Hot Stove Update
Not much going on in Flushing, so let’s do a roundup of what’s been happening throughout the rest of MLB thus far this winter.
Marlins trade the Marlins to Toronto
Was it a storm surge from Sandy that sent so many fish upstream and across the border? No, it was Larry Beinfest and Jeffrey Loria, who in a matter of five months turned the team in Miami from a collection of win-now stars to a double-A squad with sights on 2015. The purge may not yet be complete; there’s still plenty of winter left, as well as tradeable veterans like Ricky Nolasco, Mike Dunn, Jeff Mathis, Yunel Escobar, and Greg Dobbs still on the roster. The only one safe is Giancarlo Stanton — he ain’t going nowhere anytime soon.
Jonny Gomes signs with Red Sox for two years, $10M.
The Mets could have used a righthanded, homerun-hitting corner outfielder like Gomes — but of course, they can’t afford that kind of price tag. Guess what? Scott Hairston had as good a year as Gomes, and is about the same age.
Jeremy Guthrie signs with Royals.
Guthrie inked a three-year, $25M deal after turning his career around in 14 starts with the Royals. Not for nuthin’, but Guthrie reminds me a lot of Mike Pelfrey. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Big Pelf make a similar rebound in ’13, and earn himself a lucrative payday.
Royals acquire Ervin Santana in trade with Angels.
Santana had a down year in ’12, is expensive, and turns 30 in a few weeks. KC sent minor league lefty Brandon Sisk to the Angels; Sisk is a reliever who strikes out many, and walks many, and is not related to Doug. Quite a rich decision for small-market Kansas City, who will have to pay Santana $13M in 2013; makes you think maybe it’s not fair to KC to compare the skinflint Mets to them.
Jeremy Affeldt signs with Giants.
Not really a move, since Affeldt was already in San Francisco. However, his three-year, $18M contract set a new standard for non-closing relievers.
Indians trade Esmil Rogers to Blue Jays for Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes.
One of those under-the-radar trades that may easily be forgotten. Cleveland gets a capable middle infielder who can give Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera occasional breathers, and a young slugging catcher / corner infielder who may very well be a AAAA player. Gomes (no relation to Jonny) is a dark horse who never received much attention in a Blue Jays organization that also included stud backstops such as J.P. Arencibia, Travis D’Arnaud, and Carlos Perez. He’s a free-swinging hacker who may very well develop into a Gene Tenace kind of backup catcher. Getting Aviles also enables the Indians to shop Cabrera. Meanwhile, Rogers could be a valuable middle reliever for the Jays; a mid-season switch to the Adulterated League turned his career around.
Torii Hunter signs with Tigers.
Nice deal for both sides. Yes, another outfielder that the Mets could have used, but couldn’t afford. Further, Hunter had no desire to play for the Mets.
David Ross signs with Red Sox.
A somewhat curious move by the Bosox, who already are knee-deep in men who squat behind the plate. If nothing else, the signing establishes that Boston is reloading, rather than rebuilding. For the Braves, it would seem to be a significant and surprising blow, as Ross was happy in Atlanta, seemed a sure bet to re-sign with the Braves, and would have been starting most of the time in the first few months of 2013 while Brian McCann mends from labrum surgery.
Marlins sign Juan Pierre
Why? No one’s sure. Pierre had a nice bounceback year in Philly, but the Marlins appear to be rebuilding; how does one rebuild with a 35-year-old?
Gerald Laird signs with Braves.
If there is another David Ross in MLB, his name is Gerald Laird. Though, Laird doesn’t quite have the pop in his bat, so perhaps he’s a “poor man’s Ross.” Laird has always been one of the most solid backstops and game callers in baseball, but his only experience in the NL was 37 games of action with the Cardinals in 2011.
Scott Baker signs with Cubs.
This was a quiet, unheralded signing by the Cubs that could prove to be one of the smarter moves of the winter. Baker was a poor man’s Brad Radke in seven years with the Twins, before missing all of 2012 after elbow reconstruction surgery. The Cubs are rolling the dice that a healthy elbow and move to the NL will allow the 31-year-old to flourish again — perhaps, to become a trade piece for prospects next July.
Mariners release Chone Figgins
The deal Seattle gave Figgins a few years back was about as much a bust as the Mets’ signing of Jason Bay. Figgins was absolutely awful in three years with the Mariners, getting worse with each passing year. The Ms released him with $8M left on his contract. He turns 35 in January, and no, I don’t think he’s worth a flyer for the Mets.
Bartolo Colon signs with Athletics.
Ho-hum. We’ll see how well he does without the help of PEDs.
Nick Evans signs with Dodgers.
Remember Nick Evans? He missed most of 2012 with a broken hand. I don’t see him getting much playing time unless something really bad happens to Adrian Gonzalez. But, thought you’d like to know where Nick has landed.
Oliver Perez signs with Mariners.
One year, $1.5M for the reinvented lefthanded specialist. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
I think that’s all for now; if I missed something mildly significant, post it in the comments.