Friday, December 10, 2010

MLB WInter Meetings Recap

In terms of trades and free agents i think this was a middle of the pack winter meetings. The only really huge move that happened was the Carl Crawford Deal. But over the next few weeks we will likely see a lot of moves go down that were worked on at these meetings. Here are the big moves that went down since day 2, I will do my usual trade/free agent signing recap.

Carlos Pena (1B): Signed with the Cubs
2010 (TB)-  .196/.325/.407  28 HR  84 RBI  5 SB  -2 FLD  1 WAR
Bill James-  .228/.354/.473  30 HR  86 RBI  3 SB

Well its undeniable that Carlos Pena had a bad even awful season in 2010. His batting average has been sinking for the past 3 years and he strikes out too much. But i still can not help but like this signing. It is a low risk signing as they only signed him to a 1 year deal, he is a great club house presence and he is a big time left handed power hitter which the Cubs have been craving. Plus he will be reunited with his former hitting instructor Rudy Jarmaillo who has helped many a hitter turn their careers around (He is the Dave Duncan of hitting coaches). Plus he is attempting to rebuild his value for next year so he wants to be good. If the Cubs can get anywhere near his production from 07' or 08' they would be thrilled and it would put them a few pieces away from contending. They could use another starter and some bullpen help but with a little luck the Cubs could be in it. This could be similar to the Adrian Beltre signing of last year.

Kevin Correia (SP): Signed with the Pirates
2010 (SD)- 145 IP  10-10  5.40 ERA  7.14 K/9  3.97 BB/9  .1 WAR
Bill James- 124 IP  5-8  4.35 ERA  6.6 K/9  3.56 BB/9

The Pirates have been making a lot of small deals that wont hurt them long term but should help them to not get embarrassed. I'm concerned about Correia as he pitched poorly at PETCO park, if you cant pitch well there I'm not sure you can pitch anywhere. But he did post a solid season in 09' so maybe he is a bounce back candidate. He can be a solid back of the rotation guy but Pittsburgh will likely rely on him to be more than that so next season could be a struggle. That being said it is a low risk move so you cant fault the Pirates for taking a flier on him.

Scott Olsen (SP): Signed with the Pirates
2010 (WAS)- 81 IP  4-8  5.56 ERA  5.89 K/9  3 BB/9  .6 WAR
Bill James- 88 IP  4-6  4.81 ERA  6.65 K/9  3.58 BB/9

This is another low risk signing for the Pirates as they pick up a player who has talent but has not been truly effective or healthy since 2008. Although looking at his xFIP from 10' he actually wasn't a bad pitcher, but wasn't able to stay healthy. I like these types of moves because if one of these players rebounds, even if your not in contention you can flip them for prospects at the deadline. These are the types of moves the Pirates have to make to be able to rebuild their franchise.

Ty Wigginton (INF): Signed with the Rockies
2010 (BAL)- .248/.312/.415  22 HR  76 RBI  0 SB  -7.7 FLD  .3 WAR
Bill James-  .257/.324/.430  14 HR  50 RBI  1 SB

The Rockies off season plan has really confused me. They have acquired a group of infielders who all play the same positions and have over payed for them. I don't understand why they acquired Wigginton when they have a very similar player in Jose Lopez that they just acquired from the Mariners. But Wigginton is a consistently mediocre infielder who will likely benefit from Coors field as so many have before him. He can put up decent power numbers and play the corner infield and outfield spots and play second. So he does have versatility which is a big plus but they have so many players that are similar to him that i don't see how he gets a ton of playing time.

Jason Bartlett (SS): Traded to the Padres for Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos
2010 (TB)-  .254/.324/.350  4 HR  71 R  47 RBI  11 SB  -10.4 FLD  .7 WAR
Bill James-  .279/.345/.380  6 HR  79 R  51 RBI  17 SB

Another player of the once great Rays team is gone, flipped for Cesar Ramos a 26 year pitcher and Adam Russell a 27 year old pitcher. Both will likely see time in the Rays bullpen next year as they both have a little big league experience. The Padres are getting a solid shortstop, he is nowhere near as good as what people thought he was after 2009. But last year was also a down year, he is likely somewhere in between those 2 stat lines. Acquiring Bartlett fills a need for the Padres but it does not put them in contention and he will likely never be on a playoff Padres team. But getting Bartlett helps soften the blow of losing Gonzalez and his offensive game should play well in the spacious outfield of PETCO park.

Jeff Francoeur: Signed with the Royals
2010 (NYM/TEX)- .249/.300/.383  13 HR  52 R  65 RBI  8 SB  2.8 FLD  .5 WAR
Bill James-  .267/.318/.425  13 HR  53 R  63 RBI  5 SB

I hate to say bad things about Francoeur because he is one of my favorite ball players in terms of personality. But he is not the all star outfielder that he looked to be in 06' and 07'. That being said his career numbers suggest he is a good defender and still and provides the type of production a team like the Royals would be willing to start. The Royals needed some help in the outfield after losing Dejesus. They are a few years away from their prospects being ready to compete so Francoeur is a nice fit and is a player Dayton Moore loves.

Carl Crawford: Signed with the Red Sox
2010 (TB)-  .307/.356/.495  19 HR  110 R  90 RBI  47 SB  18.5 FLD  6.9 WAR
Bill James-  .300/.350/.453  14 HR  93 R  71 RBI  42 SB

The Red Sox have now constructed the best lineup in baseball, and has left New York scrambling for a response. Crawford is one of the most dynamic offensive and defensive players in the game. He can play anywhere in a lineup, he can leadoff but ideally in Boston he should hit in the 3 hole in front of Adrian Gonzalez. Crawford is the quintessential 5 tool player and is still in his late 20's so his contract should be worth its value the entire time. This may be the move that pushes the Red Sox to the world series this season. I just cannot explain in words how much i love Carl Crawford as a baseball player, he just has the perfect skill set and it is really hard to find a flaw in his game. The only negative anybody has ever been able to say is that he doesn't have a strong arm, but there are conflicting reports on that. This is a great move. I do feel bad for the Rays who have already lost 3 key players to there 10' team.

There were many other major signings/trades that occured and i will write those below but these are the moves that i wanted to highlight. I will likely begin a series of podcasts over the break that will analyze and preview each team for next season so look out for those. And hopefully Kevin and I will make another podcast soon.

Other Major Signings
D.J. Carrasco- Signed with the Mets
Ronny Paulino- Signed with the Mets
Koji Uehara- re-signed with the Orioles
Paul Konerko- re-signed with the White Sox
Miguel Cairo- re-signed with the Reds
Dioner Navarro- signed with the Dodgers
Jack Cust- signed with the Mariners
Dennys Reyes- signed with the Phillies
Matt Diaz- signed with the Pirates
Boof Bonser- signed with the Mets
JJ. Hardy and Brendan Harris- Traded to the Orioles Jim Hoey and another player

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