I take one weekend off, and the GMs immediately fire off the most hectic week of the offseason. Granted, I should have had the foresight not to take the Winter Meetings off, but I didn't. And now we have a ton a deals to analyze.
Cruz to the Mariners
Seattle's been widely criticized in the media for handing out too many years to the 34 year old Cruz, and they have a point. However, as much as we talk about not handing out four year deals, as a GM, you can't expect to sign someone if your not willing to overpay him, because there will always another GM who is. So in a weird way, overpaying someone like Cruz is also just market value. Especially for a team in win-now mode like the Mariners.
Samardzija to the White Sox
I'm baffled about why nobody's making a bigger deal about this trade, both as a brilliant one for the White Sox and a terrible one for the A's. We'll start with Chicago. I'm wildly impressed that they were able to snag a pitcher as good as Samardzija for a group a guys that includes one real prospect (Rangel Ravelo). Meanwhile, Billy Beane has snatched the "strangest offseason plan" award for this year. The A's can't seem to decide on a coherent direction. First they sign Billy Butler, then they trade Josh Donaldson (which I liked but it doesn't make sense with their other moves) and now they trade their best pitcher who won't be a free agent until 2016 for one prospect. Speaking of trades that don't make sense...
Kemp to the Padres
Somehow I hate this deal for both teams. Just like in the Samardzija trade, the team dealing the star only got one good prospect, (in this case Zach Eflin) But I dislike the move for the Padres as well. What use to they have for Kemp? He's not going to turn a team that went 77-85 last year into a playoff team. It just doesn't make sense.
Santana to the Twins
I'm neutral on this one. Santana had an ERA of 3.95 in the spacious Turner Field but a FIP of just 3.39. Still, four years seems like a long time for a guy who was average at best last year. Then again, I hated the Phil Hughes signing last offseason. We'll see where it goes.
Gordon for Heaney, Heaney for Kendrick
Finally, a trade that's good for everybody! The Angels got the two things they really need: prospects for a farm system decimated by the lack of draft picks they've had by signing Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. As for the second basemen, it's a slight gamble for the Marlins to acquire Gordon, who didn't do as well after the all-star break last year, but while he wasn't getting on base as often he was still hitting well, and even if he only hits about .260 next year, he'll still be valuable because of his speed and defense. Finally, Kendrick is the opposite of Gordon. He'll never wow you with his skills, but he's consistent and hits about .290/.335 every year.
Porcello for Cespedes
While I like the Tigers aggressiveness going for Cespedes to hit behind Cabrera, I wouldn't have given up Porcello for him. After the trade deadline, when they acquired David Price, the Tigers, along with the A's were declared the team to beat in the AL. And now, they're short on pitching. It started just after they got Price, when the Tiger fan base collectively forgot this isn't 2011 and Verlander isn't a dominant starter anymore*. Now Sherzer is almost certainly leaving this offseason, they traded Drew Smyly in the Price deal. Now without Porcello, Price is their only really good starter. As a Twins fan, I like this.
*He posted a 4.54 ERA last year.
Lester to the Cubs
Not much to say here, I'm generally against large contracts given to pitchers because their arms are so fragile, (Johan Santana anyone?) but like I said in the Cruz paragraph, if you want someone, you have to overpay.
Rollins to the Dodgers
Toiling away on the miserable Phillies the last few years, Rollins has been sneaky-mediocre, posting .243/.323/.394 with good defense. Taking salaries into account here, he has a way better value than Hanley Ramirez. Good pickup for the Dodgers.