Monday, February 15, 2010

Best moves of baseball offseason

With spring training starting this week, it's time to examine the best and worst moves of what can only be described as a slow and steady offseason.

1) Teams locking up young players: Whether it was King Felix Hernandez in Seattle or Justin Verlander in Detroit, teams (with the notable exception of the San Francisco Giants and Tim Lincecum) were determined to secure their young stars to long-term deals that will take them through at least part of their prime years. A big prize of the 2010 free-agent class, Joe Mauer, may soon be off the market if the Minnesota Twins can finally get him to sign on the dotted line. Bad news for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but great news for smaller-market teams and the game of baseball.

2) Phillies get Roy "Doc" Halladay: Not only did the National League champs get the best pitcher in baseball, they managed to convince him to forgo free agency and sign a much-cheaper deal than he could have gotten in the 2010 offseason. In return, Halladay got to sign with a major contender and fulfilled his wish of playing for a team with a spring training camp close to his offseason home. We finally found a player who meant it when he said money was not his most important consideration.
3) Signing proven veterans: There were a couple of solid moves made by teams in the offseason, namely Seattle signing Chone Figgins to pair up with Ichiro at the top of the lineup, Boston getting John Lackey to solidify its rotation and Anaheim signing Hideki Matsui to replace Vlad as their designated hitter. But I wouldn't qualify any of them as game changers.
Worst moves to follow shortly in a separate post.

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.

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