The 10 Best Transactions of the Winter

Roy Oswalt exlcuded, the off-season is basically over at this point. Sure, we might see a minor trade or two before spring training starts up, but teams have generally crossed most of the items off their winter shopping list, and today’s rosters will look pretty similar to the ones that most teams report to spring training with. So, now, it’s time to look back and evaluate the best and worst moves of the winter. We’ll start with the 10 best moves and tackle the worst tomorrow.

Transactions were judged on several criteria: Expected on-field performance, cost to acquire the player, and how important the transaction is in terms of affecting the team’s ability to contend either now or in the future. There were some good cheap contracts signed this winter that won’t really move the needle much for their teams, so even if they provide a better $/WAR return, they’re not viewed to be as important of a move as bringing in a good player who could really make a difference. On the other hand, teams who are rebuilding also made some good moves, so acquisitions that provide significant future value without tanking a team’s ability to compete in 2012 were also viewed in a positive light.

Overall, here are the 10 moves that I feel helped the organization improve their overall talent levels and put them in a better position to win either now or in the future.

Honorable Mentions: Angels Sign C.J. Wilson, A’s Acquire Seth Smith, Red Sox Acquire Andrew Bailey, Astros Acquire Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland, Cubs Acquire Anthony Rizzo, Rockies Acquire Marco Scutaro

#10 – Phillies Sign Jimmy Rollins for 3/$39M

The Phillies patience paid off, as they dared Rollins to hit the market as a 33-year-old whose value is primarily tied to his glove. Ruben Amaro correctly guessed that other GMs wouldn’t open their pocketbooks for that kind of player, and was able to talk Rollins off of his original five year demand when he realized how the market valued his skills. Even in his mid-30s, Rollins still has more than enough value to justify the $13 million per year price tag – especially for a team in full on win-now mode – and the three year length keeps the risk to a minimum.

#9 – Reds Sign Ryan Madson for 1/$8.5M

Likewise, the Reds patience also paid off, as they sat out the run on closers and let Madson fall in their laps. By being the only team left with a ninth inning role to offer him, the Reds were able to get an elite reliever on a one year deal, which is exactly the kind of contract you want to sign bullpen guys to. Along with their other acquisitions, Madson makes the Reds contenders in the NL Central, and they didn’t have to give up any talent or future payroll flexibility in order to get a shutdown closer.

#8 – Athletics Acquire Brad Peacock, Derek Norris, A.J. Cole, and Tom Milone for Gio Gonzalez

I’m going to have to disagree with my colleague Marc Hulet on this one, as I think the A’s did pretty well in trading away a good-but-not-great Super-Two starter for a package of prospects that should be able to help make the A’s better in the near future. Peacock and Milone could be members of the A’s rotation in 2012, and Norris isn’t far off from being able to step in at catcher, where his power and patience combo could make him the new Chris Iannetta. Cole is further away from the big leagues but also has the most upside, and getting four guys with potential big league futures in return for a starter with serious command problems who was no longer cheap was a nice move for the A’s.

#7 – Yankees Acquire Michael Pineda and Jose Campos for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi

While giving up Montero and Noesi represents a real cost to the franchise, the Yankees acquired the best young starter to change teams this winter, and they did it without putting a serious dent in their farm system. Getting five years of team control over Pineda gave them the flexibility to spend money upgrading other parts of their roster, and since Montero was likely to be a DH in New York, the downgrade from losing him to picking up a veteran to platoon with Andruw Jones isn’t all that significant. The Yankees got a lot better in a hurry, and while it cost them their best trade chip in the process, they made out better than other teams who had to pay higher prices to upgrade their rotations this winter.

#6 -Yankees Sign Hiroki Kuroda for 1/$10M

Remember how acquiring Pineda left the Yankees room to upgrade elsewhere? Meet elsewhere. Kuroda isn’t a spring chicken anymore, but his combination of strikes and ground balls have made him one of the game’s better starting pitchers since arriving in the U.S. With the rotation depth that they have, they don’t need to get 35 starts from Kuorda, so they can afford to deal with some nagging injuries or missed starts from time to time. Having another quality starter who can pound the zone and get hitters out from both sides of the plate will greatly increase their odds of going deep in the playoffs, and on a one year commitment, it’s hard to go wrong with a pitcher of this quality.

#5 – Nationals Sign Edwin Jackson for 1/$11M

Another beneficiary of being patient, the Nationals took advantage of the soft market for Jackson’s services and landed a +3 to +4 win pitcher for a fraction of what he should have cost. This deal would rate higher on a strict $/WAR scale, but given that the Nationals are probably still the fourth best team in the NL East and that it’s just a one year deal, this move might not end up actually changing the Nationals fortunes all that much. It’s definitely a deal worth doing, especially if Jackson learns to love the D.C. area and gives the team a discount to stick around for what looks like a pretty bright future.

#4 – Someone Signs Roy Oswalt For Something

Okay, so he hasn’t signed yet, but we have a pretty good idea of what he’s going to get when he eventually does decide where he wants to pitch – one year for somewhere between $6 and $10 million. His pickiness in geography has excluded a bunch of teams from being able to bring him aboard, but whichever team finally does figure out how to make him fit onto into their budget is going to be quite happy that they did. His velocity and performance at the end the season were vintage Oswalt, and while the back problems could return, the discount he’s taking this winter far outstretches the risks associated with bringing him on board. It’s still a little bit mind boggling that a guy who has been this good for this long is still a free agent a week before spring training begins. Someone is going to get a massive bargain, and be really happy they figured out how to squeeze him onto their roster.

#3 – San Diego Padres Acquire Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Edinson Volquez, and Brad Boxberger for Mat Latos

The Reds needed to make a deal like this, but I love this trade for the Padres. Alonso might not have star potential, but as a left-handed hitter with opposite field power, he should be able to hit well enough in Petco to be a useful piece, and there’s value in having six years of a cost controlled Wally Joyner hanging around. Grandal is the real key to this deal, though, as a switch-hitting catcher with power and patience who could easily be more valuable than Latos over the next six years by himself. Toss in a terrific buy-low arm in Edinson Volquez, who is a perfect fit for Petco, and a good young bullpen arm in Boxberger, and the Padres restocked their talent base in a hurry without drastically making their team worse for 2012. In fact, if Alonso and Volquez perform as expected, the team could actually be better than they would have been with Latos and some random first baseman. Toss in the long term value, and this deal was just a huge win for San Diego.

#2 – Marlins Sign Jose Reyes for 6/$106M

I know that a lot of people have reservations about Reyes’ health, and I’m on a bit of an island in loving this deal for the Marlins, but I don’t think that our ability to predict future health is anywhere near good enough to make a player of Reyes’ talents take this kind of discount. Reyes is a better player than Prince Fielder and signed for half of the total guaranteed money. Yes he’s had leg problems, but at this price, Reyes could miss a significant chunk of each season and still be worth the money. The guy is a legitimate +5 win player in the prime of his career, and he signed for just slightly more than the Carlos Lee price tag. The Marlins got a lot better this winter, and they did it primarily by bringing in one of the best shortstops in baseball at a price that makes sense for the organization.

#1 – Cardinals Sign Carlos Beltran for 2/$26M

Losing Albert Pujols hurts, but adding Beltran and shifting Lance Berkman back to first base will cushion the blow and help keep the Cardinals right in the thick of things in the NL Central. The combination of Beltran’s offense and the upgrade on defense by getting Berkman out of the outfield will allow the team to replace most of what Pujols gave them on the field last year, and the fact that it only required a two year deal to land a premium hitter to replace Pujols keeps the team in position to stay competitive for the long term as well. Like with Reyes and Oswalt, there are durability concerns, but the price tag is so low that Beltran could spend weeks on the DL and still easily earn his salary. The Cardinals could have had a disastrous off-season, but they smartly targeted Beltran after Pujols left for Los Angeles, and with the moves they made, the defending champs may even have a better team next year than they did in 2011.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Yirmiyahu
Member
4 years 5 months ago

So who gets bumped up to #10 once opening day rolls around and Oswalt still hasn’t signed?

Jesus Freak
Guest
Jesus Freak
4 years 5 months ago

Hello… Matt Moore!

Jesus Freak
Guest
Jesus Freak
4 years 5 months ago

Also the royals bringing back Yuniesky Betancourt

Shane
Guest
Shane
4 years 5 months ago

The Reyes signing is #2?

The oft-injured Reyes is a solid player but his 2010 season has “contract year” written all over it. Plus you pissed off the teams best player.

Yirmiyahu
Member
4 years 5 months ago

The team’s best player? Josh Johnson or Mike Stanton? What beef do they have with Reyes?

Undocorkscrew
Guest
Undocorkscrew
4 years 5 months ago

Johnson? Really?

JimNYC
Guest
JimNYC
4 years 5 months ago

I have to agree here; I thought the Marlins signing Reyes for that much guaranteed money was insanity. I’d put the over/under on number of games played by Reyes during the life of the 6 year contract at 600 — and completely aside from that, much of Reyes’ value is tied up in his speed and quickness, attributes that will start to fade almost immediately as soon as his hamstrings dissolve right after spring training.

I’d be SHOCKED if the Marlins manage to get more than 15 WAR out of Reyes over the life of the contract. For a team with ostensible budgetary constraints, this was an Alfonso Soriano level disaster of a contract.

Vegemitch
Member
Vegemitch
4 years 5 months ago

You do realize that Reyes has produced 22.1 WAR in his last 614 games. Even if he only plays 600 games in the next 6 years (an unliklihood) he would have to be 75% or less of the player that he has been which includes the nadir of his struggles in order to produce 15 WAR or less. Really, if the Marlins only get 600 games out of him in the next 6 years and he is a 5 WAR per 162 games player, then his production will fall slightly MORE than what he is getting paid.

MisterE
Guest
MisterE
4 years 5 months ago

Also germane to this discussion is the structure of the contract. This is the salary schedule by years:

12:$10M, 13:$10M, 14:$16M, 15:$22M, 16:$22M, 17:$22M, 18:$22M club option ($4M buyout)

Reyes will be 30 in June of 2013. When he’s 34, they’ll be paying a shortstop with chronic leg issues $22M.

To me, a Mets fan who was happy that Alderson let him walk, this contract looks foolish. But Loria might be in handcuffs when the SEC finishes their investigation, so, till then, eat, drink, and be merry, I guess.

Steve
Guest
Steve
4 years 5 months ago

Reyes will be 30 in June of 2013. When he’s 34, they’ll be paying a shortstop with chronic leg issues $22M.

Nah, they will pay him the 2 years at $10M, then trade him to the Red Sox once his salary goes up.

It’s called Delgado’ing

sc2gg
Guest
sc2gg
4 years 5 months ago

6 years of Sergio Santos for someone who might maybe possibly perhaps become a 3rd-5th starter doesn’t even get an honorable mention?

That being said, I mostly agree with you, but I’d put #3 ahead of #2, there’s less of a chance there that the four players all fail than just the one Reyes, who is just an injury away from making everything look bad. He’s a good deal, but.. one vs four in terms of chance, especially given the franchise situations, the Padres look like really smart bandits here.

Spike
Guest
Spike
4 years 5 months ago

I’d say that Molina has a higher impact ceiling if he remains a SP. Santos has a great contract but he’s still a 60 inning pitcher. Chances are good that it’ll end up as a solid value deal for TOR.

greenfrog
Guest
greenfrog
4 years 5 months ago

Santos has posted great numbers as a reliever, his stuff is impressive, the statistical trend is good, and he’s under contract at a reasonable rate for six years. He may or may not pan out, but he looks like a pretty darn good acquisition, potentially giving the Jays a good closer or setup man for the next half-decade. I would have included him on the list, at least as an honourable mention (he’s probably a more meaningful acquisition than Andrew Bailey, say).

johng
Guest
johng
4 years 5 months ago

Isn’t everybody just an injury away from making a contract look bad?

KDL
Guest
KDL
4 years 5 months ago

That’s like saying every player’s chance of injury is a coin flip, though. And it’s not. Cano or Weeks playing over 140 games…who ya got? Oswalt or Buerhle hitting the DL in 2012…who ya got?
Sure anyone *could* get hurt. Just like anyone *could* strike out Pujols in late inning high leverage situation. But you’re probably going to use common sense a little and say, “Wakefield could strike him out…but Bard gives us a better shot.”
More to the point. No. If you sign a player with a track record of being healthy, and some jackass replacement levels him on the basepath, breaking his leg…the contract doesn’t look bad. The contract doesn’t hurt any less going forward…but it doesn’t become a bad decision because some freak event occurred. Now if you sign JD Drew and he hits the DL during a pennant push…

Spike
Guest
Spike
4 years 5 months ago

“and they did it without putting a serious dent in their farm system.”

Not sure how trading a team’s #1 prospect isn’t a serious dent.

Tom B
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Tom B
4 years 5 months ago

They have a top3 offense in baseball with or without Montero. A pro-DH is a complete waste of a roster spot for the Yankees.

Spike
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Spike
4 years 5 months ago

if you start with the premise that elite bats are more difficult to come across than elite arms, then Monero should be more valuable and that doesn’t include the additional year of control.

I would argue further that the Yankees are due to regress a bit offensively due to age (Jeter, ARod), decrease in skills (Teixeira), normal regression (Granderson was unrepeatably out of his mind vs. LHP), and retirement (Posada). I think they will miss Montero’s bat way more than most think.

Moreover, with CC, Nova, Noesi, the kids who are close – Banuelos, Betances – and Kuroda, Garcia & AJB, the need for Pineda wasn’t so great for them. Not saying he won’t do well there, but I think Montero is a big loss.

KG
Guest
KG
4 years 5 months ago

just a nitpick – the premise is flawed – it’s generally thought that elite arms are harder to find than bats – that’s why good young pitching is so valued.

Spike
Guest
Spike
4 years 5 months ago

That may have been the case at one time, but it certainly has turned around in recent years.

Tom B
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Tom B
4 years 5 months ago

I don’t really accept that premise, so… oh well.

Pitching prospects are the coin of the realm, and now the Yankees have a pile of them. If they all work out then the extra parts can be moved for elite batting talent at a useful defensive position. Obviously they won’t all work out, but it will leave the Yankees with a young cost-controlled pitching staff and plenty of money to spend on the lineup.

What’s safer, spending $20mil a year on a pitcher or $20mil a year on a batter?)

jeffrey smith
Guest
jeffrey smith
4 years 5 months ago

The issue for the Yankees is that their fanbase demands that they contend every year. Waiting on prospects when you can get a Pineda today is unacceptable.

Steve
Guest
Steve
4 years 5 months ago

The issue for the Yankees is that their fanbase demands that they contend every year. Waiting on prospects when you can get a Pineda today is unacceptable.

The yankees traded 2 players for 2 players. The 2 players they recieved are younger than the 2 they gave up. They traded a guy with one month of MLB experience for a guy with 6 months or experience. Montero is completely ready for the bigs, the fans would not have to “wait” for him.

This comment, while I am sure you have dusted it off many times in the last 20 years, isn’t really relevant to this trade.

This was a challenge trade, not prospects for veteran.

Critical thinking is your friend.

Anon
Guest
Anon
4 years 5 months ago

the defending champs may even have a better team next year than they did in 2011

Considering the first half bullpen of 2011, it would be surprising if they didn’t. (Also helped by Furcal over Theriot and Wainwright pitching.)

johnorpheus
Guest
johnorpheus
4 years 5 months ago

If nothing else, the Cards will be infinitely more watchable this year with Theriot and his myriad of bone-headed plays at shortshop and on the base paths gone.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
4 years 5 months ago

Hell yes.

No Ryan Franklin, Tallent, and Trevor Miller also means that the 7th – 9th innings can be watched without breaking stuff.

Spike
Guest
Spike
4 years 5 months ago

I thought that bringing back Scott Hairston was a stroke of genius for the Mets or maybe that was just a Sandy Alderson stroke. I don’t remember which now…

Eric
Guest
Eric
4 years 5 months ago

I don’t think it’s Top 10, but the Jays acquiring a young, cost controlled Sergio Santos for a prospect who’s upside is thought to be either a back end starter or another Sergio Santos was pretty decent.

But I’m nitpicking, great list overall!

johng
Guest
johng
4 years 5 months ago

Actually, Nestor Molina’s upside is considerably higher than that, but it does make the trade sound worse to call him a back end starter. Why not just call him a total bust and go for total hyperbole?

Joe
Guest
Joe
4 years 5 months ago

:)

Also, wouldn’t Molina’s floor pretty much be Santos? (a high leverage relief arm with 6 years of team control).

If Sabean makes this deal I think a lot of folks view the trade differently and folks are saying a starter prospect for a bullpen arm?

Matt
Guest
Matt
4 years 5 months ago

How about the Scutero trade.

Tom
Guest
Tom
4 years 5 months ago

I was thinking this as well…. Scutaro for organization filler?

I think the trade was in the wrong direction for it to be considered good? (i.e the Rockies getting the good end of it and the Red Sox getting zero return for a reasonably priced middle infielder)

jim
Guest
jim
4 years 5 months ago

it’s under “honorable mentions”

TheGrandslamwich
Member
TheGrandslamwich
4 years 5 months ago

I was hoping for a “someone signs Manny Ramirez for something”.

harryddunn
Guest
harryddunn
4 years 5 months ago

It might not register as such right now, but I feel confident saying the Sean Marshall for Ronald Torreyes, Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt trade will go down as an absolute steal for the Cubs.

Spike
Guest
Spike
4 years 5 months ago

in what way? who are projecting big things for?

harryddunn
Guest
harryddunn
4 years 5 months ago

Torreyes, specifically, but it’s not hard to see all three being able to put up some 3-WAR seasons (though a little less so, for Sappelt).

What makes Torreyes so intriguing to me is how superlative his hitting skills are at this stage of his development.

He gets a lot of comparisons from scouts to Jose Altuve, but in the minors Altuve had a 10.6% K rate and .353 BABIP, while being two years older at each stop. Torreyes has achieved a 5.4% K rate and .375 BABIP so far. ISO has been virtually identical for both.

There’s not really a good precedent for a player being able to post such a miniscule K% while maintaining such a high BABIP, as Torreyes has done so far, all the while being one of the youngest players in his league.

pete2286
Member
pete2286
4 years 5 months ago

5 years of Travis Wood could easily be a lot more valuable to the Cubs than having Sean Marshall in 2012. The other two players can be complete busts who never reach the MLB level with Chicago and still have the trade work out very well.

SKob
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

Spike, I think you have repeatedly missed the point in this whole article. I skipped commenting on your ramblings further above, but your opinion on this is sadly mislead. One year of a setup man for a solid mid-rotation starter, a very nice prospect, and outfield depth. You need a ‘Top Prospect’ for Sean Marshall? Really? That’s almost as mind-numbingly dumb as saying that a DH should be valued far higher than an elite pitcher… oh wait…

Tim
Guest
Tim
4 years 5 months ago

because a playoff lock team that loses it’s 2nd best hitter and only protection for their masher going out and getting a LH monster cleanup hitter with a big OB% for their collection of 5-7 hitters is TOTALLY worse than teams signing old and/or injury prone SS to big deals…

#tigerhaterseverywhereinstatnerdland

suicide squeeze
Member
suicide squeeze
4 years 5 months ago

Yes, Prince was one of the best players signed this year. But there’s the whole issue of his ridiculous contract, which is what this article is about.

vivalajeter
Guest
vivalajeter
4 years 5 months ago

Tim, that’s a terribly written sentence.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
4 years 5 months ago

I gave him a “-” because I couldn’t even understand what he was saying.

The Dude
Member
The Dude
4 years 5 months ago

Good luck to your Tigers Tim. As pointed out, you might have misunderstood the article’s intent. I am glad you are excited about your team. Perhaps there is hating going on which has made you raw and trigger happy. I get that. I don’t think you will be as excited about this deal in a few years though….check back in around 2018ish, give or take.

the fume
Guest
the fume
4 years 5 months ago

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/miguel-cabreras-trade-value/

“However, straight up, given his estimated talent and large contract, Miguel Cabrera’s intrinsic trade value appears to be… nothing?”

McE
Guest
McE
4 years 5 months ago

Every time Cameron gets accused of hating the Tigers, I hear a piano playing.

Tiger’s Fan: “You despise me, don’t you?”
Dave Cameron: “If I gave you any thought I probably would.”

Ewaf
Guest
Ewaf
4 years 5 months ago

PLAYOFF LOCK?!?!?!?!?!?!

We won’t have to wait until 2018 to register your disappointment there.

Good luck buddy.

Steve Balboni
Guest
Steve Balboni
4 years 5 months ago

It’s odd to use a hypothetical $/WAR scale for this analysis. San Diego & NYY aren’t competing for the same players, they aren’t budgeting the same way and the metric that holds them equal seems goofy. Its like comparing deals at Wal Mart and Whole Foods. Instead of hand-fed, smug-validating chicken, the Yankees (and their ilk) pay for redundancy and compete for the top 3 guys available at each position. San Diego and their ilk don’t shop in that market, they want the cheapest frozen nuggets they can find. Shouldn’t they be judged on that basis?

[To be fair, your write up is sensitive to context and I’m ranting more about the generic mainstream Best OffSeason Moves features]

Ewaf
Guest
Ewaf
4 years 5 months ago

Smug-validating? Chortle. Handfed chicken indeed, so it would appear.

Jimmy jon
Guest
Jimmy jon
4 years 5 months ago

The Nationals are at least the third best team in the N.L. East. The marlins basically only added Reyes. The already had a decent closer, they just had to sign bell cuz Nunez is in trouble. And Mark Buerhle isn’t exactly a game changer. And then of course the Zambrano trade, IMO, thats pretty much a wash. Adding one Jose Reyes does not make the marlins all that better.

Ari Collins
Guest
Ari Collins
4 years 5 months ago

Bell and Buehrle might not have been huge moves like Reyes, but they still add a couple wins. And Reyes adds more.

Think I agree with your overall point, though. Nats are probably #3 on paper.

Barkey Walker
Guest
Barkey Walker
4 years 5 months ago

You have to add in that Strasburg and Zimmerman will likely have a lot more IP this year (though be unavailable for post-season play).

That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Marlins beat the Nats in head to head games in 2012. I remember a game last year where the Nats announcer said in the eighth, regarding the advertisement for the Marlins game, “This doesn’t feel like a fish fry.” At the time the Nats were down by 6 or more and he assumed nobody was listening.

B N
Guest
B N
4 years 5 months ago

“You have to add in that Strasburg and Zimmerman will likely have a lot more IP this year (though be unavailable for post-season play).”

I have a feeling that the Nationals will in general be unavailable for post-season play…

bri87
Guest
bri87
4 years 5 months ago

I’m surprided the Yankees and M’s were not both listed. the deal works well for both. its a rare win/win that reminds me of the hamilton deal between CIN and TEX a few years back, with both teams giving up a valuable piece that was potentially more valuable elsewhere.

GrittleTooth
Guest
GrittleTooth
4 years 5 months ago

Josh Hamilton has been exceedingly more valuable than Edison Volquez. The Reds would take that trade back 100 out of 100 times.

bri87
Guest
bri87
4 years 5 months ago

certainly they would take it back now, but at the time i believe it was looked at as a fair deal in terms of upside for each team.

Phalanx
Guest
Phalanx
4 years 5 months ago

“…the Nationals are probably still the fourth best team in the NL East..”

I don’t see how the Marlins, at 72-90 last year (I’m assuming you have the Mutts in 5th) can be expected to leapfrog the Nationals (80-81) in 2012. Yes, Reyes and Buerhle were great additions, and Heath Bell should be a solid closer. But the Nats are replacing Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis and (presumably) John Lannan in their rotation with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson. That is a MASSIVE upgrade.

Spike
Guest
Spike
4 years 5 months ago

Yep. Nats should be very good in 2012 as long as Stras is all the way back.

Vegemitch
Member
Vegemitch
4 years 5 months ago

Should we not also expect a healthy R. Zimmerman to give them at least 4 more wins over their 3b production last season? I would also expect J. Werth to improve, last year’s production is a floor, it’s possible he gives a 1-2 win improvement. Morse should regress some but the other younger players should balance that out and then some with their own progression.

I’m no Nats fan but I like this team on paper and it should be fun to watch. It looks to me like this team would only need a little luck to take the NL East. Now if they manage a trade with J. Lannan and P. Bourjos as the centerpieces, then they’d be the favorites!

Undocorkscrew
Guest
Undocorkscrew
4 years 5 months ago

That trade will never happen.

Joel
Guest
Joel
4 years 5 months ago

I would have the Reyes signing #1, but aside from that, a solid list.

I think non-moves should count, too. Like not re-signing Jonathan Papelbon.

Richie
Member
Richie
4 years 5 months ago

Lots of people, from analysts like Will Carroll to projecters like Szymborski (sp???) to veteran fantasy players, believe we can project future injury risks pretty well. Arguing with all those, I think you have some small obligation to explain yourself, Dave.

Odds are one of your top 2 picks blows totally up on the team(s) rather than returns surplus value.

Bookbook
Guest
Bookbook
4 years 5 months ago

Dan Sz does state that Zips is not a playing time projector. I’d definitely be curious to hear what Will Carroll has to say about Reyes’ future durability.

benk
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benk
4 years 5 months ago

Brandon Morrow extension?

Marver
Guest
Marver
4 years 5 months ago

Not a fan of the Wally Joyner comparison for Yonder Alonso. Wally had a very low K% at all levels always — 11.3% MiLB, 10.2% MLB — while Alonso’s minor league figure is 15.2% — higher than any individual season Wally ever had. Even Bill James’ optimistic 16.4% for him in 2012 is several percentage points higher than any season Wally put up.

I get the point — they’re both left-handed first-basemen with less-than-ideal power. But considering there’s about 50 pounds between the two and Wally is putting the ball in play in 5% more of his plate appearances, while not sacrificing power, Wally’s a pretty optimistic projection for Alonso.

Lyle Overbay is probably closer to the truth and while there’s value to Lyle Overbay, there’s nearly a 30 win difference between those two career paths.

Sammy
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

B. Chen: 2 Years, 9 Million.

Steve
Guest
Steve
4 years 5 months ago

Freddy Garcia 1 year, $4M > Chen for 2 years

Jesse
Guest
Jesse
4 years 5 months ago

Dave, while I think Reyes is pretty good for the price I have two complaints with your thinking.
One, just because first basemen are overpaid doesn’t mean reyes is a better deal. Yes they chose not to sign fielder, but you’ve got to look at reyes alone. (That being said, I’d bet they wish they could trade Cabrera for hanram! In fact the fate of the two former teammates is hilariously similar.)

Second, as others have pointed out, I just don’t see how they are winners now. We’re not even sure that they’re better than the nats, let alone the braves. The farm sucks and the fans have yet to show interest in coming. The big problem for them building a winning team is frankly getting johnson, hanram and reyes to all gel at the same time. 2/3 isn’t enough to overcome the braves and phillies.

I’d put reyes top ten signings, because he’ll live up to his value, and its a huge value. Still feel like he would have been a way better fit for someone like the red sox or the cardinals.

Angelsjunky
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Angelsjunky
4 years 5 months ago

Hmm. This is a highly dubious article, Dave. If you really want “the 10 moves that [you] feel helped the organization improve their overall talent levels and put them in a better position to win either now or in the future” how can you not include Albert Pujols? If we’re just going on this sentence alone, he certainly improved the Angels’ overall talent level and puts them in a better position to win, at least for the next 4-5 years. Mark Trumbo to Albert Pujols is a pretty big jump, probably a 4-6 WAR jump. Yeah, the money is huge but you make it vague to what degree that matters for the purpose of this article.

I’d also think that you’d give Iannetta at least an honorable mention, considering the jump in 2011 WAR values between Mathis (-1.0) and Iannetta (3.3), which is a whopping 4.3 WAR. Let’s say that Mathis is actually a -0.5 WAR player and Iannetta is actually a 2 WAR player, that’s still a +2.5 WAR different with one player upgrade.

todmod
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todmod
4 years 5 months ago

I think Pujols’ massive contract falls under cost to acquire the player. That’s key to any analysis.

Simply ranking the best players to change teams is a much less interesting exercise.

Angelsjunky
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Angelsjunky
4 years 5 months ago

I agree with your last sentence but read Dave Cameron’s criteria above: “Expected on-field performance, cost to acquire the player, and how important the transaction is in terms of affecting the team’s ability to contend either now or in the future.”

The cost is only one of three criteria he lists. Obviously $250 million is a big deal, but first let us consider how back-loaded it is, inflation, and the fact that Mr. Cameron himself said a few months ago–if only in chat (iirc)–that he’d pay 10/$250MM for Pujols, Now let’s look at the two other criteria: on-field performance (6 WAR would be very conservative; I think 7-8 WAR more likely) and how much Pujols affects the teams ability to contend now and in the future…well, I’d say you have a pretty potent transaction, and one that certainly helps the Angels’ “overall talent levels” and puts them in a “better position to win now and in the future.”

TheOneWhoKnocks
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TheOneWhoKnocks
4 years 5 months ago

I think the Reyes contract is reasonable, and WAR may be on his side, but I don’t agree whatsoever that Reyes is a better player than Prince Fielder. Part of what makes a player elite is his ability to be consistent and stay on the field, Reyes has trouble with both of those things.

I’d take the Pineda/Montero trade off the list(fair trade for both teams) and I’d take the Rollins contract off(rollins won’t live up to that deal at all). I’d replace them with the Wilson signing and Rizzo trade.

Vegemitch
Member
Vegemitch
4 years 5 months ago

Speaking as a Tigers fan, I do like P. Fielder and “going for it” when you have guys like Cabrera and Verlander in their prime but…. I’d like that team a lot better right now if they had signed Reyes and Beltran (even if it took more money) and slid Peralta back to 3b and either played Beltran in LF or moved Boesch there (as it is, any option Detroit has to play LF is a butcher). They’d be as good or slightly better on the field now and have a lot more flexibility with the wallet and on the field especially when VMart gets back.

I don’t get how “Rollins won’t live up to that deal at all”. All he needs to do is garner 7-7.5 WAR over 3 years, he’ll likely produce somwhere around 9-10.

Prashanth Francis
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

Dave, should I take this to mean that you don’t agree with the various projection systems’ love of Yu Darvish? Or perhaps you just thought it was too much money?

Phrozen
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Phrozen
4 years 5 months ago

#10 – Phillies Sign Jimmy Rollins for 3/$39M

#2 – Marlins Sign Jose Reyes for 6/$106M

Color me confused. Reyes is probably better than Rollins. But he’s not twice as good as Rollins. How does this ranking make sense?

Vegemitch
Member
Vegemitch
4 years 5 months ago

Actually, it’s not outside the realm of probability that Reyes will produce twice the WAR as Rollins in the next 3 years. Reyes is almost certainly worth more than twice as many WAR as Rollins on a per game basis.

Phrozen
Guest
Phrozen
4 years 5 months ago

I strongly disagree with your use of “almost certainly.” Reyes is almost certainly more valuable than Rollins. He’s not twice as valuable as Rollins, no matter how you look at it.

Vegemitch
Member
Vegemitch
4 years 5 months ago

Given that in 2011 Reyes produced a hair short of twice the WAR that Rollins put up on a per game basis, and that Rollins is likely to continue to decline over the next three years while Reyes’ production will probably hold steady, that would make Reyes twice as valuable as Rollins. Reyes may produce more than double the WAR that Rollins does over the time of Rollins’ contract. How is that not twice as valuable? Especially “no matter how you look at it”?

Phrozen
Guest
Phrozen
4 years 5 months ago

Using Baseball-Ref, Reyes’ 2011 was 5.8WAR, compared to Rollins’ 3.7. In any case, that’s only one season. Look at 2010, when Rollins put up nearly as much WAR as Reyes in only a half season.

Yeah, Reyes “may” produce double or more the WAR as Rollins over the next three years. He may not. You can’t call that “almost certainly.”

Andrew
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Andrew
4 years 5 months ago

What about locking up Matt Moore for 5 years for a measly 14 Mi??

jim
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jim
4 years 5 months ago

2 major league starts

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
4 years 5 months ago

2 major league starts, insane stuff, number 1 pitching prospect, arguably number 1 overall prospect. The risk/reward of the deal should easily make it top 10. The risk/reward of the Reyes deal is probably worse. At best, he’s an all star 5 WAR for the next three years, at worst (and in my opinion, likely) he spends a lot of time on the DL the next few years, the years he’s healthy, if he’s ever healthy, he’ll be in his mid 30s and a shell of his former self.

Tyler
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Tyler
4 years 5 months ago

Yea Dave clearly forgot about the Moore extensions

BlackOps
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BlackOps
4 years 5 months ago

Woo I’m glad the top two on the list produced a champtionship for the Mets, that makes me feel a lot better about losing them.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 5 months ago

I’m real sorry, the Reyes deal isn’t good. He’s going to be often injured and fall of an ability cliff. he’s already 28.

I know it’s not an acquisition, but how about the Rays extending Matt Moore? If the Phillies resiging old ass declining Rollins is in there, surely the Rays locking up Moore to what could be a “Evan Longoria deal for pitchers” has to be on there.

Phrozen
Guest
Phrozen
4 years 5 months ago

Matt Moore’s contract should absolutely be on the list.

SecondHandStore
Member
SecondHandStore
4 years 5 months ago

I’m just curious where you put the Brewers signing Aramis Ramirez to take over at 3B, replacing a defensive and offensive liability in Casey McGehee? I only ask because I could make all the same arguments to describe his value, that were used to explain why Caros Beltran is the #1 Best Transaction of the Winter. Cardinals fan?

Matty Brown
Member
Member
Matty Brown
4 years 5 months ago

I was so scared you were going to put the Mariners trading for Montero as the #1 and every FanGraphs Troll would flock to the comments to write #6 Org, haha

themightygin
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themightygin
4 years 5 months ago

Do front office moves count? Because replacing Jim Hendry with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer has to be #1.

And you whiffed bad on the shortstops. The Marlins will have serious clubhouse issues and the Phils are starting to look old as Washington and Atlanta look younger and better.

Talented Imports Inc
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Talented Imports Inc
4 years 5 months ago

Yu forgot to mention someone?

pr0ject2501
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

Mark Buehrle #1
Matt Kemp, honorable mention

yojimbo
Guest
yojimbo
4 years 5 months ago

Semi-surprised the cubs acquiring Rizzo isn’t on this list. It’s not a move that immediately will pay off but it seems to have a higher return on value than the A’s and/or Padres giving up top SP’s for a trove of guys. Cashner hadn’t lived up to his potential and had injury issues and apparently now will be a reliever for arguably the largest piece in the trade for Adrian Gonzo the previous season. Seems like a case of the Cubs getting a great value on a regime change in SD for a player both Hoyer and Theo love.

Trying to remain objective here but as a fan I honestly love the moves the Cubs made this offseason. I don’t think they will be a contender the next 2 years but 3 years from now they could be very interesting if they continue to make moves as well as they have….. now if only they could get rid of Soriano’s huge contract…. maybe at the deadline someone will get desperate and willing to eat it.

Daryl
Guest
Daryl
4 years 5 months ago

As a fallback plan, Oswalt should consider the M’s. He can pretty much guarantee he’ll be playing for a contender after the trade deadline.

The M’s might consider over-paying for this.

Daryl
Guest
Daryl
4 years 5 months ago

Wouldn’t over-paying a contract by $5 mil be worth grabbing the next Smoak? (even if you didn’t pass on the cost to the trade partner)

LoewenBird
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

The very first post should have an addendum:
Who gets bumped in when Oswalt doesn’t sign by opening day, and who gets bumped OUT when YU dominates on opening day?
#WorldChampionGers2012

Mike
Guest
Mike
4 years 5 months ago

As mentioned numerous times, Moore’s deal should be on the list, if not at the very top. A true number 1 starter getting paid $3.1 and $5.1 during his prime years (2015-2016), and friendly club options for 3 more prime years on top of that is insane. Even if he doesn’t reach his potential, 5 years/$14 million is a good price for an above average major league starter, and absent injury does anyone really think Moore won’t at least be that? Considering the Rays probably have insurance to cover some of their loss in case of major injury, what a win-win for both sides. If he is smart, which hopefully he is, Matt is set financially for life and can focus on baseball. If he does that and the Rays keep him healthy (and their track record on that is pretty good) the Rays will have an absolute bargain in their rotation for the next eight years.

Also, adding Pena’s 30 home runs and high obp for 1 year, $7.25 seems like it should have at least received a mention.

Ken
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

People look at the Fielder contract in somewhat of a vacuum, while the Adrian Gonzalez deal looks excellent. BUT consider what it takes to acquire a Gonzalez, a Cabrera, via trade. Boston gave up 3 young players. I have seen Rizzo’s war estimated at 6 for the next 5 years, let’s guess that because of the risk involved Kelly may only be a war of 2, and Fuentes a 1. That’s 9 war, a value of $45m+ with inflation bringing it closer to $50m over 5 years. Add that to Adrian’s team-friendly deal $154m+50m brings that to 7 years, 205million. So Fielder’s contract is only 2 years, 14m more than that! Imagine if Fielder is still providing .250/.350 at age 35, with 25hr/80rbi that’s 7 million fairly spent 8 years from now when guys Bryce Harper are signing on with the Yankees at 10 years/$350m.

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