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February 27, 2013

The Lineup Card

12 Least-Favorite Off-Season Moves

by Baseball Prospectus

‚Äč1. The Diamondbacks Sign Cody Ross
In the sea of oddity that was their offseason, perhaps the Diamondbacks’ crowning achievement was signing Cody Ross to a three-year, $26 million deal. The room for Ross was created—if not intentionally—by trading two fine young outfielders in Chris Young and Justin Upton. Last season, Ross played in Boston for $3 million. He was 30. This season Ross, like the rest of us, has aged a year, but somehow the Diamondbacks decided that he was worth three times as many years and almost nine times as many dollars. They did so despite terrifying home/road splits (921 OPS at Fenway, 684 OPS on the road) and an inability to be anything above mediocre against right-handed pitching. Ross’ signing was perhaps the most perplexing move made by a front office that moved in mysterious ways this winter. —Matthew Kory

2. No, Seriously, Cody Ross to the Diamondbacks
At the risk of piling on the Diamondbacks after a very strange offseason, one of their moves was my least favorite because of the signing itself, but also because of the surrounding circumstances. Adding Ross at $26 million for three years in a vacuum is only slightly objectionable. (Actually, it’s very objectionable because he couldn’t breathe in a vacuum and would probably die well before the three years are up.) But the Diamondbacks already had four capable outfielders, and in adding a not-very-good one, they put themselves under pressure to get rid of a very good one, which they did in Justin Upton.

Ross, whose days as a center fielder are probably behind him, was a 2.1-win player last year and hadn’t been that high since 2008. In the four years since that peak season, he has averaged 1.5 wins above replacement player. So even before you figure in decline, the three years and $26 million is a little much. But when you do, and when you think about the fact that you already had an outfield of Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton and Gerardo Parra, much less Upton, much less Chris Young before that, it’s just throwing money at almost nothing and doing so for three years. —Zachary Levine

3. The Diamondbacks Send Chris Young to Oakland
The Diamondbacks might not have had the worst offseason of any team in baseball, but by many accounts, they had the strangest. And it all began on October 21, when, just days before the World Series, general manager Kevin Towers struck a deal with his counterparts in Oakland and Miami. The three-way trade (or, more precisely, two successive two-way trades) brought Heath Bell and Cliff Pennington to the desert, at the expense of Chris Young, who joined the Athletics.

Although Towers' future moves, from the Justin Upton trade, to the Trevor Bauer-for-Didi Gregorius barter, to the Cody Ross signing, did not flow directly from this October swap, the opening salvo was as curious as any of the moves. Pennington was acquired, presumably, to resolve Arizona's mess at shortstop, but Towers went on resolving that mess long after Pennington came to the desert. And, in the process, he may have made the Diamondbacks worse at two outfield positions, in addition to creating an apparent glut at the third.

The Bell acquisition—despite the right-hander's history with Towers in San Diego—was equally puzzling. Arizona agreed to take on $13 million of the $21 million remaining on Bell's contract, which runs through the 2014 season, and though the player cost (Yordy Cabrera, who was obtained from Oakland in the Pennington-for-Young precursor) was minimal, the decision to devote significant resources to a declining and aging middle reliever was incongruous with the short-term plan of improving the team. The Diamondbacks will pay Bell $5 million in 2013 to serve as, at best, the fourth-best righty in a pen that also features closer J.J. Putz, primary set-up man David Hernandez, and elite specialist Brad Ziegler. This, before a winter that saw Koji Uehara get $4.5 million over one year and Mike Adams net only $12 million for the next two.

Towers has built a strong enough reputation over his GM career to warrant the benefit of the doubt. But if the doubters prove prescient, history won't look kindly on his third offseason in Arizona, from beginning to end. —Daniel Rathman

4. Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Valentine Get Canned
There's a team I root for in baseball, and I am also one of those fans who has come to enjoy the well-played move (the trade that helps both sides or the free-agent signing that provides value to the team and security for the player), but in the end, outside of the A's winning the World Series every year, the main thing I want is for Major League Baseball to be hilarious: I want GIFs of dudes falling down and quotes from players with a sharp sense of humor (biased, but I'm looking at you, Mr. McCarthy) ,and tweets with ridiculous autocorrect ("cot for choice," never forget).

To that end, I have a strong interest in promoting the idea that managers shouldn't be tactically smart or savvy in the clubhouse or go-along-get-along guys with their general manager and owner so much as they should be good with a quote and occasionally willing to throw someone (verbally) under a bus or wave a bat in the direction of the most heralded rookie since King Tut. That is to say that my least-favorite moves of the offseason were the firings of Bobby Valentine and Ozzie Guillen, each of whom provided so much joy to everyone outside of Boston and Miami with their antics and their unpredictability and their hilarious praise of Fidel Castro and their inability to just shut the hell up for three seconds even though their jobs depended on it and, really, most of all, their belief that they actually matter and have power just because they're famous and signed contracts and had been good managers in the past, which power, actually, they proved they did have, if you think about it, because were those teams really 90-loss teams on the talent of it?

Either way, though, RIP Ozzie and Bobby, and here's hoping you make a reality sitcom together. —Jason Wojciechowski

5. The Mets Sign Marlon Byrd
Marlon Byrd is a great guy and was once a pretty good player—though how much of that was legitimate we’ll never know, after he was suspended 50 games for PEDs last year—but when the Mets signed him to a minor-league contract with an invitation to major-league spring training over the winter, the move was the equivalent of putting a bandage on a gaping wound. And not a regular bandage, but one of those tiny Band-Aids you would use on a baby. Granted, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson tried to sign Michael Bourn and trade for Justin Upton but, with all due respect to Collin “We Need More” Cowgill, he had to do something more with his outfield than sign Byrd.

The way it stands now, the Mets’ outfield will likely consist of Lucas Duda in left, Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center and Mike Baxter in right field. Duda, at least, has a little pop, but Niewuwehuis projects as a fourth outfielder, and there will be no fringier fringe player in an Opening Day lineup than Baxter. It's no wonder why the always quick-witted Alderson replied, “What outfield?” when asked by a reporter about his outfield before the start of spring training. What outfield, indeed. —John Perrotto

6. The Padres Do Nothing
A team that incurred 86 losses last year, had more than 40 percent of households in the city it represents be unable to watch games on television, and switched ownership groups for the second time in four years might wish to show signs of life during the offseason. The Padres ranked 14th of 16 National League teams in attendance. Fans weren't clamoring to see the 2012 product, so presumably changes might be in order. If nothing else, the new owners could extend the proverbial olive branch by demonstrating a commitment to improve.

The biggest black hole last year was starting pitching. Injuries played a key role, but when 36 percent of your starts go to Jason Marquis, Eric Stults, Ross Ohlendorf, Andrew Werner, Kip Wells, and Jeff Suppan, that's as much bad planning as bad luck. The Padres, despite playing half their games at then-spacious Petco Park, saw their starters post the league's fourth-worst ERA.

They addressed this gaping hole by trading for Tyson Ross, re-signing Marquis and Tim Stauffer, and signing free agents Sean O'Sullivan and Freddy Garcia. Whether the team can re-establish credibility among its fan base by slapping duct tape onto an open wound remains to be seen, but there would seem to be better strategies for achieving that goal. —Geoff Young

7. The Diamondbacks Forget How No-Trade Clauses Work
We all forget things sometimes; it happens to the best of us. On Saturday night, I forgot to give my daughter her vitamins before putting her to bed. Turns out, she woke up on Sunday with all of her extremities still attached. On January 10, reports surfaced that the Arizona Diamondbacks had agreed to trade Justin Upton to the Seattle Mariners for a package of four players, including top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker. The only slight hiccup was that the Mariners were one of only four teams on Upton’s no-trade list, and the right fielder promptly rejected the trade.

It doesn’t matter if the reports that Upton “repeatedly” told the Diamondbacks he wouldn’t accept a trade to Seattle are true or not. Clearly, this is an important piece of information to have when negotiating a deal. Maybe Kevin Towers thought that news of the almost-trade wouldn’t leak out, which either paints him as naïve or having a lack of understanding as to how the baseball media and Internet coexist. Maybe he genuinely thought that the Mariners would make such a convincing case to Upton that he’d waive his no-trade clause. And that he’d choose to go play half of his games in a stadium that would suppress the numbers he’d need to cash in when he hit free agency after the 2015 season. Of course, that doesn’t paint him in a positive light either.

But maybe the most interesting aspect of this mini-saga is that it was not the first time Kevin Towers has done this. Back in 2002, when he was general manager of the San Diego Padres, Towers agreed to deal Phil Nevin to Cincinnati for Ken Griffey Jr.—and Nevin invoked his no-trade clause (h/t to Geoff Young, who reminded me about this). According to Nevin’s agent, he told Towers the prior summer that the only way his client would accept a trade would be if it were to a West Coast team. At least I only forgot my daughter’s vitamins once. —Bret Sayre

8. The Orioles Do Nothing
Well, they did re-sign hitters like Lew Ford (79 PAs, -0.4 WARP) and Nate McLouth (“erupted” for 0.9 WARP in 236 PAs after coming over from Pittsburgh). And they took flyers on pitchers such as Manny Delcarmen (last pitched in majors in 2010), Jair Jurrjens (mostly bad and injured since 2009), and Joel Pineiro (shoulder labrum surgery last July). Also, they gave alms to Adam Greenberg. In other words, the Orioles stood pat. Meanwhile, every other team in their division, the most competitive in baseball, aggressively worked the market over the winter, making deals, spending big, shoring up.

Were the Orioles complacent, or just financially limited? Perhaps Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter are already gearing up for another season of canny roster manipulation in order to hide its cracks and stains, but the intelligence and tirelessness required for the brain trust to pull that off in 2012—which they did, shrewdly, reanimating this lifeless franchise—should also have alerted them to the meager odds of Baltimore again exceeding their Pythagorean win expectancy by 11 games and going 29-9 in one-run contests. The O’s inaction could plunge the club right back into the depths of inconsequence. And they don’t even have Dana Eveland and Bill Hall around to save them anymore! —Adam Sobsey

9. The Reds Give Jonathan Broxton a Three-Year Deal
Three years and $21 million for Jonathan Broxton. I had to shake my head. By this point, the reader will probably be quite familiar with the reason that giving a bunch of money to a "proven closer" is a bad idea. And it is, especially given that Broxton, while he saved 27 games with a 2.48 ERA last year, did so with a high LOB% (79.2 percent) and a low HR/FB ratio (4.9 percent), which masked that his strikeout rate has fallen by 3.5 per nine innings(!!!) in the space of a year. Broxton is due to regress, and even if you buy that his performance over the past year was legitimate, there's nothing in his recent performance that screams "good investment." Actually, I worry about this signing for what will eventually happen in Cincinnati because of it.

Broxton theoretically takes over the closer role from Aroldis Chapman, who will join the Reds' starting rotation. If Broxton falters a couple of times (and even the really good closers do that), there will be calls for Chapman to be reinstated as closer, because blowing a two-run lead in the ninth feels awful. Beware the moment when someone says this: "A decent starter is easier to find than a good closer." It's the sin of false equivalence. In fact, there are more decent starters around than good closers, primarily because there are five starters to a team and only one closer. But even if Chapman turns out to just be a decent starter, he's more valuable in that role than as a good closer. Baseball is a game of attrition, and getting seven pretty good innings is much more valuable than getting one really good frame. Still, the Reds might give into that pressure. If they're going to do that anyway, why pay some guy $7 million to take the fall when they could have gotten someone else to do it for a cool million? —Russell A. Carleton

10. The Twins Sign Kevin Correia
I’ve already written and talked about how little I liked this move, so you know what I think about the idea of giving Kevin Correia, a roughly replacement-level pitcher, a two-year, $10 million contract in the abstract. What I haven’t done is consider the Correia signing in the context of this winter’s meat market. Which free agent starters could the Twins have signed with the same amount of money (or less) this offseason?

Here’s a list of every free agent starter who got a major-league deal for a total guaranteed commitment of $10 million or less, with contract terms and projected WARP for 2013:

Name

Team

Years

Annual Salary ($M)

Projected 2013 WARP

Kevin Correia

Twins

2

5

-0.5

Carlos Villanueva

Cubs

2

5

1.1

Brett Myers

Indians

1

7

0.7

Joe Saunders

Mariners

1

6.5

0.4

Scott Feldman

Cubs

1

6

1.2

Scott Baker

Cubs

1

5.5

2.3

Shaun Marcum

Mets

1

4

2.6

Mike Pelfrey

Twins

1

4

-0.2

Roberto Hernandez

Rays

1

3.25

0.3

Bartolo Colon

Athletics

1

3

0.6

Jason Marquis

Padres

1

3

-0.3

John Lannan

Phillies

1

2.5

0.0

Jeff Karstens

Pirates

1

2.5

1.1

Jeff Francis

Rockies

1

1.5

0.4

Francisco Liriano

Pirates

1

1 (Guaranteed)

1.5

Correia has both the worst projection and the biggest guaranteed contract of anyone on the list. Granted, it’s not as if the Twins could have snapped their fingers and ended up with any of those arms; maybe some of them wouldn’t have wanted to pitch in Minnesota. But even if you accept the premise that a rebuilding team like the Twins needed veteran rotation depth like Correia, it’s pretty hard to believe that they couldn’t have gotten more for their money. —Ben Lindbergh

11. The Dodgers Sign Brandon League
I could repeat the same exercise I just performed for Correia, listing every reliever who signed for less than Brandon League and projects to be better. But honestly, the list would be too long. —Ben Lindbergh

12. The Royals trade Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery, Jake Odorizzi and Patrick Leonard for Wade Davis, James Shields and Elliot Johnson.
I've been asked about this trade in every baseball conversation I've been in since it went down, by people ranging from my landlord to random bar flies to my wife to Theo Epstein. Actually, that last name drop is cheating—Epstein asked me about it only after I had asked him. (The response was both diplomatic and off the record. Sorry.)

I don't want to steal my own thunder by going on about this because the Royals open the season in Chicago and it's going to take me many thousands of words to explain why the deal scares the living crap out of me. I certainly hope it works out. I hope that Shields wins the Cy Young and Davis proves to be the next Johan Santana and the Royals' young lineup matures and the bullpen is airtight and they win 100 games this season. I have zero confidence that any of this will happen. What I expect is that Shields will post a 5+ ERA, Davis will turn into Jonathan Sanchez, Myers will have a Mike Trout rookie season and Montgomery will discover the strike zone. I feel this way because I'm a Royals fan, and that's why I need a long form story to fully explain myself. Even if the reasoning for this trade had been unassailable from the Royals' perspective, I still would have expected it to turn out badly. As we approach three decades of losing, we Royals fans have collectively developed a massive inferiority complex. It's both understandable and very sad. —Bradford Doolittle

65 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

boatman44

Could the Cody Ross deal be one of the worst of all time , giving a $26 million three year deal to a 30 year old journeyman, when they arguably have two better players at his position already there in Gerrardo Parra and Adam Eaton,smacks of insanity.

Feb 27, 2013 02:50 AM
rating: 1
 
Behemoth

Pretty hard to argue that any 3 year contract at less than $10mill/year could be one of the worst of all time, when you have monstrosities like A-Rod, Howard, Zito, Wells etc to compare to.

Feb 27, 2013 06:29 AM
rating: 6
 
jgarber

Delmon Young wants to be 13

Feb 27, 2013 04:46 AM
rating: 11
 
tim270

Regarding the O's blurb, in what world did every team in the AL East "spend big" and "aggressively work the market?"

Because it certainly isn't this world.

Unless the definition of those terms means signing one year contracts with veterans on the wrong side of 35? (The Yankees)

Trading away an extremely valuable pitcher and letting your starting CF walk? (The Rays)

Or signing a bunch of fairly average veterans to replace guys who are better than the replacements? (The Red Sox)

So I guess I disagree with Adam Sobesy, but I'm not sure if it's a matter of geography or reasonable usage of the English language.

Feb 27, 2013 06:48 AM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

What Adam wrote makes sense to me. You left out "shored up," which Adam included in addition to "spend big" and "aggressively work the market." The Rays were pretty aggressive in working the market, and the other teams spent money, even if it didn't make them much better. They were all pretty active in comparison to Baltimore.

Feb 27, 2013 06:52 AM
 
tim270

By my count, the Rays added one guy who will start for them opening day, Escobar. Again, I have a different definition of the work aggressive.
Was Baltimore inactive? Undoubtedly.
Does that make the other teams "aggressive?" Certainly not.

Feb 27, 2013 06:56 AM
rating: 0
 
gweedoh565

Well, it makes them comparatively aggressive, which was the main point.

Feb 27, 2013 06:58 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Trading your best pitcher and highest-paid player for one of the top prospects in baseball fits my definition of aggressive. And yeah, Escobar, plus Kelly Johnson, Loney, and Robert Hernandez. And they re-signed Scott, Farnsworth, and Peralta. And signed Longoria to a six-year extension.

Feb 27, 2013 07:00 AM
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

*Roberto

Feb 27, 2013 07:01 AM
 
tim270

As much as the trade of Shields was possibly a very good move for the Rays, it probably didn't lead to more wins this year. And if we're going to start counting the Johnsons, Loneys, and Hernandezes of the world, shouldn't we be talking about how aggressive the O's were in signing Casilla, Danny Valencia, Jurrens, etc. etc? Signing a bunch of stuff at the bottom of the market isn't aggressive; if it is, then the O's were certainly aggressive too.

Feb 27, 2013 07:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

I don't think Adam was necessarily claiming that the Rays improved the team for 2013. I'll give the Rays "aggressive," but I can understand if you disagree.

Feb 27, 2013 07:15 AM
 
jlarsen

Yes, since acquiring 2 horrible MIFers from one of the worst teams in baseball and signing Jurrjens is "smart" offseason work. They also let Mark Reynolds walk, IIRC. Where is his power going to be replaced? Valencia, Ford and Casilla?? Robert Andino was not an all-star, but the Orioles didn't get anything really valuable in return for him.

I get your critiquing of the Rays "aggressiveness" when they let Upton walk for nothing(oh wait, they have Desmond Jennings) or traded an extremely valuable starter for prospects(wait, they're still about 8 or 10 deep in MLB-ready starters).

Thing is, you can't hedge your bets that Baltimore's shutdown bullpen will be equally as dominant as they were last year. Look at the 2008 Rays, had a strong bullpen that got them into the WS, they hedged their bets and didn't do anything at all to fortify it to guarantee prolonged success. Now look at the 2009 Rays team, dropped from their perch as top dogs in the AL East.

The question marks regarding the Orioles rotation are still there, the non-guarantee of Dylan Bundy being there at the beginning is also there, Manny Machado entering basically his "sophomore" season raises some questions and the status quo of their bullpen is laughable.

You can mock the Rays for what they did in the offseason, but the Orioles have to prove themselves not to be a fluke. Rays, at least, have proven themselves to be a prolonged success...even with a roster that is always in flux.

Feb 27, 2013 09:03 AM
rating: 0
 
tim270

Uhhhh, okay Mr. Miss The Point of The Conversation.

Nobody here criticized the Rays for their offseason.

I took umbrage w the fact that the author described every team in the East, save the Orioles, as "spending big", and "being aggressive."

When that is clearly not the case, as by my count, 2 of the other 4 teams in the division are worse now than they were at the end of last season, and neither spent big, or were aggressive, at least in the common usage of the word aggressive in this context, i.e. winning games immediately, and another is marginally better, but actually worse than they were at the beginning of last season, when they stunk before blowing up the team.

Feb 27, 2013 09:13 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

I think it's fair to say that the Rays were aggressive in strengthening their franchise and their long-term outlook. It might not show up much in 2013, in the sense that they might have won as many or more games with Shields as without him, but they put themselves in a better position to remain competitive in the future.

Feb 27, 2013 09:17 AM
 
tim270

That's certainly possible.

However, that doesn't fit the common usage of the word "aggressive" in this context, does it?

Feb 27, 2013 09:24 AM
rating: -2
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

It does for me. The Orioles stood pat, the Rays worked the market. I see a contrast in the way they approached their offseasons, especially given that the Orioles likely headed into the winter as the greater risk for regression. Anyway, I think it's a minor, mostly semantic point. The entry was more about the Orioles not doing much than what the other teams in the division did.

Feb 27, 2013 09:28 AM
 
jlarsen

Ok, but what have the Orioles done to (1) improve their team and (2) ensure that the team continues on the path of success? I really don't see anything

Feb 27, 2013 09:30 AM
rating: 1
 
TGisriel

The O's weren't active. Granted. What should they have done?

I assume nobody is saying the O's should replace their CF (Jones), C (Wieters), SS (Hardy), 3B (Machado) or RF (Markakis).

Re-sign Reynolds? I think they made the right move there. Davis will play 1B.

Sign Hamilton? That's a big contract for a risky player. I don't disagree with a reluctance to sign him. In LF the O's re-signed McLouth and have Reimold coming back off injury. Not perfect, but probably a good choice.

I didn't see a lot of good options at 2B. The O's hope (again) that Roberts will be back healthy. They acquired Cassilla, who isn't great, but is better than Andino. At worst he's an upgrade for utility infielder and brings a pinch runner who can steal a base. Flahery, who was a platoon started at the end of the year is there too. This year, unlke his Rule 5 season last year, he can go to the minors. I expect the O's to start the season with Roberts, and see how long he can go. Cassilla will start as a reserve. Flaherty will likely go to the minors and get some experience. If Roberts gets hurt, Flaherty comes up.

DH? It looks like the O's will go with Betemit against RHP and will sort through Reimold, Valentin, Canzler and Pearce against LHP. Not great, but what was better on the market?

The O's are keeping the bulk of their bullpen that excelled last year. We are likely to see Hunter and probably Matusz in the pen from the outset, which will be a change. Who would you have dropped?

The starting rotation is a puzzle. It is likely to be Hammel, Chen, Tillman and Gonzales plus one of Britten, Arrieta, Johnson or Matusz. Britten, Arrieta, Johnson and Matusz all have options, so if they don't start in the rotation, they will be a phone call away. I expect a lot of shuffling in the rotation this year. Bundy and Gausman will start in the minors, but may come up during the year.

If the O's improve, it will be from the development of their young players.

They could be a "better" team, and end up with a worse record because the 1 run record and 16 straight extra inning games are very unlikely to be duplicated.

Feb 27, 2013 09:32 AM
rating: 4
 
TGisriel

I forgot to mention Jurrjens.

I think he starts the year in the minors to prove he's healthy and effective. If he is, he comes up.

Showalter and Duquette made moves constantly last year. I expect the same this year as well.

They have the parts to do that.

Feb 27, 2013 09:45 AM
rating: 1
 
Nathan

The point is to get better, rather than to be active, is it not? While the other teams were active, aside from the Blue Jays (and I guess the Red Sox by default) it is not so clear that they are better.

Feb 27, 2013 08:30 AM
rating: 0
 
Nathan

Adam wrote "every other team in their division, the most competitive in baseball, aggressively worked the market over the winter, making deals, spending big, shoring up." I'm a math teacher not an English teacher. Doesn't that mean that every other team spent big?

Feb 27, 2013 08:34 AM
rating: 1
 
jlarsen

Spending big isn't just meaning cash-wise, if you look at it clearly. The Rays spent big, in value(traded a prospect for Escobar, traded Shields-Davis-Johnson for Myers-Odorizzi-Montgomery-Leonard) without spending much in cash.

Feb 27, 2013 09:34 AM
rating: 0
 
Softy Electric

Mentally throw an "or" after "big" and be done with it.

Feb 28, 2013 05:18 AM
rating: 0
 
grandslam28

What about the Royals signing Guthrie for 25 million?

Feb 27, 2013 07:06 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Russell A. Carleton
BP staff

They paid market rate for a decent pitcher. It wasn't a great move, but it was understandable.

Feb 27, 2013 07:53 AM
 
grandslam28

Really? you think that was market rate? I would put him in the same class as a guy like Joe Saunders. Or maybe sign a cheaper more upside guy in Scott Baker or many of the pitchers listed above. Would much rather have a guy like Brandon McCarthy who is much better and cheaper. The guys competing for the 4th/5th slots are prob very similar pitchers, but are cheaper, younger, and have more upside. I would not be surprised if Guthrie does not have a single season below a 4.00 era.

Feb 27, 2013 08:05 AM
rating: -1
 
tim270

IDK. I mean you could do a lot worse than Guthrie for 8 million a year. You could do better too, but that would probably require some good fortune. That to me is kind of the definition of market value.

Feb 27, 2013 08:58 AM
rating: 1
 
grandslam28

Or the Royals trading for and paying Ervin Santana 11 million.

Feb 27, 2013 07:06 AM
rating: 1
 
BillJohnson

Nice to see that, as much as the Cardinals appear to have screwed up by signing Ty Wigginton to a multi-year deal for anything more than league minimum, at least it wasn't a screwup to match these, or at least not in your collective judgment. That's reassuring, in a bizarre sort of way.

Feb 27, 2013 07:11 AM
rating: 0
 
John Douglass

Well, I mean, the bar is set pretty high (in a low way) by Arizona here, but Wigginton is an absolutely frivolous signing. They already had a fat guy in the org who can play backup 1B, pinch-hit, and hit circles around Wigginton in Matt Adams. That the signing wasn't Kevin Towers level bad is like saying you're not the most corrupt Congressman.

Feb 27, 2013 10:42 AM
rating: 0
 
rweiler

As much as it made the fans happy, 3 years and $20m for Marco Scutaro after a career 1/2 season probably wasn't the smartest move in the world either. It only looks somewhat smarter if your other options are bringing back Emmanuel Burris or Ryan Theriot.

Feb 27, 2013 09:32 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Regarding the Royals, I told one of my friends who is a huge Royals fan to bet $50 each year for next of the five years that the Royals will be in the playoffs. I think he said Vegas had their odds at 12:1 and they've got to be better than that.

Feb 27, 2013 09:39 AM
rating: -1
 
mblthd

Can someone please explain this joke to me:

"...and tweets with ridiculous autocorrect ('cot for choice,' never forget)..."

I'm not saying it's not funny - I just don't get it because I don't know what it's referring to.

Feb 27, 2013 09:50 AM
rating: 5
 
Richard Bergstrom

If you text or tweet from your smartphone/iDevice, autocorrect will sometimes suggest words that have completely different meanings than what you are trying to type. For example, if you type "cya" as in "goodbye", it'll autocorrect to "cyanide".

Feb 27, 2013 10:31 AM
rating: -2
 
Richard Bergstrom

I think this one's referring to Ryan Howard's tweet to vote Carlos Ruiz to the All Star game.

"Let's get choice to the allstar. Everyone needs to cot for choice. Let's go, let's go let's go. Vote Carlos Ruiz"

https://twitter.com/ryanhoward/status/210110525114294272

Feb 27, 2013 10:34 AM
rating: 3
 
mblthd

Oh, okay. Yes, that is funny then.

Feb 27, 2013 13:07 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Wojciechowski
BP staff

Thanks, Richard. I should have linked to the tweet in the first place.

Feb 27, 2013 19:46 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

Don't worry, I didn't know about it offhand hence my first comment :)

Feb 27, 2013 20:15 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

The Marlins should've gotten a mention for worst offseason moves...

Feb 27, 2013 10:49 AM
rating: -1
 
SC
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100% of Byrd's numbers were "legitimate." John may not like PED users for moral reasons or whatever, but there's still no evidence that PEDs improve players' statistics. It's pretty sad that one of BP's best continues to peddle that unproven assertion given that most here are responsible in the face of absurd PED hysteria from the MSM sports media.

Feb 27, 2013 11:05 AM
rating: -5
 
Brian Oakchunas

I've actually been losing sleep at night wondering how many of Byrd's 82 home runs over an 11 year career were legitimate.

Feb 27, 2013 11:59 AM
rating: 3
 
grandslam28
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Well you sir are an idiot if you believe PEDs don't help performance.

Feb 27, 2013 12:09 PM
rating: -6
 
grandslam28

There is even evidence that steroids can help improve your eyesight which might be even more valuable than the added strength.

Feb 27, 2013 12:10 PM
rating: -3
 
Richard Bergstrom

First person suspended for PEDs - Alex Sanchez, 6 career home runs and a SLG of .372

Many of the people "caught" were utility players, middle relievers, fringe major leaguers, etc. Quite a few pitchers in the bunch too.

Feb 27, 2013 15:56 PM
rating: 1
 
grandslam28

Yea, but relative to talent they may never have been made it to the major leagues. That might have been the boost they needed.

Feb 28, 2013 07:09 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Except they were probably also facing pitchers or hitters who were also using.. if "everyone" is using PEDs, and if you assume PEDs help someone perform better, then does everyone get a boost to performance if someone facing them is also using PEDs and driving down their performance?

Feb 28, 2013 17:29 PM
rating: 1
 
barryge

PED's don't help performance? No evidence.....it is right there on the back of Sammy Sosa's baseball card, scientific enough for me.....you need to look under the column listed "HR"

Feb 27, 2013 12:29 PM
rating: -2
 
SC

Despite subscribing to an analytics-based baseball site, sadly many here do not understand the difference between anecdote and evidence, or how causation works.

Feb 27, 2013 12:39 PM
rating: 5
 
Brian Oakchunas

Inconclusive does not mean no effect. The research in Extra Innings suggests there is at least some effect even when comparing players who were not caught (but many of whom may have been using) to those who have. It also talks about the dearth of credible samples of players. I think most readers of this site are actually pretty conscientious about the conclusions they draw.

Feb 27, 2013 13:21 PM
rating: 5
 
rweiler

The one thing that the mainstream sports writers seem to gloss over is that even if you take steroids, you still have to put in the work in the gym. It's not like you can take a handful of pills, sit in the living room playing video games and eating potato chips over the off season and then go out and hit 60 HR.

Feb 27, 2013 13:50 PM
rating: 2
 
Richard Bergstrom

Most major leaguers do put in gym work though. If they sat around playing video games, they wouldn't stay in the major leagues long. Ask Joel Zumaya.

Feb 27, 2013 15:58 PM
rating: 0
 
majnun

Who cares? What does that have to do with anything?

Feb 27, 2013 18:41 PM
rating: 2
 
SC

Also, the Correia complaint is legitimate, but the chart doubles his salary, making it seem much worse than it is. He signed for 2/$10m which gives him an annual salary of $5m, lower than most of those listed. Was it a good move? No. But you've made it seem twice as bad as it is.

Feb 27, 2013 11:24 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Yeah, I spaced on switching the total salary to annual salary--that's fixed now. The total commitment is still tied with Villanueva's for the largest on the list, though, and I can't for the life of me figure out why someone would want to give Correia a guaranteed second year. That makes it worse than the annual salary alone would indicate.

Feb 27, 2013 11:30 AM
 
SC

No doubt, 1 for $7m is better than 2 for $10mm. Of course 0 for $0 is the optimal outcome, but we're past that point.

Feb 27, 2013 11:34 AM
rating: -1
 
delatopia

Shocked that no one has mentioned the Red Sox signing Victorino for 3/39. Bradley's going to be ready pretty soon, and Victorino looks like he's ready to fall off a cliff.

Feb 27, 2013 12:33 PM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

I mentioned it in the podcast episode I linked to in the Correia section. I wasn't a fan, but I didn't dislike it as much as the moves I went with.

Feb 27, 2013 12:51 PM
 
Ben Solow

While I don't like the Victorino deal overmuch as a Sox fan, I think it's more of a signal that they don't expect to resign Ellsbury. Think of the possible outcomes -- if Ellsbury is healthy and good (shows any sign of repeating 2011), then Boras will price him out of what Cherington is willing to pay. If he's injured or struggles again, then the Sox will just want to go with Bradley. It's only if he's sort of mediocre that the Sox will be resigning him.

I think Marc Normandin (but it may have been one of the other writers) wrote about this at Over the Monster towards the beginning of the offseason.

Feb 27, 2013 13:01 PM
rating: 0
 
JPinPhilly

I wouldn't be so quick to view Vic as "ready to fall off a cliff" but I understand the skepticism with that signing. Vic had a pretty rough year in 2012 where he was one of the guys being asked to shoulder an increasingly difficult burden in the Philly lineup with Utley and Howard out. It was also a contract year and, really, almost everything about the 2012 Phillies was depressing. It was a contract year, he struggled early, things got really messy in Philly, and he's traded from a team and a city that he really seemed to love to a team that is almost a patchwork group of guys being brought together on the fly.

He's at the age where a decline is to be expected but if he's used the right way (he still kills lefty pitching) there's a lot of value there. Will he be worth $13M in two years? Probably not. But it's a three year deal for a guy who just turned 32, hits lefties pretty well, and can play all over the outfield.

As for Bradley being ready pretty soon? We'll see. He's a very nice looking prospect and it still kills me as a Phils fan to know that my team passed on him when they took Larry Greene just ahead of him in the draft, but 271 PA in AA may not be enough to really know how much he's ready to step in as an everyday centerfielder in the AL East.

Feb 27, 2013 23:18 PM
rating: -2
 
mdthomp

My least favorite; Cardinals signing Wigginton to a 2 yr deal.

Feb 27, 2013 12:48 PM
rating: -1
 
amazin_mess

I'm a little surprised the Mets made this list. The Byrd signing was minor league deal. Talk about marginal and low-risk.

Feb 27, 2013 13:40 PM
rating: 0
 
Behemoth

Hurray. Everyone is upset that their team got criticised.

Feb 27, 2013 15:45 PM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

I'm surprised, not upset. I find it surprising such an inconsequential move was pointed out. That's all.

Feb 27, 2013 19:00 PM
rating: 0
 
Softy Electric

I think Mr. Perrotto's point was less that they essentially asked Byrd to come to spring training, and more that asking Byrd to spring training was the only thing accomplished concerning the possible wordt OF in baseball.

Feb 28, 2013 05:26 AM
rating: 2
 
tkirks21

It's a little unfair to call Baxter the fringiest fringe starter in the league. Was worth 1.2 Wins in 89 games last year. Career .810 OPS vs. righties and positive value as a base runner and defender. Feels like a pile on by someone who hasn't seen him play.

Feb 27, 2013 20:26 PM
rating: 0
 
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