As I mentioned last week, this year's edition of the Winter Meetings were boring to say the least with no movement of the biggest free agents and no big trades. If the Meetings week was boring, then the week after the Meetings was as crazy as any. Arguably, the two top free agents signed with new teams and two major trades took place involving some big names and big time prospects. Let's take a look at the week that was in player movement in Major League Baseball.
ROYALS GET SHIELDS IN 6 PLAYER DEAL
In a trade that nearly caused the sabermetrics crowd to lynch Kansas City GM Dayton Moore, the Royals acquired veteran pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis from Tampa Bay in exchange for four prospects: outfielder Wil Myers, third baseman Patrick Leonard, and pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery.
In Shields, the Royals are acquiring their new ace. Sure he is not Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez, but those guys weren't available. James Shields is without a doubt the best pitcher, or ace, on the revamped Royals rotation. Davis had been converted to a reliever by the Rays and will most likely be made a starter again by KC. He should fill a spot in the back of the rotation for the Royals.
To Tampa's credit, the prospects they received for Shields is comparable to those received in the past for CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee among others. Myers is one of the top prospects in all of baseball after hitting 37 homers in the minors last years. Odorizzi has now been involved in his second trade for an ace. He was acquired from Milwaukee in the 2010 Zack Greinke trade another top 50 prospect. Montgomery was once a top prospect whose star has fallen quite a bit in the last two years. Leonard is a 5th rounder from 2011 that hit .250 in the rookie league.
I mentioned that the Internet nearly broke with people saying KC got ripped off. I don't think so. The Royals added two starters to their rotation in this deal including one at the top. You can't do that in this day and age without giving up something. Well, a small market team can't anyway. The Royals built the best farm system in baseball and used it to both fill out their ML roster AND as trade bait. Could KC regret this deal? Sure, but they could have also traded their prospects at the peak of their value. Top prospects fail every year and aces don't grow on trees. I consider this a very fair deal for both teams.
CHOO MOVES SOUTH IN A 3 TEAM DEAL
The other big trade of the week was a three team, eight player trade between Arizona and the two Ohio teams, the Indians and the Reds. The biggest name in the deal is former Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo ending up with Reds. The Diamondbacks acquired former Reds shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius, while the Indians ended up with Drew Stubbs and Arizona pitcher Trevor Bauer.
The Reds acquired both Choo and utilityman Jason Donald along with cash in this deal. Cincinnati is already saying that Choo will be their starting center fielder, despite his only having 10 career games in center. This could be a good case study to see whether their is any real marketable difference between the three outfield positions. Donald should carry over his super utilityman status from the Indians to the Reds as well.
Arizona ended up with potentially their new starting shortstop in Didi Gregorius along with reliever Tony Sipp and former Boston top prospect first baseman Lars Anderson. Arizona's role here is puzzling to say the least. Earlier in the offseason they acquired defense-first shortstop Cliff Pennington and lefty reliever Matt Reynolds. In this deal, they acquired defense-first shortstop Gregorius and lefty reliever Sipp.
Cleveland, clearly in rebuilding mode, acquired Stubbs from the Reds along with Bauer and relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw from the Diamondbacks. Stubbs should replace Choo in Cleveland's starting outfield, while Albers and Shaw should both be a part of the Indians revamped bullpen. The key to this deal for the Indians is top prospect Trevor Bauer. Bauer was ranked the #9 prospect in all of baseball and should join Cleveland's rotation in 2013.
In this deal I think there is one clear winner and that would be the Indians. The Indians' haul could be great even if Bauer flops with the other three all proven major leaguers to one extent or another. The Reds acquired the biggest name, but are moving him to a new position so if that doesn't work out they acquired some trade bait. It pleases me a little to say that the D-Backs appear to be the clear loser of this deal. Prospects are gambles, but a top 10 gamble is better than a top 75 gamble playing a position you already acquired this year.
What bothers me the most is that the Rockies could have easily taken Cleveland's place in this deal sending Fowler to the Reds and perhaps Colvin and Chatwood to Arizona for Cleveland's haul. I would have been thrilled with Cleveland's take.
NOTABLE FREE AGENT SIGNINGS
Dodgers sign starter Zack Greinke 6yr/147mil
Angels sign outfielder Josh Hamilton 5yr/125mil
Red Sox sign starter Ryan Dempster 2yr/26.5mil
Yankees sign third baseman Kevin Youkilis 1yr/12mil
Twins sign starter Kevin Correia 2yr/10mil
Indians sign 1B/3B Mark Reynolds 1yr/6mil
The Dodgers gave Zack Greinke the second biggest deal ever for a pitcher. The Dodgers now possess 5 starting pitchers making at least $11 million dollars in 2013 and 2 more that make $13 million combined. Since the Dodgers are intent on becoming the new Yankees, I think I will combine the names. From now on their name will be the Donkees. I really hope that catches on.
Not content with one super-rich, overspending team in the L.A. area, the Angels pulled a surprise signing for the second year in a row. After swooping in to sign Albert Pujols in 2011, the Angels did the same thing with Josh Hamilton in 2012. I can't wait to hear how loud the boos are the first time the Angels visit Arlington. Interesting fact, the 2016 Angels will be paying $57.4 million dollars for just Hamilton and Pujols. I think the bubble is close to bursting.
The Red Sox snuck in with an under-the-radar signing of Ryan Dempster to a decent deal considering the market for starters. I still think Boston will be closer to the bottom of the AL East than the top, but this deal could be very good for them.
Sticking with their attempt to start a one team seniors league in MLB, the Yankees signed Kevin Youkilis to a one year deal. Youkilis will be the 8th player from the 2004 Red Sox to join the "enemy" in New York. Youkilis should be a decent third baseman for the Yankees while A-Rod recovers from his hip injury.
The Twins may have gotten a bargain by signing former Pirate Kevin Correia to a 5 million per year deal. Correia should give the Twins a good veteran presence in their rotation. I think he could be good for 12 wins for Minnesota in 2013.
Finally, the Indians perhaps got a bargain signing as well by getting former Oriole Mark Reynolds. He is probably going to be the starting first baseman for Cleveland and could challenge Adam Dunn of the White Sox for the AL Central lead in both home runs and strikeouts. this could be a very good deal for Cleveland.
The big names in free agency are signed now, but there are still some good players that remain unsigned including Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, and Kyle Lohse. Since most of the big names are signed now, I will probably do the Round Up every other week barring unforeseen circumstances.
Thanx for reading.