UPDATE: Not only was it a shock that Josh Hamilton signed with a team seemingly out of nowhere, it was a bigger shock that his new team is the Angels. He signed a 5 year, $125 million dollar contract with them and reportedly didn’t give Texas a chance to match. The length and dollar amount seem too much given how many issues surround Hamilton, but the Angels lineup looks even more formidable then before. Hamilton with Pujols and Trout? Not to mention Trumbo and Bourjos? They thought signing Pujols and Wilson last offseason would carry them to the World Series and they’ll regret these large contracts when the guys are older and not as effective but still making obscene amounts of money. At least the AL West race gotten alot more interesting, but so has the Freeway Series with the Dodgers.
With the Winter Meetings over and a ton of trades and signings already in the books, let’s look at how they’ll impact their teams. Though some major names have been signed contracts or been traded, there are still quite a few left for teams that missed out. Michael Bourn seemingly is left without any good options after teams in need of center fielders made other moves. Anibal Sanchez and Kyle Lohse are floating out there somewhere and will probably sign for less then they had hoped. With Arizona’s moves it seems very unlikely they’ll trade Justin Upton and R.A. Dickey may soon be on his way out of Queens given the recent acrimony between him and the Mets.
Detroit signs OF Torii Hunter for 2 years, $26 million
The first big transaction of the offseason saw an already potent Tiger offense get even better. Hunter solidifies a corner outfield spot and while he bat is declining, he still can contribute. Surrounded by Cabrera, Fielder and Martinez in the lineup he’ll be more a supporting player with decent numbers, more so if he hits in front of them. Considering some of the contracts signed by lesser talents later, Hunter’s doesn’t seem all that bad.
The Miami-Toronto Blockbuster
This mega deal seemingly caught people by surprise a few days after the Hunter signing. The Blue Jays put themselves in AL East contention with this deal, while the Marlins are left to pick up the pieces. Miami got some nice talent in return, but fans have to feel swindled after Jeffrey Loria got the city to build a brand, new stadium and then blew up the team a year later.
Toronto signs OF Melky Cabrera for 2 years, $16 million
Seemingly not done, the Jays made another bold move in signing the disgraced All Star Game MVP who comes with the baggage from his PED suspension Most people thought he would get just a one year contract to re-establish his value, so two years seems a bit odd. The Jays sense a weakness in their own division and are striking to strike at the right time.
Los Angeles Angels sign RP Ryan Madson for one year and trade RP Jordan Walden to Atlanta for SP Tommy Hanson
When the Angels signed Madson, it seemed to push Walden from the closer role, but the team turned around and dealt him for Hanson. Though he’s coming off Tommy John surgery, Madson has proven to be an effective closer in the past, plus he comes at a bargain price. When it looked like Zack Greinke might not come back, the team acted quickly and got Hanson, who has lost some his lustre after a breakout rookie season. With a solid bullpen, the Angels dealt from a strength to fix what might have become a glaring weakness if they waited too long to act.
Atlanta signs CF BJ Upton for 5 years, $75 million
Upton has always seemed like a player that is on the cusp of truly breaking out. He has the talent for it and maybe a change of scenery can help. The deal covers what should be his peak years and while $15 mil a year is alot for a player coming off a dissapointing season, the Braves got one of the top position players on the market. Plus they took him away from the rival Phillies who were considered the top destination for him.
Minnesota trades CF Denard Span to Washington for P Alex Meyer
The Nationals fill a long standing need in trading for Span, who will slot into center and allow Bryce Harper to shift to a corner outfield spot. However, they may regret this in the long run. That’s because they gave up a very good prospect in Meyer who is the hard-throwing, high-upside arm that the Twins lack in their system. He could end up as either a starter or reliever, but either way has a ton of promise.
Boston signs OF Johnny Gomes for 2 years, $10 million
Boston signs C/1B Mike Napoli and CF Shane Victorino for 3 years, $39 million
With the mega trade from last season clearing tons of salary for the Sox, it was assumed they’d spent to shore up some needs, however these moves have left many scratching their heads. First to give that much money to a part-time player such as Gomes seems risky. Napoli will help the offense, but is only average as a defender and strikes out a ton while turning in a low AVG. Victorino is coming off his worst season and may never live up to his contract.
Minnesota trades CF Ben Revere to Philadelphia for Ps Vance Worley and Trevor May
The rotation makeover in the Twin Cities continues. They could afford to trade Revere due to a surplus of outfielders in their system to fix a need. Worley will slot in as a solid back end starter, while May is a prospect whose stats don’t match up with the hype, but retains some promise.
Washington signs SP Dan Haren for 1 year, $13 million
Up until last year, Haren had been a model of consistency, annually topping 200 innings and hovering around 200 Ks. However, injuries derailed his season and limited his effectiveness. If he can return to form, this will be a huge steal for an already stacked Nats rotation.
Los Angeles Dodgers sign SP Zack Greinke for 6 years, $147 million
Los Angeles Dodgers signs SP Hyun-Jin Ryu for 6 years, $36 million
With cash overflowing Chavez Ravine the Dodgers certainly upgraded their rotation. Greinke was the best pitcher available and would be an ace on most team, but be a #2 behind Clayton Kershaw. Ryu will be #3 and the Korean lefty will not feel as much pressure to perform up to his contract if he were higher in the rotation. Normally throwing obscene amounts of money at guys is bad, but this is the new Dodgers who don’t seem to care. At least until they’re injured or not worth the huge expense.
Texas trades 1B Michael Young to Philadelphia for Ps Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla
This had to be tough for Young, leaving the only team he’s ever played for, but it was best for his career as he was getting squeezed out of playing time in Texas. He’ll shift to 3rd for the Phillies who give up some promising young pitchers with Lindblom proving himself capable already.
Tampa Bay trades SP James Shields, SP Wade Davis, PTBNL to Kansas City for OF Wil Myers, P Jake Odorizzi, P Mike Montgomery and 3B Patrick Leonard
The Royals finally made that big that could vault them into contention in a shallow AL Central, while filling their biggest need. Shields is one of the more underrated starters in the majors who can strike out 200+ a season, while Davis is a steady, if unspectacular, starter. The Rays got two prospects in Montgomery and Leonard and a near-major league ready starter in Odorizzi, but the prize is Myers, one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Myers could start next season and has seemingly endless potential. This could turn out to a major heist for GM Andrew Friedman and the Rays.
Reds get OF Shin-Soo Choo, INF Jason Donald
Indians get SP Trevor Bauer, OF Drew Stubbs, RPs Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw
DBacks gets SS Didi Gregorious, OF Lars Anderson, RP Tony Sipp
At first glance it looks like Arizona got the least return. Gregorious is a light hitting defensive shortstop, Anderson’s stock has been falling and Sipp is a mediocre reliever. Certainly not a good return for Bauer. In the former top prospect, the Indians get the young starter they’ve wanted. He has a disappointing debut, but the talent in undeniable. Stubbs’ stock is down, but could turn it around. The Reds traded defense for offense in picking up Choo. He has 20-20 potential, but it’s unclear who will man center next season. Donald is a good pickup as a valuable backup infielder.