With the Tigers really doing very little during the winter GM meetings, essentially just signing Octavio Dotel, I thought it would be a little fun to take a look at the activity we did see. After all, baseball isn’t just being played in Detroit.
After an active early period in the off-season, the A.L Central clubs really took a backseat these past four days and did very little. Kansas City, Detroit, and Cleveland were the most silent. Chicago did send closer Sergio Santos to the Jays in a trade that brought back potential back end starter Nestor Molina. Minnesota was the most active, sending Kevin Slowey to the Rockies, re-signing Matt Capps, and getting an offer out to Michael Cuddyer.
Here is a look at the rest of the teams, some winners and losers, and just random observations.
I don’t think there is much dispute over this one. The Angels actually signed 3 players in Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, and LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins, who was a solid signing, got overshadowed quickly when news broke of the other two signings. Yes, the Angels are on the hook for a lot of money. But new G.M. Jerry Dipoto has also given himself plenty of options. Signing Pujols, who is arguably the best hitter in the game adds a ton to a lineup that needs it. Couple that with 2011 rookie Mark Trumbo and the returning Kendry Morales, and there is some punch in that lineup. The logjam of 1B/DH types creates the ability to move guys around, or deal one or two of them for other needs. Adding Wilson to that rotation was a fantastic move, and now the Angels are as formidable as anyone with Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, and Wilson.
Besides money, how can someone not like what the Angels are doing?
Not sure I will ever get used to writing Miami Marlins, but they did a good job at the winter meetings. Landing Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle is going to help that team out significantly. They added Heath Bell earlier as well. They are going to have some issue with an unhappy Hanley Ramirez, but if he does move to third and performs, this lineup is going to be one of the better lineups in the National League. Buehrle will help a rotation that is looking for some consistency, but still has some question marks. Miami could’ve landed on the loser list as well, essentially missing out on C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols, but I doubt very much they are done at this point.
Mets quietly did a whale of a job solidifying its bullpen. That may not be very sexy, but it can help their baseball team. They added Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco, and Ramon Ramirez all very quickly, and while those guys aren’t dominant, they should help make that bullpen solid to a little bit above average at least.
It’s not that Texas did anything wrong. It’s that they haven’t done anything at all. The team with one of the biggest war chests of prospects in all of baseball is standing idly by while the Angels are aggressively getting better. They are two time defending A.L. champs, however, if you aren’t busy getting better in baseball, you are falling behind. Without C.J. Wilson, Texas could probably use another starter, and they might want to think about trading some of that war chest to get it.
Hard to call the World Series champ a loser, but hey, any time you lose your best player, it kind of puts them in that category. I’m sure the Cardinals can still be good, but it is going to be difficult for them to find Pujols type production elsewhere.
Some Random Observations:
-Colorado is really going out there and trying to get young, and it started at the end of last year. Acquiring Alex White, Drew Pomeranz, and now D.J. Lemaiheu and Tyler Colvin as well. They added Kevin Slowey for rotation depth, and appear to be active players on the trade market.
-San Diego acquired Huston Street from the Rockies in another move. PetCo should really help Street, so San Diego gets a mostly effective closer, and the Rockies got rid of some money.
-The White Sox are going to have some real interest in both Gavin Floyd and John Danks, but need to be careful not to just deal them for the heck of it. I don’t see why they can’t still be a good ball club if they get a little bit of a bounce back from Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.
-Teams are starting to get a little realistic. The Oakland A’s and New York Mets have put a pair of young left-handers out there on the market, in part because I think they already know they aren’t going to compete in 2012. And they are right. Looking at both their situations, the A’s aren’t going to be Texas and the Angels. The Mets are going to have to get better than the Phillies and Braves all of a sudden. Not going to happen.
-The Washington Nationals were relatively quiet during the meetings, which kind of surprised me a little bit. I assume they may have been a little gun shy, given the albatross contract that Jayson Werth signed last season. Still, I expect that they will be in on Prince Fielder possibly.
-Am I the only one that thinks the Erik Bedard signing was a real solid one for the Pirates?
-It’s really tough to keep up with all of the players being posted from Korea and Japan.
-Toronto’s Alex Anthopolous has some serious mojo when it comes to acquiring cheap and talented players. Adding Santos to the acquisition list of Brett Lawrie, Yunel Escobar, Brandon Morrow, and Colby Rasmus since he has come aboard.
There is still plenty of off-season to go, and I suspect that some moves over the next couple of weeks will happen that are the results of talks that began at the winter meetings. We will see if Detroit is a part of those, and hopefully they will be. There is still some work to be done on that roster.
Topics: Adam Dunn, Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Gio Gonzalez, John Danks, Jon Niese, Jose Reyes, Kevin Slowey, Mark Trumbo, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, Octavio Dotel, Texas Rangers