The 10 Best Transactions of the Off-Season

The off-season isn’t technically over yet, as there are still a few free agents to be signed, and there’s a chance we could see another significant trade before spring training opens. However, most teams have essentially finished their off-season shopping at this point, and now we can look back and see which teams did the best in terms of adding talent to their organizations, or made a good move that pushes them closer towards serious contention without doing long term damage to their franchise.

Keep in mind, just because a trade is listed here as a win for one franchise doesn’t mean that I think the decision was necessarily a poor one for the other side. There are several deals below that I think served both teams interest, and in fact, one deal is listed twice, because I think both teams got exactly what they needed in the transaction. There are win-win deals, so the support for one side of a transaction should not be read as condemnation of the other side. We’ll look at the worst transactions of the winter tomorrow, and it won’t simply be the flip side of the trades listed below.

Final disclaimer: only transactions made after free agency began were considered. While Jake Peavy and David Ortiz re-signed to team friendly deals, we’re excluding them from the discussion, as they came before the off-season began.

If you’re interested in such things, here’s the list of moves I liked from last off-season. The teams listed below are probably hoping that their moves turn out more like the Carlos Beltran signing and less like the Michael Pineda acquisition. On to this year’s recap.

10. The Blue Jays acquire R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas from New York.

The Blue Jays last big move gets the last spot on this list, mainly because the cost to acquire Dickey was pretty substantial. Having to surrender two highly regarded prospects to get Dickey from the Mets makes this less of a steal and more of an aggressive upgrade, but it’s an aggressive upgrade that has a real chance to pay off. Dickey makes the Blue Jays a top notch AL East contender, and because they were able to sign him to a below market extension, it’s not simply a one year rental. Much is going to be made of his age and the fact that he only has had one elite season, but the idea of Dickey as a one year wonder is a total myth, and even the 2010-2011 version of Dickey would be a nice acquisition for the Blue Jays. Toss in the chance that he might have another ace like season left in his belt, and the acquisition of Dickey may have been the biggest upgrade any team made all winter.

9. The Braves acquire Justin Upton and Chris Johnson from Arizona.

Like with the Dickey trade, the acquisition cost holds this one back a bit, as surrendering Martin Prado in the process makes it more of a long term gain than a short term upgrade. However, I’m a believer in Upton’s potential, and it’s hard not to like acquiring the age 25-27 seasons of a guy who has flashed the skills to be among the best players in the game. Getting three years of team control is a big plus, and with his brother signed for five years, a below market extension seems more possible for Atlanta than any other franchise, so this deal could have longer term value than just the next three years. The Braves will miss Prado, but Upton gives them another young star to build around.

8. The Indians sign Nick Swisher for 4/$56M.

This move would probably be a few spots higher had Swisher signed with a team that is more likely to be in the playoffs in the next few seasons, but just in terms of overall production for the cost, it’s a win for the Indians. Swisher has been an underrated player for most of his career, as he collects value from being strong across the board rather than specializing in one particular area, and now he’ll take that skillset to Cleveland on a pretty nice contract for the Indians. I still chuckle every time I hear a suggestion that Andre Ethier, who signed for $85 million last summer, is a nice piece of trade bait, when Swisher is a superior player and signed for $30 million less as a free agent over the winter.

7. The Cubs sign Scott Baker for 1/$6M

It’s a one year deal, and there’s a chance that Baker might not even be healthy for the first part of the 2013 season, so it’s really more of a one-half-of-one-year deal. So, why the love for a short term contract on a rebuilding team? Because, if Baker returns to prior form as a well above average starter, this is likely to result in another contract between the two, providing even more value to the Cubs in the future. Players tend to be loyal to teams that give them paychecks while they’re rehabbing, and the Cubs have essentially bought an opportunity to convince a healthy Scott Baker to stick around in Chicago instead of hitting free agency again next winter. If he’s not healthy, they haven’t risked much. If he is, his next contract with the Cubs could be a huge steal, and this short term deal gives them a chance to land that deal before Baker becomes a free agent again.

6. The Rays acquire Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard from Kansas City.

On the one hand, I don’t love the Rays making their present roster worse in the same year that the Yankees are essentially abdicating the throne in the AL East. If ever there was a year for a lower revenue club to go for it in that division, this is that year, so the Rays lose points on this trade for giving up present value in exchange for future value. That said, they got so much future value back that it’s impossible to not like this deal for Tampa Bay, and there’s a strong chance that Myers will end the season as their starting right fielder anyway. They have the starting pitching depth to survive Shields’ loss, and getting a premium young hitting prospect like Myers for two years of a pitcher who was starting to price himself out of their budget was a huge win for Tampa. When you add in Odorizzi and the two lottery tickets, this is the kind of trade that should allow the Rays to remain competitive for several more years, and that justifies the present day downgrade.

5. The Mets acquire Travis D’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, John Buck, and Wulimer Becerra from Toronto.

As I said above, I like this deal for Toronto, and I think there was a case to be made for the Mets keeping Dickey signing him to an extension themselves. But, in D’Arnaud and Syndergaard, they were able to get a couple of pieces in return that could have much more long term value to the Mets, and D’Arnaud is close enough to the Majors that they could start seeing a return on the move this season. Because Dickey was willing to take a discount on an extension, the Mets were able to pry a premium return from Toronto, and having these two guys around is probably better for their future than having Dickey under contract through his age 40 season. This wasn’t the Mets only option, but when you see what they were able to command in exchange for the reigning Cy Young winner, it makes the decision to trade him more understandable.

4. The Diamondbacks sign Brandon McCarthy for 2/$16M.

McCarthy’s not the healthiest dude around, as his arm forces him to the DL every year and his season ended after taking a line drive off the skull in September, but when he’s on the mound, he’s quite good, and the Diamondbacks got a steal by signing him for this kind of price. McCarthy signed essentially the same contract as Joe Blanton. He signed for less than Jeremy Affeldt, Jonathan Broxton, and Brandon League. He didn’t even get the same AAV as Jeremy Guthrie, and Guthrie got an extra year to boot. McCarthy is a prime example of the over-discounting teams engage in with injury risks, as the Diamondbacks will get their money’s worth even if McCarthy only throws 140 innings for them next year. They will have to be ready for the inevitable DL stints, but McCarthy should pitch well enough in between to easily justify this contract.

3. The Blue Jays acquire Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck from Miami.

While most of the attention surrounding this trade was scorn aimed at the Marlins for blowing up their team again, kudos to Alex Anthopolous and his crew for having the stones to make such a big trade. The four players Toronto acquired in this deal could easily add +10 WAR to the Blue Jays just by themselves, and this is the kind of monstrous step forward that the Jays needed to make in order to put themselves in position to make a big run this year. They took on a decent amount of money and gave up some real prospects to make the trade happen, but this was a game-changing trade for a franchise that needed to stop treading water. The Jays saw an opportunity to take the AL East and reenergize their fan base, and they took advantage of the best chance they had to make 2013 a winning season. Good for them.

2. The Blue Jays sign Melky Cabrera for 2/$16M.

It’s easy to draw a firm connection between Cabrera’s monster 2012 season and the fact that he failed a drug test, admitting that he used PEDs during the season. It’s easy to assume that a drug free Cabrera won’t be anything close to the player he was in San Francisco. But at $8 million a year, the Blue Jays aren’t paying Cabrera to be anything close to the player he was last year. They’re paying him to be a roughly average outfielder, and anything he does above that is gravy. This is a guy who was a +4 win player without failing a drug test in 2011. A guy who got to the Major Leagues as a 20-year-old, and was an average player for the Yankees at age 21. A guy headed into his age-28 season. You have to believe that PEDs are the sole reason that Cabrera has been an effective hitter the last two seasons to think that he can’t be an average player for the Blue Jays the next two seasons, and if he any of his improvement wasn’t PED related, then the Jays are going to get a massive bargain.

1. The Nationals acquire Denard Span from Minnesota.

Denard Span is a +3 win player, maybe even a bit better than that if you put more weight on his offensive resurgence after recovering from concussion-related issues. He’s under team control for his age 29-31 seasons for a grand total of $21 million. And, yet, the Nationals were still able to acquire him for the cost of one A-Ball pitching prospect who may or may not be able to stick in the rotation long term. When you look at what other +3 win outfielders were signing for this winter, or what other above average players with multiple years of team control were commanding in trades, Span looks like an outright theft by the Nationals.

Let’s put it in this context – the Nationals gave up about the same value in terms of prospects to acquire three years of Span as they received when they shipped off one year of Michael Morse, the guy who Span pushed out of the line-up to begin with. Washington got a better outfielder with two extra years of team control and didn’t really sacrifice much from their farm system to make the upgrade. In a winter where guys like Shane Victorino were signing for 3/39, giving up one low-level prospect for Span stands out as the best deal anyone made all off-season.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Captain
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Captain
3 years 7 months ago

I have always been a fan of the finer things like velour.

samuelraphael
Member
3 years 7 months ago

The Seven Finest Velour & Corinthian Leather Moves of the Offseason

7. Cleveland Waives Russ Canzler
6. Toronto Acquires Russ Canzler
5. Cleveland Re-Acquires Russ Canzler
4. Cleveland waives Russ Canzler Again
3. Yankees Claim Russ Canzler
2. Yankees Waive Russ Canzler
1. Orioles Acquire Russ Canzler

Eugene in Oregon
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Eugene in Oregon
3 years 7 months ago

I would have thought the Nats signing Haren would have outranked the Cubs signing Baker.

Dave
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Dave
3 years 7 months ago

Haren signed for $13 million, not a small chunk of change. I like the move for the Nats a lot, but it’s not without risk, with his recent history of injury.

Tomcat
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Tomcat
3 years 7 months ago

but Haren isn’t out half the year so 1/13 v 1/6 for half a season

Chris
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Chris
3 years 7 months ago

Also, the entire league passed on a chance to pick up his $12M option, so its hard for me to think that $13M is a steal.

Brian
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Brian
3 years 7 months ago

I thought the Mets siging Marcum would have outranked both.

Matty Brown
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Member
Matty Brown
3 years 7 months ago

True, that was a prudent signing. Also, re: Baker, I feel that he could be used as valuable trade-bait for the Cubs if he rebounds to further improve their young core.

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 7 months ago

It does seem odd to call that a better transaction than the ones on the list and several others. If it works out, they might be able to extend a back-end starter for a presumably slightly under market price. I think the Rangers dumping Michael Young (which included getting him to waive NTC) and getting a team to pay for 3/8 of his contract plus the bonus should be on this list instead.

Heather
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Heather
3 years 7 months ago

The anti Michael Young backlash has gotten way too strong. Before last year, the dude had been a consistent 2-4 WAR player for 10 years straight.

He’s a reasonable bet to produce positive value for the Phillies, given what they’re paying.

MLB Rainmaker
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MLB Rainmaker
3 years 7 months ago

Agree 100%. Haren has a career 3.66 ERA and his xFIP for last season was right at 4. Plus his injury was his back, not arm shoulder — on a one year deal he’s going to be super motivated to perform. A lot of people are going to feel dumb looking back on this deal by the ASB.

MikeS
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MikeS
3 years 7 months ago

It would be so very baseball if the Blue Jays went 68-94 next year.

Wil
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Wil
3 years 7 months ago

That would be tragic. Even as someone who has no connection to any AL team, I want the Blue Jays to do well.

Subversive
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Subversive
3 years 7 months ago

It would be even weirder if they went 68-90.

diegosanchez
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diegosanchez
3 years 7 months ago

And then they trade away Johnson, Reyes, and Buehrle in a massive salary dump

Baltar
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Baltar
3 years 7 months ago

That is possible. I can’t remember whether it was here on FanGraphs or elsewhere that I recently saw a study showing that teams that vastly increase their payroll usually do worse than the season before.
As a Rays fan, I hope the Jays finish 2nd in the AL East, which is still tougher than a lot of people seem to think.

sandy
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sandy
3 years 7 months ago

Red Sox fan?

Rays 7th Infielder
Member
Rays 7th Infielder
2 years 7 months ago

And here we are a year later: 74-88. Bravo, MikeS.

Xeifrank
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3 years 7 months ago

Andre Ethier is a nice piece of trade bait.

D4P
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D4P
3 years 7 months ago

(Chuckle).

Baltar
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Baltar
3 years 7 months ago

I agree with the “bait” part.

Wil
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Wil
3 years 7 months ago

Disagree strongly with the Melky signing. He’s probably one of the large question marks out there as to what his true talent level is. But if his last two years were PED influenced (whether that is true or not, I don’t know) than paying 8 million a year for a guy to post a WAR around 1-1.5 isn’t that great of a deal. That of course comes with the assumption that he returns to the player he was prior to 2011.

Bottom line, the uncertainty surrounding Melky’s performance going forward is the big reason I disagree.

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 7 months ago

Why assume he’ll stop using PED?

jcxy
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jcxy
3 years 7 months ago

+1

Hurtlockertwo
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Hurtlockertwo
3 years 7 months ago

TKDC has a point, Melky has already demonstrated stupid.
It will be very interesting to see if he markedy drops off in production, that would semmingly indicate the affect of the PED’s. (or lack of)

Oh, Beepy
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Oh, Beepy
3 years 7 months ago

You 3 posters are a microcosm of what is wrong with baseball.

If I had a choice between ‘fans’ like you three and deer antler spray and testosterone being out of the game forever, well lets just say that there’d be a lot of dingers.

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 7 months ago

Don’t worry, I’m not a fan of you.

Hurtlockertwo
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Hurtlockertwo
3 years 7 months ago

Ditto

wobatus
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wobatus
3 years 7 months ago

I think Melky actually was probably going to get somewhat better anyway. Taking the PEDs actually does suggest he was going to start taking his conditioning more seriously. he was noticeably out of shape in Atlanta, and was rumored to be staying out late in NY, which didn’t seem to hurt Canoe at the time, but nevertheless.

There were definite “best shape of his life” stuff going around in 2011 spring training. He had “worked out” with A-Rod in the off-season, nyuck nyuck, and A-Rod lobbied th Yankees to bring him back. He had a monster spring. OK, sure, we laugh off “best shape of his life” and monster springs, but in fact Melky had a very good year in 2011, and a better 2012.

He had a so-so year in NY in 2009. His power was up a tad at age 24. Like Dave says he had come up extremely young. His walk rate had gone down but the power was up.

Toss out the out of shape disgruntled age 25 year in Atlanta and suddenly the age 26 year in KC doesn’t seem that out of line as a normal progression. ISO up from .142 in 2009 in NY at age 25, to .164 at age 26 in 2011. The k rate was up slightly, but still down around 13%. He makes contact. Last year the iso was .170. That seems like a fairly normal aging curve.

You’ll have to look through the fact he may have been somewhat lucky last year, with a very high babip. His line-drive rate was up, but not a huge pick-up.

I would imagine some of the improvement was real. He may be driven to continue working out, staying in shape, even if not PED-aided, with the 1 year deal. He left a lot of money on the table by getting suspended. He would likely fall off somewhat anyway, but I suspect he will still be better than the 24-year old who left NY after 2009. Somewhere between the 4.2 of 2011 and the 1.6 of 2009 gets you a 2.9 or 3 WAR guy. So i think it is a very good risk by the Blue jays.

Hurtlockertwo
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Hurtlockertwo
3 years 7 months ago

Interesting points.

Infield Fly
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Infield Fly
3 years 7 months ago

Also BABIP was stable through the steroid era and Melky’s value is derived by his OBP not dingers. Id be surprised if there was a dramatic decrease in his performance this year….

flailing
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flailing
3 years 7 months ago

I agree with this. If I remember correctly, Melky arrived in KC 20 pounds lighter and in much better shape.

Mark
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Mark
3 years 7 months ago

Of course, there’s also the possibility of him being a 3-4 WAR player, in which case it’s quite a good deal. I have no idea what to expect on Cabrera, but let’s not pretend there’s no upside here. And even if he’s just a 2 WAR guy, it’s still a solid deal.

I’m not sure why you’d expect him to be a 1-1.5 WAR player, given that he’s never actually been a 1-1.5 WAR player. He’s been 1.6-1.7, and he’s been below one way back in 2007 (thanks to his inability to play CF, something he won’t be doing here). But he’s never been a 1-1.5 WAR player.

There’s a better chance of him being a 1.5-2 WAR player than a 1-1.5 WAR player.

And just for fun, if you agree that a win in FA is approximately 5M, than a 1.5 WAR = $7.5M. So unless Cabrera is injured, or tosses in a below replacement level season, there’s a pretty good chance that the floor for Cabrera is breaking even on the contract.

I agree with you that the performance is a question mark. But I believe it’s more a question of whether he’ll simply break even in terms of value, or be a significant steal. There’s a very small chance he won’t produce $8M in value.

nik
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nik
3 years 7 months ago

Indians trade of Choo was pretty sweet, netting them a top pitching prospect.

Preston
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Preston
3 years 7 months ago

I thought that trade was very good for both the Indians and The Reds. Not so much for the D-backs.

Todd
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Todd
3 years 7 months ago

Yes. This was a good list, but getting six years of Bauer for one year of Choo belongs at or near the top IMO.

alphadogsball
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alphadogsball
3 years 7 months ago

Dave isn’t a huge Bauer guy, IIRC.

Ericpalmer
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Ericpalmer
3 years 7 months ago

Still though, six years of a prospect with a high ceiling for a rebuilding team has to be nice, whether you like him as much as the consensus do (does? screw it, I’m too drunk to grammar perfect) or not.

Mark
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Mark
3 years 7 months ago

Damn, I was expecting the Alex White for Wilton Lopez to be in here somewhere… followed Closely by the Ryan Wheeler for Matt Reynolds Trade.

rusty
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rusty
3 years 7 months ago

Also, Rockies Refuse All Offers for Cuddyer, say he’s completely unavailable.

Brian
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Brian
3 years 7 months ago

How are you missing the Reds acquisition of Shin Soo Choo?

Tomcat
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Tomcat
3 years 7 months ago

Trevor Bauer,Drew Stubbs, Matt Albers, and Bryan Shaw for one year of Choo and Donald is nice haul

jpg
Guest
jpg
3 years 7 months ago

Predictions for 10 worst:

1: KC acquiring Shields
2: The Marlins trading everyone of value not named Giancarlo
3: Angels signing of Hamilton
4: Royals resign Guthrie
5: Rockies White for Lopez
6: Sox sign Victorino
7. Dbacks trade Bauer for Gregorious (though DC isn’t that high on him)
8. Minnesota trades Spann for peanuts
9. Seattle trades for Morse
10. Dodgers sign Greinke

Not sure about the order but 1 & 2 seem like locks to occupy the two top spots

also
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also
3 years 7 months ago

Soriano signing. Relievers for that much cash??

Well-Beered Englishman
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Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 7 months ago

I think Cameron was OK with the Soriano signing, though. The reasoning goes like this: the Nationals are paying Soriano’s premium so he will pitch in the playoffs. And the Nationals are – unique among all the ballclubs now except for NYY and LAD – in a position where they can spend a bunch of money on a guy just so he can pitch a few playoff innings. They’re loaded with cash and if they want to spend millions on a guy just so he can strike out Prince Fielder, who’s to complain?

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 7 months ago

Yeah, I thought that made sense for 2013 (who else are you going to sign?) but no club knows for sure they will have excess cash for future seasons.

pdowdy83
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pdowdy83
3 years 7 months ago

That contract is also HIGHLY backloaded.

Well-Beered Englishman
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Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 7 months ago

The value the Marlins got back for their guys is less than the value Kansas City got back for Myers et al., which is pretty amazing, since Kansas City traded away so much less.

Jason B
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Jason B
3 years 7 months ago

They traded away less talent, or fewer proven/known quantities, but the Marlins traded guys who were fully-priced, or close to it, whereas the Royals traded away a lot of cost-controlled, cheaper years.

mmanovich
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mmanovich
3 years 7 months ago

The Greinke deal wasn’t an overpay. The dodgers will be on there for Brandon League, though.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 years 7 months ago

Yeah Greinke was the best pitcher available and the Dodgers have tons of cash, and there was a clear chance to improve with Greinke. I don’t see anything wrong with that deal. But Brandon League for 2/15 would be hard to justify. 3/22 is just ridiculous.

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 7 months ago

Minnesota trade should be much higher on this list.

Ruki Motomiya
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Ruki Motomiya
3 years 7 months ago

Royals trade isn’t THAT bad: Marlins trade is much worse.

Kiss my Go Nats
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Kiss my Go Nats
3 years 7 months ago

I do not agree with 3 or 4. Without Hamilton the Angels have little chance in the AL west. My projections prior to Hamiliton were giving the A’s 95 wins and the division. I have tons of confidence in those A’s Platoons. As for Guthrie he is a slightly above average pitcher once you adjust his stats for defense and park. So I do not see the dislike there.

Cam
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Cam
3 years 7 months ago

Over the past two years, Hamilton has been worth 8.5 WAR and the Melkman has been worth 8.8 WAR. Melky has the steroids thing, but he’s also 3 years younger and his club has never assigned him an adult babysitter to keep him out of trouble.

Hamilton will probably be a better player than Melky over the next few years, but not by much. Almost certainly not $34 million better, with another $75 million more due after that. That, in a nutshell, is why the Melky signing is making a lot of best-of lists while the Hamilton signing isn’t very popular.

Tomcat
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Tomcat
3 years 7 months ago

I bet that Miami acquiring Turner, Brantly, Flynn, Alvarez, Nicolino, Hechavaria, Deitrich, Yelich and Fernandez to be a very competitive team sooner than you think. Add that Stanton will bring half a farm syetem next year and the Marlins could be back in the thick of it.

ezb230
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ezb230
3 years 7 months ago

I’ll wager 9 is further up the list. Even if it’s not Cameron doing the rankings.

Brian
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Brian
3 years 7 months ago

Couldn’t agree more on the Span deal. The Alex Meyer kid is #40 on MLB.com’s prospect list, but prospect lists from the 2000’s are littered with pitchers rated that highly at one point who never made an impact at the next level.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 years 7 months ago

I think people tend to get so excited over prospects that sometimes they forget the value of proven MLB talent.

The teams who become great through their farm systems do it by having tons of depth. Except for the rare superstars, a typical top 100 prospect is not all that valuable alone.

Jaker
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Jaker
3 years 7 months ago

Denard span just might be the most underrated guy in baseball. That deal was an absolute steal.

Jimmy D
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Jimmy D
3 years 7 months ago

I wish the Twins didn’t trade him. The Revere trade was good for them, but now the Twins don’t have a CF! And Hicks probably wont be effective until 2014.

Snortwood
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Snortwood
3 years 7 months ago

Span is an okay CF – takes bad routes to the ball especially toward his glove side, adds a base here and there to what the batter might have expected out of the box. Decent arm and only made bad decisions because there were so many opportunities with the Twins’ mound staff to try to get runners on the bases that now and then he just could not refuse that temptation. But mostly a smart outfielder.

Not a good baserunner – speed, yes, not talking about once the ball is in play. Gets picked off too often, maybe maturity will temper his self-opinion on how far off-base he can wander. And not as many stolen bases as you might hope for, but then again maybe he’ll concentrate on that playing for a team where one base and run might make a difference more often.

At the plate – and maybe this will stop in DC, but just in case it doesn’t, please track – he has an annoying habit of taking the first pitch of the game, and by extension the first strike. Whether this is a ritual or some mis-placed belief that it is his obligation to give the other guys in the lineup an opportunity to see pitches, more often than not opposing pitchers take advantage of this habit by throwing what looks like a hittable pitch.

A good player, yes, and under team control for a few more years, but what this article overlooks is that the Twins minor league strength is OF, and especially CF. Span or no, the ’13 Twins aren’t likely to win 90 or compete. Better to stockpile the weakest part of the system, quality prospects for the starting rotation. And if you could do that without costing your organization any substantive victories and save, say, $20M, well, that might be something worth taking into consideration.

Evaluating this trade is not going to be possible for awhile.

Ben
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Ben
3 years 7 months ago

Kelly Johnson to the Rays for next to nothing?

Oh, Beepy
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Oh, Beepy
3 years 7 months ago

Yeah he’s got the problem of being Kelly Johnson though..

Baltar
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Baltar
3 years 7 months ago

This is one of many, many small trades, signings and picking up options that the Rays made to help the club. No one of them stands out enough to make the Top 10 except the Myers trade.

Al Oliver
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Al Oliver
3 years 7 months ago

sometimes you get what you pay for… he was awful the last 2 seasons in Toronto

Jack
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Jack
3 years 7 months ago

Not sure I agree with McCarthy being ahead of Baker. You could make a good argument that Baker’s the better pitcher, and he’ll cost the Cubs $10MM less at just one year.

McCarthy’s pitched over 100 innings in the big leagues just three times in eight years– 101.2 in 2007 then four years later he throws 170, followed by just 111 last year. I get Baker is fresh off Tommy John, but he’s still a reasonably good bet to make ~25 starts this year, and he’s got the longer track record of success in the big leagues (958 innings 159 starts to McCarthy’s 654 innings in 99 starts).

JH
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JH
3 years 7 months ago

Mccarthy’s coming off two relatively healthy years, arm-wise. His early exit last year was obviously a fluke.

Based on recent performance, he’s also a little bit better than Baker, and the extra year gives the deal a higher reward if he can throw a combined ~300 innings. If Baker’s all the way back, the cubs have to bid closer to FMV to keep him. If Mccarthy’s healthy, the Dbacks get him for another year at not much risk.

Sam
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Sam
3 years 7 months ago

When you look at what other +3 win outfielders were signing for this winter, or what other above average players with multiple years of team control were commanding in trades, Span looks like an outright theft by the Nationals.

Not unlike the A’s getting Chris Young (who has the same 11.9 fWAR as Swisher and J. Upton over the past 3 years) for Cliff Pennington.

chandler
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chandler
3 years 7 months ago

i mean, justin upton is a lot less thirty than chris young, but swisher’s obviously a better comp, cause he’s the most thirty of them all.

alphadogsball
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alphadogsball
3 years 7 months ago

THIS. i was wondering where young for pennington was on the list.

Brian
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Brian
3 years 7 months ago

You could say technically the trade wasn’t made during the off season since the World Series was still going on.

BX
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BX
3 years 7 months ago

I’d take Span over Young because of injury history, which matters big time, (although to be fair, the A’s gave up a good bit less for Young than the Nats did Span).

Also Young makes in 2 years what Span makes in 3, assuming the A’s pick up the option.

My guess is that the DBacks side of that 3 way deal makes 10 worst though.

greenfrog
Guest
greenfrog
3 years 7 months ago

One of the nifty aspects to the Jays trades is the way that Anthopoulos was able to manage his prospect resources. He acquired the Marlins players without dealing d’Arnaud and Syndergaard, which in turn gave him the resources to subsequently acquire Dickey. And he managed to hold on to Aaron Sanchez.

In total, he acquired:

Dickey
Reyes
Johnson
Buehrle
Bonifacio
Thole

for

Alvarez
Escobar
Hechavarria
d’Arnaud
Syndergaard
Nicolino
Marisnick
DeSclafani
Becerra
Buck
Mathis

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
3 years 7 months ago

Buck doesn’t belong on that list since he came over from the Marlins and was then reshuffled to the Mets.

chandler
Guest
chandler
3 years 7 months ago

AA better kill it with the 2013 draft, cause he’s gonna need to be able to buy the phillies as soon as this winter.

greenfrog
Guest
greenfrog
3 years 7 months ago

AA traded quantity and potential (some modest, some very good) for proven major-league quality.

I think it’s a good strategy in the Jays’ current circumstances, but we’ll see how it plays out.

Also, Dave commented that these moves should help the Jays make a big run this year. I think they’re really about the next few years, as most of the players acquired are under contract or control for several years (as are most of the Jays’ core players).

Brian
Guest
Brian
3 years 7 months ago

What about Kuroda to the Yanks for one year and 15M? These other pitchers (Haren, Marcum, Baker) are scrap heap guys…Kuroda pitched like an ace in the playoffs.

John C.
Guest
John C.
3 years 7 months ago

If Dan Haren is healthy he’s not a scrap heap guy at all; he’d be better than Kuroda. Haren was hurt last year but was just fine over his last several starts – and he’s considerably younger than Kuroda. Not to say that Kuroda wasn’t a good signing by the Yankees. Heck, the way the rest of their offseason has gone it was essential. But it’s hard to make the argument to rank it ahead of the Haren signing, much less work its way onto the Top 10 list.

kid
Member
kid
3 years 7 months ago

Haren’s fastball velocities are taking a frightening tumble: From 91.8 avg in 2007 down to 88.5 MPH avg last year (with a 91.3 max). Granted has a great track record pitching with the diminished velocity, but there is a tipping point.

John C.
Guest
John C.
3 years 7 months ago

If the Nationals get the Haren that came back from the DL last year (88.5mph fastball, 3.58 ERA, 4/1 K/BB in 13 starts) for the whole 2013 season, the Nats will be really happy (especially when those numbers are adjusted for no-DH lineups). And he doesn’t need an overpowering fastball to be effective. If better health brings Haren’s FB back up just a notch, to the 89.8 average it was in 2011, and Haren gets the same results (3.17 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 33 walks (1.25 BB/9) and 192 Ks (7.25 K/9) in 35 games (34 starts) and 238.1 IP) then the Nationals will seriously threaten 100+ wins.

Haren is only 32, and is pitching with the motivation of getting one last big contract. And the Nats are only on the hook to him for one year. No signing is guaranteed, but I like that signing a lot.

Interesting
Guest
Interesting
3 years 7 months ago

I agreed with almost all of the moves from last year’s list, but many of them blew up in the team’s face. You used the example of the Pineda deal, but I think the jury is still out on both sides for that one. The Ryan Madson deal from least season seems like the biggest bust…

cass
Guest
cass
3 years 7 months ago

He, along with most of us, really missed the ball on the Gio Gonzalez signing. That had to be one of last year’s top offseason acquisitions in hindsight, doesn’t it?

Actually – I’d enjoy an article that does the previous year’s off season signings in hindsight and compare it to the list from last year.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
3 years 7 months ago

PED GIO?

Jon L.
Guest
Jon L.
3 years 7 months ago

Agreed. It would be interesting to hear not just about the predictions, but about how the consensus from the past contrasts with the results so far. It’s difficult for people to remember what we expected once we witness the actual events unfold, and maybe it would inform us better as we evaluate moves looking forward.

Realtalk
Guest
Realtalk
3 years 7 months ago

McCarthy, the love child of Fangraphs. He has 1 1/2 seasons of #3 type pitcher and he get more pub on this site they any pitcher I can remember. Arizona over paid and he’ll be lucky to log 200 innings total for them through the contract term.

You are Ignorant
Guest
You are Ignorant
3 years 7 months ago

I think you’re confusing “real talk” with “Ad Hominem abusive fallacy towards Fangraphs as well no empirical evidence to back up your claim.”

Deelron
Member
Deelron
3 years 7 months ago

In 2011, his last non-plunked in the skull season, he was worth 4.8 fWAR, 19th best in the majors which isn’t anywhere close to a “#3”. In his freak injury shortened season he still finished 82nd with 1.8 fWar for starters. I think “#3” starters are much harder to come by then you might think (also only 31 guys actually made 200 innings last year (Gio just missed at 199.1), why would this be a benchmark for a “#3”?).

neilrqm
Guest
neilrqm
3 years 7 months ago

I don’t think “love child” means what you think it means.

jcxy
Guest
jcxy
3 years 7 months ago

This.

drewggy
Member
drewggy
3 years 7 months ago

“Players tend to be loyal to teams that give them paychecks while they’re rehabbing, and the Cubs have essentially bought an opportunity to convince a healthy Scott Baker to stick around in Chicago instead of hitting free agency again next winter.”

Is there any truth to that at all?

Todd
Guest
Todd
3 years 7 months ago

Chris Carpenter comes to mind, but I can’t think of any others.

Radivel
Guest
Radivel
3 years 7 months ago

Dustin McGowan is fiercely loyal to the Blue Jays. Haha.

Billy
Guest
Billy
3 years 7 months ago

I think it’s more “The Blue Jays are fiercely loyal to Dustin McGowan” than the other way around. Who would even give McGowan a half glance at this point honestly? I love the kids heart and his talent is there, but there’s gotta be a point when the Jays head office stops thinking “if we let him go, he’s Chris Carpenter” and just go “that was a 1 time thing for us, get out Dustin”

Pat
Guest
Pat
3 years 7 months ago

“Players tend to be loyal to teams that give them paychecks while they’re rehabbing.” Is there any proof of this? Some sort of analysis (this is Fangraphs after all) or quotes from agents, executives, or players? Does paying a once-middle-of-the-rotation pitcher, who missed all of last season, $6 million for maybe half a year and some immeasurable chance to extend him if he’s good really qualify as a good deal? It doesn’t seem like that big a deal. If Baker pitches great, is there any evidence that he would turn down a bigger deal from another team to stay with the Cubs?

Clifford
Guest
Clifford
3 years 7 months ago

i just cant understand how the Phillies signing Delmon Young for next to nothing, plus adding in incentives not to be a fat-ass, isnt #1 on this list. i mean, seriously, who cares about defense or making contact? he’s basically pat burrell 2.0

nik
Guest
nik
3 years 7 months ago

Delmon Young makes plenty of contact actually.

Kiss my Go Nats
Guest
Kiss my Go Nats
3 years 7 months ago

I suggest you and look at both players stats, Young is muuuuch worse that pat burrell.

Kiss my Go Nats
Guest
Kiss my Go Nats
3 years 7 months ago

Pat has had 22 WAR since 2000. Meanwhile, Delmon has accumulated .8 War total for his 7 seasons in the game. Pat had one season when he was outstanding and got 4.9 WAR (2009). Delmon’s best season totals 1.7 WAR. I know WAR is far from perfect in how I am using it, but it is not so far off for me to say Delmon has been nowhere near as good as Pat.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
3 years 7 months ago

Because this is a list about good signings, and he is Delmon Young.

Clifford
Guest
Clifford
3 years 7 months ago

wow, you all seem to struggle with the concept of sarcasm

I solemnly swear
Guest
I solemnly swear
3 years 7 months ago

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re in a market where Brandon League gets $22 million and 2012 innefective Dan Haren gets $13 million.

Chris from Bothell
Guest
Chris from Bothell
3 years 7 months ago

You can now add a #1a to that: Felix is going to be an M through 2020!!!!!!

Kiss my Go Nats
Guest
Kiss my Go Nats
3 years 7 months ago

That is not #1. Felix was born in 1986 so he is only 27 years old. Pitchers peak later than hitters and keep the peak about as long. thus, the Mariners get him through his age 34 season which would be like a year or three beyond his peak. I think Felix could easily be an average to above average pitcher at age 34. I like this move! But, on the other hand pitchers are much riskier than hitters, so hoping to have 7 years without a major injury is very risky. It is that risk and the money that keeps me from putting this higher than like 3rd or 4th.

cs3
Guest
cs3
3 years 7 months ago

“Pitchers peak later than hitters and keep the peak about as long”

ummm…. what?

GabeS
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

Mariners signing Hernadez to a 7 year deal is #1.

Johnhavok
Guest
Johnhavok
3 years 7 months ago

If only Dave had left this article until tomorrow, we’d probably have a new #1.

vivalajeter
Guest
vivalajeter
3 years 7 months ago

I don’t see how signing a pitcher to the richest pitching contract in history is the best off-season transaction. Odds of him vastly outperforming the contract aren’t so great.

RMD
Guest
RMD
3 years 7 months ago

The Myers haul is the biggest steal since the Vernon Wells trade.

The Rays were able to turn their starting pitching strength into two big upside minor leaguers and still remain more than competitive for 2013. This is a trade that cemented the Rays as the best front office in baseball (and the Royals as the worst). The McCarthry and Cabrera signings are savvy pickups, but this is a move that palpably increases the value of their franchise if it were to be sold to the highest bidder tomorrow.

J3ff
Guest
J3ff
3 years 7 months ago

There is no way it’s the biggest steal. At best, Odorizzi isn’t anything better than what Wade Davis had been as a starter. Mike Montgomery was subject to being released after consecutive gawd-awful seasons. He’s proved he cannot pitch above A+. Patrick Leonard may never be heard of again. Myers alone wasn’t getting Shields, so if they wanted more, then the Rays had to pony up more and the Royals got someone that seemed to turn things around in the bullpen. I know, it was the bullpen and pitchers generally always do better in the pen,. Except, they never make as big of an improvement as Wade Davis did last season. At the time, it did look like a pretty one-sided deal. After the R.A. Dickey trade, it shows what pitching was going for. The Blue Jays gave a haul for someone that, while he has put in a couple of good seasons, is 38 years old and there is never a guarantee on any pitcher, especially someone his age.

RMD
Guest
RMD
3 years 7 months ago

The prospects received for the Shields trade are rated higher than the Dickey haul by Law’s and MLB’s list. Even still, Dickey will almost surely outperform Shields in the coming year.

I highly doubt a top 100 prospect with 6 years of team control is equitable to an uninspiring starter/reliever. Odorizzi did have a sub 3 ERA in the PCL last year. Davis’ career FIP- is 109. For either tomorrow or six years from now everyone would rather have Odorizzi.

I’d be willing to be that the “worst moves” will be capped with Kansas City’s end of this deal, but Cameron only snubbed Tampa of the top spot on this list because he thought it weakened them too much for the present. Tampa’s pitching depth should be able to overcome this into a playoff spot, though. This trade will get Dayton Moore fired and give Andrew Friedman a plaque outside Tropicana Field. It’s as simple as that.

J3ff
Guest
J3ff
3 years 7 months ago

So what if Odorizzi had sub 3 ERA in the PCL. Luke Hochevar’s minor league numbers were outstanding, yet he has been the worst pitcher in the majors in his time span.
Two of the prospects are listed in Top 100, two. Not all of them. Montgomery was still a candidate for being released and if Leonard plays at the ML level, I’d be shocked.
You are wrong about anyone rather have Odorizzi than Davis. Those that do don’t know baseball from a hole in the ground. Odorizzi is AT BEST a 3-4 pitcher, IF he pitches up to potential. He’s likely a back-end of the rotation or a bullpen guy.
But, you listen to what the media heads tell you about the deal and not what most ACTUAL baseball insiders say. That’s your prerogative. I’d rather listen to those that know the ins and outs of baseball.

Matthew Murphy
Member
3 years 7 months ago

Very surprised that Russell Martin didn’t make this list at 2 Years/$17M, especially when you consider his pitch framing and how horrible Pirates backstops have been defensively.

Kiss my Go Nats
Guest
Kiss my Go Nats
3 years 7 months ago

I agree!! It seems Pittsburg is as far off Dave’s radar as a MLB team could be.

jim
Guest
jim
3 years 7 months ago

the yankees chose to punt catcher over re-signing martin, that doesn’t tell you anything?

Matthew Murphy
Member
3 years 7 months ago

He was worth 2.2 WAR last year despite a .222 BABIP, and that doesn’t include pitch framing. Pirates upgrade from below-average bat, terrible defense, and below average pitch framing to a close to league-average bat, average defense, and excellent pitch framing. All for 2yrs/$17M. If you include pitch framing, he’s earned been worth about $37M over the past two years ($23.6M without), so he doesn’t have to do much to earn his salary.
Yankees have their salary cap concerns for 2014 and Martin was clearly looking for a multi-year deal.

BubbaNoTrubba
Guest
BubbaNoTrubba
3 years 7 months ago

What? No Lars Anderson on this list?

CrashCameron
Guest
CrashCameron
3 years 7 months ago

Lars doesn’t quite cut it. overshadowed here by both Russ Canzler and Bobby Wilson on the high-frequency list!

Kinsm
Guest
Kinsm
3 years 7 months ago

Marcum for 4 mil could be the best signing of the year if he’s healthy.

indisputablyinsane
Guest
indisputablyinsane
3 years 7 months ago

The Braves will need to rethink the “O” strategy with 4 fleet basestealers in the starting lineup. Opponents batteries are gonna feela heap of pressure when one or more are on base. If their pitching lives up to the past 10+ years this Braves team could competitively surprise.

Radivel
Guest
Radivel
3 years 7 months ago

At some point, I’d like to see the Jays field Reyes, Davis, Bonaficio and Anthony Gose all in the same lineup, supplanted by decent baserunners Lawrie (once he smartens up), Rasmus, Melky and even EE. Those first four could probably get 200 steals between them if they were given the light, though.

MLB Rainmaker
Guest
MLB Rainmaker
3 years 7 months ago

Got to disagree with “Moonshot” Scott Baker — this isn’t a 22-year power guy recovering from TJS, this is a 31-year old who relies heavily on his control, and from what we know about TJS, control is the last thing to come. You can’t afford to put that 90mph fastball anywhere but the corners and expect to survive for long at Wrigley in the summer heat…

On Melky, the key is that he had a PED induced season and is seeing his salary increase. See below:

2009: 13HR/10SB .274 AVG — Earns 1-yr $3.1M from ATL for ’10
2010: 4HR/7SB .255 — Earns 1-yr $1.25 from KC for ’11
2011: 18HR/20SB .305 — Earns 1-yr $6M from SF for ’12
2012: 11HR/13SB .346 PEDs — Earns 2-yr $16M

How does any of that make sense? First, we know his 2012 numbers are crap, and have to color some uncertainty around 2011. Second, even if you give him credit for those numbers, what did he do to make is value increase from ’11 to ’12??? And in the context of having Gose, Bonifacio, Rasmus, or Sierra to fill two outfield spots, it makes zero sense. To me, AA has made the decision that 2013 is that rare window where NYY and BOS can’t compete, so he’s going for broke to take the division.

Matthew Murphy
Member
3 years 7 months ago

I get that some of his 2011-12 success could be from PEDs, but your argument after that falls apart.
What he did to increase his value was put up a 4+ WAR season as a 26 year old, then was on pace for a 6+ WAR season in 2012 before he got suspended. If you “give him credit for those numbers”, you have a 28 year old coming off back-to-back seasons of 4+ War. Even at 2-3 war over the next two years (age 28-29) he’ll easily surpass the value of his contract.

pby
Guest
pby
3 years 7 months ago

the key is that he had a PED induced season and is seeing his salary increase

The actual key is him gaining a free agent status. I hear it helps their paycheck.

mlbfan23
Guest
mlbfan23
3 years 7 months ago

chris young for pennington and cabrera is a pretty nice deal. i know young was injured, but pennington/cabrera kinda suck

Hank
Guest
Hank
3 years 7 months ago

The logic behind Baker is a bit thin…. it’s a good move because he might sign next year for an unknown amount and therefor be a tremendous bargain NEXT year?

And if that does happen, we will ignore the 6mil they spent this year to make that happen?

Randy
Guest
Randy
3 years 7 months ago

I like the move by the Rays more than this ranking, though that’s not a huge deal. I don’t think trading away Shields significantly downgrades their chances of competing this season. In fact, it opens up opportunities for other players to step up. In an organization like the Rays with good management top to bottom, this kind of strategy can work. Madden gets a lot out of his players, and I fully expect them to compete for the division title. We’ve seen far too often teams spend a bunch of money to acquire players, but the team that plays defense, has good coaching, and executes the fundamentals consistently stays competitive.

cable fixer
Guest
cable fixer
3 years 7 months ago

“I don’t think trading away Shields significantly downgrades their chances of competing this season”.

It’s one thing to really like the Myers return (who wouldn’t) but let’s not lose sight of exactly how good Shields has been. The Rays are very likely worse right now as a consequence of losing him. Having said that, you’re right that the division is down (relatively speaking) so their chances of competing remain strong.

Sir Spicious
Guest
Sir Spicious
3 years 7 months ago

Jonathan Sanchez signing with the Pirates was #11, right?

Dirck
Guest
Dirck
3 years 7 months ago

No mention that the Melkman’s big 2012 season was done in by far the toughest hitter’s park
in which he has played. He seems to be growing in ability by leaps and bounds . If you don’t assume that his 2012 numbers were TOTALLY due to PED’s ,then moving to Toronto might put him in line for a monster season .

James
Guest
James
3 years 7 months ago

No love for Mike Napoli on a 1-yr deal for $5 million? Yes, the hip could be a concern and he may never touch his 2011 numbers…but its just $5 million dollars for a guy who will put up 3 WAR if healthy.

Hank
Guest
Hank
3 years 7 months ago

You do realize he has incentives in the contract?

If he’s healthy enough to put up 3WAR, there’s probably a good chance that he has accumulated enough playing time for his incentives to kick in – which would bring his salary to 13mil

JChang
Guest
JChang
3 years 7 months ago

I remember when Tsuyoshi Nishioka was rated #1 acquisition by Cameron. It turned out to be nothing but a waste of money.

Span is no great shakes. He’s about 100 wRC+ hitter, where half of his value comes from defense. His defense won’t make up for the loss of Michael Morse’s 133 wRC+ bat. Add it all up and the Nat’s are net losers here.

Radivel
Guest
Radivel
3 years 7 months ago

Quit trolling the Fangraphs forums, Bowden.

jim
Guest
jim
3 years 7 months ago

like jim bowden has any idea what wRC+ is

Jim Pace
Guest
Jim Pace
3 years 7 months ago

I believe this qualifies as head up your butt fighting for air… what an inane, horrible list. The Baker signing is good because it was cheap? The Swisher signing was just another example of the Indians having no direction.. are they rebuilding or do they think they can compete? If they think they can compete, then the Choo trade is foolish. If they are rebuilding, then why sign a 32 year old guy who has benefited greatly from being in a really small park and having guys other teams will pitch around to get to him? In the Yankees lineup, teams would pitch around Tex, Cano, Granderson, maybe even A-Rod and take their chances with Swisher.

Radivel
Guest
Radivel
3 years 7 months ago

Pitching around ARod is pretty easy, just make sure you don’t throw the ball in the dugout.

hk
Guest
hk
3 years 7 months ago

You might want to check out Swisher’s home and road splits. In his 4 years as a Yankee, his home WRC+ was 122 while his road WRC+ was 133. Are you really complaining about the Indians trading one year of Choo for Bauer and replacing Choo in the OF with Swisher on a reasonable deal?

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
3 years 7 months ago

It is probably too late to get a debate going, but the question I would like to ask (and really Dave Cameron alluded to it) is can a trade be a good baseball move and simultaneously be a bad business move?

I am, of course, alluding to the Shields/Myers trade; however I think I am asking a larger question regarding the Tampa Bay Rays. I think most of us would agree that the Rays outperform the rest of the league when comparing the talent they acquire vs. their investment. However I think it’s equally true, that the Rays underperform the rest of the league in revenue vs. market. I can accept that the location of Tropicana Field makes it hard for Tampa Bay to compete with its other AL East rivals (save Baltimore) in attendance, but television sets in Florida are not inconveniently located and retirees watch television. The Central Florida regional market is huge; it dwarfs, for instance, the New England market. I can understand why the Red Sox attendance is much larger that that of the Rays, but there is no reason why Tampa Bay should not dwarf the Red Sox television market.

I don’t want to state this as fact, but I think there is reason to think that the way Tampa runs it team simultaneously enables it to maximize its talent per dollar and is a poor business model. The Shields/Myers deal is the third time in five years, that the Rays have made what appears to be a smart baseball move that also delays gratification. In 2009, they traded Scott Kazmir, while still within striking distance of a playoff spot. In 2011, they traded Matt Garza. While neither of these moves hurt the Rays on the field, it can be argued that both diminished the expectations of their fans. Despite their fantastic finsih in 2011, Tampa Bay’s TV ratings were down that year. Matt Garza was a 5 WAR pitcher that year; keeping him might have raised expectations throughout the year and increased ratings/revenues. (Note: while the sophisticated fans here at Fangraphs might appreciate these moves, less sophisticated fans may not. Specifically, the type of fans contemptuously dismissed as pink hats by Red Sox fans, might view moves like the trading of Garza or Shields as raising a white flag. And while it is fun to laugh at “pink hat” fans, I would be willing to bet the account for a lot more revenue than more hard core fans).

Which raises the larger question: is trading Shields for Myers a good business move? Specifically, if you were an advertiser or other business considering entering into a long-term deal with the Rays, would you consider the bolstering of the farm system a sign that this was a team with a promising future? Or would you worry that by the time Myers was ready to be a star, the Rays would be again delaying gratification by trading David Price for prospects?

The Rays’ television contract is up for renewal in 2016. Given that there are three very big market teams in the AL East — three teams which can get much better very quickly if things break right due to their financial resources — is it really a good business move to “delay gratification” in a year when the AL East appears wide open.

Note: I think this is more or less the point Dave Cameron was making; I just elaborated on it. Hopefully some of you will find it worth further discussion.

Tim
Guest
Tim
3 years 7 months ago

The Rays should take a page from the Cubs’ old playbook and leverage their indoor stadium to have all afternoon games. Then the retirees will all be awake and nobody else will want to be working, or outdoors. If they turn up the AC and drop the upper deck ticket prices they’ll probably get a lot more attendance, too.

RMD
Guest
RMD
3 years 7 months ago

It’s clear in negotiations that Tampa would have to get a king’s ransom for Shields, considering it would weaken the major league roster and could possibly be a bad business move. A king’s ransom is clearly what was offered.

There’ll be some growing pains as Archer replaces Shields, but those growing pains are more than worth the ~35 WAR that Myers and Odorizzi will likely accumulate over the next 6 years. As the Yankees look to be held together by spit and the Red Sox are hedging their bets by spending for the sake of spending, now’s the time to marginally weaken your big league roster to gain real talent.

wobatus
Guest
wobatus
3 years 7 months ago

All the oldsters watching baseball on tv down in Florida are Mets, Yankee and Red Sox fans probably.

Tanned Tom
Guest
Tanned Tom
3 years 7 months ago

First the use of WAR is not helpful. It’s a bogus stat. So talk to us in real numbers, not Stathead-jizz.
Next, the Cabrera signing is a terrible move. This player has proven he is stupid, was traded by NY, let go by Atlanta, traded by KC. All 3 clubs got it wrong? His 2011 numbers show a hitter who’s walk rate was down, strike out rate was up, and HRs were up, yet his OBP was still only average. Without detailed analysis this looks like a player who is simply swinging more often early in the count. His career average numbers show a player who hits for decent average, but without much power, who’s OBP is run of the mill, and who does not possess great speed. Add to this his play in the field and reputation for being out of shape and how often he’s bounced around, and you have a so-what player. With legitmate producers like Upton, Choo, and Swisher available why bother with a juicer? Far from being a good move, it’s more like a big risk for Toronto. Not to mention the bad karma that comes from signing a known cheat.

Joe Morgan
Guest
Joe Morgan
3 years 7 months ago

Your thoughts are intriguing, and I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Billy
Guest
Billy
3 years 7 months ago

I’d like to see your proof that signing a known cheat has brought other teams what you call “bad karma” annnnnd go!

Randy
Guest
Randy
3 years 7 months ago

Regarding the Nats overpaying for Soriano:

It has been written here and elsewhere that teams close to winning championships can more easily justify paying for marginal upgrades. Signing Soriano alone could transform the Nats from just a playoff team to a World Series Champion (especially when you consider the addition of Span, hopeful maturity of Harper, and full season of Strasburg). They were minor moves independently, but all of their offseason moves addressed a need and improved the team.

Randy
Guest
Randy
3 years 7 months ago

Regarding the Tigers not being mentioned:

Jose Valverde was addition by subtraction. They no longer have a bloated guy with a bloated contract eating up precious innings at the end of games. I think an unintended consequence here is that you’ll see Old Smokey Leyland stop worrying so much about who is getting saves and instead who gives them the best chance to win in high leverage situations.

Hunter might seem like a modest upgrade, but when you consider who they had last year and the fact that he can now bat second in that lineup, it’s actually a significant upgrade even if Hunter declines. The defensive upgrade along is worth it for them.

Finally, re-signing Anibal Sanchez is huge. They have one of the best rotations in all of baseball and for the time being can go 6 deep. That surplus can be used for a trade or as injury replacement when Scherzer (who has a team friendly contract) has his arm fall off.

Harry
Guest
Harry
3 years 7 months ago

The Tigers still don’t have a closer though. Should have been in Soriano.

SF 55 for life
Member
SF 55 for life
3 years 7 months ago

rondon

Derb
Guest
Derb
3 years 7 months ago

I can see Rondon either falling flat on his face or taking the league by storm his rookie year. There won’t be middle ground.

Matt
Guest
Matt
3 years 7 months ago

So basically, the Miami Marlins are moving to Toronto?

Derb
Guest
Derb
3 years 7 months ago

Surprised no love for the Torii signing. Reasonable deal, and he fills a huge hole on the Tigers, both offensively and defensively.

As the poster two above me mentioned as well, Sanchez should be mentioned somewhere, though I can see his bloated contract keeping him out of the top 10.

JChang
Guest
JChang
3 years 7 months ago

It’s because they have the worst rated farm system and don’t laud sabermetrics. Not many here are smart enough to like the Tigers.

Dan Legg
Guest
Dan Legg
3 years 7 months ago

I thought the Yankees signing Travis Hafner would be ranked. Hes a great 5 tool player.

M R Hendrix
Guest
M R Hendrix
3 years 7 months ago

KC acquired 2 starting pitchers and didn’t lose anyone from their 40 man roster…I think I like this trade.

redsoxu571
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redsoxu571
3 years 7 months ago

I love that both sides of the Dickey/Mets trade were represented here. I’d like to see it end up as the newest edition of the Beckett-Lowell/Ramirez-others deal…win-win for both sides.

Jason
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Jason
3 years 7 months ago

I actually like the Escobar trade better than most on this list. The Rays gave up Dietrich for a guy that has put up almost 7 WAR in the last 2 years.

Sam Westbrook
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Sam Westbrook
3 years 7 months ago

I think the Blue Jays signing Melky and Jose Reyes were the best deals out of all of these.

Peter
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Peter
3 years 7 months ago

What, no Delmon Young on this list?

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