Now that Baseball’s Winter Meetings are officially over and we have all had a chance to catch our breath, lets take a look at the five teams who really improved themselves over the last four days.
5. Baltimore Orioles. I really liked the addition of Kevin Millwood for this ball club in 2010. Millwood is exactly what this team needed.
The Orioles only had one pitcher in 2009 (Jeremy Guthrie) throw more than 124 innings. Millwood should come in and eat some much-needed innings for the Orioles and provide some leadership for the Orioles’ young starters.
All the Orioles had to give up for Millwood was Chris Ray. Ray and his 7.27 ERA won’t be missed from the Orioles’ bullpen.
4. Detroit Tigers. I know when a team gives up the type of person and player Curtis Granderson is, they usually aren’t considered winners. But the Tigers did really well in their three-way trade with the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Tigers got three top prospects in Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, and Daniel Schlereth and got another left-handed pitcher for their bullpen in Phil Coke.
Jackson will replace the departed Granderson in center field and Scherzer will replace Edwin Jackson, who was shipped to the Diamondbacks in the Tigers rotation.
3. Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays finally acquired a closer they so desperately needed. The Rays acquired Rafael Soriano from the Atlanta Braves for Jesse Chavez.
Soriano now gives them stability in the back of the pen. Over the last four years, Soriano has a 2.76 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and has averaged 10.3 K’s/9 in 221.2 IP.
2. Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers went into the winter meetings wanting to improve on two areas–the starting rotation and the bullpen. In a span of about three hours, they accomplished both.
On Wednesday, the Brewers inked LHP Randy Wolf to a three-year, $29.75 million contract to improve the starting rotation and then signed RHP LaTroy Hawkins to a two-year, $7.5 million contract to improve the bullpen.
Did the Brewers perhaps overpay a little for Wolf and Hawkins? Maybe, but Milwaukee isn’t Miami, L.A. or even Chicago. The Brewers sometimes have to overpay to get people to come to Milwaukee.
In a span of three hours, the Brewers made themselves contenders again in the weak NL Central.
1. New York Yankees. The rich get richer huh? The Yankees wanted to get more athletic this offseason and accomplished that goal when they traded for Granderson.
With his personality and his ability to drive the ball to right field, Granderson is a perfect fit in New York. The Yankees can now either re-sign Johnny Damon to play left or they can let Damon walk if he is asking for too much money and let Melky Cabrera play left field.
Either way, the Yankees’ outfield defense will be improved in 2010.
The Yankees were also able to re-sign LHP Andy Pettitte to a reasonable ($11.5 million) one-year deal. As I have said before, outside Mariano Rivera, Pettitte has been the second most important Yankee over the last 14 years.
There is no more reliable postseason pitcher in today’s game than Pettitte.
If you notice, I don’t have the losers of the winter meetings because I don’t necessarily feel a team has to do something during the four days. Waiting and picking your spots doesn’t make you a loser.
However, if there was one loser based on the moves they did make during the four days it would be the Diamondbacks. They gave up way too much to acquire E. Jackson and Ian Kennedy.
They better be right with their thinking that Scherzer doesn’t translate into a starting pitcher.
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