Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Hot Stove Insanity 

Just been looking at summaries of moves made by teams this offseason. Obviously last year's "market correction" is over.

The Yankees push their payroll over $200 million, but still have the carcass of Bernie Williams in centerfield, Tino Martinez at first, and Tony Womack at second base. They essentially gave up their only prospects in Brad Halsey and Dionner Navarro to pay an extra $7 million per season to upgrade in-his-prime Javier Vazquez to the age 41-43 seasons from Randy Johsnon. And they magically turned Jon Lieber and Orlando Hernandez into Carl Pavano and Jamey Wright for more money. And all it cost them was the money they could've used to sign Carlos Beltran.

Of course, the DBacks did well to trade the Unit for Vazquez. But with the savings there, they go out and spend big money on huge injury risks in Shawn Green and Troy Glaus to go with their other big bat unlikely to play a full season in Luis Gonzalez.

The Dodgers do a great job freeing up salary by dumping Shawn Green on the DBacks, and then spend it all on Derek Lowe, whose last good season was 2002, but who "turned it around" with three solid playoff starts last year.

The poor Tigers can't get anyone to take their money, but may again end up improving just because they are "stuck" with the likes of Magglio Ordonez. Ditto Baltimore who may end up with Carlos Delgado.

The big winners this offseason look to be the Mets, Mariners, and Red Sox. We all know about the Mariners filling their biggest holes with 2 of the best players available in Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson.

The Mets made the biggest splash by signing the biggest bat in Beltran to a reasonable $17 million per year contract. Well, reasonable by baseball standards. And they add the best free agent pitcher in Pedro Martinez. Might they regret these contracts in 2-3 years? Certainly, but in 2005, they have moved into the category of legitimate contender in the NL East, and maybe even the favorite.

The Red Sox picked and chose wisely. They may have overspent on Jason Varitek, but without Varitek who catches in Beantown. To overspend on your veteran catcher who is one of your team leaders is something Mariner fans can certainly relate to. They let Pedro Martinez go, but may have replaced him with a younger version at a cheaper price in Matt Clement. And they picked up Wade Miller for pocket change, and will control his rights for the next two years. And don't forget that they added John Halama, who is the missing piece that will guarantee a Red Sox repeat in 2005.

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