48 Hours: Deals Around the MLB
Tim Chalberg • Wednesday, December 21, 2005
For the last few days, all that has been covered is Johnny Damon's move to the Yankees. However, contrary to what has been reported, the baseball world has not stopped. In fact, it is churning at a rapid pace and a flurry of baseball deals have happened the last few days. Here is a quick recap, with analysis:
The Yankees actually signed a free agent before they signed Johnny Damon, RP Octavio Dotel. He has struggled, but still has a power arm and was signed to a relatively cheap $2 million, 1 year deal. If Dotel becomes dominant again this is a great move for the Yankees but at worst he is a decent middle reliever. A pretty solid move.
Yesterday was the last day to tender players. 50 in total were not tendered, most notably Eric Byrnes. The Mariners did not tender three players, Cha Seung Baek, Jamal Strong, and Ryan Franklin. Non-tendered players immediately become free agents so the market has shifted a little. No great players are suddenly available, but the middle of the pack just got a little larger, which should in theory make free agents a little cheaper.
The Rangers traded away SP Chris Young, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, and OF Terrmel Sledge to the Padres for SP Adam Eaton and RP Akinori Otsuka, presumably in an effort to improve their pitching staff. However, Chris Young is probably a better pitcher than Adam Eaton right now and he should have more upside and probably is more durable as well. However, trading a great looking prospect like Adrian Gonzalez and a solid reserve outfielder for Akinori Otsuka, an aging relief pitcher who looks worse and worse with every appearance, is what makes this deal really bad for the Rangers. Good news for Mariners fans.
The Cardinals signed often-hammered (in more ways than one) pitcher Sidney Ponson to a one year contract with lots of incentives. There is no way the Cardinals can lose in this deal the way they wrote it so, though Ponson could be a complete failure, this is still a great deal for St. Louis. A low-risk, high-reward signing.
The Angels shipped OF Steve Finley to the Giants for INF Edgardo Alfonzo. This trade would have been a much bigger deal a few years ago, but now it is just a swap of former stars whose best days are clearly behind. Still, the Angels got the better end of this deal.
The off-season continues to buzz with activity and there is no end in sight with so many free agents still unsigned. The Mariners look fairly well set, though the Red Sox are rumored to be dangling Matt Clement or Bronson Arroyo for a center fielder, maybe even Jeremy Reed. If I were Bill Bavasi I would only trade Reed for Clement and cash considerations, but we will see what actually happens. Spring training may be on the horizon, but it is still far enough away for things to change.