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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Friday, December 09, 2005

Winter Meetings are Hot in Dallas

Even though Dallas has been below freezing the last couple of days, Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings brought the heat to D-Town. Lot's of moves were made, some were not, some surprising arbitration "nays" and Boston even signed a GM. Well, two of them. Sort of. Anyway, let's get to the Meat:

  • The Boston Red Sox sent Edgar Renteria and $11 mil to the Atlanta Braves for young third baseman Andy Marte. The Braves came to Dallas in need of a shortstop and came out with a star with both the bat and glove in Renteria. He's a career .288/.345/.399 guy who's still in his prime at 30 years old. Strange that the Red Sox, who signed Renteria to a four year $40 mil contract last year, dealt Edgar after only on season. There's lots of speculation about the move, most prominent of which is that they're going to go after the Baltimore Orioles' Miguel Tejada.
  • The Cincinatti Reds received Tony Womack from the New York Yankees for IF Kevin Howard and OF Ben Himes. They also traded away first baseman Sean Casey (a Pittsburgh native) for LHP Dave Williams of the Pittsburgh Pirates. This trade freed them from Casey's $8.5 mil 2006 salary, which, they say, they'll use to get more pitching. In addition, they offered arbitration to IF Rich Aurilia. Decent minor moves, but they're still a second tier team.
  • Free Agent A.J. Burnett signed with the Toronto Blue Jays for five years and $55 mil this past Tuesday. Not bad for a guy who's W-L record is below .500. His career ERA is 3.73 and his career WHIP is 1.28. OK, the walks/hits per IP isn't bad, but what is Barry Zito going to be worth if A.J. is worth $11 mil per?
  • But, in an even bigger move (although a lot less expensive) was trading for 29 year old phenom 1B Lyle Overbay. They gave the Milwaukee Brewers RHP Dave Bush, OF Gabe Gross and a PTBNL (probably LHP Zach Jackson, the Blue Jays #1 Draft Pick in 2004). Lyle's career BA is .285 and his OBP is .373. He's just coming into his power, hitting 16 and 19 HR's his last two years with 81 and 78 RBI's respectively. What a huge signing. Add these two to the signing of closer B.J. Ryan and the Blue Jays have done well. Too bad they're chasing the Yanks and Red Sox, but J.P. Ricciardi (Toronto's GM) may have came out of Dallas holding the most cards. Too bad it cost him over $100 mil to get three players. And it comes with great risk as well, since they add up to 42 career saves, 49 career wins and 39 career homeruns.
  • Alfonso Soriano was sent to the Washington Nationals for OF Brad Wilkerson, OF Terrmel Sledge and RHP Armando Galarraga. The Texas Rangers also resigned reliever John Wasdin and picked up three players in the Rule 5 draft (OF Jayce Tingler, OF Alexi Ogando and LHP Estelin Soto). In addition, they traded IF Esteban German to the Kansas City Royals for LHP Fabio Castro. The Soriano deal was (obviously) the biggie, and not only does it help their outfield (which Alfonso still refuses to play) but they got some pitching out of the deal as well (which they desperately need). The removal of Soriano from the Texas clubhouse might be the best gain of them all. I'll have to drive on up to the Ballpark to find out sometime next season.
  • I tend to stay light on the Chicago Cubs on this page, since my first blog, A Cub Fan Rants is dedicated to the North Siders, but I can't talk about the 2005 Winter Meetings without a mention of what the boys in the Ivory Tower were able to do. Picking up CF Juan Pierre was huge. Sure, they lost three live, young arms in Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco and Reynel Pinto. One, if not all, of these guys is going to have a big impact for the Florida Marlins sometime in the near future. Not sure if that will still be in Florida, but that's another story. But the Cubs took a great step forward in aquiring a true leadoff hitter, who averages 53.5 steals and 194 hits per season over his career. His career OBP is .355. Not only all of that, but it surely means Corey Patterson is gone from the 25-man roster, which makes this Cub Fan quite happy (which you regular readers are quite aware of). Also, the Cubs added two Free-Agent relievers to their bullpen in 33 year old LHP Scott Eyre and 32 year old RHP Bob Howry. Howry is hot, coming off a 2005 season in which he posted a 7-4 record with a 2.47 ERA and a stunning 0.89 WHIP. He also had a 89% GO/AO, and only allowed four HR in 73.0 IP. Eyre is soft over his career (4.52 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and .264 BAA) but last year he posted a 2.63 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and a .200 BAA over 68.1 IP, allowing 26 BB and dishing out 65 K's. Who's the real Eyre? We'll find out in 2006. And there will be some new bleacher seats to fill as well (which they, undoubtedly, will be). Go Cubs!
  • I suppose Matt would be irked if I didn't mention the Twins adding Luis Castillo at 2B and offering arbitration to Jacque Jones, but I think he already did. Oh, he told y'all about Castillo, but hadn't commented on JJ as of yet. There ya have it. Oh, and J.C. Romero is finally sent packing. They received Minor League IF Alexi Casilla from the LAA Angels. Will Casilla make an impact? Maybe. More importantly, the rocky run of Romero is over in Minnesota. Matt, I still think the Twins have a lot of work to do if they want to score runs. But that's just one man's opinion. And perhaps Kevin's too...
  • Speaking of the Chicago White Sox, they signed up Paul Konerko (5yr, $60 mil) of course, and added DH Jim Thome. What else needs to be said? They lost Aaron Rowand in CF and should address that. I'm sure they want to add a little more pop to the linup too, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Oh, they did trade away LHP reliever Damaso Marte for utility-IF Rob Mackowiak of the Pirates. OK, I remember his walk-off grand slam against the Cubs (off of ol' Jo Bo) and his two-run shot in the ninth of the nightcap of the double header (off of LaTroy Hawkins), but Marte seemed like a good young arm. Maybe they just got him because he's a Cub-Killer. Hey, at least the Cubs got rid of both Borowski and Hawkins.
  • Am I missing anything? Most likely. I suppose I should mention Rafael Furcal going to the Los Angeles Dodgers for three years and $39 mil. That made him the second highest paid shortstop in all of baseball (behind Derek Jeter). OK, Furcal is good, but is he the second best SS in the league? Wow. Maybe I'm bitter 'cause I'm looking at Neifi Perez and Ronny Cedeno at short in Wrigley.
  • The Cleveland Indians added veteran RHP starter Paul Byrd and the 36 year old Bob Wickman, who saved 45 games last year. They also offered arbitration to Kevin Millwood and Scott Elarton. Decent moves, I suppose.
  • Speaking of Arbitration, the biggest news on that front is that the Houston Astros did not offer arbitration to the Iron Man, Rocket Roger Clemens. Oy. They are saying that the relationship between GM Tim Purpura and Manager Phil Garner and Clemens that he'll stick around town and sign after May 1st (the next time the Astros and Clemens can talk turkey) and have a wonderful time with a short season, coming in late and arming them for a playoff run. Will it really happen? Who knows. They signed Orlando Palmeiro in the OF, and declined arbitration to utility-IF Jose Vizcaino. They have an offer on the table to C Brad Ausmus as well. Basically, they have some work to do, like signing a third or fourth starter to come in behind superstar Roy Oswalt and vet LHP Andy Pettitte. Still shopping in Houston, for sure.
Alright. That's all I've got for now.


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