New York, NY -- Sure, the Red Sox won the World Series while the Yankees stayed home in October for the first time since 2008, but in many ways 2013 seemed like the Year of Mariano Rivera. The New York Yankees legend and all-time saves leader in baseball retired after 19 seasons and had a memorable farewell tour throughout Major League Baseball befitting the last man to wear number 42 on the baseball diamond. Rivera continued his season of accolades and appreciation as the March of Dimes Sportsman of the Year at a luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on Wednesday afternoon.no comments
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Phillies did something that blew my mind: they acquired a player that may improve their team a good bit in 2014, and gave up next to nothing to get him. Ruben Amaro's club acquired reliever Brad Lincoln from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for backup catcher Erik Kratz and Rob Rasmussen, who didn't throw a pitcher as a member of the Phillies organization after being acquired from the Dodgers for Michael Young in September.no comments
On the heels of their puzzling trade of Dexter Fowler to Houston, a trade seemingly done to clear payroll space, the Rockies have announced that they signed first baseman Justin Morneau to a two-year, $13 million contract. Though the Rockies had been in pursuit of Morneau for a few weeks now, one can't help but see them as inextricably linked, making the Fowler trade even more of a disaster than it already was.
Let's assume for a minute that the Morneau deal and Fowler trade have nothing to do with each other. That might be hard to do since Fowler was slated to earn $7.85 million in 2014 and Morneau will earn almost exactly that same amount, but try and play along. In signing Morneau, the Rockies just spent $13 million on a first baseman who has been worth 0.4 fWAR over the last three seasons combined. This isn't Morneau the former MVP the Rockies are getting, though maybe they think they are.no comments
General managers Brian Cashman and Dave Dombrowski may have made the splashiest moves thus far into the offseason. But Athletics GM Billy Beane is getting serious work done under the fold, building what's beginning to look like the best team in the American League.
On Tuesday, Oakland further strengthened what was already an excellent bullpen by acquiring reliever Luke Gregerson in exchange for outfielder Seth Smith. That was Beane's second move of the day, following a trade for outfielder Craig Gentry. To begin the week, the A's added starting pitcher Scott Kazmir and closer Jim Johnson to the roster.
Smith didn't have a great season, batting .253 with eight home runs, 40 RBI and a .721 OPS in 410 plate appearances. But he had a strong postseason, compiling a .313/.353/.500 slash average and providing one of Oakland's most dangerous bats versus the Tigers in the ALDS. That performance may have been enough for Beane to swap Smith for Gregerson, arguably one of the best setup relievers in the National League. Considering Smith no longer really had a role with the A's, this trade looks like a steal.no comments
There were so many transactions yesterday that we couldn't keep up.
-Jacoby Ellsbury is a Yankee, getting a contract as ridiculous as we all expected.
-Dexter Fowler has been dealt to the Astros for a bag of magic beans.
-Joe Nathan got two years from the Tigers.
-The Rays made a total Rays move, acquiring Heath Bell *and* Ryan Hanigan in a three-team trade.
-Oakland picked up the very underrated Craig Gentry.
-AJ Pierzynski joined the Red Sox.
And to think: we didn't even get to all of the transactions. Today, we'll break down the Seth Smith-Luke Gregerson swap between the A's and Rockies, Jarrod Saltalamacchia's signing with the Marlins, Justin Morneau's contract in Colorado, and the Phillies' acquisition of Brad Lincoln, along with whatever else might happen today.
Enjoy your extremely busy offseason, everyone.
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First it was Brian McCann. Now, the New York Yankees have signed center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million contract. The Yankees have once again stolen a former Red Sox center fielder, nearly a decade after signing Johnny Damon away from Boston.
The 30-year old Ellsbury was TOC's second-ranked free agent this winter, and was expected to get paid after a 2013 season that saw him hit .298/.355/.426 with nine home runs and 52 stolen bases (with just four caught stealings, as well). Ellsbury is a plus defender in center field, and whatever defensive alignment the Yankees decide to put together with him, Brett Gardner, and Ichiro will be one of the best in baseball.
But the price for Ellsbury was steep. Nearly $22 million a year into his mid-30s for a player whose strong suits are his defense and speed? That's not a real good combination. At least for next year, New York will have successfully improved their offense, but signing Ellsbury may cost them Robinson Cano if the team is still devoted to staying under the $189 million luxury tax cap - and that might be a bigger loss at the end of the day.
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On a day full of trades, the Colorado Rockies might have just pulled off the biggest headscratcher of them all by trading outfielder Dexter Fowler and a player to be named later to Houston for outfielder Brandon Barnes and pitcher Jordan Lyles.
Dexter Fowler has never lived up to the star potential that he has flashed from time to time, something that has been a source of great frustration for Rockies management. Apparently it got so frustrating that they just up and decided to dump him for two spare parts. Fowler isn't a star, but he has been a very solid player, posting OBPs of .363 or higher and fWARs of 2.2 or higher each of the last three seasons. That is a player a lot of teams could use that should have been able to return a nice player or two, but Colorado instead settled for a reserve outfielder and a back-end starter.no comments
The Tigers and Joe Nathan may have been the most predictable pairing of the offseason. It's no secret that Detroit needed a closer, and Nathan was the top guy on the free agent market. At 39, the right-hander wants to win a World Series championship and figures to have a strong chance with the Tigers.
Nathan agreed to a two-year contract with Detroit on Tuesday. According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the deal is for approximately $20 million. Nathan was able to opt out of his $9 million club option with the Rangers for 2014 by finishing 61 games this past season. He sought a two-year deal on the open market and the Tigers were all too willing to oblige.
The closer had one of the best seasons of his 13-year career in 2013, finishing with 43 saves in 46 opportunities, a 1.39 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 73 strikeouts in 64.2 innings. Those numbers will work just fine for a Tigers bullpen that struggled to establish a closer after rookie Bruce Rondon failed to win the job in spring training and a closer-by-committee strategy was abandoned early in the season.no comments