While wondering if this is something I say every winter, I was wondering if this was the craziest start to a Major League Baseball offseason in recent memory.
Two recent Cy Young winners traded in the same deal.
The clear winner: Seattle has Lee just for 2010 barring an opening of the owners' vault in Seattle, who will have to give a mammoth extension to Felix Hernandez as well, but they didn't give up a single "elite" major league prospect or everyday player. A huge win.
I guess I get it: Phillies have Roy Halladay under team control through 2013 whereas they reportedly determined Lee was gone after 2010, but was that worth Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor? The package of prospects they received from Seattle rank far below those two.
TBD: Toronto gets a potential front-line starter in Kyle Drabek and an everyday first baseman in Brett Wallace. As they are expected to let Lyle Overbay walk (or trade him), this looks like a good fit. The third player coming to Toronto was Travis D'Arnaud, a catcher with some pop, but he's at least three years away.
John Lackey, who redeemed past post-season failings against Boston this post-season by beating Boston in the ALDS, signs a five year-deal with Boston for essentially A.J. Burnett money, giving the Red Sox a rotation of:
and Tim Wakefield
Let's recap the Dodgers' big moves to date:
Not offering arbitration to either Orlando Hudson or more surprisingly, Randy Wolf. Reportedly, the team feared a $15 million arbitration award to Wolf. Perhaps they don't realize that this isn't Roy Halladay we're talking about here. It's Randy Wolf.
Signing Josh Towers.
Trading Juan Pierre and $10.5 million for two marginal pitching prospects.
Look, the team can spin this any way they want, but it's abundently clear that the McCourts' divorce saga is going to impact the product on the field. Now, sign Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to long-term deals and sign a legitimate starting pitcher (too bad those that are left have major question marks), and I may change my tune. Perhaps the Phillies didn't want to deal Cliff Lee to a perceived rival, but it's unfathomable to me that the Dodgers couldn't have at least put in a bid on Lee that would have topped what Seattle wound up giving up.
Speaking of Southern California baseball, the Angels aren't having the best of offseasons. Gone are Chone Figgins (Seattle), the aforementioned Lackey, and (likely) Vladimir Guerrero. In: Hideki Matsui, but that's it. The offseason is still young, but GM Tony Reagins has a lot of work to do, especially considering the upgrades the Mariners and Rangers have made so far.
If I had to guess, I'd say Matt Holliday is returning to St. Louis and Jason Bay is headed to the Mets. Guaranteeing five years to Bay is going to haunt Omar Minaya's successor, so I understand Boston's reluctance to match, but do they now go hard after Holliday or deal for Adrian Gonzalez? They clearly need another bat.
Switching to fantasy for a few minutes, here are a few things I'm pondering:
1. Where to rank David Wright? Is he a 10-homer guy now? Will the power return and if so, to what level? I would probably project him for 22 HR, but perhaps I'm missing something. Tough guy to value.
2. Will Brad Lidge rebound? Personally, I'm not counting on it, but perhaps he's a good buy-low.
3. John Lackey in Boston. How's that going to affect his numbers? Is there anything to the so-called "Boston mentality" and does he have "it"?
4. Ben Zobrist - fluke or reality? "Fluke" is a bit strong, but this guy was a legitimate MVP candidate after showing little power (but plenty of plate discipline) in the minor leagues. I'd expect some regression, but he's not going to fall off the map either.
6. Pablo Sandoval - Here we go with the "he's on a new diet/strengthening program" reports. KFP has repotedly ditched the fast food in favor of veggies. Should be interesting.
7. Grady Sizemore - My early pick for Comeback POY. If you can get him in the mid-to-late fourth round, he's a nice buy.
8. Adam Lind - I just saw the 2009 Strat-o-Matic defense ratings. Lind clocks in at an ugly "5" in left field on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being Gold Glove material and 5 being "you better be able to hit and hit well". Lind fortunately can hit VERY well.
9. Jason Kubel - Maybe it's just me, but .300-28-103 was a surprise. Not because he didn't have that type of ability, but more that we've been expecting a breakout for three years. At 27, there it was.
10. Chris Coghlan - One guy getting no love in early mock drafts is Coghlan. .321/.390/.460 as a rookie. The power isn't quite there yet, but the idea that he could replace a soon-to-be traded Dan Uggla and gain 2B or 3B eligibility is intriguing.
What are some of the stories you're following? Any early fantasy sleepers or busts?