Well, the Winter Meetings are now behind us, and we're moving into the cold reality that baseball news for the next two months will likely start trickling in at a much slower pace. However, we can look at what's happened so far this offseason and determine who's done a good job for themselves so far, and who hasn't had the best offensive. I'll be concentrating on moves that took place this week at the Winter Meetings, but will give some thought to moves that were made before this week.
Washington came into the offseason with a purpose, though they didn't really need to make considerable tweaks to a team that won 98 games in 2012. Of course, that didn't stop Nationals GM Mike Rizzo from finally acquiring Denard Span from the Twins (for just one prospect, Alex Meyer) and essentially replacing Edwin Jackson in the rotation with Dan Haren on a one-year deal. The defensive upgrade that will come from inserting Span in center, shifting Bryce Harper to a corner, and getting Michael Morse out of the infield is a move that will pay huge dividends for Washington immediately, and if healthy, Haren's ceiling is much higher than that of Jackson's, providing a veteran presence to a very young rotation. And to think, the Nationals might not even done yet, with rumors that they're shopping Morse and looking at bringing back Adam LaRoche to play first base.
San Francisco Giants
Like the Nationals, the Giants didn't need to do much tweaking to their team since they won the World Series just a month and a half ago. And thus, the Giants really haven't tweaked all that much. They've brought back Marco Scutaro on a three-year deal and Angel Pagan on a below-market four-year deal, and while Jeremy Affeldt's new contract was an overpay, GM Brian Sabean felt that it was an essential move. All that the Giants really need is a left fielder now, and based on the way the market has gone this winter, I'd imagine that Sabean would get a little creative in filling that hole.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays did nothing at the Winter Meetings, and did all of their damage before all of baseball descended on Nashville this week. But looking at what happened this week, Toronto's haul earlier this winter looks even better. Melky Cabrera at $8 million a year is an absolute steal compared to the $13 million that Boston is paying Shane Victorino. The price in prospects that Toronto traded to the Marlins for Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle, and Josh Johnson looks even better considering the current state of the free agent market at shortstop. Not bad, Toronto…not bad.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are gambling with their signing of James Loney to play first base and their trade for Yunel Escobar to play short. But if Escobar doesn't cause any turmoil in Tampa Bay's clubhouse, they've got a three or four win player as a full time shortstop for the first time since the days of Julio Lugo and Jason Bartlett. Loney is a much larger gamble, but the Rays are paying him much less than they paid Carlos Pena for next to no production last year. Also, the extension Tampa Bay gave to Evan Longoria still looks like it'll end up being below market a week later, *and* the Rays have a wealth of pitching to trade as the market continues to flesh itself out. This is a team in a very enviable position right now.
New York Yankees
After the news about Alex Rodriguez's hip surgery that would keep him out for as much as half of the 2013 season, the Yankees jumped into the market for a third baseman…and escaped with nothing, falling short on Jeff Keppinger and being left fluttering in the wind by Kevin Youkilis. The one-year deals signed by Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, and Mariano Rivera will give them flexibility for beyond 2013, but the Yankees haven't filled any of their holes on the offensive side of the ball past third base either, including right field, catcher, and DH.
The Indians were in on everyone, including Shane Victorino and Nick Swisher…and walked away with nothing. The team still doesn't have a left fielder, still has Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson, and Chris Perez on their roster, and is in potentially a worse position compared to where they started at the beginning of the week. It's really a tough time to rebuild in Cleveland right now.
The poor Mariners. They're essentially the fallback option for Josh Hamilton if the Rangers either trade for Justin Upton or sign Zack Greinke, and the sad thing is, I think they're totally fine with that. With Seattle also signing Jason Bay to a one-year deal, this just seems to be a franchise that is drfiting at sea with no direction and no idea of what to do in the future. It's a shame too, because their pitching staff is really good too.
This is a bit of a cop-out, going with a player as opposed to a team, but there is no player whose market took more of a hit during the Winter Meetins than that of Bourn. Pretty much every center field option on the market signed or was traded before Bourn, leaving the talented Scott Boras client as a wallflower, looking at the other center fielders dancing with their new dates. There isn't much of a market left for Bourn, and he might not get the nine figure deal he was dreaming of this fall…just because there's no one left to give it to him. This is a situation where a team could get an incredible value on Bourn by swooping in late and offering him a shorter term deal for more money per season.
JURY'S STILL OUT
The Twins needed young pitching, and they got three young starters in Alex Meyer, Trevor May, and Vance Worley while dealing 2/3 of their starting outfield. However, Worley will likely be the only one to contribute in the majors in 2013, and May and Meyer might end up in the bullpen long-term. Adding depth is always a good thing, but the exact quality of the depth that the Twins picked up is still up in the air right now.
Boston Red Sox
Just mere months after shedding the horrendous contracts of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, the Red Sox went right back into the free agent market and starting spending. However, they didn't go longer than three years on any player, indicating a more short-term approach for the team. But Shane Victorino at three years and $39 million could be an overpay, and Mike Napoli's identical contract is strange given the presence of David Ortiz (also re-signed this winter) at DH and Boston's huge crop of catchers. The signing of Koji Uehara to a one year deal worth $4.5 million could be one of the best moves of the winter, though.
The Phillies still don't have a third baseman, and the potential Michael Young trade is something that could go in two extremely different directions if Young approves the trade. After whiffing on BJ Upton and Angel Pagan to fill their hole in center field, the Phillies went with Ben Revere of the Twins, a move that won't give them much offensively but will help the team a lot on defense. The Phillies also still don't have a full-time answer in left field, and the position is essentially a question mark surrounded by the names Darin Ruf, John Mayberry Jr, and Laynce Nix. The Phillies also still have some questions in the back-end of their rotation after dealing Vance Worley in the Revere trade. But this team has money to spend, and likely will make a splash before the winter is over.
Los Angeles Angels
Zack Greinke looks like he'll be leaving Anaheim, likely heading to the Dodgers or Rangers. The Angels seemingly replaced Greinke by not signing an ace, but instead trading for a talented, injury-prone arm in Tommy Hanson and signing the quintessential innings eater, Joe Blanton. The Angels also probably paid a little much for Sean Burnett in their bullpen, but they can thank Ned Colletti and Walt Jocketty for setting the bar so high for relievers. I'm not sure if a rotation of Weaver-Wilson-Blanton-Hanson-Williams is one of the best in the league, but it's not overly terrible at least either.