John Donovan of SI.com penned an interesting article today in which he ranks some of baseball’s off season activity. I only listed a few of his selections. Please read the entire article for his complete list.
Best Risk For The Buck
1) With all the money around the game, putting a paltry $1 million down on a one-time franchise savior is kind of a no-brainer. That’s what the Padres did with oft-injured former Cubs pitcher Mark Prior. In baseball, and especially in a spacious park like the Padres play in, that’s a low-risk investment.
2) The three-year, $37.5 million that it took Boston to re-sign third basemen Mike Lowell was expensive, but well worth it. He’s a perfect fit on that team and in Fenway Park. Last year (21 homers, 120 RBIs, .378 on-base, very good defense), he was worth twice that in Boston’s World Series run.
Worst Risk For The Buck
1) Eric Gagne signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Brewers. This for giving up 26 hits in 18 2/3 innings with Boston last season. He had a 6.75 ERA after his trade from Texas. I’m not saying he’s as bad as he was with the Sox. I’m saying he’s not worth anywhere near this deal.
2) Carlos Silva tied Tom Glavine for fewest strikeouts among those who threw at least 200 innings last year — and yet Silva scored a four-year, $48 million deal with the Mariners. That, alone, tells you how bad the free-agent market for starters was this winter.
Best Winter So Far
1) The Yankees have paid a ton of money to a ton of guys — mostly, their own — and re-established their position as big winter dogs.
2) With Miguel Cabrera now at third, and Edgar Renteria at short (via a trade with the Braves), the Tigers have a lineup to rival the Yankees. It’s already better than Boston’s.
Worst Winter So Far
1) The Mets’ most important off-season move was spending $25 million on an old second baseman, Luis Castillo. They had better come up with more than that to compete for the NL East crown.
2) The Brewers lost their closer (Cordero) and a key setup man (Linebrink), then had to overspend to get Eric Gagne and David Riske to plug the holes.
3) Agent Scott Boras made a nice commission off A-Rod, but his reputation took a beating.
*** I definitely agree with Donovan on Mark Prior, and I was shocked to see him sign with the Padres and disappointed that the Mets couldn’t top that offer.
*** I totally disagree that the Mets are having the worst off-season. The Mets did what they had to do with Luis Castillo who in my opinion was the best second baseman out there. Additionally, while I don’t believe the Mets got a good return on Lastings Milledge, it wasn’t as devastating a trade as some make it out to be. This is what he wrote about the Lastings Milledge trade, which he considers to be among the most lopsided trades of the off-season…
The Nationals landed Lastings Milledge in a trade from the Mets. I refuse to believe that this one-time untouchable suddenly got that bad that quickly. I mean, what is he, Andy Marte? And getting Milledge for a backup catcher (Brian Schneider) and mediocre outfielder (Ryan Church)? Ow.
Off the top of my head, I would say the Twins have had a much worse off-season. They lost their All Star centerfielder Torii Hunter, and traded their top pitching prospect Matt Garza and starting shortstop Jason Bartlett in return for a talented but very troubled outfield prospect in Delmon Young. They also lost Carlos Silva and are about to trade not only Johan Santana, but closer Joe Nathan as well. I won’t even mention the fact they overpaid for Michael Lamb and Craig Monroe. Clearly the Twins have had a worse off-season than the Mets.