National League East Offseason Moves

Post by – Pigpen

Let’s kick off our review of offseason moves (so far) with a look at the NL East.  Transaction lists courtesy of MlbTradeRumors.com.

Braves

  • Acquired/Re-signed: Tim Hudson, Juan Abreu, Mitch Jones, Scott Proctor, Melky Cabrera, Arodys Vizcaino, Michael Dunn, Brent Clevlen, Joe Thurston, Jesse Chavez, Takashi Saito, Billy Wagner, Troy Glaus, Eric Hinske
  • Lost: Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Boone Logan, Javier Vazquez, Buddy Carlyle, Edgar Osuna, Jorge Campillo

After failing to move apparent-cry baby Derek Lowe, the Braves flipped personal favorite Javy Vazquez to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera and prospects, at least one of whom is a very high-upside type.  Vazquez was an easy top 10 started in the NL last year, and it seems clear that they were forced to move him, in part, because of the signing of Kenshin Kawakami last off-season, as they just did not have the payroll space to support 4 starters making $6+ million per year.  That said, Tommy Hanson is a fine replacement for Vazquez, particularly when you consider his age and salary.  With Hanson and Kawakami set, if Hudson comes back strong like he did in August, and Lowe can find his sinker again, those four and former Tiger farmhand Jair Jurrjens form a solid rotation.

Trading out Gonzalez and Soriano for Saito and Wagner saved them a good chunk of change, but did it make them better?  That’s not clear and seems unlikely.  The conventional wisdom, as dispensed by GM Frank Wren, was that it would lead to the Braves signing a bat for the outfield or first base.  This lead to a lot of disappointed Braves fans when Bay and Holliday signed elsewhere, and Atlanta’s big offensive splash was Troy Glaus.

Letting Kelly Johnson go for nothing was a mistake.  He still has value.

Marlins

  • Acquired/Re-signed: Hunter Jones, Jose Alvarez, Luis Bryan, Robert Bono, Jorge Jimenez, Clay Hensley, Brian Barden, Donnie Murphy
  • Lost: Alejandro de Aza, Scott Proctor, Ross Gload, Jeremy Hermida, Nick Johnson, Matt Lindstrom, John Raynor

The Marlins have been very quiet this off-season.  After failing to sign Josh Johnson to an extension, the Marlins moved into the bidding for Aroldis Chapman.  A Chapman signing could make a lot of sense for this perennially(or is it periodically?) cash strapped franchise as a rotation lead by Johnson/Nolasco/Miller/Chapman could look really nice in the next 2 years.  Always-on-the-block Dan Uggla is still, well, on the block.

Mets

  • Acquired/Re-signed: Chris Carter, Alex Cora, Elmer Dessens, Chris Coste, Mike Hessman, Henry Blanco, Clint Everts, Ryota Igarashi, Kelvim Escobar, Jason Bay
  • Lost: Wilson Valdez, J.J. Putz, Lance Broadway, Brian Schneider

The Red Sox signed Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre for roughly what the Mets paid for Bay.  This is why they are the Mets, and the Red Sox are the Red Sox.  After trading him back in 2002, the Mets now get a premier bat to add to the Beltran, Reyes, and Wright triumvirate.  That said, with his defense already in question, can he hold his value for the next 5 years?

Moreover, was spending this kind of money on an outfielder the right move?  As Keith Law put it, Bay’s money may have been better spent on John Lackey because after Santana, the Mets’ rotation is thin, with four of their five starting pitchers (including Johan) returning from injuries and/or surgery.

Escobar is a fine signing, but if he is the best pitcher the Mets sign this off-season, they may be looking at a 4th place finish in the NL East.

Phillies

  • Acquired/Re-signed: Andy Tracy, DeWayne Wise, Wilson Valdez, Paul Hoover, Brian Schneider, Juan Castro, Placido Polanco, David Herndon, Cody Ransom, Chris Duffy, Ross Gload, J.C. Ramirez, Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, Roy Halladay
  • Lost: Jack Taschner, Eric Bruntlett, Cliff Lee, Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, Travis d’Arnaud, Pedro Feliz, Rodrigo Lopez, Carlos Monasterios

Moving Lee for Halladay will not make a difference to Philadelphia’s win total in 2010, but it did allow the team to restock their farm system, while signing a player who wanted to play for Philly, and was willing to leave a lot of money on the table to do so.  Overall, it was a good move for Philly, but why didn’t they go for BOTH Lee and Halladay in July if they had the prospects to do so?  They still could have traded Lee this offseason.  It’s also crazy to think that the 2 year, $13 million contract they gave Jamie Moyer after the 2008 season may have been the key to not keeping both in Philly in 2010.

In my mind, the Polanco signing negates a lot of the value you get from Utley.  Most teams have a mediocre offensive player at 2nd and a power hitter at 3rd.  The Phillies now have just the opposite.  In a year in which there were other options available on the free agent market (Figgins, Beltre, Scutaro, Tejada, Uribe, etc.), and the trade market, guaranteeing 3 years to Polanco seems like a mistake.

This team is clearly the favorite in the NL East going into the season (barring the Mets or Braves making a number of significant additions), and has a clear window to compete for the next 2 seasons, but questions really loom thereafter.  Not only did they have the oldest average age last season (admittedly, a 47 year old Jamie Moyer hurt there), but Howard, Ibanez, Lidge, Rollins, Werth, Hamels, Moyer, Madson, and Blanton are all set to become free agents in the next two seasons.

Nationals

  • Acquired/Re-signed: Jamie Burke, Doug Slaten, Scott Olsen, Brian Bruney, Jerry Owens, Ryan Speier, Ivan Rodriguez, Logan Kensing, Joel Peralta, Pete Orr, Jason Marquis, Eddie Guardado, Josh Whitesell, Eric Bruntlett, Matt Capps
  • Lost: Josh Bard, Jamie Hoffmann, Zech Zinicola

The Nationals spent their offseason throwing away money and I honestly don’t even want to talk about it.

The Pudge signing is a waste of money.  2 years for a 37 year old catcher with about a billion innings caught?  No thank you.  Yes, he does instantly become the 2nd most recognizable player on their roster, but is he really going to sell enough tickets with his star power to justify his salary?  Pudge is not a leader in the clubhouse, and is notorious for not working with pitchers.  Indefensible.

The other 2 big signings were Jason Marquis, and Matt Capps.  Both wastes of money.  When you are a 103 loss team, you need to be spending money on the draft and international free agents, not paying market price for league average pitching.

This is why bad teams stay bad.  Can we start talking about Stephen Strasburg now?

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About firstorderhistorians

FOH is Troy Greer and Chad Brownfield. Troy and Chad began writing together on www.lastlifemedia.com and then moved on to other writing projects. Troy currently lives in Michigan and plays in a band called Seperated By Miles. Chad resides in Illinois and talks to people for a living.

14 thoughts on “National League East Offseason Moves

  1. The Marquis signing isn’t that bad in a vacuum (his performance will be worth approximately what they will be paying him), but there is no need for the Nationals to be spending that kind of money on Jason Marquis. They are not going to be competitive, and Marquis is not going to help them become competitive during the length of this deal. The money would have been better allocated $3 million to some scrub pitcher, and $10 million to player development, scouting, drafting, and international free agents.

  2. Pigpen

    I don’t know that Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria is prepared to be part of a bidding war. The guy is a shylock and cheapskate and I’m saying that as a die-hard Marlins’ fans.

    Let me know what you think as to the merits of the following piece on the Mets ?

    In order to view just click on the text link shown below.

    No Stone Will Be Left Unturned No Idea Will Go Unheard No Thought Process No Matter How Stupid It Appears To Be Will Be Listened To ….Blah, Blah ,Blah This Is Change That We Can Believe In ……..

    As and when you’re ready I’ll look forward to reading your comments. I’ll be adding your site to my bloglink. You’ve got great content here , keep up it up , it’s great !

    Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……….

  3. Alan – While I agree with your sentiments towards Loria, I will say that the Marlins have a history of sandbagging for a period of time in order to develop low-cost talent (through high draft picks and spending money on international free agents). Their method has been to put an extremely cost-effective roster on the field while saving their revenues for when the feel they are close to competing — then, when the time is right, grab a couple of free agents and make a push for the World Series, see, e.g. 1997 and 2003 — then totally blow up the roster and start over.

    It seems to me that with their pitching staff, Hanley Ramirez, and the talent they have in the minors (Stanton, Morrison), they might be primed for a playoff run in the next year or two.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with the Mets — their problems are very deep and start at the top of both the business side of the organization (Wilpon), and also the baseball side (Minaya).

    I’d also point out that at a time when many teams think that days of signing drafted players to overslot bonuses are coming to an end, and thus now is the last chance for big market teams to assert their financial muscle in that regard, the Mets spent the less money on drafted players than any other team in MLB.

  4. Pigpen

    The Marlins are encumbered by the mere fact that they have to pay the Dolphins to lease Landshark . At the same time they make little if any money from the concession sales or from the parking at the venue. The bulk of it goes to the Dolphins. Whoever was providing legal counsel to Loria ought to be castrated for signing that lease deal to begin with !

    If you’re interested I dropped this college basketball piece on the death of Len Bias.

    A Life Lost Too Soon Is God’s Way of Using It As An Example For Others To Learn Something From It All …..

    Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………

  5. Pingback: National League Central Offseason Moves « First Order Historians

  6. Pingback: NL West Offseason Moves « First Order Historians

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