The 10 Worst Transactions of the Off-Season

Last week, I presented my list of the 10 best transactions of the off-season. Of course, if there’s a best, there also has to be a worst, so today, we look at the flip side of the winter maneuvers. I will note, however, that this list was harder to put together than last week’s version, as MLB teams are getting smarter and there simply aren’t as many total head-scratching moves made anymore. No one’s giving out Gary Matthews Jr or Barry Zito contracts these days. The biggest potential landmine of the winter was paying Kyle Lohse as if his ERA represented his actual talent level, and every team in baseball decided to pass on that kind of signing. So, while I don’t love most of the moves below, several of them are more defensible than moves in previous off-seasons. The worst moves aren’t as bad as bad as they used to be.

Without further ado, on to the list.

10. The Royals acquire Ervin Santana.

The Royals got out in front of the off-season, picking up Santana from the Angels on October 31st to ensure that they could get a durable pitcher with some bounce-back potential before the market exploded. The only problem is that the market for back-end starters didn’t explode. Other starting pitchers of similar value who did sign free agent contracts: Joe Blanton (2/15), Brett Myers (1/7), and Joe Saunders (1/7). Innings-eaters weren’t going for a premium this year, and if the Royals had waited, they could have gotten involved on the bidding for a better pitcher like Brandon McCarthy instead. By focusing on quantity of innings and cost certainty, they ended up paying far more than they needed to in order to acquire a guy whose main calling card is durability.

9. The Twins trade Denard Span for Alex Meyer.

This trade ranked as my favorite off-season move from Washington’s perspective, and I’ll reiterate what I said about the trade last week: +3 win outfielders under team control for three seasons at a total of $21 million are worth far more than one low-level pitching prospect. If this was the market for Span, then the Twins simply should have kept him, allowed him to continue to show that he’s over his concussion issues, and marketed him as trade bait at mid-season, when contenders pay marked up prices to get talent for the stretch run. Meyer might turn into something special, so it’s not like this deal couldn’t work out for Minnesota, but Span wasn’t so expensive that the Twins couldn’t keep him, nor was he reaching a point in his career where he ceased to be useful to a rebuilding team. The fact that the Twins kept Josh Willingham, the oldest of their three outfielders, and shipped out the two younger center field options makes the decision even more curious.

8. The Royals sign Jeremy Guthrie for 3/$25M.

All the things I said about the Ervin Santana acquisition apply here as well. I understand that Guthrie pitched well for the Royals after they picked him up from Colorado for a song, but his track record shows a pitcher in decline, and his success has hinged on an inconsistent ability to prevent hits on balls in play. Even if we grant that he’s likely better at hit prevention than an average pitcher, the rest of his game is still trending the wrong direction, and he projects out as a #5 starter over the next three years. #5 starters simply don’t require three year contracts. Even worse, the deal was backloaded into the future, as the team tried to fit Guthrie in under their payroll limit, so he’ll get paid the most when he’s likely a replacement level scrub in 2015. Had they not overpaid Santana, backloading probably wouldn’t have been necessary.

7. The Dodgers sign Brandon League for 3/$23M.

The Dodgers have a lot of money. They’ve repeatedly shown that they’re not working against a tight budget constraint, so signing League didn’t cause them to have to avoid signing a better player at another position. However, throwing $23 million at League still looks awfully silly, given that the market for relief pitchers never really took off either; the only reliever to get more guaranteed dollars this winter was Rafael Soriano. Mike Adams signed for half of what League got in total dollars. Jason Grilli and Joel Peralta will make in two years what League will make in one. Koji Uehara signed for $4 million. Brandon Lyon signed for less than $1 million. There was just no need to give Brandon League a three year contract, whether the Dodgers can afford to absorb mistakes like that or not.

6. The Twins sign Kevin Correia for 2/$10M.

There is a place in baseball for a pitcher like Kevin Correia. He throws strikes, gets some ground balls, and can be reasonably relied on for 150 not-completely-horrible innings. However, that place is as a #5 or #6 starter on a team that needs rotation depth to ensure that some young kid doesn’t pitch them out of the playoffs. For a rebuilding team with no real hope of contention in 2013, Correia offers little of value. He’s taking the rotation spot that could have been given to another pitcher with actual upside, who might turn into someone the team could get value from long term, and worse, because they gave him a two year deal, he’s now taking up payroll space that could have been spent on a legitimate upgrade at another position in 2014. Why the Twins let Scott Baker go, only to replace him with Correia at a higher price, is one of the mysteries of the winter.

5. The Diamondbacks trade Chris Young for Cliff Pennington and Heath Bell.

The Diamondbacks clearly wanted to change their culture, and had no interest in bringing Young back to Arizona for the final year of his contract. Cliff Pennington is actually a decent role player, and acquiring him in the process gives them some needed infield depth. However, this trade is still just silly. Whether they liked his personality or not, Young is still a above average center fielder who can destroy left-handed pitching and hold his own against righties, and turning that into a utility infielder and an overpaid setup man is just simply a downgrade in talent. It’d be one thing if they had turned Young into Pennington and then used the cost savings to make a real upgrade elsewhere, but Bell’s salary basically offsets the savings, and then they replaced Young in the outfield with a worse version of the same skillset, as seen in the next move on our list.

4. The Diamondbacks sign Cody Ross for 3/$26M.

Like Young, Ross has a large career platoon split, doing most of his damage against left-handed pitchers. Unlike Young, Ross can’t also play center field, and instead of having a lefty mashing outfielder under contract for one year, they had to give Ross three to sign as a free agent. Meanwhile, the similar skilled Scott Hairston got $5 million total over two years from the Cubs. There’s a reason Cody Ross had to settle for $3 million on a one year deal from the Red Sox last winter; he’s just nothing special, and that the D’Backs shipped out Young in order to make room for the opportunity to overpay Cody Ross just confounds all the more.

3. The Mariners trade John Jaso for Michael Morse.

The Mariners badly wanted to improve their offense this winter. Considering how problematic run scoring has been for them the last few years, that was a noble goal. Here’s the problem, though: this trade very well might make the offense worse, while also downgrading the defense at the same time. While John Jaso is coming off a career year that he likely won’t repeat, he has a career 116 wRC+ in over 1,000 big league plate appearances, making him the best hitter the Mariners had in the organization, and one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. However, the Mariners don’t like his defense behind the plate and he doesn’t have the power of a typical DH, so the organization simply didn’t value him very highly, and shipped him out for a 1B/DH that they’re going to let wander around left field. The catcher defense argument begins to fall apart when you realize that trading Jaso means that Jesus Montero is now the team’s starting catcher, and that the position opened up by not DHing Montero anymore will be filled by giving Justin Smoak another shot as a full-time first baseman. Shipping out Jaso to create a job for Justin Smoak offsets the offensive gain Morse might provide, and the realignment crushes the defense in the process. Oh, and Morse is a free agent at the end of the season, while Jaso had three years of team control remaining.

2. The Royals trade Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard for James Shields and Wade Davis.

James Shields is a good pitcher. Wade Davis might be a good pitcher, maybe. Both are signed to below market contracts, though Davis’ isn’t so team friendly if the conversion back to the rotation doesn’t work. However, the price the Royals paid to acquire these two starters was simply too high. Myers should have been the Royals starting right fielder, but by losing him in the process of acquiring pitching upgrades, the team has to give a replacement level scrub a full time job again. And, unfortunately for Kansas City, this kind of future-value-for-present-value swap seems unlikely to pay off, as there’s still a vast gulf between the Tigers and the Royals in the race for the AL Central title. If everything breaks right, the Royals might have a shot at one of the two wild card spots, but even that seems like a longshot, given how many AL teams are pushing their chips into the pile this year. This trade significantly devalues the Royals future, all for the reward of making them the eighth or ninth best team in the AL this year. There’s a time to punt the future and go all-in. The Royals weren’t there yet. This trade makes it less likely that they’ll be there any time soon.

1. The Marlins blow up their team again.

You can make an argument for the moves the Marlins made this winter. Eno Sarris already did, actually. They shipped out a lot of talent and a lot of payroll, and if you believe that they’re going to be able to reinvest the funds freed up by losing the contracts of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, et al, then the Marlins might actually be better off long term with a glut of young players and a bunch of payroll flexibility. The problem, of course, is that payroll flexibility is only useful if it leads to players signing with your team. Given that the Marlins just gave the entire city of Miami the middle finger one year after their new stadium opened, and that they’ve angered their franchise player in the process, there’s no reason to think that premium free agents are going to be lining up to sign with the Marlins while Jeffrey Loria still owns the franchise. Their free agent haul this winter? Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco, and Chone Figgins. These are the kinds of players who will take Miami’s money. Instead of expecting the team to reinvest their savings into the product, we should expect the Marlins to do what the Marlins have done for most of Loria’s ownership; line the pockets of ownership with large profits while putting a bad baseball team on the field.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


208 Responses to “The 10 Worst Transactions of the Off-Season”

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  1. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    “The biggest potential landmine of the winter was paying Kyle Lohse as if his ERA represented his actual talent level”

    Crowdsourcing had predicted multiple years and millions for Delmon Young.

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  2. jesse says:

    Royals 3, Twins 2, Dayton Moore wins the game vs all comers!

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      Imagine the trades and signings that would ensue if Jeffrey Loria made Dayton Moore his GM.

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      • Radivel says:

        With “Special Assistant to the GM: Omar Minaya”

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      • Adam says:

        It seems obvious that Moore is being given a “win or you’re gone” deal but the Royals simply can’t afford to make these kinds of deals. Maybe upgrading their pitching gets them to .500 maybe even a little over but that’s the best I can see and then what? All of these deals were bad but the Guthrie signing is an absolute abomination.
        I know KC isn’t a destination city in a lot of free agents minds but how do you give him that deal? You can’t convince me there were other offers even close to that from other teams giving him leverage.
        Santana is a risk but has been good in the past and could have a bounce back year. Too much for Shields and Davis but they both have talent. Guthrie? There isn’t any thing in his past to garner that contract. Every baseball player in America should be on the phone to Jeremy Guthrie’s agent because that guy must be incredible. Hypnosis? Voodoo? Deal with the devil? What ever he’s doing it’s working.

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        • Baltar says:

          I basically agree with Dave’s ratings, but I think he is too hard on KC. As you said, Moore has probably been given a win or else ultimatum. He has built a roster that gives an (admittedly invalid) ZiPS projection of 83 wins by adding 45 for replacement to Zym’s rounded total for the depth chart. With luck, in a weak division, that could become enough wins for a playoff slot.
          Yes, I think the trades and signings are bad for the team in the long run and better ones certainly could have been made. Nevertheless, Moore has improved the talent and may satisfy his probable ultimatum.

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    • rustydude says:

      Diamondbacks 2, too.

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  3. dlinde says:

    Trevor Bauer’s like “wait, where’s my name at?”

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      ZIPS projects Didi Gregorius as a league average shortstop right now. I know everyone likes Trevor Bauer more than I do, but that trade simply wasn’t that bad.

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      • MLB Rainmaker says:

        Really, that’s where you’re going with this — Gregorius is league average? Bauer’s 22, got 180 career IP and made it to the show in his second pro season and you’re happy taking a league average SS in return. That is silly.

        I can’t see why you wouldn’t give him a year at AAA to get it together first. Its not like you’re not going to be able to get a SS back for him in a year

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        • chuckb says:

          What’s silly is the fact that you’re pontificating about Bauer’s youth and then state that Gregorius, in his rookie season, is only “a league average SS.”

          A league average SS as a rookie isn’t likely to stay just a league average SS so you ought to consider his upside just as you’re so sanguine on Bauer’s.

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        • MLB Rainmaker says:

          Chuckb — I agree, but thats not the argument DC made. He didn’t offer what Didi’s prospect file looks like vs. Bauer, just that ARI gets a league average SS.

          In terms of projecting players, just using Keith Law’s 2012 list, Bauer is #21, Gregorius isn’t on the list.

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      • Forrest Gumption says:

        Well seeing as Gregorius is now having elbow problems because AZ never asked for a physical, this really shows the intelligence level of Towers and his team right now…

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    • kid says:

      Not 100% sold on Bauer. His BB% tendencies are pretty scary.

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      • Forrest Gumption says:

        You need to take Bauer’s numbers with a grain of salt though, the way AZ handled him was really bad for his career. If the Tribe just lets him be, which Francona is very good at, then he will hit his ceiling.

        I think he’s really a player to watch this year, if he goes back to his original mechanics and conditioning routine, there’s a big chance he will be ace-quality.

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        • Bip says:

          Wasn’t Bauer’s routine all anyone was talking about when he was drafted, and how teams who didn’t agree with his routine might be discouraged? So did the Dbacks really go out and draft the guy with the weird routine with the intention of changing his routine?

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        • Chris88 says:

          > If the Tribe just lets him be, which Francona is very good at, then he will hit his ceiling.

          What does that even mean? How is that supposed to reassure me about Bauers command issues?

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        • kid says:

          In the 171.4 combined innings Bauer has logged since he was drafted, he has issued 86 walks. It’s highly unlikely that those numbers are the result of some ethic or practice that the D’Backs were imposing on Bauer. It’s much more likely that the predictions of scouts – who unilaterally said that Bauer wouldn’t be able to survive in the bigs w/o learning how to throw more strikes – came to fruition. Keith Law repeatedly stated as much in his observations of Bauer.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        He never changed his mechanics or his conditioning routine. As they had promised to do, the DBacks let him do that. The issues were that he continued to add more and more to his routine and he refused to listen to suggestions about how he should attack hitters.

        I’m far from sold on Bauer being nearly as good as the FG “consensus” seems to think he will be. He really needs to adjust how he attacks hitters. MLB players aren’t going to chase fastballs at eye level or curves in the dirt like college and minor league hitters did. They are much better at distinguishing between curve and fastball quickly. This is a lesson that Bauer did not seem to want to learn.

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        • FLWillliams says:

          Here’s the deal. Bauer’s a very smart character. He’ll spout off about a lot of stuff beyond baseball. He is not a blue collar worker type but, his routine smacks of a massive learned behavior that stems from his early college days. The long toss stuff is just one part of it. He uses a complex analysis of all of his shoulder and arm muscles. He talks about it almost like a kinesiolgy Phd. And that’s what drove the Dback scouts nuts. They couldn’t reach him and get through Bauer’s purposely built block wall. If Bauer loses or doesn’t have his control in a game, look out. He’ll get shelled from all the walks and line drives. (He’s really quick with excuses when this happens.) But, if he’s on, he’ll be on for weeks and weeks. This all adds up to a giant headache for a field manager and his pitching coach… trying to manage an unmanageable person.

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  4. Dan says:

    I don’t know why this move has been so universally panned. Here are three reasons why I think this was good for Seattle:

    1. Montero is only the starting catcher in Seattle until Zunino steps in, which could be as early as this year. Jaso has no long-term position on this team. He had to be traded eventually; Morse seems like a good-enough return.

    2. Opening up room for Smoak is not necessarily a bad thing. After posting a .338/.414/.584 line in September he has earned one more shot to put it together, especially on a team that is not expected to compete.

    3. Morse is a flawed player, but power is the rarest commodity in the game. If Morse can slug > .500 as he did in 2010 and 2011, that’s valuable either to the Mariners or to a new acquiring team.

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    • Forrest Gumption says:

      1. No, Morse is not a “good enough” return if it means he’s playing LF, where he will be terrible. The team is simply better with Jaso in the lineup at C/DH than it is with Morse in LF. If they trade Smoak to Baltimore like was rumored it looks a bit better, but still the signings of Bay & Ibanez were beyond pointless. Jaso was arguably the best hitting catcher in the AL last year (he led the AL in RC+), you don’t trade that for a plodding 1B/DH with bad OBP skills (especially when you already have a bunch of those). Jaso should have been held onto until Zunino was ready, they could have gotten a much better return.

      2. September slash lines gained from expanded roster callups and beating down AAAA scrubs isn’t going to be an accurate idea of how good a player is.

      3. Do you think Mike Jacobs is a good baseball player? He isn’t. But he has power. Your idea of “rarity” doesn’t overshadow that John Jaso had a RC+ of 143 last year out of the C spot, which borders on being a worthwhile tradeoff for horrific defense, let alone “kinda bad”.

      That deal was beyond terrible for Seattle, you don’t trade the best hitting catcher in the league for something you already have, that isn’t that great to begin with. Seattle simply downgraded for no reason with that trade.

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      • Will says:

        To start off, Jaso is never, ever “the best hitting catcher in the league.” That award is unequivocally Joe Mauer’s.

        That’s because Jaso is a platoon creation. He only played against RH pitchers, which caused his stats to overstate his real talent. Fortunately for Jaso, he only had 42 PA against lefties, against whom he sported a miserable .393 OPS. Never before had he been used almost exclusively against RHPs, which explains why his offense has never before been so good. (As an aside, if Mauer were also only used against RHPs, he’d have put up a .336/.428/.490 slash last year)

        Jaso is useful to platoon, but you simply cannot expect him to ever be an everyday player and expect him to replicate his 2012 stats.

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        • Joe Mauer's mom says:

          Jaso is never, ever “the best hitting catcher in the league.” That award is unequivocally Joe Mauer’s Buster Posey’s.

          Fixed that sentence for you.

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        • TheGrandslamwich says:

          Righthanders throw around 70-75% of innings pitched. A player who can destroy right handed pitching has significant value, even if it is just a platoon situation. 3 years of that is worth much more than 1 year of a low OBP no-position slugger, especially when a team already has plenty of those to begin with.

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        • David B says:

          Jaso was such a terrific hitting catcher that the Mariners, with few better options (Montero? Olivo?), only played him 43 games there (39 starts). This is mainly because his defense, at best, left a lot to be desired and, at worst, was lazy and ineffective.

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        • Breadbaker says:

          Jaso only played that many games because Eric Wedge essentially ignored his existence until June and then dragged out the corpse of Miguel “And the Pitch Gets By” Olivo most days anyway. By the end of the season, he was clearly the M’s best hitter. One might say their only one.

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        • Forrest Gumption says:

          Hey, Jaso led AL catchers in RC+ last year. That means he was the best hitting catcher in the league (AL). Don’t argue with me, argue with numbers. Also, seeing as ZERO catchers player every day, aren’t they all platoons to some extent?

          And Mauer isn’t even a C anymore. Your argument = bunked.

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        • Forrest Gumption says:

          I also EXPLICITLY wrote “ARGUABLY the best hitting catcher in the league” due to these myriad of stats that show him at the top, so, how about you get some reading comprehension skills instead of making up lies?

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        • TwinsfanTravis says:

          “And Mauer isn’t even a C anymore. Your argument = bunked.”

          Mauer played 30 more games at catcher than Jaso did! What are you talking about, man!?

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        • TwinsfanTravis says:

          And Mauer had as good or better stats across the board compared to Jaso. The only leg you are standing on is wRC+ which is the only stat Jaso wins in. Yeah, Jaso had 143, but Mauer had 140 while having a far superior triple slash line while facing both lefties and righties. How can a player the “best hitting” when he doesn’t even face a segment of pitchers because he sucks so bad against them?

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    • jim says:

      “player X hit .3/.4/.5 in september last year! he deserves a shot!”

      when will this stop?

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      • Forrest Gumption says:

        “Every hitter ever had their best month in September against some pitchers who had no business being there! That means the hitter is going to be great everyday player!”

        Ugh, make it stop make it stop…

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        • Ben says:

          A lot of people probably said Jose Bautista had a fluke September in ’09 too. Not always a fluke, even if it usually is.

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        • wobatus says:

          Smoak’s extra base hits in September-October were all against opponents in playoff contention playing meaningful games, other than a double October 2 against Haren.

          HRs were against Zack Greinke, Matt Harrison, CJ Wilson, Scott Downs and Tanner Scheppers. Yes, Scheppers was a call-up, but he throws 96 mph and had an 8.35 to 2.51 k/bb and only allowed 2 homers. Plus it was nice to see 3 homers against lefties in there.

          He had doubles against Wei-Yin Chen, Garrett Richards, Harrison again, Haren and Martin Perez. OK, not murderer’s row, but not exactly a bunch of no-name call-ups. Perez was the worst of the bunch.

          It’s not like he was feasting on AAAA pitching in meaningless games.

          All that said, it is of course a tiny sample and measured against a career of suck thus far, but it encouraging it is after being sent down and working on his swing.

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        • David B says:

          The big reason why this may not be a September fluke is that Smoak made actual changes to his hitting approach in the minors proceeding September, and then showed success with these changes once he returned to the majors.

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      • the tourist says:

        When considering that the player in question had just spent a considerable amount of time in the minor leagues changing his swing, the answer is never.

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        • Basebull says:

          Yeah I’m not naive about Smoak – if I’m betting on something, it’s him being Matt LaPorta. But considering the success came after a big overhaul of his swing it’s worth giving him another six weeks to show something.

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    • sarpar says:

      Something not being discussed here is Montero being linked to the Florida PED lab. If he gets suspended the Mariners will be forced to start Shoppach, or Paulino, to cover the 50 games instead of Jaso.

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      • diderot says:

        The reason it’s not being discussed is because it makes no sense.
        You’re proposing a 50 game suspension because someone wrote his name on a piece of paper?
        Wouldn’t you want to hear at least a hint that he’d failed any kind of drug test?

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      • AJ says:

        Two words: Mike Zunino.

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    • Balthazar says:

      The Jaso-out, Morse-in carousel is legitimately awful (though I agree not as bad as Dave C.s #s 1 and 2), but we don’t really have all the story on it so it’s hard to assess. The Ms front office/ownership has been trying to get rid of John Jaso since July 2012, when we find he was first rumored available in a deal. Jaso’s name was in several other swaps before this that didn’t come off. I don’t think we know why the FO hated him, but it seems very, very clear they wanted him gone. Maybe he bonked an exec’s girlfriend in spring training, who knows. I don’t buy the ‘defense’ issue, Jaso is better than Montero, and frankly no worse than Olivo (a truly horrible catcher) who was the manager’s darling. ‘Effort?’ From what I saw, Jaso played hard, and he crushed the ball when he hit; what more do you want? I saw plenty of rookies/young guys putting out questionable effort whose place in the lineup saw few challenges, so why Jaso? I don’t buy the platoon issue, Jaso crushed righties at a rate a competent team _wants to keep a player around for_. As mentioned righties are two-thirds of the pitcher’s out there. Giving up three years of team control of a guy who kills from one side is something between silly or nincompoopish. Montero, for instance kills lefties, so a Jaso-Montero platoon would have been ideal from the hitting standpoint for 2013, after which Zunino forces the issue and _then_ somebody gets dealth. Defense is ‘such a big issue’ that we’re looking at MIKE MORSE and RAUL IBANEZ getting defenseve innings, so case closed on that. It just seems clear that the Ms were bound and determined to get rid of Jaso for reasons never stated. So in that sense, the deal strikes me as a forced one.

      I detest the Morse acquisition. Morse is historically a terrible LFer, and practically as bad at 1B. Morse can’t stay healthy. Morse is represented by the same agents of _all the guys just outed for PEDs_ in Florida, is himself a long-time suspect and past proven juicer, and practically the most suspect player in the game. Supposing he doesn’t get busted (in any of the senses meant), his only attribute is ‘power,’ and he’s a free agent after this season. He’s a terrible ‘get’ in short, but then it doesn’t seem to matter to the FO what they got for Jaso, so a giant corndog gradually going stale doesn’t seem to strike them as bad. The point was Jaso going, not who came. In Jack Z’s defense, Mores was clearly NOT who he wanted to get, but in the end all he could get. The team tried on Hamilton, Stanton, and Upton, and pretty much gave up and took Morse.

      As far as the roster configuration which results, I couldn’t care less about Justin Smoak. I place no credence in September streaks, and it’s a sour joke that anyone does still. Smoak has had hot months before, followed by many, many infeffective ones. We have a lot of data which says Smoak can’t hit major league pitching reliably. But all this fails to account for what really was the only _good_ deal of the Mariners’ offseason, the acquisition of Kendrys Morales. Morales is vastly better than Smoak in any respect, fielding, contact, and especially power. Morales’ August and September blow away Smoak’s by a mile, and are more consistent with Morales’ career. In a rational world, Morales is the Ms’ 1Bman, Morse is *ugh* DHing, Ibanez plays left, Montero-Shoppach catch, Smoak ‘works on his swing’ in Tacoma waiting for the inevitable injuries with that group, and the fans cover their eyes in the defensive innings. Morse, Ibanez, and Morales all only have one year of team control, so who knows what happens going into next offseason? All of this looks like a fall-back-and-punt approach rather than a plan. If there’s a ray of light the Ms didn’t throw huge money at an aging batter of some kind.

      Trading an asset like Jaso for a non-asset like Morse looks dumb, but I don’t think it was done for baseball reasons, so who knows. I just want most of the rancidifying slabs acquired this offseason to go away (except for Morales). It was a bad offseason, but at least not as bad as Kansas City’s Misery 20.0 version.

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      • NatsWorldSeriesOrBust says:

        Morse was fun to watch. Love the cobra warm up. That said, Rizzo fleeced everyone. AJ Cole is going to be a beast. He along with Giolito will arrive just when Strasburg becomes a Dodger.

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  5. Suffering Twins fan says:

    Good article but I disagree with assessment of the Twins Trade of Span for Meyer. I love span but the biggest strength of the Twins farm system right now is high potential outfielders while the thing they lack is high upside pitching prospects. Yes span would probably give them 3 or so wins the next couple of years but the twins should be looking at building towards 2015 not 2013. Considering the state of the current twins roster and glut of OF prospects coming up the next few years this was a positive deal for both the Nats and Twins.

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    • Howie says:

      I assume that trading Span for Meyer plus something else wouldn’t be viewed as poorly. Trading Span for Meyer straight up is questionable. Prospects, including Hicks and Arcia, are risky.

      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JH says:

      Counting on Arcia and Hicks to soften the blow of losing Span and Revere over the next 3-5 years isn’t a very high percentage play, and none of the Twins’ other high potential outfielders has played above low-A. For a team in the Twins’ position, the Span move is the kind of move you only make if the replacements are 1) roughly as good as the player you’re losing and 2) ready to step in from day one. Neither is true. Arcia can’t play CF, and both have some serious adjustments they need to make before they’re big-league ready (if they ever are). There are a lot of good reasons to trade current major leaguers for prospects. Balancing out the talent in your farm system isn’t one of them.

      Span was set to provide value over 3 years at a price the Twins could afford. Selling that kind of asset for a good but not elite A-level pitching prospect just because you have a bunch of OF prospects who may or may not be in the majors in a couple years is not a very good strategy, even if you’re building for the future. There’s a really good chance that the Twins made not just the 2013 team, but also the 2015 team significantly worse with this move.

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    • Antonio bananas says:

      Right, but none of that has anything to do with the fact that they should have and likely could have gotten more for Span. Their farm isn’t THAT good.

      +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Panda says:

      Who besides Hicks and Arcia is close to the majors?

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      • Ryan says:

        Parmalee is MLB ready. Hicks is a high ceiling prospect. Arcia is proving he deserves a shot. If Benson is healthy he should be MLB ready and is also a nice prospect.

        I think that was the point of both the Span and Revere trades. They have a bunch of high prospects that were blocked by Span/Revere, who were not going to be around for what the Twins are building towards in 2014.

        If any of those young guys are going to be significant contributors in 2014 or 2015 they need to start playing now and work out some of the growing pains that come with prospects.

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    • TKDC says:

      Trading Span wasn’t bad; it’s just one of those times where you figure you could have gotten more for him. Also, since Revere was traded too, it’s not like they won’t need another starter in the outfield, at least until the prospects are ready.

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      • JH says:

        Parmelee doesn’t soften the blow of losing Span at all. He’s not much of an OF and obviously can’t play center. It’s an open question whether he’s a quad-a guy at this point.

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    • MLB Rainmaker says:

      Agree — Totally missed the boat on Span. First, he would have been the 4th highest paid Twin for 2013 — thats Mauer, Morneau, Willingham, Span. Second, the Twins started the offseason with a rotation of Liam Hendricks, Scott Diamond, Cole Devries, and (maybe) Kyle Gibson — where only Scott Diamond’s shown himself serviceable at the MLB level, and he had December elbow surgery. Suffice to say, Target field would be empty if Terry Ryan didn’t do something.

      So he answered the mail; Worley, Correa, Harden, Pelfrey, Meyer. None of this is the answer, but it puts an MLB caliber product on the field, which is what you have to do to sell tickets. Also, I still disagree on Baker, he’s had two good seasons in the last 5 and is a huge risk as control guy coming back from TJS.

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      • pdowdy83 says:

        How does this “answer the mail”? They weakened the major league team to get a pitcher who hasn’t pitched above A+. Yes the system needed pitching depth but the major league team also needed the same depth and they only managed to come up with an unnecesary 2 year deal for a below average starter, an injury risk in Pelfrey, another injury risk in Harden and a back end starter in Worley.

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  6. Suffering Twins fan says:

    P.S. Correia signing still makes me gag.

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    • Ben says:

      Yeah, I’d say the Correia signing should count possibly as the worst if only because it shows so clearly the bipolar, sometimes-incompetent nature of this front office. For just a few million more they could have had Brandon McCarthy. Someone with, you know, upside.

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      • BookWorm says:

        But that assumes that McCarthy would agree to come to Minnesota to play for a team that finished with 66 wins in 2012 and 63 wins in 2011.

        But I agree that the Correia signing is cringe-worthy. I think Dave sums it up nicely: “Why the Twins let Scott Baker go, only to replace him with Correia at a higher price, is one of the mysteries of the winter.”

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        • wrong em says:

          I have my frustrations with the Twins FO and the Correia signing is dumb, but I’m not sure it was a case where they didn’t realize Baker was better than Correia. I think Baker just didn’t want to come back. Maybe didn’t trust the Twins medical and training staff to oversee an important rehab, which wouldn’t be an unreasonable position.

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        • Ben says:

          I could be misremembering, but didn’t Baker at one point make statements to that effect, that he thought the Twins’ staff contributed to his injuries?

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        • Tim says:

          Baker wouldn’t give them a second year, and obviously signing Baker for one year would have been a complete waste of money too. That doesn’t excuse the Correa signing, but bringing Baker back didn’t make any sense.

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    • The guy who should be Twins GM says:

      I’d rather have Nick Blackburn in my rotation than Correia. That’s all he is. An expensive Blackburn. Maybe he’ll get traded in July and we won’t have to worry about this. Or maybe Rich Harden can get rid of his injury- prone disease by passing it on to Correia. Harden= upside. Correia= replacement level low talent hack

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    • SHANIQUA says:

      SUFFERING TWINS FAN…U GAG ALOT????? DONT U HANG OUT IN FRONT OF THE 90S ON HENNEPIN B4 TWINS GAMES? I MIGHT BE THINKIN OF SOME1 ELSE IF IT AINT U

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  7. Forrest Gumption says:

    I actually think the Marlins are much better off without Reyes, Buehrle, Buck, (1 year of) Johnson & Bonafacio and the package of players they got for them is borderline outstanding. But you are correct in shaming them for signing Juan Pierre, Chone Figgins & Placido Polanco. Let the kids play.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Will says:

      The Blue Jays gave up more value for one year of control of Dickey than the Marlins got for the 11+ years of control of Reyes/Buehrle/Johnson/Bonifacio.

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      • Joe says:

        The 2 year extension was part of the Dickey trade. They got 3 years of Dickey. Additionally Dickey is a hell of a lot cheaper of a commodity than the heavily backloaded Marlins contracts.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Tomcat says:

          precisely Buehrle may have negative value or at least very little value as a 34yo on a 3/48 deal, and Buck had definite negative value on the 1/6 deal Reyes was about right at 5/96-6/106 but worth some talent to acquire that leaves a fragile ace in JJ

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    • The guy who should be Twins GM says:

      One of them pans out, and you ship him to a contender for a low- level prospect. No big deal. Let the kids develop in AAA and don’t call ‘em too soon.

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  8. Hurtlockertwo says:

    The Marlins will eventually trade Stanton too. I feel sorry for the fans.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Forrest Gumption says:

      They have 2 rings from this method though, don’t ever feel sorry for them.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Well-Beered Englishman says:

        That’s like saying you shouldn’t feel sorry for Lindsay Lohan because she was in Mean Girls.

        +26 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio bananas says:

        The ecstasy of winning a ring lasts what? 4 months? Then literally 10 years of being mediocre at best. I’m sorry, I’d rather take a team that goes to the playoffs 10 straight years and gets bounced in the playoffs over that.

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        • Forrest Gumption says:

          Hi, I’m an A’s fan so let me tell you that no, I still dream about 89 and the last decade of playoff appearances getting bounced by the Twins, Red Sox, Yanks and Tigers isn’t even close to how 89 felt.

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        • odbsol says:

          As a Cubs fan, I strongly disagree. I’d take the ring in a heartbeat at this point.

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        • David B says:

          Brewers fan here. Would take a World Series ring or two, plus ten years of mediocrity over constantly being in the middle of the pack. Heck, Milwaukee suffered through 15 seasons of mediocrity (1993-2007) with no rings to show for it.

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        • akalhar says:

          As a Rangers fan, I must say that I’d prefer to see that ring over a bunch of playoff appearances.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Franco says:

          Mets fans could take 10 years of mediocrity on their heads if we won a ring to cap it off.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Breadbaker says:

          Bill Simmons has a rule that you can’t even bitch about a team for five years after a title. As a fan of the team that hasn’t even been to the World Series once, I’d say, yeah, I’d trade one of the Marlins titles for pretty much anything.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • NatsWorldSeriesOrBust says:

          I could not disagree more. I am still having trouble dealing with Game 5 of the NLDS. Damn Cardinals. Only Chicago Cubs fans can appreciate how a DC Baseball fan suffers.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Mic-D says:

          I am a Royals fan, that is all.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Andy says:

        And yet they’ve never won their division.

        But if they get the Wild Card, watch out.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Anon21 says:

      Don’t feel too bad for them. The travails of being a Marlins Fan are more than compensated by the opportunity to hang out with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and Dracula in Imaginationland.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jeff says:

      as an Expos fan, i feel sorry for them. the 3 left, even the one wearing sandals with sox….

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Howie says:

    Gee, I’m noticing a theme on this list… mainly that the Diamondbacks, Twins, and Royals don’t know what they’re doing.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Forrest Gumption says:

    Justin Upton was traded for Martin Prado.

    That deal is going to look frighteningly bad in 2 years.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Preston says:

      I don’t know, Upton is good, but he’s not especially cheap, so he’d have to be really good to make the D-backs especially sorry they traded him. They did get Prado back and signed him for longer at a lower AAV than Upton. Plus they got Delgado who has a good shot at being a nice back end innings eater. It only becomes a terrible trade if Upton puts up 18 wins over the next three seasons and Prado and Delgado both suck.

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      • Forrest Gumption says:

        Even then that deal is terrible. I’m not high on an aging Prado and Delgado in AZ seems like a stretch.

        Justin Upton is a MASSIVE talent who’s 25, I don’t believe the AZ propaganda machine that hates on his “intangibles”. Moreover, I don’t know a single baseball fan who would rather have Martin Prado, Cody Ross and Randall Delgado instead of a 25 year old Justin Upton and Chris Johnson. That trade is about to make AZ’s antiquated front office look especially bad, as will the Bauer deal. AZ is throwing out the last 20 years of furthering the “old school” baseball thought, and they deserve to be ridiculed for it by the press, and hopefully the on-field results too.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Preston says:

          Well I didn’t say any of that stuff about intangibles. I agree that I think the Braves “won” the trade. But I don’t think it’s going to be some lop-sided can’t believe they made it kind of trade. Martin Prado is a nice player at a position of need. And in case Matt Davidson becomes what they hope he can be, Prado is flexible and can move to 2B or the OF. And like I said they trade 3/38 of Upton for 4/40 of Prado and got Delgado who will be playing for the league minimum. It’s going to be very hard for Upton to provide enough value to make the D-backs look silly. If Prado is a 3 win player using 5 million per win then over the next four years he’ll provide about 4 wins of surplus value. Since Delgado is making the minimum almost any value he gives in the first three seasons will be surplus value, and even his arb years he will likely provide surplus value (or be DFA’s) let’s just say he provides an extra 4 wins. Upton’s 38 million means he has to be worth 7.6 WAR just to break even. To provide more surplus value than Prado Delgado he has to be worth that much he has to be better than a five win player on average over the next three years. That’s not a given.
          Now I know that WAR is more valuable when concentrated in one position and in fewer seasons and I’m completely discounting Chris Johnson and the prospects. But I just don’t think this trade will look silly for the Dbacks. Of the three trades they made this off-season I think this one was probably best. Trevor Bauer for DiDi Gregarious wasn’t all that good and Chris Young for Cliff Pennington and Heath Bell was just flat out terrible.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Forrest Gumption says:

          I just don’t see the upgrade from Johnson to Prado outperforming the downgrade from Upton to Ross, especially over a 2-3 year period.

          Its more the reasoning of why that trade existed in the first place that would make me stop being a fan if I followed that team. Gibson saying he wanted players who weren’t afraid to get concussions was terribly insulting considering all the press in the last few months in the wake of the Junior Seau tragedy. The fact that the AZ press was ordered to badmouth all exiting players really just made the franchise look particularly disgusting. I’d posit that the real reason has more to do with Gibson’s casual racism than anything else. Upton’s 24, no one is a “team leader” at that age. AZ made the wrong move with this, and pretty much all their moves this offseason minus McCarthy. They should have fired Gibson if Upton and him weren’t getting along.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Preston says:

          I think you’re bringing a lot of assumptions into this that aren’t necessarily there. Gibson is the manager, he’s supporting the decision after it’s made by making some silly manager like comments about hustle and grit. This is to be expected. He never bad mouthed Upton while he was there, Kevin Towers thinks that he’s found an undervalued skillset (contact rates, and team chemistry) to try and exploit. He has built his new team accordingly. I don’t think he’s right, and I would analogize it to when Jack Z thought defense was the under-rated skillset and went out and got Brendan Ryan, Jack Wilson and Casey Kotchman. But I don’t think this particular trade will be that bad. And I don’t think that racism had anything to do with it. Also I think that an OF of Kubel, Ross, Parra and Eaton will be pretty darn good. Chris Johnson shouldn’t really be a starting 3B for anybody.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Dave says:

          I agree with Preston on Gibson’s attitude, he’s probably just happy to have a job so he’s going along with what management says/does. If I remember correctly, he praised Upton’s work ethic even when he was slumping hard last season. Regardless, the deal is terrible. I like Prado but none of those players look like they’ll be worth anything, I think Prado peaked and Upton is still improving. Even including the extension, they basically traded three years of Upton for four years of Prado, who now looks to be blocking Davidson (and I haven’t read anything on him recently but I believe the organization still believes in him). These deals just seem to be short-sighted, and the organization is hurting itself by revealing how it feels about these lucrative trade chips, so much so that I don’t think they can get any good trades for the next few seasons.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Forrest Gumption says:

          @Dave – agreed 100% with your post. The trade wasn’t born out of anything specific, just some lines about a perceived lack of leadership and work ethic from an under-25 guy with a top 4 MVP finish at age 23.

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    • Jeffrey says:

      I doubt it’s going to look that bad. Upton is a huge risk, and it took some serious value to get him.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Kevin says:

    Well, this was predictable considering the author.

    -20 Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Preston says:

    I don’t hate the Guthrie signing for two reasons. I think there is a good chance that he “earns” his contract. Even with his horrendous 2012 season his dollar value over the last three years was right around 25 million. And I do think it’s a safe bet that the Colorado performance was an outlier and he’ll be a ~2 win pitcher for the next three seasons. Second the Royals have trouble signing FA’s because they have been so bad for so long. The only reason they got Guthrie to come back was by signing him early to a long term deal, selling him on the teams bright future. Sure they could have waited and got value. But how did they know that the pitching market was going to shake out the way it did? They were aggressive early and I don’t fault them to much for it.

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    • JayT says:

      I don’t think the biggest issue is over whether or not Guthrie earns his keep, but rather, are the Royals really in a position right now that it makes sense to overpay for a two win pitcher? It seems like they could have taken the Cubs’ approach to filling in their rotation and it would have cost a lot less for pretty similar production.

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      • Tomcat says:

        I actually don’t hate the Guthrie acquisition as much as the Santana one(1/2 the cost for 1/3 the time), I think it makes sense as they need above average/average innings and Guthrie has never pitched in a good park for flyball pitchers and could be decent. Toronto seemed happy to pay Buehrle 3/48 for his 34-37 seasons I don’t see 3/25 for Guthrie as crazy. What is crazy is that when you are voluntarily paying 22million for one non-contending year of Chen, Hoch and Santana when 3/35 would likely land you Lohse

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  13. philosofool says:

    For what it’s worth, I think the real problem with the Mariners trade was mentioned in the last sentence: “Oh, and Morse is a free agent at the end of the season, while Jaso had three years of team control remaining.” I think Morse and Jaso will produce similar WAR next year.

    But if I were the M’s, I would rather have had the prospect that were sent to Washington.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Forrest Gumption says:

      Still can’t believe they got AJ Cole, Blake Treinen and a PTBNL for Michael Morse. What a whitewash for such a limited player.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Nap D. says:

    Your mom goes to college!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. Kyle H says:

    While the O’s didn’t make any moves that were close to the top ten, at least they didn’t make any that show up here. A financially responsible and risk averse approach is probably the right way to go right now given the climate in the AL East.

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  16. Will H. says:

    More reason why the Gio trade (panned in this column a year ago) was strong for the Nat’s last year… they got back the only potentially high-upside piece from that deal in dealing Morse. Not bad…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Will says:

      Tom Milone was much better than expected (2.7 WAR). Peacock may have stalled out, but still sort of netted Jed Lowrie. And Derek Norris showed promise.

      Meanwhile, Gio is surrounded with PED controversy…

      Overall, it worked out pretty well for both clubs.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Will H. says:

        I wasn’t saying it was bad for the A’s… I was saying it was good for the Nat’s. But as for that, there doesn’t seem to be much of anything to the Gio connection to that PED journal, and getting a top of the rotation guy, in my mind, is better than someone who only pitched well in Oakland and two others with similarly low ceilings (Norris has been promising for five years now, for example, so I’m not sure how much should be expected with him given even more time). But I didn’t at all mean it was bad for the A’s … just good for the Nat’s.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Bab says:

          Agree that Norris was frustrating this year, showing occasional good glimpses. But he’s also 23 and playing a demanding position.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • mlbfan23 says:

          i still have hope for norris, he was rated with the best power/obp combo by baseball america for 3 yrs in the nats system. He has a 1/2 season of experience and is the same age as d’arnaud. he obviously needs some work but talent is there.

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      • NatsWorldSeriesOrBust says:

        I hope they figure out how to only pitch Milone at home. His splits are worse than Vargas. Norris is a platoon player at the moment. Maybe more if he can learn how to hit lefties.

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  17. rotowizard says:

    If Bud Selig doesn’t do everything he can to remove the embarrassment that is Loria and Co from owning the Miami franchise, he should be buried in the backyard. It’s disgusting what these people have gotten away with.

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    • The Rajah says:

      Loria embarrassed the league with the Expos and they let him keep doing it, which proves that Selig doesn’t care about the state of the game, only the state of the owners’ wallets. These guys are businessmen trying to make a profit, but Loria is going to poison the Miami well for years after his departure.

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      • Breadbaker says:

        Whatever else one can say about Fay Vincent (and there’s plenty) there is no question that he was the last commissioner ever who will give any regard to anything about “the game” other than the owner’s pocketbooks. Bud knows who hired him and who provides his pay and he was one of them for many years. This is not a man who is wondering what his job description is.

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      • siggian says:

        The league sent Loria to the Expos to kill them. As a reward, the league paid him 120 million and then let him buy the Marlins.

        Loria is loathed by Expos fans. Bud Selig isn’t that liked either.

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  18. Tomcat says:

    I think that the fact that team with a “Hard Cap” around 75Million is paying 35 million this year to Francouer(-1.2WAR 77wRC+), Santana(73ERA+), Guthrie(94ERA+), Hochevar(71ERA+) and Bruce Chen(81ERA+)

    I would also like to point out that that amount of money could have paid Melky Cabrera(4.6WAR 159wRC+), Brandon McCarthy(123ERA+), Saunders(103ERA+), Brett Myers(128ERA+{reliever}) and while you would argue that paying Frenchy wasn’t a decision they made this year, it was a choice to extend him or Melky last year

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jim says:

      the salary paid by one team to a player is not necessarily the same salary all teams would have paid for him

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Tomcat says:

        That may be true, but if they had spent even a little more on pitchers you could skip Melky, trade Francoer to Philly for salary relief(they signed Delmon Young so they probably would have eaten 2-2.5 of Frenchy’s contract) then you have McCarthy, Saunders, Myers, Odorizzi and Herrera with Myers in RF

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        • D says:

          McCarthy can’t stay healthy and is coming off skull fracture after getting hit in the head. That’s a good signing for a team with a limited payroll? Joe Saunders? His last year with a winning record was 2009. That’s assuming either (or both) had any inclination of signing with the Royals.

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        • TomCat says:

          Winning record means nothing Saunders is not a great signing but 1/7 for Saunders is much better than 1/5 for Hochevar or 1/12 for Santana. The Key of what I was posting was that they keep Myers, if the Royals are trading anyone for pitching it should have been trading Alex Gordon who is 29 and could have returned front of rotation talent.

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    • Shawn says:

      Kansas City offered Cabrera the same extension it gave Francoeur. Before offering Francoeur. He wasn’t interested.

      I don’t think Guthrie is a world beater, but it does surprise me how little attention people pay to his road numbers as an Oriole. He has been a pretty effective guy when not pitching home games in a hitters’ haven like Camden Yards or Coors Field. He’s unlikely to perform like he did once coming over to KC, but he could be a 2.0 WAR guy.

      Hochevar contact is the worst. Non-tendering him was an easy move, but Moore is terrified Hochevar is going to go elsewhere and figure it out.

      Santana is a clear one-year gamble on his late improvement, bad luck, and tendency to have strong bounce-back campaigns.

      Also no guarantee KC gets any of those guys to sign as a FA.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Tomcat says:

        the point is that Frenchy was non awful for one year why extend a RF with limited upside fro 1/10 of your payroll when your best hitting prospect playe the same position?
        I don’t hate the Guthrie signing but they could have signed two pitchers for that 12 million and not traded Myers

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Shawn says:

          When they extended Francoeur, Myers was in the middle of a season that saw him hit .250 with no power. The RF extension was done before Myers turned it around in the Fall League. All indications were that he would need to spend 2012 repeating AA and then move on to Omaha this year. It was a hedged bet…. Myers just beat the curve.

          Francoeur was terrible last year and I have little hope he’ll be more than his career average this year. But the deal has enough to criticize on its own without pretending that Myers looked anything close in 2011 to what he did in 2012.

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        • D says:

          Which two pitchers? They already had Ryan Dempster turn down a 2 year deal.

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        • TomCat says:

          two pitchers? how about Baker? or Feldman? why go all in and cash in chips now? Guthrie makes sense on a market value deal but why not look at moving Gordon for frontline pitching next year? or look at getting Capuano/Lilly from the Dodgers for relievers? why sell topline talent to challenge the Tigers now?

          The Tigers who will lose half their team by the time Myers is 25 when the royals entire lineup is entering their prime.

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      • D says:

        The Royals were pretty coy about offering Cabrera any kind of extension. They certainly didn’t offer both of them the same deal at the time Francoeur signed his. I don’t think he was offered anything because the Royals wanted Cain as their everyday CF.

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  19. A's says:

    Don’t buy the Morse/Jaso argument. Jaso is a platoon guy who doesn’t hit lefties. Morse can hit right and left handers, has power and can produce runs. Jaso can get on base. Good trade Mariners.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • TheGrandslamwich says:

      I’d take 3 years of a high OBP, some power, poor defense catcher who rakes against righties over 1 year of a no position, low OBP player with good pop. As previously stated, the Mariners have enough of those players already on their roster.

      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Forrest Gumption says:

      Morse is ok if Ibanez, Bay, Smoak and Morales aren’t there. They are though.

      M’s are still way way way better off bringing in a platoon C who can hit lefties to pair with Jaso.

      But the main point here is that Jaso brings in a much superior player than Morse if they wanted one. They wanted to load up on 1B/DH types because thats never led to success before because, who knows?

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    • jim says:

      catcher is the perfect position at which to employ a platoon, i don’t see how being a great hitter against ~75% of the league while playing (if perhaps poorly) the toughest position can be an argument against jaso

      +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Forrest Gumption says:

        I’d take a catcher who is a platoon masher against righties over a full year of Morse, 100% of the time. Morse just isn’t that good or valuable. I’m still stunned the A’s gave up that haul for Jaso though.

        A’s won that trade short-term, the Nats won that trade long-term and the M’s just lost, period.

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        • Love that Vegas says:

          Let me put it this way, if they were both free agents, Morse would command way more money. The M’s had to look high and low just to find someone who wanted Jaso. BTW, let’s see if Jaso can repeat what he did last year. Mariners win this trade.

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        • mlbfan23 says:

          cole rated as a bottom end top 100 guy, he’s probably 2-3 yrs away if not more based on nats pitcher needs. A’s are in win mode now and have 5 starting pitchers under age 25 plus sonny gray waiting for a chance. treinen and ptbnl are lottery ticket prospects who knows how they turn out

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        • Forrest Gumption says:

          @Love that Vegas

          No, Morse does not command anything major as a free agent. He’s a 1B/DH with a bad glove and no on base skills. Those players are a dime a dozen.

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  20. Shauncore says:

    Let’s not forget the PTBNL or Cash in the Royals swap for Shields. Still holding out for Hak Ju Lee…

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  21. CRD says:

    I’m pretty surprised that the Shields-Myers trade isn’t seen as an even bigger loss KC. Isn’t is possible that Shields WAR < Myers WAFrancoeur THIS year?

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  22. blahblahblah says:

    I disagree, as acquiring Santana for that kind of money should be higher on this list

    Look at his splits away from Anaheim; 4.20+ FIP & 4.50+ xFIP – he might be lucky to stay a 5th starter in KC, but I think they feel he is a 2-3…

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  23. Robbie G. says:

    One of the great mysteries in MLB, and in pro sports, in general, is this: Why don’t all owners look at what extremely well-managed organizations such as the Tampa Bay Rays, or the San Antonio Spurs, or the Baltimore Ravens are able to accomplish and ask their management team, “Why can’t we do that?” Further, why don’t the deep pockets teams offer a blank check to a well-managed organization’s entire management team and steal those guys away? Imagine what the Los Angeles Dodgers would be able to accomplish with the Tampa Bay management team. Even if the Dodgers were to triple the salaries of the entire Tampa Bay management team, they’d still be paying their entire front office less money than they’re apparently willing to pay Brandon League! We talk about market inefficiencies; what’s a bigger market inefficiency in pro sports?

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    • Bad Bill says:

      Two comments, one short and one long. The short one: consider how much of the Astros’ front office (and also field coaching staff) of today was working for either St. Louis (a well-run franchise by any reasonable description) or a strong baseball-analysis program a couple of years ago. They’re doing the experiment. Preliminary results, based on last year’s drafting and trades if not on the major-league team’s record, have to be considered positive.

      The long one: Is TB’s management team really that strong? Or are we just seeing in them the top (and possibly the end of the top at that) of a classic boom-and-bust success cycle? Everyone is fascinated at how this small-market team is able to compete successfully with the big dogs of the AL East, but fact is, they’ve only been competing “successfully” for the last five years. That’s approximately the time frame when one might, quote unquote, “expect” them to be reaping the benefits of several consecutive years of drafting at the top of the first round — which, of course, is an indication that until that time, they were terrible. This is the way the draft is supposed to work. The fact that it has worked that way for them, and not for other perennial losers like Pittsburgh and Kansas City, doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s a well-run organization. It may simply mean that the others like them are run by idiots — for which there is abundant evidence.

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      • Bab says:

        Does shifting the weight of emphasis on competence actually achieve anything, though? KC and Pitt might have more ‘idiotic’ managers, but if TB has less ‘idiotic’ managers, doesn’t that basically just prove TB has better managers?

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        • Bad Bill says:

          A student who gets a C in a class is clearly doing better than one that gets an F, but should never be confused with a real high performer.

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        • John R. says:

          But if nobody gets higher than a C, the grade curve is broken. If Tampa’s FO doesn’t get an A, whose does?

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  24. gnomez says:

    Do you live in an alternate universe where Ty Wigginton doesn’t exist?

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  25. RMD says:

    I really hope that Loria does the right thing and sells the team. It couldn’t be that hard of a sell, brand new park and some young talent, a likely top 3 pick this year. Cameron is right in that there is no way a non-scrub would want to sign for this organization. Loria being a jackass will probably prevent him from “selling low” haha. I honestly think they did the right thing in selling off nearly the entirety of their high price talent. They gambled big and lost. Now is the time to have cut their losses. But, Loria’s utter lack of credibility will ruin this franchise going forward.

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  26. DrEasy says:

    Aren’t the KC moves right in line with the arguments Dave made in his article on Felix’s contract extension? KC can’t attract free agents without massively overpaying, and they need to re-energize the fanbase somehow. There’s maybe a tiny opportunity to play winning baseball this year, and to play meaningful games in August (maybe not September though). And if the money’s there and nobody wants to take it, you end up with the moves they made.

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    • rusty says:

      If you can’t get free agents without overpaying (because the team isn’t very good), and you’re facing budget constraints, your best bet is not to give whatever money you have to whoever will take it, but rather to find a way of amassing cost-controlled players — whether through the draft or trades of present for future value.

      Maybe the front office has a “division title or you’re all fired” kind of ultimatum, and/or maybe they feel that a competent + lucky team can stay afloat in the Central while the Tigers implode, but I don’t think James Shields is going to do a better job energizing the fanbase than Wil Myers would have.

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      • DrEasy says:

        Sure, but whether it’s fan impatience or ownership impatience, not every team can be run like Tampa.

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        • blahblahblah says:

          So the solution is to make them worse by throwing money out the window?

          Seriously, internal options had a very good shot at producing Santana & Guthrie like production if they were given a shot to do so. It isnt impossible for rookies/youngsters to reach the high bench mark of “League Average at absolute best” Santana & Guthrie will provide, afterall…

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      • D says:

        Which they’ve done with Gordon, Butler, Escobar, and Perez.

        You either don’t know or don’t remember how bad the pitching was last year. Even if Myers hit 40 HR’s for the Royals this year, with the same pitchers as last year, the chances of winning more than 72 games was slim and none.

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        • blahblahblah says:

          A) no reason to bring back the same pitchers (except rookies/kids)

          B) way over paying for three crummy pitchers and a #2 isnt going to make a dramatic difference

          Santana & Davis will be pure crap, Guthrie has an outside shot at mediocre and Shields will be good, but 40+ Homers for nothing cost replacing Frenchy for years to come would have made much, much, much more of an impact on the club

          Royals failed miserably this season, ironically doing the exact opposite of what Cleveland did – only one of those two teams improved though…

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  27. Jeffrey says:

    There is no way the Corrieia signing is worse than Guthrie or Santana. I understand the logic of not liking it, but it wasn’t brain dead dumb like those two were.

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    • Tim says:

      I think the chance of getting released long before the contract is over is quite a bit higher for Correia. Maybe I’m thinking this because the Twins seem to have one of those guys every other year or so, though.

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  28. jpg says:

    The biggest blunder in my eyes is that KC essentially had their choice of Haren or Santana and chose the latter. Or in other words, a choice between an ace caliber pitcher with question marks surrounding his health and a durable #3 or #4 starter who eats innings. I could understand taking the innings eater if you’re a 90 win team with a loaded rotation and you’re just looking for a 2 win pitcher to stabilize the back end with 200 not terrible innings. But for a team like KC, one that is trying to bridge the type of gap they need to bridge to pass Detroit, I would think that the guy with 6 win potential would be the more appealing choice, even with the injury concerns.

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  29. Brian says:

    Give the Royals a break…at least they’re trying. I’m no Royal’s fan, but if I was I would be happy to see Sheilds at the top of my rotation as opposed to Guthrie.

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    • Alex says:

      I’m a Rockies fan but I wouldn’t want to see Shields at the top of my rotation and Arenado, Story, and Dahl gone from my farm system

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  30. A761506 says:

    Why was AZ so hell-bent on unloading Upton rather than Kubel? It surely seems like they would have been better off dumping his inadequate range and 150 K’s on Baltimore when they had the chance.

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  31. Ruki Motomiya says:

    So glad the Marlins crap is ahead of the Royals trade. Royals trade is by far not as bad the Marlins one: IMO it’s arguably not as bad as some of the other stuff on here, although Santana was pretty bad and should be higher in return. The Royals do not have the depth to reload around Moustakas and so on after Gordon/Butler leave in 2-3 years, but they don’t have good enough players to get a big enough haul to get that depth. They now have a team with a solid pitcher who is predicted to be solid (Shields), they have Butler/Gordon as a good combo, Moustakas/Perez are a high upside play, Hosmer returning to even 2011 levels would be an easy boon and given he’s 23 and had bad BABIP luck last year it’s likely to be high upside…and if they platoon Dyson/Franceour in RF, as they experimented with last year before some tricky injuries, they should have a fine enough RF situation (Jeff has actually hit left handed pitching well during his career, 110 wRC+, while Dyson hits righties okay but also brings to the table speed and okay defense: He made 1.7 WAR in 102 games last year)…plus, Lorenzo Cain is actually pretty good.

    They can trot out a lineup with:

    C: Salvador Perez
    1B: Eric Hosmer
    2B: Chris Getz
    3B: Mike Moustakas
    SS: Alcides Escobar
    LF: Alex Gordon
    CF: Lorenzo Cain
    RF: Jarrod Dyson / Jeff Franceour platoon
    DH: Billy Butler

    …And aside from Chris Getz you’ve got a good lineup with high upside (Perez put up 2.6 WAR in 76 games last year!).

    The pitching is more iffy, but you’ve got James Shield as a high end guy, Guthrie as a fine innings eater, Wade Davis is a high upside play, guys like Mendoza who can come out as possibilities…heck, even Hochevar could return to the past two years or his career 4.46 FIP/4.28 xFIP.

    In short, with Gordon and Butler nearing the end of their time in Kansas City, guys who put up 5.9 WAR and 3.2 WAR last year respectively(With Butler having a 140 wRC+!), the Indians/Twins down and the White Sox having some question marks, plus a second wildcard…in my opinion, this is the best time to go all in, not the worst.

    (Now watch Shields get injured next year and make this whole post seem stupid)

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    • D says:

      Gordon signed a 4-year extension that ends in 2015. Butler’s extension runs through 2014 with a club option for 2015. Hardly time “coming to an end”.

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      • Ruki Motomiya says:

        Gordon is actually signed into 2016 due to a 12.5 million team option.

        I fail to see how 2013-2015 for Butler is not seen as a window which, if you punt 2013 by not doing anything/doing normal Royal moves, is not short. It’s at most three years…

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    • HuskerDave says:

      The Royals last year could hit, run, score, field, and throw, plus they had some good relief pitching. They were going to be able to do all of these things well again in 2013, but they were desperate for starting pitching, which they now have. I applaud any and all moves to get a ton of starting pitching, which is what they did!

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      • blahblahblah says:

        At what cost though?

        Thats what everyone keeps saying, the extreme cost they paid (including prospects who could have been good to great at no cost for years) for what is honestly crappy pitching + Shields could have easily made much more impact if spent even simi-wisely.

        It was literally wasted though, all for roughly a 10 win improvement on the field – or maybe about a 82 win season (which is still only 500…)

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  32. Whatever says:

    You are a complete moron. LOL. No credibility whatsoever after this article.

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  33. DrEasy says:

    @blahblahblah says:
    “So the solution is to make them worse by throwing money out the window?”

    How else can they spend that money? Nobody wants to sign with KC, so they take other people’s contracts.

    I’m not necessarily saying KC made good moves, but I can see why they’re making them.

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  34. Tanned Tom says:

    Seattle could’ve earned another spot on this list for Ibanez or Bay. And the D’backs’ moves have such a racial component that I’m surprised more haven’t commented on it. Upton may not be Winfield or Clemente in RF, but ditching a player with talent to make room for Cody Ross is laughable. Upton is all of 25. I know managers and GMs tend to like players who share the skillset they had, but c’mon. There is talented and there is scrappy. Put it this way, if a player was truly talented he wouldn’t be described as scrappy (unless perhaps he played 2B). I still don’t know why San Diego couldn’t have gotten in Upton?

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  35. Ryan says:

    Terry Ryan has had a real good history trading for prospects, so I wouldn’t be calling that one of the worst 10 deals of the offseason. Maybe he see’s something everyone else is missing, or believe that his flaws will be fixable. Given Ryan’s trade history, its hard to say its that bad.

    For those of you who don’t know, here are some players he has traded for.
    David Ortiz
    Johan Santana
    Joe Nathan
    Fransisco Liriano (remember he used to be elite)
    Plus he traded for plenty other players. He knows what he is doing

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    • TomCat says:

      Dan O’Dowd once got Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez doesn’t mean I trust him

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    • Alex says:

      So he could make the worst looking trade EVER and you’d excuse him because you think he has an eye for talent?

      I don’t care who the GM is, he traded for a low A pitcher. Do you know what the failure rate of low A pitchers is? Very high. He could’ve at least asked for a bullpen pitcher or two to ensure that the trade wasn’t a total flop

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    • SHANIQUA says:

      UMMMMMM UR NAME IS RYAN SO U ARE PROBABLY RELATED TO TERRY RYAN…..DIDNT KNOW THAT OLD MAN HAD KIDS OR A WIFE EVEN

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  36. Joel says:

    No Victorino. And rightfully so. Yow. Just goes to show.

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  37. Wes4Les says:

    The Marlins experiment last year blew up in their face, why not dump those high-priced FA’s and malcontents who played like they didn’t care?

    It’s just too bad guys like Pierre, Figgins and Polance will probably do just fine, and the team will play much more competitively than last season…but the fans still won’t come out to watch. 28,000 per game last year, despite a new stadium and lots of sexy free agents. They just don’t give a hoot down there in North Cuba, or perhaps people are too intimidated to come to the park, for fear of not having a translator during a mugging.

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  38. Jeff says:

    surprised, Jays signing Mark Derosa for is bench presence, and losing Dyson (“the best arm in the system”) in the process didn’t make it.

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  39. RICK says:

    Why would you say the trade of Will Meyers for shields and company is bad? If they don’t make a trade, people like you would say they need pitching. You just don’t go to wal-marts to buy pitchers. Meyers was very good in the farm system, so was Clint Hurdel (SI can’t miss player) untill he got to the major league level then he disappeared. I do wish Myers the best.

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  40. SHANIQUA says:

    ANYBODY HATIN ON UPTON IS PROBABLY RACIST………JEALOUS THAT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN PLAYER IS GOIN 2 SUCCEED IN THE DEEP SOUTH…START HATIN ON JOE MAUER INSTEAD…23 MIL TO HIT SINGLES ALL YEAR

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  41. robicheaux says:

    Has Dave watched any Royals baseball? The one area they had to address more than any other area was pitching. Santana deal? Agree. Guthrie deal?…maybe..not sure. Shields trade was the type of trade that had to be done. With all the hype around Myers and Odorizzi, no one has any idea what major league players they will become. How many other “can’t miss” prospects have simply missed?

    I find it hard to see this as that horrific of a deal when you completed upgraded your team and addressed an area that you had to address. A KC sports columnist, when asked about what they should do with their wealth of talent in the minors was quoted as saying “eventually the Royals are going to have to make a deal that hurts. This was that move, painful and necessary.

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    • Ben says:

      There is a difference between addressing areas of need (starting pitching) by making poor moves as opposed to addressing them through better moves. The only reason I’d put it that way is because the Royals could have done better than Guthrie for the same cost, and probably Santana as well. Addressing the area of need doesn’t mean you did a good job. It means you filled vacancies. Just my opinion.

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  42. royalsfan says:

    At least the Royals are doing something!!!!

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    • robicheaux says:

      I know. I love how forever people have been complaining about the Royals not making moves, signing free agents..etc etc..

      Then when they do those things it’s that they shouldn’t make those moves.

      People just have to complain I guess

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  43. topher says:

    It is fun to read the controversy but it will all come done to “playing the games”. As a Mariner’s fan I am excited for the changes, although the Jaso trade hits me in the gut, but Wedge would not use him effectively anyway. I don’t know why these GM’s and coaches are not as wise as the fans.

    I think addition of Morales, Saunders, and Morse are going to help…we shall see

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  44. Rob says:

    Ha ha! If the Royals do really well this year, you might want to try to find a new occupation.

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  45. Forrest Gumption says:

    Was there any reason for the Phillies to trade for Michael Young when even Scott Rolen was a better option?

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  46. Jim 1940 says:

    Its nice to read everyone else’s opinions. I am a Royals fan and, while glad to see the Royals step up and make acquisitions thought to help the team, I am very sad to see them trade Will Myers. The kid has promise written all over him and I was so looking forward to seeing him in a Royals uniform this year. Even though he has not really proved himself yet by taking on major league curve balls I want to wish for the kid a happy, long and prosperous major league career.

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  47. Ben says:

    I’m not so sure I agree with the argument against the Michael Morse trade. The Mariners needed power sorely, whereas they didn’t much need a decently contact-hitting catcher who doesn’t even throw particularly well. If Michael Morse can conquer Safeco’s oppressive tendencies, this might turn out to be a very solid move. I don’t see John Jaso heading to Washington and being more than a 1-win player.

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  48. Ron Davis says:

    Let’s bring on board a veteran or two, or three!!

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  49. HunchBall says:

    Bauer…..I watched all of his innings that he pitched for the AZ Diamondbacks and I don’t need to look at his numbers, or to know that the DBacks aquired him under the understanding that he didn’t have to change anything in his routine and they were the only team that would allow him to keep to it, but after his horrible experience in the majors they wanted him to step it down a lot, back in AAA ball because it was obvious that it was all too much for him.

    However what stood out for me the most and especially now knowing that he is in Cleveland, is the fact that the kid broke under the pressure of the media in AZ. He felt attacked and taunted. So if you can’t handle the media in AZ, do you think that he stands a chance as an ace, in Cleveland?

    As far as C.Young. He may float like a butterfly but he played like a moth. Too many times did the fans have to look up into the lights to see his popups. That and the injuries on top of it, a trade for a single AA player would have been justified.

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  50. lars1459 says:

    Dodgers paying Greinke tha tmuch money had to be one of the ten worst off season moves.

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  51. It would take great courage to put a supposed superstar on this list, but the Josh Hamilton trade may find its way retroactively into this list as early as next season.

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