|do not like|
Ruben Amaro, Jr. is spending money in all the wrong places. Fifty million dollars for a closer is a gross misappropriation of funds. Why not retool with the best available non-first baseman? The free agent class is remarkably weak this hot stove season, but there are other ways to spend a budget. Bullpens can be built quickly. It certainly isn't easy, but as Kevin Towers has demonstrated for years, and the Rays proved last season, it is possible to build a quality bullpen at the last minute and on a budget.
Better things to do with $50 million than give it to a "proven closer" for 4 years:
- Sign Yoenis Cespedes and have about $18 million remaining to spend on three to five relief pitchers.
- Sign Jorge Soler and have about $30 million remaining to spend on a handful of relief pitchers.
- Sign Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler.
- Sign about 50 of the better amateur shortstops, catchers, and lefties in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
- Build a baseball academy in The Netherlands.
- Build a baseball academy in China.
How much would it cost to sign every halfway decent 16 and 17 year old left-handed pitcher in the Dominican Republic? How many are there? 100? 500? 1,000? How much would it cost to scout them and sign the 50 best ones? The top 5 or 10 may cost millions of dollars, but the last 10 or 20 won't cost more than thirty or fifty grand. I am totally pulling this out of nowhere and have no idea. Moments like this make me want a friend like Ben Badler to ask. Omar Minaya would probably have a good answer.
In Atlanta this offseason, Braves management looks like they intend to attend the swap meet, as opposed to the free agent auction.
For once, it seems like the majority of clubs, fans, and media realize the best move is to sit tight and increase the selective nature of free agent bidding. There only a handful of very good "gets" this year, yet they all have pitfalls. How messed up is it that most would agree that the contracts of the top 3 relievers to sign will each be an overblown albatross before the ink dries?
How about the perception of teams and their front offices? I'm guilty of this as much as anyone, but isn't it odd that if a team like the Braves say they won't spend big on free agents, we think they are being savvy, measured, or shrewd, but if the Mets aren't spending, we criticize them for "rebuilding"?
|Prado's bat plays much better|
at second base than left field.
They need some right-handed power out of left-field, and Prado can help someone else by being a good second baseman. We already know the Braves are looking for someone better than Delmon Young in exchange for Prado, as they squashed that rumor last week.
They're also looking for a Greinke-esque return for a Jair Jurrjens swap. That is foolhardy and overpriced for a pitcher who's track record does not compare with the former Cy Young award winning, Greinke. If the Braves can get two or three good to very good prospects for the inconsistent Jurrjens, they should jump at the chance.
The heartbreaking story of Wilson Ramos has me becoming a quasi fan of the Nats. Not a real fan, but a quasi fan. I like a lot of their players: Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Stephen Strasburg, Michael Morse, Drew Storen, Jordan Zimmerman, Henry Rodríguez, and I think they're bringing Liván Hernández back. They should be a fun team to watch, especially if Jayson Werth finds the fountain of youth and Bryce Harper is ready to become a man.
|It'll be great to see Wilson Ramos back on the field.|
In recent years, the Nationals have been big spenders (see: Jayson Werth), and this year is not different. Their one-year deal with Chien-Ming Wang was a luxurious spend, and they arguably should have shopped around a little more. The Nationals are really striving to hit that next level of competitiveness. It'll be interesting to see what they do with the money. A Fielder or Pujols grab would probably do them more good than replacing Ian Desmond with Jimmy Rollins.
New York Mets
|Reyes is pea cocking.|
Jimmy Rollins for three or four years could be fun, but definitely is not happening. This is the same team that signed a 32-year old Luis Castillo to a 4yr deal, and a very expensive 31-year old Jason Bay to a 4yr deal, with a vesting option on a 5th. Rollins is 32 years old, and Sandy Alderson is probably the least likely General Manager in the league to sign him.
|Lefties pitch forever.|
No statistic is an end-all, be-all measure of a player's worth, but Wins Above Replacement (WAR) will be our ruler for now. Taking the average WAR between Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference, these were the Mets' best pitchers in 2011:
R.A. Dickey, 3.7 avWAR
Jonathan Niese, 2.0 avWAR
Chris Capuano, 1.7 avWAR
Mike Pelfrey, 1.1 avWAR
Taking it a small step further, here are the Top 10 left-handed pitchers in the NL East, by 2011 avWAR:
Cliff Lee, 6.8 avWAR
Cole Hamels, 5.2 avWAR
Jonny Venters, 2.7 avWAR
Eric O'Flaherty, 2.7 avWAR
Jonathan Niese, 2.0 avWAR
Chris Capuano, 1.7 avWAR
John Lannan, 1.1 avWAR
Mike Minor, 1.1 avWAR
Antonio Bastardo, 1.1 avWAR
Ross Detwiler, 0.8 avWAR
Capuano isn't the best pitcher in the world. Heck, he's not even markedly better than Tom Gorzelanny, who was 11th on our list, with 0.7 avWAR. Still, he's a proven, left-handed swing man, who should keep pitching at least one win above replacement level for the next few years. A struggling team should embrace whatever talents they can, especially when they may be relatively inexpensive. It is admirable, if the Mets are afraid he could turn into the next John Grabow.
The Marlins are attempting to make a big splash in free agency, while opening a brand new stadium next season. They want a star, or two, or four, to help Hanley Ramírez, Mike Stanton, and Ozzie Guillen open the new place and sell tickets. It has been reported that the Marlins extended a $90 million offer to Jose Reyes, as well as offers to Pujols, Buehrle, and Madson. They have reported interest in Carlos Beltrán, which makes me wonder, if the Marlins sign Carlos Beltran, a corresponding move would involve trading Logan Morrison for a starting pitcher, right? I haven't seen much speculation on that from the Jon Heyman's of the world.
The GM meetings in Milwaukee are developing a few important stories, mostly about the CBA and new rules for compentation towards teams that lose Type A and/or B free agents after offering arbitration. That's pretty unfair to teams who traded for, or hung onto, players with Type B designation who now will lose their expected return. I don't see how this won't be challenged in at least a few circumstances.