Grading the Offseasons for All 30 Teams

Last week, I gave my thoughts on the best and worst transactions of the winter, but those lists only covered 16 different moves — four trades appeared on both lists — so they don’t exactly represent a complete overview of the offseason. So, in the spirit of thoroughness, I figured it was worth giving a brief overview of my take on every team’s moves this winter. As always, a reminder that my opinion is just that, and you can put as much or as little weight on it as you’d like; a lot of the comments below are going to look silly in 12 months.

And as I mentioned in the worst transactions write-up, MLB teams have gotten a lot better at making decisions in the last five years, and it is now much more difficult to find moves that are clearly destructive to the organization. In general, teams are mostly making smart decisions, or at least justifiable ones, well within the margin of what can be known at the time a decision has to be made. There will be deals that don’t turn out, and moves organizations regret making with the benefit of hindsight, but with just a few exceptions, most of the moves made this winter appear to be rooted in reasonable assumptions.

The result of more efficient decision making? The offseason probably matters a lot less than it used to. Because the market is doing a better job of valuing players rationally, and we don’t have as many rogue GMs just giving away star players, it’s tough to dramatically overhaul your franchise in just one winter. The magnitude of what a great offseason means has been diminished, and sustained winning in baseball is now more about making a long series of good decisions than it is about winning big on a handful of moves. But, with all that said, there are still some teams who helped themselves more than others this winter, and what follows is my assessment of how each team fared in their attempt to upgrade their organizational standing.

30. Colorado Rockies
Grade: D-

Barring some remarkable good fortune, the Rockies simply aren’t going to be a contending team in 2016. We have them projected for 74 wins at this point, Vegas has them at 72, and I haven’t seen a single forecaster that has them within 15 games of the Dodgers. But instead of focusing on the future, the team spent their winter adding veterans who probably aren’t going to be a significant part of the next good Rockies team. Jake McGee, Jason Motte and Chad Qualls might be part of an interesting test about fastball usage in Coors Field, but these are short-term pieces for a team that needs to be looking long-term. And if Carlos Gonzalez gets injured — as he’s known to do — before July rolls around, they may regret not dealing him when they had the chance.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks
Grade: D

Unlike some others, I’m actually okay with the contract the D’Backs gave Zack Greinke; he’s an elite player who signed for a lot of money, but unless he ages quite poorly, that contract shouldn’t hurt them too badly, and it certainly gives them a dramatic rotation improvement in the short-term. But I hated pretty much everything that came after that. They made the consensus worst-move-of-the-winter in overpaying for Shelby Miller, the bet on Jean Segura cost them an interesting arm and a valuable prospect, and they didn’t do enough to make sure the supporting cast is contention-ready. While they made headlines with big splashy moves — one of which they will likely regret in the not-too-distant-future — there’s a general lack of depth on the roster, and the organization squandered a lot of assets without addressing those issues.

28. Cincinnati Reds
Grade: D

The Reds offseason is basically two moves; the Todd Frazier trade and the Aroldis Chapman trade. They signed some guys to minor league deals and claimed a couple of guys off waivers, but for significant transactions, it was those two trades, and in both cases, the returns seem light, even given the circumstances. Yes, Frazier’s lousy second half likely nuked a good portion of his trade value, but the preference of lower-upside, close-to-the-majors prospects is a bit weird for a team that probably won’t be that good any time soon.

And while they can’t be held responsible for Chapman’s off-field issue, it does raise the question of why they didn’t simply keep him, absorb the suspension themselves, and then move him when his value was higher in-season. In both cases, the team traded away players who should have helped reload the organizational talent base, but the kinds of players they got back in return are underwhelming to say the last. And they didn’t make any other moves that will help the get the team back on track down the road either, so it’s tough to love what the Reds did this winter.

27. Baltimore Orioles
Grade: C-

This is mostly about the Chris Davis deal; the rest of their off-season is okay-ish, at least as long as they also get a bargain on Dexter Fowler to offset the decision to give up their first round pick for Yovani Gallardo. But the Davis contract just seems like a huge mistake, especially given what the market was interested in paying for a first baseman with a ton of red flags. Hitters fared remarkably poorly in free agency this winter, with almost of the money going to pitching, but the Orioles still managed to bid against themselves anyway, rather than taking advantage of a soft market for offense and loading up on multiple players at discounted rates who could have provided more value overall.

The Orioles are good enough to at least think about contending in 2016, so the Davis contract could work if he plays well and the team makes a run in the short-term, but the long-term costs are probably going to be quite high, and they probably would have been better off letting Davis walk.

26. Houston Astros
Grade: C-

While I think they probably overpaid to land Ken Giles, I don’t really hate any of the Astros moves in isolation, and getting Doug Fister for $7 million could prove to be a very nice addition if he’s healthy. But given where the Astros sit on the win-curve, this felt like a potentially missed opportunity to add talent and dramatically improve their chances of getting back to the postseason. Going into 2016 with holes at first base and designated hitter might prove to be mistakes, especially if A.J. Reed doesn’t turn into a rookie of the year candidate, and the team’s second-tier position player group doesn’t look strong enough to carry the team if they don’t get production from those spots.

This isn’t so much a grade on what the Astros did, but more on what they didn’t do; for a team in their position, I think it could have been worthwhile to be a bit more aggressive in upgrading for the short-term.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates
Grade: C-

Ditto what I just said about the Astros. For a team trying to not waste Andrew McCutchen‘s peak, adding John Jaso, Jon Niese, Neftali Feliz, and Ryan Vogelsong is a pretty underwhelming plan. This is still a very good roster, but the back half of the rotation is a potential land mine that could sink the team’s season, and while trusting Ray Searage has worked out well for the organization, believing that your pitching coach is a wizard is a risky proposition. As the saying goes; if life didn’t also hand you water and sugar, your lemonade is going to suck. Searage has made some pretty good lemonade in the past, but I’m a bit worried that the front office is asking him to do a little too much magic this time around.

24. Oakland A’s
Grade: C-

Like the Astros, I don’t really hate any of the moves the team made by themselves. Similar to a lot of other teams, they paid a high price to upgrade their bullpen this winter, but Ryan Madson, Liam Hendriks, and John Axford should help the relief corps be significantly better. Rich Hill was a good high-risk bet to make for a team that needs things to break their way. Bringing back Jed Lowrie was a solid pickup, given the price. But the A’s moves look like round-out-the-roster additions a team with a strong core would focus on, except the A’s don’t really have a strong core that should be expected to carry these decent role players to the postseason. And besides Hill, there just isn’t a lot of upside here.

For the fifth best team in their own division, it seems like maybe they would have been better off going after lottery tickets who could pan out in a big way, or admitting that building for a year or two down the line could be a better use of resources. As it is, the A’s seem to be caught somewhere in the middle, and they might have been better off going a bit more boom-or-bust.

23. Washington Nationals
Grade: C

We can’t say they didn’t try; they made runs at Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, and Ben Zobrist, as well as attempting to trade for Brandon Phillips, but in each case, the players chose not to come to Washington. In the end, they settled for Daniel Murphy, Ben Revere, and a bullpen makeover. The Murphy signing was fine for the price, and Revere is a solid pice for a team that needed another outfielder, but given this is likely the last year of the Bryce Harper/Stephen Strasburg combination, a more impactful move would have been nice. And their attempts to landing an upper-tier player suggest that they agree with that assessment.

This is still a team built to contend in 2016, but if they end up losing the division to the Mets by a few games, they may regret their decision to try and lure free agents to Washington with deferred-money deals. When you have these kinds of generational talents, you don’t want to squander their primes with subpar secondary pieces.

22. Cleveland Indians
Grade: C

On the one hand, I think I’m giving mental credit to the organization for something they haven’t done yet, which feels unfair and potentially like a sign of bias. But as we saw last week with the Juan Uribe signing, it seems like the Indians are still bargain shopping, and Austin Jackson is such an obvious fit for them that I’ll be pretty surprised if they don’t end up signing him in the next few weeks. If they don’t sign Jackson, then I’d probably push them down a few spots and say similar things to what I said about the Astros; this is a contender who might not have done enough to take advantage of their opportunity.

The pitching is very good, but Mike Napoli and Juan Uribe aren’t exactly the cavalry, and with Michael Brantley‘s health in question, I think a greater focus on adding to the outfield is in order. But if they land Jackson, they’ll have brought in a couple of solid regulars to help keep the team in contention, and that may be enough to justify the C grade. But they really need to sign Austin Jackson. Like tomorrow.

21. Texas Rangers
Grade: C

When your biggest move of the winter is trading Leonys Martin for Tom Wilhelmsen, you had a quiet offseason. The team suggested that would probably be the case after trading for Cole Hamels in July, suggesting that the deadline acquisition was their one big move, but I still think they should have been a bit more aggressive in shoring up their rotation. Colby Lewis is a barely serviceable fifth starter at this point, and there isn’t much depth behind him, which is also troubling given that the #2-#4 guys in the rotation aren’t exactly specimens of perfect health. The organization also didn’t do much to address their potential weakness in the outfield or the 1B/DH spot that Prince Fielder isn’t playing, so there are enough question marks left unanswered that the Rangers could regret not being a bit more active this winter.

20. Minnesota Twins
Grade: C

Another team that had a quiet winter, the Twins added a potential big-bat in Byung-ho Park but subtracted a useful outfielder in Aaron Hicks, so I’m not sure whether they actually improved this winter. The team’s plan to build around their developing prospects is the right choice, but I still think there was more room to supplement those players this winter, and this feels like a a one-foot-in, one-foot-out offseason. If the Twins were committed to building for the future, there were probably moves they could have made to help get them to a better long-term position. If they wanted to contend, well, I don’t know that Park is really going to get them over the hump.

This offseason looks like treading water to me, and while it didn’t do much damage to just stay in place, I don’t see that the Twins got markedly better over the last few months either.

19. Toronto Blue Jays
Grade: C

The winter got off to a bit of an embarrassing start, with GM Alex Anthopolous walking away after the most successful season of his career, and the front office drama wasn’t a great way to follow-up on a fantastic 2015 season. But if we limit ourselves to the players acquired, I think the Blue Jays had a decent winter. I probably wouldn’t have given Marco Estrada $26 million, but J.A. Happ and Jesse Chavez provide some necessary rotation depth, and using their outfield depth to bring in Drew Storen was a nice way to round out the bullpen.

There’s nothing particularly notable here as an amazing deal, but the Jays already have star players in place, and mostly needed to make sure those guys didn’t get dragged down by having too many replacement level scrubs in key positions. Adding solid role players isn’t the sexiest work, but it’s necessary, and the Jays did a decent job of that this winter, even after the drama that kicked off the offseason.

18. Miami Marlins
Grade: C

The Marlins are always a bit hard to figure, as they mostly sat out the winter, but with one exception; the signing of Wei-Yin Chen. At $80 million with an opt-out clause, plus a surrendered drat pick, he wasn’t any kind of bargain, but Chen’s a good pitcher who upgrades their rotation, and the cost shouldn’t hurt them too much long-term. Given that they’re still the third best team in their own division, I think you could have made a case for the Marlins being a bit more aggressive on their second-tier acquisitions — Chris Johnson isn’t someone to get excited about, for instance — but the Marlins added one good player without surrendering much talent, so there was some value added here.

17. St. Louis Cardinals
Grade: C

Like the Nationals, the Cardinals took some big swings this winter, trying to spend big on David Price and Jason Heyward, but failing in both pursuits. The fallback plan of giving a lot of money to Mike Leake and then standing pat on offense is a bit curious, though; if they had the money for one of the best free agents on the market, it seems like they should have had the money for other players once prices started dropping. The Cardinals have gotten where they are by continually developing homegrown talent, and I see the rationale in wanting to give guys like Randall Grichuk and Steven Piscotty a shot to show what they can do, but this team still feels a bit thin on the hitting side of things to me, and if Brandon Moss doesn’t have a big bounce-back season, I think they might regret not reinforcing the line-up a bit more aggressively.

16. Kansas City Royals
Grade: C+

This is not a particularly easy grade to hand out, because I loved the Royals re-signing of Alex Gordon, but the Ian Kennedy decision is just so inexplicable that it’s tough to remember that they also made one of the best moves of the winter. If you look at the two moves combined, they probably cancel out to a large degree; $140 million for Gordon and Kennedy would seem fine if the split was $100M/$40M, so maybe it doesn’t really matter that it’s actually $70M apiece in the long run. But you don’t really want to wrap up your offseason by canceling out your good move, and the Kennedy signing meant that the team ended up not addressing second base, which could turn out to be a mistake.

The Royals still have their core that went to the World Series the last two years, but they’re going to have to hope those guys can sustain their performances, because the front office didn’t give them a lot of help this winter.

15. Seattle Mariners
Grade: C+

Jerry Dipoto was brought in to fix the Mariners roster in the wake of the firing of Jack Zduriencik, and he wasted no time in overhauling the way the team was constructed. While most of the moves were small in nature, the sheer quantity of transactions was impressive in its scope, and moved the organization from a team built around the home run to one that might actually be able to play a little defense again. Their best move, re-signing Hisashi Iwakuma, fell into their laps after the Dodgers walked away due to medical concerns, but a lot of the moves leading up to that helped strengthen the team’s overall base of talent, even though their individual magnitude won’t be that large.

Given the mandate to try and win while the team’s aging core is still in place, these moves seem to provide some chance of contention in 2016, but the real test for Dipoto will come down the road when he has to find a new crop of stars to build around.

14. Philadelphia Phillies
Grade: B-

Given the present state of the Phillies roster, it wasn’t going to be so easy for the new regime to come in and immediately start an impressive rebuild; there just weren’t that many quality assets to trade. Matt Klentak and his staff deserve credit for extracting a premium return for Ken Giles, as they did well to move the one player they had with significant remaining trade value. The role players brought in to provide some kind of floor on how bad the 2016 Phillies will be aren’t the most exciting lot in the world, but at least they’re young enough to retain some semblance of upside. I wouldn’t bet on too many guys from this current team still being on the Phillies team to contend, but given what they had to work with, this was a pretty successful winter for the Phillies new front office.

13. New York Yankees
Grade: B-

The lack of spending on free agents is getting the headlines, but it’s not like the Yankees just sat out the winter. They got Aroldis Chapman for next to nothing and picked up Aaron Hicks in one of my favorite small moves of the winter, both of which should help make the Yankees a good bit better in 2016. I didn’t love surrendering Adam Warren to get Starlin Castro, and Chapman might not be as valuable to a team that already had two great relievers, but the Yankees are a better team heading into 2016 than they were, and they retained their long-term financial flexibility.

One can question whether or not the Yankees new policy of fiscal responsibility was wise, given some of the good-value signings that were available this winter, but I think the perception of the Yankees is underselling how good they are, and they did make at least a couple of good moves to upgrade their roster.

12. Anaheim Angels
Grade: B-

Things started off quite promisingly for the Angels, with the team picking up Andrelton Simmons on the cheap, but the offseason seemed to fizzle out pretty quickly after that. When your major free agent signing is Cliff Pennington, you know you didn’t spend a lot of money. The team will take heat for passing on a lot of outfielders while they have a Daniel Nava/Craig Gentry platoon in left, and perhaps rightfully so; when you have Mike Trout, you probably owe it to yourself to put a better roster around him. That said, they didn’t do anything that actively hurt the team long-term, and there will be players available to acquire in-season, so it’s tough for me to grade the Angels winter too harshly.

The Simmons pickup was a good place to start; they just shouldn’t have been done after that. On the list of teams that need to make a spring trade, they’re near the very top.

11. San Diego Padres
Grade: B-

The Padres signaled early on that they were ready to admit that the failed go-for-it strategy of a year ago was a mistake, and they hit a home run with the Craig Kimbrel trade, bringing in one of the best returns of any seller in a deal all winter. But then, after Joaquin Benoit for low-level guys, the Padres offseason seemingly ground to a halt for reasons I don’t really understand. Why Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross weren’t moved during a winter when teams were paying a premium for pitching is a mystery, and the team’s decision to fill out the roster with no-upside guys like Alexei Ramirez and Fernando Rodney is a weird one for a team that should be focused on the future.

Like the Reds a year ago, the team seems afraid to put a bad team on the field in the year they’re hosting the All-Star game, but that ship has already sailed, and failing to make further trades to bolster the future simply makes it less likely the team’s rebuild will go well.

10. Detroit Tigers
Grade: B-

Under new GM Al Avila, the Tigers showed something of a shift in direction, with the team staffing up the analytics department and looking for different kinds of players than Dave Dombrowski had emphasized previously. But they’re still the Tigers, and they are still attempting to win their aging owner a championship, so it’s no big surprise that they want back to the well of long-term deals for free agents by signing Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton. While both deals come with risk, and the opt-out for Upton limits the value there, the Tigers at least added enough wins to put themselves back in the 2016 AL Central race, and the deals weren’t so expensive that they prevented the team from also upgrading the bullpen.

I don’t think they’ll love having Zimmermann’s contract on the books for the duration of the contract, but for a team in win-now mode, this was probably a decent attempt to make one last run at the World Series before things start crashing down.

9. Boston Red Sox
Grade: B-

Dave Dombrowski was brought in to change the direction of the Red Sox franchise, and he wasted no time pursuing a very different plan than Ben Cherington had before him. In paying premium prices for David Price and Craig Kimbrel, the team obtained the best available players at the respective positions they wanted to upgrade, but the costs could prove prohibitive long-term. The Kimbrel deal, in particular, is one I can’t endorse, given the somewhat limited value of a relief pitcher and the assets surrendered in order to bring one in. That said, they did a nice job also bringing in Carson Smith to help get the ball to Kimbrel, and there’s certainly enough talent in place to justify the go-for-it moves Dombrowski specializes in.

I think there were probably other options that could have gotten the Red Sox to a similar place without paying quite as high of a price as they did this winter, but the end result is that the Red Sox roster again looks like one of the best in the American League, and that helps justify the prices paid.

8. San Francisco Giants
Grade: B-

The Giants were betrayed by their starting pitching a year ago, and spent the winter trying to make sure that didn’t happen again. They didn’t get any kind of bargains in Jeff Samardzija or Johnny Cueto, but given the price of pitching this winter, neither deal really seems out of line either. They fit the organizations needs well, should help keep the team in contention for the next few years, and even give them a bit of upside, as both Cueto and Samardzija would have cost more if they had been free agents a year ago. The Denard Span addition was their value purchase, and a good one, as they got an above average outfield the price of a good reliever.

I think they could still use another reliever, but given the high prices on bullpen arms this winter, I’m not going to fault a team for passing on that market and evaluating their internal options. Overall, the Giants added three significant pieces to their team, and didn’t cripple their franchise in doing so.

7. Tampa Bay Rays
Grade: B

Very quietly, the Rays had a pretty nice winter. I remain the high man in baseball on Brad Miller, who I continue to believe has the ability to be one of the better shortstops in baseball, and getting him in a package for Nate Karns and Boog Powell was a neat trick. Likewise, the Corey Dickerson trade brought in a solid player for the present and future, and the fact that they upgraded prospects in that deal as well still remains pretty shocking. Toss in a nice value signing of Steve Pearce, and the Rays put themselves in a position to contend if things go right in 2016 while also upgrading their future talent base. They didn’t make any headlines, but this is the kind of offseason that the Rays needed to have in order to stay in the race.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers
Grade: B+

The Dodgers probably had one of the most polarizing offseasons of any team in baseball, as they once again eschewed the pay-for-stars approach that people expect from an organization with their resources. The front office clearly believes in the value of depth, and so they spread their money around instead of locking up one or two high-end players, and while it isn’t going to be viewed as positively from a P.R. perspective, I think it’s a better way to win baseball games. Individually, Scott Kazmir, Brett Anderson, and Kenta Maeda can’t match up to Zack Greinke, but I won’t be too surprised if the Dodgers get more from their trio than they would have gotten by just re-signing Greinke. Add in some nice values on Howie Kendrick and Joe Blanton, plus the prospect upgrade they got by inserting themselves into the Todd Frazier deal, and I like what the Dodgers did this winter.

5. Atlanta Braves
Grade: B+

If you take away the Shelby Miller trade, I’m not a huge fan of the rest of the Braves moves. The return on Andrelton Simmons seemed light to me, and most of the other acquisitions are short-term placeholders who are just around for a year to soak up playing time while waiting for the kids to develop. But the Miller trade was so good that it makes them one of the winners of the winter anyway, as they picked up a good outfielder and two quality minor league assets. If the team proves to be as poor as the projections think, and they reevaluate their win-in-2017 goal, Ender Inciarte can likely be flipped for even more young talent, and that deal alone could help reshape the Braves future.

By hitting a home run on their major trade of the winter, the Braves ended up as one of the winners of the offseason.

4. Chicago White Sox
Grade: B+

Last year, the White Sox tried to push in on contention a bit early, and ended up with a disappointing roster. This year’s moves to solidify the depth of the organization seem to have gone a bit better, with the Todd Frazier trade in particular representing a big upgrade at a minimal price. While they’re certainly betting against the importance of team chemistry by bringing in both Brett Lawrie and Mat Latos — the acquisition prices there reflect the poor reputations those guys have around the league — the White Sox managed to solidify some very weak spots from last year, and while I’m still not sure they’re quite good enough to win their division, they’ve at least put themselves in striking distance.

The Frazier trade alone was enough to call this a good winter, and if Lawrie or Latos live up to the potential suggested by their talent, the risks they took could pay off in a significant way.

3. New York Mets
Grade: A-

The Mets had one of the weirdest offseasons of any team in baseball. After watching their defense betray them in the World Series, they doubled down on poor defenders, bringing in Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker to cover minimal ground up the middle. Once Yoenis Cespedes fell into their laps, they essentially were all-in on an offense-and-pitching strategy, and while it isn’t necessarily the way I’d prefer to build a roster, the individual moves look smart enough to call it a good winter overall. At the prices they paid for Cespedes and Walker, those deals were too good to turn down, while Cabrera is still a useful player, and he didn’t cost much either.

The team’s strength of dominant starting pitching should help alleviate some of their defensive weakness, and if the line-up hits well, the Mets will be contenders once again. Overall, you have to give the Mets positive marks for their moves this winter; they took advantage of a soft market for hitting and set themselves up for a chance to return to the World Series in 2016, and gave up nothing they’ll miss long-term to do so.

2. Milwaukee Brewers
Grade: A

If you want to see a blueprint for how to rebuild, look at what the Brewers did this winter. David Stearns first winter at the helm produced a steady stream of smart risks, taking flyers on guys like Rymer Liriano and Ramon Flores who could prove worthwhile and are at least deserving of a look. The Jean Seugra trade not only brought back a quality prospect, but a young pitcher who can step right into the rotation. They landed a real prospect for Khris Davis, who was in Domingo Santana‘s way, and potentially made their team no worse in the short-term while adding to their stockpile of long-term talent. If you want to knock them for anything, this might have been a good winter to sell Will Smith, and perhaps their asking price on Jonathan Lucroy is too high, but it’s hard not to love the moves they did make this winter.

The Brewers are going to be bad for a while, but the foundation of the next contending Brewers team was laid this winter.

1. Chicago Cubs
Grade: A

Given that the Cubs landed two deals (Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist) on my best transactions list, then also got two honorable mentions (John Lackey and Adam Warren), it’s probably no surprise that I love their offseason moves. They got one of the three +5 WAR players available this winter, and paid the lowest price for the youngest one of that group, then added two of the better aging veteran free agents as well, before turning a superfluous infielder into a valuable piece of pitching depth.

I’d still have preferred if they turned one of their extra pieces into a center fielder, allowing Heyward to shift back to right field and reducing the pressure on Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber, but with that exception, the Cubs offseason was basically perfect.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Alice Cooper
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Alice Cooper
3 months 6 days ago

Observation:

The Pirates add Jon Niese, 7.8 total fWAR last 4 seasons.

The Cardinals add Mike Leake, 7.4 total fWAR last 4 seasons.

For the Pirates, that’s “pretty underwhelming”.

For the Cardinals, that means they signed “one of the best free agents on the market”.

Pretty curious assessment there, Dave. Just because Mike Leake got paid, that makes him “one of the best”? Why do you appear to be so low on the Pirates acquisition of Niese? 3 years (potentially), below market rate for a guy who’s as good as or better than “one of the best free agents on the market” and they give up 1 year of an overpaid Neil Walker for it.

Look, I’m not here to trumpet the Pirates offseason; I was underwhelmed, to say the least, as well. They belong near the bottom. However, if you’re going to put Mike Leake on this pedestal, and by proxy the Cardinals entire offseason, I don’t think you’re giving the Bucs enough credit for Niese.

Peter
Member
Peter
3 months 6 days ago

He didn’t say Leake was one of the best free agents on the market. He was referring to Price and Heyward when he said “if they had the money for one of the best free agents on the market”

Rum Ham
Member
Rum Ham
3 months 6 days ago

“Overpaid” Neil Walker, 11.4 fWAR over the previous 4 seasons, is making $1mm more than “below market rate” Jon Niese.

Wu-Bacca
Member
Wu-Bacca
3 months 6 days ago

4 seasons also seems like an odd window by which to size up Niese and Leake – or at least one totally favorable to Niese, considering that Niese’s best season (by far) was 2012, which just so happens to be 4 seasons ago.

Spudchukar
Member
Spudchukar
3 months 6 days ago

Yeah, that is some serious cherry-picking by Alice. Particularly since Leake pitched in arguably the most homer friendly park in Baseball, and Niese hurled in the pitcher friendly Mets park.

jpg
Member
jpg
3 months 6 days ago

He was cherry picking but in fairness to Alice, he was citing their respective four year WAR totals and WAR ajusts for home park.

vonstott
Member
vonstott
3 months 6 days ago

Snarky and brutally wrong. Ouch.

Shirtless Bartolo Colon
Member
3 months 6 days ago

Every fifth day, it doesn’t matter who we have playing up the middle. Any grounders hit that way won’t go further than 60 feet and 6 inches.

Rob
Member
Rob
3 months 6 days ago

Hungry Hungry Hippos style.

dl80
Member
dl80
3 months 6 days ago

59 feet 6 inches if you catch it in the belly.

Joeys Bat Flip
Member
Joeys Bat Flip
3 months 6 days ago

Dave, I think you can write a lot more better than you did with this phrase: “MLB teams have gotten a lot more better at making decisions”

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 months 6 days ago

I bet Carson planted that one.

free-range turducken
Member
free-range turducken
3 months 6 days ago

* a lot more betterer

Terwilliger
Member
Terwilliger
3 months 6 days ago

whoops. i mistakenly hit the minus response button to bip’s comment, instead of the plus. it actually got an lol, and i don’t lol all that much.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 months 5 days ago

I have +1’d you to restore karma

cougar9000
Member
Member
cougar9000
3 months 6 days ago

If Karns wins a starter spot, I like that Brad Miller deal for the M’s more than for the Rays. Every throw from your SS to your first baseman shouldn’t be an adventure.

pudieron89
Member
pudieron89
3 months 6 days ago

Karns could win a starter spot, as long as you don’t mind him pitching 4.20 innings per start.

Twitchy
Member
Twitchy
3 months 6 days ago

I think the Jays are far too high, which is saying something. The Hendriks/Chavez trade was horrible, and while they needed SP depth, they got it a week later in the form of JA Happ. They’ve got more than enough options in Stro/Dickey/Estrada/Happ/Hutch/Sanchez/Osuna without needing Chavez (especially at the cost they paid). With Hendriks, they could have afforded Sanchez or Osuna a shot at starting, with Hutch being depth in AAA or a 5th SP come August when Sanchez/Osuna go back to the bullpen. Given how valuable the RP market turned into, giving up a guy who was top 5 in FIP- for a pending FA who isn’t a lock for 200 innings (or a starting spot in the current rotation) seems like a move that should put them a bit lower.

Happ was good, Storen was good, but a lot of wasted money (4M for replacement level Smoak, for instance). Thought you’d have had them much lower than they are.

DCE
Member
DCE
3 months 6 days ago

They’re also in a position where they should absolutely be going for it, and not pussyfooting around with guys like JA Happ and Jesse Chavez. That is a win-now roster with EE and Bautista in their final years, and yet management seems content to go into the season with a pitching staff that barely projects to be better than Baltimore’s

Twitchy
Member
Twitchy
3 months 6 days ago

Yep. Even if you argue they can’t afford Price, they could have afforded Cueto or somebody.

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 5 days ago

They can’t afford price but apparently can afford to spend $50m on the likes of Bruce Happ Estrada Chavez.

because payroll flexibility in 2020 is apparently the highest priority.

Hayves
Member
Hayves
3 months 6 days ago

Sanchez is legitimately one of the worst pitchers in baseball against lefties, can’t see them starting unless he develops more/better pitches. Osuna is 2 years removed from TJ with an innings max of 70 since then. If he starts he’ll get 15 or so starts and that’s it. Neither are a viable option for a playoff team.

Chavez at least has the arm to get through most of the year as a starter. Also, imo they sold high on Hendriks, getting a middling starter for a decent reliever is a good move any day especially when that starter is absolutely needed.

Twitchy
Member
Twitchy
3 months 6 days ago

I’d rather have Osuna but management has said that’s not happening…

troybruno
Member
Member
troybruno
3 months 6 days ago

So the Rockies get panned for not moving CarGo and the Brewers get lauded despite not moving Lucroy? If the entirety of the value of the Brewers is based on their subscription to a rebuild, how can you ignore them keeping their most valuable asset at a time when plenty of contending teams have a need at that position?

It feels like Dave got sucked into the intention of the Brewers (sell) versus the intention of the Rockies (who knows) rather than their actions…

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
3 months 6 days ago

The Rox and Brewers situations are pretty night and day. The Brewers have been very active going back to last season; the Rox barely have a pulse.

Luy
Member
Luy
3 months 6 days ago

It’s not just intention, though, which is what you’re (deliberately?) missing.
The Brewers didn’t issue a press release and make no moves. The traded Segura for valuable pieces. They traded Khris Davis for a decent prospect. That’s already 2 more deals to make the team better than the Rockies did.

troybruno
Member
Member
troybruno
3 months 5 days ago

@Dooduh and @Luy… obviously they are night and day, one is ranked #30 and the other #2.

I’m not even remotely implying they are the same — only that it seems crazy that the 2nd best offseason in all of baseball was a team that did not do the most obvious thing with its most valuable asset.

Spin it how you want, but the Brewers are basically a Nottingham + Anderson away from the Rox. And now the Rox have a cadre of bullpen arms to deal at the deadline for prospects. So to have them at polar opposites seems extreme (on the Brewers side.)

If you remember, this is a page out of the Astros playbook — sign short contracts to marginal pitchers and trade them for prospects at the deadline. It’s a cheap & effective way to help the farm. Maybe I am giving too much credit to a FO that FG readers love to hate on this end, but you cannot argue that the Brewers offseason (which doesn’t include CarGo)

troybruno
Member
Member
troybruno
3 months 5 days ago

…doesn’t include Carlos Gomez) was worthy of #2…

swingofthings
Member
swingofthings
3 months 6 days ago

I do think the Brewers are rated a bit too highly, because their moves were all good but the total impact isn’t all that grand. The midseason move of Gomez was the best thing they’ve done so far.

Unlike the Rockies, the Brewers made various smart moves instead of a few dumb ones. The biggest difference is that Cargo’s value is at a high point, and Lucroy’s is at a low. No reason to hold on to a guy who keeps getting hurt and has been declining when he just hit 40 bombs to give the illusion of being great. Lucroy was hurt and bad; let him become great again.

Chickensoup
Member
Member
Chickensoup
3 months 6 days ago

I guess it matters what your perspective is. CarGo is coming off of a 40 HR season and the Rockies don’t figure to be a realistic contender this year (but then again, who knows?). They owe him $37mil over the next 2 years and he’s coming off of a pretty good year.

Lucroy is at his low point in value since 2011. Likely, teams want to see him catch post concussion in order to even consider giving up decent prospects for him. Whereas CarGo teams know that he’s still going to hit, Lucroy might hit well still, but if he cant catch he’s not worth much.

PurpMtnMagesty
Member
PurpMtnMagesty
3 months 6 days ago

“And if Carlos Gonzalez gets injured — as he’s known to do — before July rolls around, they may regret not dealing him when they had the chance.”

I don’t understand why everyone thinks other MLB GMs were banging down Jeff Bridich’s door to trade for CarGo…the anti-Coors Field sentiment when looking at the trade value of Rockies players has been so prevalent that I doubt the Rockies had any REAL trades worth considering (let alone, one to “regret”).

Does anyone really believe the Orioles, Angels, Cardinals, Giants, or whoever else were/are really willing to trade much more than the Brewers got back for Khris Davis (2 decent, but not very exciting prospects)? I, personally, do not. At that point, its worth keeping the potential all-star level play that CarGo brings (when healthy, of course) rather than make some trade to appease Fangraphs’ ranking of their off-season moves.

As a fan of the team, it has been supremely frustrating watching this front-office flounder year-after-year, but I would rather them keep CarGo’s oh-so-smooth swing in the lineup for me to enjoy than lose another trade just for the sake of making a move.

Moranall
Member
Moranall
3 months 6 days ago

Dave Cameron is the ESPN of FG.

Jaack
Member
3 months 6 days ago

I guess that would make you an ESPN commenter.

Sleepy
Member
Sleepy
3 months 6 days ago

The four Cubs deals that (in some form) made your “best transactions” list involved nothing more than writing $273.7 million worth of checks.

How many other teams in baseball could’ve done that? Like, four? Five?

Luy
Member
Luy
3 months 6 days ago

How does this fact make the moves bad?

McKay
Member
McKay
3 months 6 days ago

It really points to the disparity in baseball and that these lists need to be consistently judged one of two ways:

1) In the context of the market. Were trades for max market value? Were deals signed at a fair going rate?

2) Within team context. For the Yankees, especially in the 2000’s, pretty much any player add that improved a position was “worth it”, their money was almost limitless. For the Athletics, they are perennially cash-strapped and can’t simply throw money at a problem to make it go away. The question here is – within each team’s means, how well did they maneuver? Very different question.

Wu-Bacca
Member
Wu-Bacca
3 months 6 days ago

Well, he didn’t say it made the moves bad, did he?

swingofthings
Member
swingofthings
3 months 6 days ago

Not only does this not make the moves bad, but it’s worth noticing that none of the other teams with that kind of money DID make those moves.

output gap
Member
Member
output gap
3 months 6 days ago

The Cubs added 8 to 10 wins and it cost them money, 2 picks between mid 20’s and late 30’s and Starlin Castro. Not many teams go out and aggressively fill their needs when their window is open (Dave cites the Astros in this vein) and fewer still are able to land their top targets for less than market value. The Cubs did, thus their ranking at the top.

There is also the issue between “could have” and “would have” wrote those checks. Almost any team in baseball could spend $200 million on Jason Heyward if they were inclined, most choose not to play in those waters, with varying levels of valid justification for their conservatism.

Walter
Member
Walter
3 months 6 days ago

“..fewer still are able to land their top targets for less than market value.”

How do you figure? There were reports that Hayward could have got slightly more guaranteed money else where, but his contract is not substantially back-loaded (which it very well might have been from the Nats, meaning a lower present day value despite a possibly higher total sum and AAV) and it has 2 opt-outs. For the Zobrist deal, higher numbers were rumored by writers and fans, but nothing substantial emerged to hint that he gave up more money somewhere else, correct?

output gap
Member
Member
output gap
3 months 6 days ago

Zobrist had offers of 4 years $60 million from the Nationals and Mets and possibly the Giants, as well. The Bob Nightengale tweet of a 4 years $80 million offer was not true.

While it could be argued the Cubs gave Heyward the best contract (I subscribe to this view), they signed him for less guarantee and a slightly backloaded / deferred structure. If he opts out after 3 years (the first opt-out), he will have been paid $56 million over those three years and will be owed 4 $5 million payments for the years 2021-2024. 3 years / $71 million is a pretty stellar rate for a +5 war player — and less than the other +5 war players who are making >$90 million for those 3 years.

Walter
Member
Walter
3 months 6 days ago

I stand corrected then, however $60M from the Nats, Mets or Giants is really not substantially different from 56M from the Cubs.

The top marginal rate by state:

Illinios: 5%
Washington DC: 8.95%
NY: 8.82%
CA: 13.3%

So the Cubs have a bit of a built in advantage that probably gave them a bit of leverage here on deals that where really pretty similar.

On Heyward, its hardly backloaded/deferred at all. That 20M signing bonus is spread out over the full term even if he opts out, but the annual payouts is basically flat except the first year. And what you mention about the 3 year/71M for a 5 WAR player being great is true, but it ignores the deferred payment and the added risk of the opt-out.

Anyway, the point is, this is the free agent market and its a pretty efficient market. I don’t really see how we can give the Cubs a whole lot of credit for getting “below market deals”. They saved 4M over 4 years on Zobrist and took on some serious risk with opt-out clauses with Hayward in exchange for a slightly lower AAV. This really isn’t such a huge deal.

Chickensoup
Member
Member
Chickensoup
3 months 6 days ago

About half of the teams in the league cannot truly afford to give out more than one Jason Heyward contract. Those teams would instead try to buy out arbitration and a year or 2 of FA for a couple of the young players instead. Most teams in the league also could not realistically give opt outs like Heyward has in Chicago because it would actually be a team albatross to be paying $22 million for dead money, like almost franchise ruining.

im not saying that the Cubs should be downgraded for the signing at all, but to put it into perspective, they took on close to $50mil in payroll. You cannot possibly think most teams can do that.

Walter
Member
Walter
3 months 6 days ago

Exactly. I always find it kind of funny when people bring up this point like output gap does above. Sure, most every multibillionaire MLB team owner or ownership group could throw $20M, $30M, even $50M a year in a lit trash can and probably be just fine, buy yeah, they aren’t going to do that. Most owners want there teams to at least carry a modest operating income, with much of the actual earnings of the team coming from the appreciation in the value of the team as a whole.

Ah, how internet commentators would spend other peoples money…

output gap
Member
Member
output gap
3 months 6 days ago

I will restate what I previously said: there is an issue about “could” and “would/should” with regard to teams taking on large deals like the Cubs and Heyward. The economics of the sport are strong enough for any team to support a contract like that. Most teams can’t support more than one, a few teams could support two and almost all teams don’t bother supporting even one.

I am not making a statement that all teams should spend their budgets this way — each team operates under its own constraints and each owner has their own prerogative and the right to carry out their prerogative in ways they as owner see fit. But it’s undeniable that any team can spend $20 million on a single player every year — even the Rays gave $135 million to Evan Longoria through his late 30’s. The sport is flush with cash and the owners have seen their investments appreciate substantially. That’s why the Diamondbacks can outbid the Dodgers for Greinke and give him the highest AAV number of all time. There are ample resources to spend. How to spend is a different question that I am not making a statement on.

Walter
Member
Walter
3 months 6 days ago

output gap, but what’s the actual meat of your point then? Any team could spend this money, but they don’t because they either have better ways to spread it out over the rest of the team, or they have operating income requirements they want to hit, or some combination of both. That doesn’t support the case that these are good moves by the Cubs. It just means for some reason they were freed up to spend all this cash and did. They did it without going totally nuts; I’ll give them credit for that. I actually really like both of these deals we’re talking about. But, for whatever the reasons be, the Cubs were only one of maybe 4 teams that could have actually handed out both these contracts this year. And if teams did get either of these, then other contracts wouldn’t have happened either. Like the Giants probably don’t sign Shark and Cuerto if they get Hayward….etc…

output gap
Member
Member
output gap
3 months 6 days ago

My point is quite simple: the Cubs aren’t the only team or even one of a small minority of teams that could have signed Heyward. The Angels, Nationals and Cardinals all had interest at the price level for which he signed. A good contract is a good contract, and a bad contract is a bad contract. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the Cubs have stronger revenue streams than most of the MLB, but if it’s a great value signing for the Cubs, it would also be a great signing for the Padres or the Orioles. I subscribe to the notion that financial flexibility has value (“optionality on cash” in portfolio manager speak), and a result there is a certain amount of efficiency to having unspent resources. However, the amount you prorate the Cubs or Red Sox or Giants’ respective off-seasons because they have large revenue streams is much smaller than in previous eras because every team can spend money now.

tz
Member
tz
3 months 6 days ago

Dave’s exact words on the Heyward signing:

“They got one of the three +5 WAR players available this winter, and paid the lowest price for the youngest one of that group…”

I take that as nothing more than that he thinks they spent their money wisely. Countless other times teams with money don’t spend their money wisely, and it does make a difference (see the -4 WAR from the $180m+ that the Red Sox spent last offseason.)

output gap
Member
Member
output gap
3 months 4 days ago

“Huntington explained that the Pirates would love to retain McCutchen for “an awfully long time,” though he noted that the remaining three years on McCutchen’s deal is a lengthy period of time in its own right. “At the same time, we do want to honor his interest,” the GM told Stark. “And at the appropriate time, in the appropriate way, we will look to see if there is a common financial ground that allows us to build a championship team around a given player. … Any team can basically afford any player. It’s just how do you afford championship-caliber players around that one player.””

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2016/02/pirates-andrew-mccutchen-extension-talk.html

Sinnycal
Member
Sinnycal
3 months 6 days ago

That’s not even entirely true. The Warren and Zobrist deals were symbiotic in that you can essentially view the two transactions as one move, trading Starlin Castro for Warren and Zobrist (and Brendan Ryan, for some reason) while adding little to the payroll.

Shauncore
Member
Shauncore
3 months 6 days ago

Wow. Didn’t even notice/realize Aaron Hicks was worth 1.5 wins last year. That was a nice little move.

Deadheadbrewer
Member
Member
Deadheadbrewer
3 months 6 days ago

To politely play devil’s advocate for a moment, Hicks’ wRC+ was 168 in July, and never over 100 in any other month (and most months it was quite awful). Hicks might be a good fourth OF, but I think people are underestimating the value of the decent, five-years-controllable catcher that the Twins received. The Fowlers and Austin Jacksons (probably better OFs than is Hicks) of the world are having trouble finding work, but a catcher like JR Murphy would probably be snapped up quickly by most teams. I think it was fair for both teams, but wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees end up regretting this deal.

cowdisciple
Member
cowdisciple
3 months 6 days ago

Not to mention how dismal the Twins’ catching situation has been. I think it was a good deal for both teams.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
3 months 6 days ago

DBs situation has the feel of the one where they go to the WS and the critics continue saying how poorly they’re run…

jfree
Member
jfree
3 months 6 days ago

Typical saber analysis that fails to correctly adjust for altitude (oxygen deprivation has a proven effect on decision-making) so the Rockies are again a misunderstood outlier.

John Elway
Member
3 months 6 days ago

Hay jfree, that’s why I make all my big decisions on the road. I know that whenever I’m in Denver, the “Mile High” effect might spur me to do something impulsive.

Just neighing.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
3 months 6 days ago

To me, the Reds have been on a big losing streak. It’s hard not to call theirs the worst off-season by a lot. They will continue to be hurt by their choices not to have pulled the trigger on some of these guys last July when they had the potential to get a bounty for Aroldis, Bruce and the Toddfather.

Disturbed
Member
Disturbed
3 months 6 days ago

I think you’re a tad harsh on the Tigers grade. Their biggest needs this offseason were SP, RP, LF and upgrading their bench and I think they accomplished all those without completely breaking the bank or giving up any damaging long term contracts.

They got K-Rod, Lowe and Wilson, 3 guys who instantly become their 3 best relievers for next to nothing prospect wise and only a slight overpay for Lowe.

They got Zimmermann on a reasonable contract who instantly becomes their number 2 and Pelfrey to help at the back of the rotation. Was Pelfrey a little bit of an overpay? Perhaps, but if he is healthy like he was last year, he should give them some innings at the number 5 spot and hopefully be an improvement over what they had last year.

In LF they of course got Upton, the youngest of the non Heyward outfielders and the one who has performed the most consistent year to year with the bat. A clear upgrade over what they were going to have there coming into the year.

Also they added Cameron Maybin and Jarrod Saltalamacchia as bench/platoon guys which improved them.

So all in all they checked off all the boxes they had coming into the offseason without sacrificing anything from the future, giving out a real damaging contract or without sacrificing anybody from the Major League roster. They essentially improved at every position this offseason, yet all they could muster was a B-? That seems pretty harsh to me.

swingofthings
Member
swingofthings
3 months 6 days ago

Risky long term contracts count as sacrificing something of the future. The Tigers added what could likely be major albatrosses. I still like the moves but I think a little restraint on the praise for them is wise.

Jim H
Member
Member
Jim H
3 months 6 days ago

I agree with the grade. It was fascinating to see a GM spell out his plan the way Avila did early in the off-season, and then execute each step. Dombrowski wasn’t a talker much when it came to telegraphing his plans in advance, and I don’t actually see the point of telegraphing ones plans. I actually think ranking the Tigers 10th was a fairly big compliment to their off-season given that it featured the addition of sizable potential liabilities. It was nice to see a Tiger GM remember that teams can have more in the bullpens than just closers and unproven, wild power arms.

KwisatzHaderach
Member
KwisatzHaderach
3 months 6 days ago

They really didn’t add a major albatross at all. Maybe a minor one down the road in Zimmermann, but the whole roster will be rebuilt by then anyway. How is Justin Upton on that contract an albatross if Jason Heyward’s deal isn’t? Even Zimmermann doesn’t hurt them much at all even if he’s only an above average pitcher for another two years. The Tigers have a good deal of money coming off the books in both 2017-2018. Who knows what the ownership situation will be, but at that point they’ll have Verlander’s extension close to ending, 2 years of mid-thirties Zimmermann, and only Miguel Cabrera signed for any length of time.

You can argue how well the Tigers’ roster shapes up, though it looks pretty damned good to me, but Avila actually has them in pretty responsible shape financially. The roster is set for the next two seasons, and the challenge in the meantime will be to get the farm system producing more cost-controlled players.

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 6 days ago

Last year Dave praised the Red Sox for eschewing paying the price for elite players and paying “reasonable” prices for secondary players.

This year he praises them for the opposite.

the team that can do no wrong.

scooter262
Member
Member
scooter262
3 months 6 days ago

I don’t think I read the same analysis as you did, Damaso. DC gave the Red Sox moves a B- and said he didn’t approve of the Kimbrel move. Also, he acknowledged the long term prohibitive costs.

I enjoy reading lists of best/worst offseason moves as much as the next guy. But I take them with a grain of salt. Many of these moves will look a lot different after the end of the 2016 season (and beyond).

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 6 days ago

true, but he fails to back up his negative comments with a negative rank.

cornflake5000
Member
cornflake5000
3 months 6 days ago

a – is a negative…

Cool Lester Smooth
Member
Cool Lester Smooth
3 months 6 days ago

And a top ten overall ranking is positive.

DCE
Member
DCE
3 months 6 days ago

Red Sox should be higher. They go out and add 9 wins to their roster, meanwhile the Yankees are trying to convince their fans they don’t need to spend money, the Jays are content to take half measures to improve their roster even with the window closing, and the Rays are churning their roster to go from 80 to 82 wins

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 5 days ago

I actually agree with you, the Sox had a very good offseason imo. And I thought their offseason last year was a disaster for the same reason. But that’s because I like being consistent

Fangraphs doesn’t seem to care for consistency with the red sox – whatever they do is good, no matter how many times they finish in last.

TJ
Member
TJ
3 months 6 days ago

Regarding the Indians and Austin Jackson:
Steamer600 predicts Jackson and incumbent CF Abe Almonte with virtually identical value in 2016:

Jackson wRC+ = 91, Def = -0.5, WAR = 1.4
Almonte wRC+ = 87, Def = +2.0, WAR = 1.3

It would be very surprising if the Indians paid Jackson for such a small marginal improvement over Almonte. If they spent $8M on that, that would seem to make for a worse, not better, off-season.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
3 months 6 days ago

Agree. I have Almonte as one of this year’s sleeepers. He’s way off many radars and could conceivably have a very nice year.

Still can’t believe AJax is unsigned this late. Would indicate to me that his asking price is still very high.

Slappytheclown
Member
Slappytheclown
3 months 6 days ago

I still think the Rays move an OF to the Indians for Pitching. Jennings makes the most sense, and the return wouldn’t be too high (maybe RP) or mid level pitching prospects?

Double Oaked
Member
Member
Double Oaked
3 months 6 days ago

There’s been a lot of wondering as to why the Cardinal’s went after only a mid-tier pitcher after missing out on two big free agents. It looks to me like the front office may have decided that without Price or Heyward it might be better to play for the wild card than to try to beat “the best team in baseball.” They save a little money to lock up potential parts of the next core and hope for a little Cardinal’s magic during this season.

TWTW
Member
3 months 6 days ago

I don’t normally agree with the fangraphs crowd, but I think your assessment of the Indians is spot on. They need Jackson. But they also need someone to drive in runs. Can’t believe they didn’t ship one of their pitchers for Matt Kemp or Puig. http://twtwsports.blogspot.com/2015/11/breaking-cleveland-how-to-make-2016.html

pmacho
Member
pmacho
3 months 6 days ago

Trade Corey Kluber straight up for Matt Kemp? And the Indians might have to add for this to happen? That article blows my mind.

glenstein
Member
glenstein
3 months 6 days ago

Not just Kluber, but also Danny Salazar if necessary.

vivalajeter
Member
vivalajeter
3 months 5 days ago

But Kemp “is only 5 years removed from an MVP-quality campaign”. You won’t get him for free!

TWTW
Member
3 months 5 days ago

I would trade Kluber and his shiny FIP points in a heartbeat for a 100+ RBI guy like Kemp.

TJ
Member
TJ
3 months 5 days ago

This is satire, right?

Art Vandelay
Member
Member
Art Vandelay
3 months 5 days ago

I sure hope so.

Joey Butts
Member
Joey Butts
3 months 5 days ago

-30? Am I the only one who gets that he’s doing a bit? Or am I the only one who’s not in on the joke?

output gap
Member
Member
output gap
3 months 6 days ago

The dual stories of the offseason are the degree that teams are willing to overpay for pitching relative to hitting and the degree to which teams are protective of their draft picks. Fowler to the White Sox and Kendrick to the D’Backs seemingly were obvious matches and in both cases supplemental round picks blocked those acquisitions.

Baron Samedi
Member
Baron Samedi
3 months 6 days ago

The 2016 Cubs will go down in history as The Best Team to Not Win Anything.

output gap
Member
Member
output gap
3 months 6 days ago

1993 Giants 103-59
1994 Expos 74-40
1954 Yankees 103-51
1942 Dodgers 104-50
1909 Cubs 104-49

Highly unlike for any team in 2016 to earn that distinction. Keep trolling, though.

Walter
Member
Walter
3 months 6 days ago

You’d think the Expos get a pass there. And gosh, the 116-46 2001 M’s?

Anon21
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Anon21
3 months 6 days ago

At least that team won its division.

output gap
Member
Member
output gap
3 months 6 days ago

The Expos are an obviously unique case. My list was teams that didn’t make the playoffs. If we are looking at “the best teams that didn’t win the World Series”, the 2001 Mariners would be at the top with the 1906 Cubs — as the two highest single season win totals ever — and scores of other amazing teams that did not win the final game of their respective seasons.

Owen S
Member
Owen S
3 months 6 days ago

I read two things:

The title of the piece.
The author.

From those two things, I surmised one thing:

No matter the article’s content, the comment section will be filled with people aggressively disagreeing, citing bias/hypocrisy/arrogance/idiocy as the reason(s) for Cameron’s stupid, stupid opinions.

To those commenters: I challenge you to come up with a list, any list, that ranks teams in order of anything and is based heavily on opinion. If 1000 random people read your list, I guarantee at least 100 will think you’re a moron, no matter how baseball-smart you think you are.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
3 months 6 days ago

What is the proper alternative then? Should people just line up to praise everything that is written here? Isn’t any listing a subjective exercise that opens one up to potentially equal amounts of agreement and disagreement? Isn’t this what happens when people put themselves out there?

Gluten-Free AEC
Member
Gluten-Free AEC
3 months 6 days ago

Dood – I think Owen’s talking about the commenters who are whining or trolling, not honest disagreement.

Owen S
Member
Owen S
3 months 6 days ago

I have no problem with disagreements; it’s the combative nature in which those disagreements are vocalized that boggles me. It’s like, how dare you have have a differing opinion on the made-up, off-season grade of a certain team?

pudieron89
Member
pudieron89
3 months 6 days ago

Maybe you should get some thicker skin before you come back to the internet, especially the comment sections. Don’t take everything so seriously.

Gluten-Free AEC
Member
Gluten-Free AEC
3 months 6 days ago

Pud – he’s boggled, not thin skinned. Lighten up man.

glenstein
Member
glenstein
3 months 6 days ago

How about some nuance? Perhaps there are more options than wild irrational criticism and complete unqualified praise?

pudieron89
Member
pudieron89
3 months 6 days ago

I don’t understand the need some commenters feel to abhor the critiquing of the published piece. Why is there a comment section if not to discuss why you disagree with the article? Do you not like discussion?

Luy
Member
Luy
3 months 6 days ago

You’re being needlessly combative.
Do you like insightful comments whether they agree or disagree? Or people how say ‘this list is garbage’ and literally nothing of value?
If you prefer the first comment, you agree with the person you attacking. If you prefer the latter, then further comment is wasted on you.

There’s an old saying: If you can’t improve the silence, you shouldn’t be speaking. I think that same idea should hold true for comment sections. I know it never will…but I’m not sure why you defending shitty comments as integral to this site or the internet in general. They’re a blight we all deal with, and they aren’t going any where. It’s just weird to come across someone who advocates for them in the form of disagreeing with people who dislike valueless comments.

glenstein
Member
glenstein
3 months 6 days ago

I think Owen S is criticizing reactionary, inflammatory disagreement, not any and all disagreement in general.

pudieron89
Member
pudieron89
3 months 5 days ago

Here’s a thought – ignore comments you don’t like and let’s stick to talking baseball. These meta-arguments about what the comments should and should not be serve no one. I’m not the genesis of this one, but I couldn’t help but share my thoughts when some posters feel the bizarre need to defend an author of a blogpost on the internet from “trolls and reaction” when that’s your classification and justification for dismissing it. I argue with my grandpa about baseball all the time, but I don’t think he’s a troll because he doesn’t know what WAR is and doesn’t care. Likewise there’s a spectrum of commenters here so let’s just talk baseball instead of waging a war on trolls on the internet, mmk?

glenstein
Member
glenstein
3 months 5 days ago

There’s nothing bizarre about desiring conversation be nuanced and up to a certain standard of quality. The reactions genuinely are ridiculous and predictable to the point that they merit criticism, and it’s unfair to equate that to some sort of demand that nobody criticize anything. That’s not what this is.

MosesZD
Member
MosesZD
3 months 6 days ago

Are they putting themselves out as experts? Standing upon high with the arrogance to ‘grade’ what teams do based on their personal preferences and biases?

Because Cameron has them in spades even as he denies them. Some teams always get better grades than they should. Others tend to get worse grades than they should.

When his grades go sideways, he sometimes write pontificating columns putting down those who criticized him for being wrong.

Dave Stewart
Member
3 months 6 days ago

1. I am the only one who can be right. Thou shalt have no opinions differing from me.

2. Thou shalt make fun of the writer’s image.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of my team in vain.

4. Remember CC Sabathia, holy moly.

5. Honor me or I’ll make fun of your mother.

6. Thou shalt not read what parts of the column thou wantest not to.

7. Thou shalt not kill thy fellow commenters with kindness (or any such courtesy).

8. Thou shalt make sweeping generalities when it suits thy purpose.

9. Thou shalt not covet making sense.

10. Thou shalt not covet upvotes.

mike sixel
Member
mike sixel
3 months 6 days ago

Clearly Dan your bias!

/s

I enjoyed this. It’s pretty much a summary of what you’ve been saying all off season so far, but to see it one place is handy. I could probably quibble a bit here and there, but directionally? Hard to argue, imo.

EthanMerrill
Member
3 months 6 days ago

Just a heads up — the Jordan Zimmermann hyperlink goes to the wrong player.

Johan Santa
Member
3 months 6 days ago

Lol.

DCE
Member
DCE
3 months 6 days ago

When Dave says that “the foundation of the next contending Brewers team was laid this winter.” Is he suggesting that some of the players acquired this offseason will be part of the roster when the Brewers are next good again? Am I missing something or did the Brewers only acquire a lot of post-hype, potential 1-1.5 WAR players this offseason? Hardly seems like foundational talent

Dave Stewart
Member
3 months 6 days ago

Way to go Brewers prospects! And the action only gets better in the spring!

doc ellis
Member
doc ellis
3 months 5 days ago

Stearns went after two types of guys this winter. One bucket is the post-hype, modest-upside player you highlight. The second is far-off young guys with higher betas. Nottingham and Diaz are the big names there but he grabbed quite a few lesser-known 19 and 20 year olds in other small deals to throw against the wall.

I liked all of the moves the Brewers made this off-season but agree their impact will likely fall short of transformational.

unclefunkel
Member
unclefunkel
3 months 6 days ago

All you so called die hard Cubbie fans, you know who I am referring to. The fans that disappeared for three years and are now back on the band wagon because the Cubs won last year, beware. Teams that surpass expectations one year, tend to fall back to earth the following season. I am not saying that will happen; but, don’t be shocked if it does. When a team surprises, it is because they enjoy an injury free year from key players. They bring up prospects that have good first years in the majors. Finally, they have a couple of players who have career years. Everything seems to fall into place. The following year a major injury or two all of a sudden mysteriously appears. The prospect or two who seemed on the fast track to stardom suffer from the sophmore jinx. And, that pitcher or hitter who surpassed their career numbers by quite a margin all of a sudden return to produce the type of numbers they produced before their career years. I am not predicting this will happen to the Cubs in 2016. What I am saying is that it is possible due to the scenarios I described come to fruitation; and, the Cubs fall back into their lovable loser profile for at least one year.

senor_mike
Member
senor_mike
3 months 6 days ago

I’m not a Cubs fan (Mets fan), but I think you may be putting a bit too much stock in baseball folklore.

The Cubs won 97 games last year when BaseRuns predicted 94, and pythag 90. So essentially they over-performed to the level of elite when in truth they were probably more like very good.

So they had the foundation of a 90 or so win team, and easily added (on paper) anywhere between 3-6 wins on top of very young & good core that should continue to be good for the foreseeable future.

With that in mind, if they don’t win at least 85 games I will personally be very surprised, because it means that they ran into enough misfortune throughout the year to cause that to happen. Much like I was very surprised the Nationals only won 83 games last year.

Serbian to Vietnamese to French and back
Member
Serbian to Vietnamese to French and back
3 months 5 days ago

All the so-called bear die hard fan, you know that I’m going out with someone. Fans are missing for three years, and are now on The Band Wagon as the Cubs won last year, watch out. The team exceeded expectations during the year, tend to come back to Earth in the coming season. I’m not saying this will happen; However, don’t be shocked, if any. When suddenly, so they prefer self injury years ago a major player. What are the chances that he or she has a good first year in the big leagues. In the end, they have some players with career. Everything seems to fall into place. A year later, injury or both appear mysteriously. Two potential buyers or people on the street look to the Haunted star. And suddenly a pitcher or strokes that exceeds that of their career with except that it returns in which the production of all kinds of numbers that are early in their careers. I Predviram that this will happen with the Cubs in 2016. I said, in part because the scenario I described everything; and you return to your computer, loss of their beloved records for at least one year.

senor_mike
Member
senor_mike
3 months 5 days ago

Well if you predviramed it, then it’s certain to come truth.

BigMax
Member
BigMax
3 months 5 days ago

I think this line sums up a long, painful history for the Cubs:

“When suddenly, so they prefer self injury years ago a major player.”

swingofthings
Member
swingofthings
3 months 5 days ago

“Two potential buyers or people on the street look to the Haunted star.”

jhalpin23
Member
Member
jhalpin23
3 months 6 days ago

A lot of what you say is true, the Cubs were pretty fortunate with injuries, some good performances by prospects, slightly over-performing, etc…And certainly the opposite of all those things could happen and that would obviously make the Cubs worse but I think you could actually pick some players to improve this year just as easily.

Jorge Soler was replacement level last year, Addison Russell was great with the glove but one could expect some improvement with the bat. Arrieta was obviously unreal and it would be hard to repeat those numbers but the back end and depth of the rotation should be much better. Add in Zobrist and Heyward on offense and it seems likely they are improved and have a better ability to handle injuries that might be more likely to come along. Any worse case scenario for a team will look pretty grim but the Cubs seem like as safe a bet as any to continue success from last year.

corticofugal
Member
corticofugal
3 months 6 days ago

unclefunkel ennis…goodnight.

jhalpin23
Member
Member
jhalpin23
3 months 5 days ago

I will probably be the only person who understands your comment but I love it!

florida ron
Member
florida ron
3 months 6 days ago

Bandwagon Cubs fans? This is a team that over two years lost 91 games and 101 games and drew almost 6 million fans. The most loyal fan base in sports.
When they play in the World Series it will be the biggest sports event in the last century.

walnutfalcons
Member
walnutfalcons
3 months 6 days ago

My problem with the Dodgers analysis:

why is Dave assuming that LA signing Greinke means that they wouldn’t have been able to sign Kazmir, or Anderson, or Matea?

I feel like assuming “okay, we signed Greinke, now our rotation is set” of a team that you just cited as caring deeply about pitching depth is sort of dubious.

Fernando
Member
Fernando
3 months 6 days ago

I don’t think he’s assuming that at all. He’s just stating a fact: the Dodgers pursued Greinke, didn’t get him, and then pivoted to other targets. If they had signed Greinke and then, say, signed Maeda to the same team-friendly deal, their grade might be even higher. But that’s not the way it worked out, so their grade only reflects what happened.

walnutfalcons
Member
walnutfalcons
3 months 6 days ago

The grade just doesn’t really add up for me. Does losing one of the best pitchers in baseball and replacing him with one good pitcher, one solid-but-injury-prone pitcher, and one question mark really equate to one of the best offseasons in baseball? Having to use three pitchers to MAYBE replace the value of one seems less-than-ideal to me, especially for the team with the most money in the game.

Fernando
Member
Fernando
3 months 6 days ago

Well, first of all, it’s not like that’s all they did. As Dave mentions, they got Howie Kendrick to a great deal and added a nice bullpen piece in Blanton. So to just focus on their starters ignores the solid job they did on other parts of the roster.

Now as far as the starting staff goes, they are in pretty good shape, even without Greinke. Steamer sees them as the BEST rotation in all of baseball, but even if you disagree with that it isn’t hard to see how they could be a top-5. Maeda was a stud in Japan and they got him to a ridiculously, laughably good deal. Is he a question mark? Sure, but all the reports have been positive. As for Kazmir and Anderson, while they may be injury-prone, they are still very effective when healthy. And none of that takes into account the absolute ridiculous depth of starters they’ve got behind them. (Zach Lee, for example, is like fourth or fifth on the backup depth chart and yet for most teams he would slot in on day 1 as their No. 4 or 5 pitcher.) So it seems to me the Dodgers have gone for high upside/ high risk pitching, a risk they then mitigated with crazy good depth. Not a bad strategy.

szielinski
Member
Member
szielinski
3 months 6 days ago

Dave’s Pirates grade (-C) is silly. The organization has prospects in the high-minors who will be added to the ML roster this summer. They’ll produce more than any of the FAs the franchise can afford. Oddly enough, one can make a case that the Pirates had the kind of off season they needed to have. The team played to its strength and minimized their weaknesses.

Fernando
Member
Fernando
3 months 6 days ago

Your assessment is what’s silly. It’s ridiculous to bank on multiple prospects continuing their development and then filling several key holes later in the year. What if they have injuries? Who will fill those holes? And that’s the point. The Pirates didn’t do a great job of assembling the last handful of spots on their roster and they’re depth is looking rather thin as a result. Sure, it’s possible this could work in the Pirates favor, but as Dave points out, it’s an unnecessary gamble.

szielinski
Member
Member
szielinski
3 months 6 days ago

You forgot to address the claim about the franchise lacking the money to sign FAs who have ceilings as high or higher than their prospects.

You also seem to believe that ML vets will avoid injury or, if injured, will be effectively replaced by those prospects you dismissed as too risky.

You didn’t offer a very effective rebuttal to my original argumement.

Fernando
Member
Fernando
3 months 6 days ago

It doesn’t matter if they don’t have money. The bottom line is that they didn’t do a great job filling their holes. I mean, that’s the whole point of the article, right? Ranking which teams had the best off-season. The Pirates not having the money to do other things doesn’t turn a bad off-season into a good one.

And I never said veterans will avoid injury. What I said is that the Pirates didn’t build good depth, which is in fact the opposite claim – an acknowledgment that people WILL get injured. You say the Pirates have several young guys coming up who can fill fill holes, but what happens if the back half of their rotation absolutely implodes or they suffer a couple starter injuries the way almost all teams do at some point in the year? How will they rebound? Are they going to rush Glasnow and Taillon? That’s my point about depth; it gives them more cushion.

The bare facts are that the Pirates didn’t execute a great plan these last few months, whether there are excuses for it or not.

szielinski
Member
Member
szielinski
3 months 6 days ago

The budget constraints the Pirates confront ever season do matter. That’s why they’re labeled constraints instead of, say, an infinite supply of money.

The minor leagues provide the depth. The off season signers will provide pitching depth once the prospects make it to the majors.

Fernando
Member
Fernando
3 months 6 days ago

You do realize you’re arguing these two points in contradiction to one another, right? When I say they didn’t fill their holes with depth, you say they have minor leaguers for that. When I say that isn’t enough, you say they don’t have money to money to do anything else. When I say “okay, but then that means they still didn’t fill their weaknesses”, you point to minor leaguers. And round and round we go…

The bottom line is the Pirates had significant weaknesses at the back of their rotation and at 1st and yet they did little to fix them. Their money constraints are a real problem, sure, but it doesn’t change the fact they did a poor job of filling those holes…hence the bad grade.

Minor leaguers do create depth, but it is a bad strategy to count on several of them to make significant contributions later in the year. If the back 40-60 percent of their rotation has flamed out by early May, what will the Pirates do? Rush Glasnow and Taillon? What if Jaso becomes a blackhole? Will they shove Bell in their? The bottom line is they are betting a lot on their plan A working, because if it doesn’t and their young guys get hurt/aren’t ready they really have no plan B, C, or D. That’s why I say they have bad depth.

szielinski
Member
Member
szielinski
3 months 5 days ago

The bottom line is the Pirates managed their baseball and financial resources well, making optimal use of those resources over the long term.

Thus, my claim stating that Dave’s evaluation of the Pirates off season is silly. It’s silly because it reveals a shallow appreciation of their methods and capacities.

And it’s silly because it criticizes the organization for continuing to follow practices that has served the organization so well these past five years.

Jason B
Member
Jason B
3 months 5 days ago

“Will they shove Bell in their?”

Will they shove Bell in their what ? I’m dying to know how this turns out…

Fernando
Member
Fernando
3 months 5 days ago

Okay. The person who no longer tries to respond is the person who knows they have nothing meaningful .91st to say. Good day.

And Jason, in their lineup, obviously! I sure hope they don’t shove him anywhere else!

smcdowel26
Member
smcdowel26
3 months 6 days ago

For Cincinnati, I believe it should say “underwhelming to say the least.” (instead of last)

isavage
Member
isavage
3 months 6 days ago

I don’t really agree with ranking a team like the Orioles so low just because they paid Chris Davis. Absent some type of analysis of opportunity cost to paying Davis, paying a guy too much money when that guy is still likely to be a major upgrade (for now) to the team seems strange. I’m just curious what would have been the better plan for the Orioles, if they didn’t sign Davis? Is signing Davis preventing them now or in the near future from signing someone else? He doesn’t actually project to be worse than Upton. Retaining Davis, signing Fowler, that’s like a projected 4-5 win upgrade compared to an Oriole team that lacks those players, no?

On the other hand, if the Indians signed Austin Jackson, I would view their offseason as worse, not better, because it would mean they paid something like $15 million, a large chunk of their payroll, to Austin Jackson and Rajai Davis, who don’t really move a projection needle at all.

davedsg
Member
davedsg
3 months 6 days ago

That’s because when people look at his contract, they see 7 years/$160MM, when its actually a 7 year/$117MM contract which is initially what fangraphs valued at, maybe a bit higher. The other $43MM is drawn out over a span of about 15 years, which really shouldn’t effect the teams payroll. $17MM AAV isn’t bad, especially for probably 4 years of the contract, and shouldn’t be a big deal when players will start being paid $40MM/year when he’s barely hitting 30 HRs. Sure, it will be an albatross on the payroll, but Cameron is making it sound like it will cripple the payroll. IMO, for a team that was once labeled “small market” that is now approaching a $150MM payroll, maybe they can to burden 1 or 2 mistakes. Anyway, with the way Davis’ contract is structured, I don’t see the big deal other than it being 2 years too long..

davedsg
Member
davedsg
3 months 6 days ago

*maybe they can AFFORD the burden of 1 or 2 mistakes.

Sorry for the typos.

isavage
Member
isavage
3 months 6 days ago

Yep, sure in the last couple years of his contract he might not even be playing, but that’s just the other side of paying rookies $500k and having them get you 4 WAR. If the Orioles are contending now, I just don’t see how you knock them so much just because you think it’s an overpay, if the overpay is still a likely significant short-term upgrade. Oh no, 5 years from now they won’t be able to sign the 2021 equivalent of, Ian Kennedy, because they’re paying Davis $17 million to sit at home, or pinch hit? Or they won’t be able to sign an Austin Jackson and Juan Uribe?

There’s certainly risk in Davis, but if he has another good year or two and a couple average years, it’s not going to be a big regret, and shouldn’t have a significant negative impact on the team. On the other hand, I’d see his signing have a significant positive impact in 2016.

Orsulakfan
Member
Orsulakfan
3 months 5 days ago

I also see the signing of Kim as a potential steal, but I admit he’s a total wildcard. And they acquired Trumbo (not mentioned here) who may not do that well but is worth the risk. These are 2 potential major bargains. Gallardo (and maybe Fowler) are also signing at below market rate. The Davis deal – remember he is the best home run hitter in baseball – is not the only deal of the offseason for Baltimore.

Genco Olive Oil
Member
Genco Olive Oil
3 months 4 days ago

Orsula,

Davis is the best home run hitter in the game?

Sorry, but I direct your attention towards the City of Miami and to a Marlin named Giancarlo.

MosesZD
Member
MosesZD
3 months 6 days ago

So, let me understand this…

The Giants didn’t actually need bullpen help, have a farm system full of young bullpen prospects that could step up this year, and you’re nattering on them?

My perspective is this:

1. Cueto & Samardzija, with no improvement from last year, are 10 QS better than Lincecum, Vogelsong & Hudson combined. With a .686 winning percentage on QS last year, I’m looking a +7 wins. And that’s if they pitch like they did last year.

Samardzija alone should much, much better. The DRS spread between the Giants and White Sox was about 100 runs last year, with White Sox being so bad they negatively impacted every pitcher by about 1 funn run as they just couldn’t make plays.

2. Span is a major improvement over Pagan and I’d say he’s almost certainly a 3 win defensive/offensive improvement over Pagan with better range and hitting.

So I’m looking at everything being about the same plus an offseason that has given the Giants have a good +10 win potential over last year where they underperformed their 89-Pythagorean Win/Loss by 5 games.

And that’s a B-?

Fernando
Member
Fernando
3 months 6 days ago

They were ranked 8th, so it’s not like Dave poo-pooed them. But, while I agree that Cueto and Samardzjia are nice adds, it’s not like SF got a real good bargain there. They paid about top dollar for those respective pitchers, which is solid, but by no means amazing. Span is a nice improvement, but I think you’re giving him a bit too much credit when you say he is “certainly” a 3 win upgrade.

I don’t think we should get hung up on the letter grade, so much as the rankings themselves. (At least as far as I see it, the letter grade is sort of a relative thing, secondary to the team’s actual number on the list.)

Luy
Member
Luy
3 months 6 days ago

Why do most Giants fans whining about being ranked too low in “offseason moves” articles just entirely skip over the fact that they paid a lot for the pitchers they got. This doesn’t mean the pitchers are bad, or that the team isn’t better. But – and I know this is shocking to hear – other teams got better at less of a cost. Not a lot of teams. But some. And that matters when you are comparing things.

I know y’all have a martyr complex to rival white evangelical Christians…but being ranked 8th after handing out two large not-all-discounted contracts does not ad up to the best offseason in any year.

And if the Dodgers had made the same signings there is no way in hell you’d view the improvement as the best in the league.

If you have a strong rooting interest in a team the chances that someone else is more biased than you is just so low that it’s mind boggling that a fanatic would accuse someone else of being biased against their team.

Fernando
Member
Fernando
3 months 6 days ago

No politics.

Spudchukar
Member
Spudchukar
3 months 6 days ago

Giving the Cards a C, is some tough grading. They believe in Piscotty, Grichuk and Pham, and if their 2015 performances are only duplicated they are right. This team won 100 games despite numerous injuries to key players. They don’t have any holes. They upgraded their bench with Gyorko and Pena. They added Leake, with Lynn going down, and have a healthy Wainwright to replace the loss of Lackey. First base might be a place of concern but the Adams/Moss duo gives them options. The return of Holliday should add offense. Plus they have Diaz, who tore up the Arizona Fall League, as an infield replacement if Peralta struggles or is injured. The truth is they just don’t have needs. Sure a Price or Heyward get would be an upgrade, but when that didn’t happen they realized no one else out there would improve their squad. I am glad they didn’t reach, and will enter 2016 with a healthier, deeper, squad then the 100 win, 2015 group.

Famous Mortimer
Member
Member
3 months 5 days ago

Adams and Moss are much more likely to be terrible than they are to provide “options” of any kind. They probably very slightly downgraded at pitcher (Lackey / Lynn > Wainwright / Leake) and are relying on a young outfield to be every bit as good as they were last year, with pretty much no backup if things go wrong. Okay, the bench is better, but that’s almost the definition of damning with faint praise.

I admire your optimism, but to say the 2016 Cardinals look as good as the 2015 version is just bizarre. They’ve got lots of 1.5-2.5 WAR guys but zero potential all-stars in the field (and only two, Martinez and Wainwright) on the mound.

weaselpuppy
Member
weaselpuppy
3 months 6 days ago

well, he got the Rockies right….the rest? notsmuch.

D- article. a few for 30 is downright Hernan Perez-ish

Ryan13636
Member
Ryan13636
3 months 6 days ago

Giving my Rockies too much credit.

Carlos Baerga
Member
Member
Carlos Baerga
3 months 6 days ago

Anaheim Angels for the throwback.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
3 months 6 days ago

Summed up exactly my feelings about the Braves, though perhaps graded them a bit higher. They fleeced the Diamondbacks for Shelby Miller, but it was a “meh” offseason otherwise. Disappointingly, they failed their stated goal to offload one of their outfield contracts: Bourn, Markakis, and Swisher are all still around.

Still, one awesome trade can cure a lot of ails.

Madison Mariner
Member
Madison Mariner
3 months 6 days ago

Ehh…you’re giving too much credit to the Angels for just the Simmons move, IMO.

And yeah, while the Mariners were known more for their sheer volume of moves, it’s what they needed. It revamps the team at the major league level without sacrificing prospects, so the organization can take a year to take a 2nd look at some of those prospects, while keeping them at least somewhat competitive. The Angels’ only move sacrifices 2 of their few remaining decent prospects to upgrade at SS, while they still have question marks in LF and C(and possibly at 3B, depending on how you view Yunel Escobar).

I’d switch them in the rankings, personally. ;)

Antonio Bananas
Member
Member
Antonio Bananas
3 months 6 days ago

We really need to re evaluate the $/WAR as a % of free agent spend. Greinke getting paid what he is might not be bad for the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Angels, or Dodgers, but it’s bad for the D’Backs.

OrangeJoos
Member
OrangeJoos
3 months 5 days ago

Oakland A’s graded a C- and the Angels a B- is bogus. Sure they got Simmons at the cost of a Top 20 MLB ready pitcher and near ready pitcher along with a Shortstop for a slightly cheaper and yet SS with deminishing defensive and offensive returns? They have holes in every position that is not manned by Trout, Calhoun and Pujols who is a DH. Escobar did well in a very small sample last year that is BABIP dependant and Nava/Gentry is barely league average.

A’s deals to date:

Liam Hendricks – exchanged 1 year of 4 million for a league average swingman and got 4 years of cheap control for a reliever off a break out year and hits 98mph.

Jed Lowrie – is an improvement on Eric Sogard and can play games at SS and 3B if needed, his value over Sogard is sufficient enough and he costs us 6 million for the next 2-3 years if not traded. The cost was a minor league reliever.

Rich Hill – this is not a high risk deal at all, it is a low risk high reward, he is due money in one season only, he is not committed to a Lackey type deal if Lackey is garbage the Cubs are paying that fortune for a few seasons, if Rich Hill does well he brings us a good return at deadline, if not he is released.

Axford – money deal with bonus

Madson – This is a potential risk but it is still not a back breaker for a top class reliever who featured in the Royals WS run.

Alonso/Scrabble – Alonso improves on Ike Davis and Scrabble is at very least a stable reliever with a high ground ball rate and k rate. The cost was Pomeranz, no biggy.

Hernandez – money

Davis – the cost of Nottingham is a lot but Davis has 4 years control in his prime years of production, at best Nottingham is ready by 2018-2019 so we offset the long term for an immediate power bat.

With some luck I think we can be in with a real chance, I still think we will finish ahead of the Angels due to our line up’s volatility.

jhalpin23
Member
Member
jhalpin23
3 months 5 days ago

Lackey is signed for 2 years/$32 million, I wouldn’t exactly say the Cubs are on the hook for a “fortune” for “a few seasons.” I like the Rich Hill contract I think it’s a smart risk but Lackey would seem to be a safer bet by basically any measure. I think most of the A’s moves were smart so I wouldn’t be against a slightly higher grade but I think why Cameron dinged them was like he said these moves made more sense for a contender than a long shot playoff team.

jdbolick
Member
Member
3 months 5 days ago

this is likely the last year of the Bryce Harper/Stephen Strasburg combination

I’ve seen this suggested by various media sources but I don’t understand it at all. The Nationals have a history of working out deals with Boras and you just cited examples of them pursuing high dollar players this off-season. The fact that they didn’t sign one makes it more likely that they end up bringing back Strasburg, doesn’t it? I understand that he’s headed to free agency and Boras will take the highest offer, so this could be his final season in Washington, but if I had to bet on which team will make that highest offer, it would be the Nationals.

swingofthings
Member
swingofthings
3 months 5 days ago

I think it’s simply that any player is unlikely to sign with any given team, considering there are 29 other options. Even if the Nationals are his most likely destination it’s probably well under 50%.

jdbolick
Member
Member
3 months 5 days ago

Realistically there aren’t 29 other options. If you want to be generous you could say ten, but even that is probably on the high side, and you would expect the current team to have a substantial advantage. I get what you’re saying, but semantics aside, there has been a general presumption that Strasburg will be leaving Washington which I don’t understand or agree with.

Lanidrac
Member
Lanidrac
3 months 4 days ago

Well, if Moss doesn’t have a big bounce-back year for the Cardinals, that just means he’ll be backing up the outfield and the real starting first baseman Matt Adams. It’s not really what you want for a guy making over $8M, but then again he probably should’ve just been non-tendered in the first place.

Dave K
Member
Dave K
3 months 3 days ago

I suppose if you believe that Domingo Santana can duplicate a HR rate of 1 HR every 17 AB in his first 1,000 AB’s which is what Khris Davis has done, with striking out every 2.3 AB’s to Khris Davis’ one every 3.7 AB’s, then I suppose you’ll believe that his replacing Davis in the Brewer lineup is a wash. I don’t see it myself.

UncleDirtNap
Member
UncleDirtNap
3 months 2 days ago

I wonder if Dave is tempted to revise his grades for the Orioles and Cubs, if so by how much, now that the Cubs blew everyone away by resigning Fowler?

At this point it would seem that only health/injuries could keep the Cubs from running away from the rest of the NL

wpDiscuz