by trading their veterans----and it's worked. Because of baseball's insistence that the Marlins spend some of their revenue sharing money on players rather than pocketing it, they locked Johnson up and are keeping their other players for now. I'd prefer business as usual for the Marlins for the simple reason that it's worked.
New York Mets
Everyone's winter whipping post/punching bag has been ridiculed endlessly for their seeming ineptitude. But was the winter that terrible for the Mets if you ignore the convenience of attacking them? They signed Jason Bay to bolster the lineup at a price close to what was their initial offer; and they refused to get into a bidding war for mediocrity in the starting rotation.
They never had a shot at John Lackey; didn't want to overpay for Joel Pineiro and after those two, the dropoff/risk in starting pitching made it senseless to be aggressive. Were they supposed to surpass the Athletics guarantee of $10 million for the oft-injured Ben Sheets? No one wants Erik Bedard or Jarrod Washburn; and is Jon Garland an upgrade over what the Mets already have if John Maine is healthy and Oliver Perez can find the plate?
If healthy, Kelvim Escobar could be a big sleeper addition to the bullpen.
The Nationals have done a lot of "stuff", but it remains to be seen whether that "stuff" will be seen as making a difference one way or the other. Jason Marquis? Miguel Batista? Brian Bruney? Matt Capps? For the Nationals?
People are expecting a drastic improvement, but is it hard to improve on 103 losses? They look like an expansion team that made some noise in the winter and might improve by 10-12 games. You know what that means for a team that lost 100 games the previous year?
They've refurbished their ramshackle dwelling----but it's still ramshackle.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants still have the starting pitching that carried them to 88 wins last season; they've improved the offense (it wouldn't have been that hard to do) by signing Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff; and brought back Bengie Molina because Buster Posey isn't ready defensively.
If they get something close to the pitching they had in 2009, their offense should be improved enough to win 3-5 more games; and in the NL West, that could be enough for a playoff spot. The Giants are more than the sum of their statistical parts.
Tomorrow, the Hot Stove losers.
- The Blue Jays need Kevin Gregg why?
Unless they're signing him with the intention of trading him for something at mid-season (and I don't know who'd want him), what are the Blue Jays going to do with Kevin Gregg?
The Blue Jays have a load of young arms for their starting rotation and presumably, several of those that don't make it as a part of the fivesome can be shifted to the bullpen as a way of getting them acclimated to the big leagues. Such a move could be useful as they work to reconstruct Brandon Morrow, who I've always seen as a long term starter. (I'd give Morrow every chance to make the rotation.)
With Jason Frasor, Josh Roenicke and Jeremy Accardo out there, what are they going to do with Gregg? They wouldn't really need Gregg if Gregg was actually any good! He's not good. He gives up too many homers (13 last season); and he's wild. The Blue Jays need to let their young pitchers pitch as they retool. Gregg hinders that and is a waste of time and money.
- Viewer Mail 2.4.2010:
Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Chicken PECOTA:
Chicken Pecota! Why not? Some mushrooms, wine, lemon butter....and a whole lot of crow.
There are plenty of crows in my neighborhood too. Maybe I need to do a little hunting.
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A) At least Anonymous knows his place in recognizing the fact that he doesn't write as "good" as I do; and B) the difference between Anonymous's link and PECOTA is that someone might actually find some use in the instructions of how to hang drywall.