15 Underrated MLB Offseason Moves That Will Make a Huge Impact
MLB Offseason: 15 Underrated Moves
Each offseason is dominated by the big name free agents and this year was no different. Robinson Cano signed a 10-year, $240-million contract and the New York Yankees retaliated with their normal big spending spree. Other big names found new teams, such as Shin-Soo Choo with the Texas Rangers and Curtis Granderson with the New York Mets.
But, the moves that are go under the radar can have just as much effect on a team's success. It could be a team like the Oakland Athletics. The team is on a tight budget, but the Athletics consistently compete by making quality moves that don't involve the big money. It could be a contender that just needs that little bit to push them over the top, so they make a small move that goes unnoticed. Or it could be a total retooling like the Boston Red Sox did last year. The Red Sox brought in a slew of new players, but none of them were big names. Those players meshed and the team won the World Series.
In a 162-game season, teams need that little bit to separate themselves from the pack and the little moves make all the difference.
Miami Marlins Sign Casey McGehee
The Miami Marlins signed free agent third baseman Casey McGehee to fill their void at third base. The veteran is back in MLB this season after spending a season playing in Japan. Not many people are talking about this signing, but McGehee could put up solid numbers for the Marlins after putting up good numbers in Japan.
Cleveland Indians Sign Shaun Marcum To Minor League Deal
Shaun Marcum was signed by the Cleveland Indians on a Minor League deal and he could be a steal for Cleveland Indians. Last season, Marcum struggled as he was dealing with injuries, but he has proven to be a reliable pitcher over his career. If he can regain his form in spring training, he could provide a big boost for the Indians' rotation.
Texas Rangers Trade For Michael Choice
Michael Choice was traded, along with a minor league player, from the Oakland Athletics to the Texas Rangers, for Craig Gentry and Josh Lindbloom. This is a homecoming for Choice, who grew up and played college ball in Arlington. Choice hit .302 in the minors in Triple-A for Oakland last season before being called up and will add some power to the Rangers' lineup. Choice's addition is overshadowed by the signing of Shin-Soo Choo, but Choice could have a big impact for the Rangers this season, as well as in the future.
Baltimore Orioles Trade For David Lough
The Baltimore Orioles acquired outfielder David Lough from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for infielder Danny Valencia. Lough will provide the Orioles with speed on the base paths and with solid defense in the outfield. With Nate McLouth leaving, the Orioles needed someone else who can steal bases and Lough will fit that role. The move hasn't gotten much attention because of the moves that the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have made, but it is an exact fit for the Orioles' needs.
Atlanta Braves Trade For Ryan Doumit
Brian McCann left the Atlanta Braves this offseason, leaving Evan Gattis as the starting catcher. With some concerns regarding how Gattis would hold up over the course of the season, the Braves traded for Ryan Doumit. Doumit will provide the Braves with a solid bat off the bench and will be used to give Gattis a rest. Keeping Gattis healthy will be important for the Braves and Doumit should be key in doing that.
Cleveland Indians Sign John Axford
The Cleveland Indians parted ways with closer Chris Perez this offseason and have brought in John Axford to replace him. Axford was a reliable closer for the Milwaukee Brewers up until last season when he was moved from the closer position and then traded. There wasn't much buzz surrounding Axford this offseason, but the Indians picked him up anyway and he should fill the closer position given the opportunity.
Oakland Athletics Sign Scott Kazmir
Scott Kazmir was regarded as one of baseball's up and coming pitchers a few years ago, but then he hit a rough patch. Last season, he made the Cleveland Indians' roster in Spring Training and revived his career. The Oakland Athletics signed Kazmir this offseason and he will join their starting rotation. With Kazmir starting to resemble his old self, this could be a great pick up for Oakland.
Colorado Rockies Sign Justin Morneau
The Colorado Rockies brought in Justin Morneau this offseason to fill the shoes of the retired Todd Helton. After having some concussion problem over the last few years, Morneau finally looks healthy and will add another big bat to Colorado's lineup. The Rockies got a steal in Morneau, as the former AL MVP still looks to have some baseball left in him.
Los Angeles Angels Sign Raul Ibanez
Going on 42 years of age, not many people are still talking about Raul Ibanez, but he is still producing. He has kept his bating average right around .24 for the last two season while posting an on base percentage of over .300. In addition to that, he hit 29 home runs last season at the age of 41. The Los Angeles Angels picked Ibanez up this offseason and he should continue to produce for them next season.
New York Yankees Sign Kelly Johnson
A lot of the buzz with the New York Yankees this offseason has been about the loss of Robinson Cano and the high-profile newcomers, and not much attention has been paid to Kelly Johnson. He consistently has on base percentages of over .300 and is a career .244 hitter against righties. Johnson has also hit 16 home runs and driven in at least 50 RBI's in the last two seasons. With Alex Rodriguez suspended and Cano gone, Johnson should be used quite a bit at second and third base.
Kansas City Royals Trade For Norichika Aoki
The Kansas City Royals traded for Norichika Aoki this offseason to solidify their right field position. Aoki isn't a superstar, but he has consistently performed since coming over from Japan. In two seasons in the MLB, Aoki has posted a .287 bating average and a .355 on base percentage. Aoki should add some help to the top of the lineup in front of sluggers Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, and Billy Butler.
Colorado Rockies Trade For Drew Stubbs
Drew Stubbs to the Colorado Rockies is one of the more intriguing deals of the offseason. Stubbs will likely serve as part of a platoon in left field but could be the perfect fit for the Rockies. He brings speed and is great defensively, but what could fit the best with the Rockies is his bat. He is good against lefties and has some power. This is a recipe for success at Coors Field, which is known as a hitter's park.
St. Louis Cardinals Trade For Peter Bourjos
The St. Louis Cardinals acquired Peter Bourjos in a trade that sent David Freese to the Los Angeles Angels this offseason. A lot of talk about that trade was focused on Freese moving to the Angels but it should be the other way around. Bourjos makes the Cardinals a much better team with his play defensively and the Cardinals have Matt Carpenter, who emerged last season, to play third. They also have prospect Kolten Wong ready to step up at second. With the addition of Jhonnny Peralta included, the Cardinals become a much better defensive team without much of a drop off at the plate.
San Francisco Giants Sign Michael Morse
Michael Morse emerged as a big time talent for the Washington Nationals, but after two down years, he is trying to regain that form. In Morse, the San Francisco Giants got a big time bat for a steal. Morse has shown great power when he can stay healthy, hitting 36 home runs in 2011. This should be a great fit in San Francisco as the ballpark favors right-handed batters. Morse should provide an upgrade in left field and in the lineup for the Giants.
Chicago White Sox Trade With The Arizona Diamondbacks
The Chicago White Sox have not even gotten close to getting the credit they deserve for their offseason moves. The White Sox signed a big time bat in Jose Abreu to bolster their lineup, but perhaps their best moves have been a pair of trades involving the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the first trade, the White Sox traded Hector Santiago to the Los Angeles Angels in a three team trade that netted the White Sox Adam Eaton. Later on, the White Sox sent Addison Reed to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Matt Davidson. Eaton and Davidson provide the White Sox a pair of prospects to build on going forward. Eaton will solidify the leadoff spot. He gets on base very well having a career .332 on base percentage in the majors and a .450 on base percentage in the minors. Davidson is a solid third-base prospect and should challenge for the starting spot this spring. The White Sox have gotten younger and have great future in store with these moves.