Each MLB Team’s Biggest Offseason Steal
Each MLB Team's Biggest Offseason Steal
Every Major League Baseball offseason is stocked full of moves, some big and some small. Some include marquee names and some are non-roster jobs with Spring Training invites. Hidden among all of those different types of moves are the important ones for each team. That is what we are going to examine with this look at each MLB team’s biggest offseason steal of 2014.
You can probably think of a few teams this offseason that you don’t think have made any moves but I can guarantee you each and every team has made not one but several moves. For some they are all of the minor league, non-roster invite variety, but they have all made several moves. That doesn’t mean it will make a huge difference for the season however.
At the same time who is to say that a big name move is really a steal either? Sometimes it can be but other times it isn’t worth as much as a team paid for it. One team in particular has made a huge move; signing one of the biggest if not the biggest player of the entire offseason. Their biggest steal won’t be that move though because of what it will cost them. There will be more on that later on.
For now get a nice comfortable thinking cap on and let’s look at the choices for each team’s biggest steal of the offseason. There is a nice and calm comments section below for sweet and touching compliments. It’s there for the other kind of comments as well of course. Just give your opinion if you feel the need. Without further delay, here they are.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Mark Trumbo
This was clearly a huge move but because it was expanded to three teams it basically only cost the DBacks Tyler Skaggs. While Skaggs is a promising pitcher, he isn’t the most promising young pitcher the DBacks have rights to and Trumbo is a huge piece that they really needed. Without doubt this is one of the top one or two steals of the offseason overall.
Atlanta Braves – Ryan Doumit
The Braves haven’t done much this offseason but they were able to trade one of their many pitching prospects for Twins catcher and first base option Doumit. The Braves have better and bigger prospects now anyway and the trade for Doumit almost recreates the three-catcher situation that they had last season where at least one and now two can play more than the catcher position. It is a great move for a quiet offseason.
Baltimore Orioles – Jemile Weeks
Jim Johnson was a big price for the O’s to pay but they got Weeks and a PTBNL in the deal. Knowing that they weren’t going to re-sign him anyway, it gives them something in return instead of the big nothing they would have gotten at the end of the 2014 season. All they have to do to make it complete is to sign another closer for less than they owed Johnson.
Boston Red Sox – Mike Napoli
It might seem odd to list a steal being someone that the Sox had with them last season but there was a ton of interest from other teams in Napoli this offseason. For the Sox to keep him while losing Ellsbury and Saltalamacchia was a huge win for them and yes can be called a steal considering they would have likely had to settle for a much different make-up around first base if they hadn’t of gotten it done.
Chicago Cubs – Justin Ruggiano
The outfielder for outfielder trade that leaves the Cubs with Ruggiano is potentially a big win if the former Marlins outfielder can come through with a season like he is capable of delivering. If he does so then this could at least prove a good move or a huge steal; one way or the other.
Chicago White Sox – Adam Eaton
There have been many moves for the White Sox this offseason but they inserted themselves in the DBacks dealings enough to get two young players that will be good for them. The most promising of those is very likely outfielder Adam Eaton who could fit in very nicely from the start this season.
Cincinnati Reds – Skip Schumaker
The Reds have been one of the quiet ones other than their managerial change but the addition of utility infield and good bench option Schumaker could be a really plus deal for them. They knew what they needed and went about trying to get the best player that could fill that need.
Cleveland Indians – David Murphy
While the addition of outfielder David Murphy isn’t one that brought a ton of rave reviews to the Indians front office it does fit something they needed at a price they were willing to pay. For them to meet a big need in a potentially big way for not too much is a steal for a team trying to rebuild from within.
Colorado Rockies – Justin Morneau
The rather small price that was paid for Morneau considering his distant past is clearly a result of his more recent past. All the same, he could burst out at any time with a big return season and there could be no better place for his revival than Coors Field. Keep an eye on this move all season.
Detroit Tigers – Ian Kinsler
This is so much of a steal monetarily that it is almost funny. The amount of dollars over the next several seasons that the Tigers saved in the Prince Fielder trade is monumental considering what options it opens up for them. The fact that it also filled their second base need makes it pure genius.
Houston Astros – Dexter Fowler
Much like the Indians, the Astros are not interested in signing huge free agents for a long time. They want to sign good young players if they need them but only to fill needs while waiting on their promising farm system to come of age. Considering that situation, Dexter Fowler is a big name for this team. He can be an absolute game-changer when he is on.
Kansas City Royals – Omar Infante
Sometimes it is a steal just because a small team gets a player that so many other teams wanted. That’s the case with Infante. The Royals had many big name competitors in the game searching for his services but they were willing to contribute the right number of years for their affordable rate and they won the deal. He’s probably the second-best overall second baseman available this offseason and the Royals got him; steal.
Los Angeles Angels – Hector Santiago/Tyler Skaggs
Everyone agrees what Mark Trumbo is able to do with the bat is substantial. All the same, the Angels needed good, controllable young starters more than another power bat in the batting order. They were able to flip Trumbo for two of the ones they needed which means yes, it was a steal.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Brian Wilson
Wilson pretty well proved that he is as good as he was before injury last season for the Dodgers. The only catch is that he didn’t go for that many innings. All that really means is that because it isn’t guaranteed that Wilson can go all year long, the Dodgers were able to sign him to a one-year deal for way off the ‘list price’ if you will. This is absolutely a steal without a doubt.
Miami Marlins – Jarrod Saltalamacchia
How good or promising Saltalamacchia is might well depend on who you ask but one thing is certain. He is a fan favorite everywhere he goes. We also know that he receives pretty well and is a plus on offense. All of this combined with him joining a fun young Marlins team makes it a perfect free agent match for them both. The fact that they got him signed when they are considered smaller payroll team makes it a steal.
Milwaukee Brewers – Wei-Chung Wang
You want to talk about quiet? The Brewers have been as quiet as a clear southern night without crickets this offseason. Yet they did snatch a pitcher from the Pirates in Wang. His minor league numbers look very promising. Every team in baseball can use a solid to awesome relief pitcher, the Brewers included. The way they nabbed him makes it a steal if he makes the club and sticks.
Minnesota Twins – Ricky Nolasco
This might as well be called the Free Agent Signing Heard Round the World. A ton of teams including but not limited to the Yankees were interested in Nolasco and the Twins grabbed him. This was the steal of a move that proved they were getting more serious than most seasons and it set them off on one of their best offseasons in recent memory.
New York Mets – Curtis Granderson
For the latest forever the Mets have needed some offensive pop to help David Wright. Granderson might not have been the biggest outfielder or the youngest available but he was the right one for the right price and could produce max value for the Mets’ bucks.
New York Yankees – Brian McCann
McCann is being called possible the next great catcher for the Yankees and I don’t doubt that could be true. Take a look at his deal compared to that of other top free agents and you can bet the selfless McCann allowed himself to be signed for a steal of what was likely a possible price.
Oakland Athletics – Jim Johnson
Sometimes GMs just make things look easier than they are. That’s the case all the time for the A’s and Billy Beane proved it again by the Johnson deal. He sent a PTBNL and Jemile Weeks who they really didn’t have a spot for anymore away and filled their empty closer hole with one of the best in the game. See how easy that was?
Philadelphia Phillies – Roberto Hernandez
Not everyone is sold on how much the Phillies are going to get out of Hernandez but lets face a few facts here. The Phillies have a lot of dollars contributed to a few players and had little to spend on the holes they had. One such need was pitching and they were able to get someone like this within their price range. That’s pretty good for someone I do not believe is one of the better GMs in the game.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Chris McGuiness
Everyone was expecting the Pirates to sign or trade for a big first baseman. Instead of that they went ahead and gave themselves a nice platoon option that has plus potential for everyday play as well and didn’t stop up the payroll for possible summer moves.
San Diego Padres – Josh Johnson
Some don’t believe Johnson was worth what the Padres paid for him but I tend to think they got him at a good price for what they can get from him in return. Many times a move to the NL can be a great thing for a starting pitcher and I think you’ll see that happen for the Padres and Johnson this season.
San Francisco Giants – Tim Hudson
Hudson ended his 2013 season with a terribly broken ankle which obviously made his price drop a little bit. Still, the Giants went above what some were willing to pay to give themselves a great player for the clubhouse and probably great from the mound as well for a couple of years. For the Giants recent spending levels, this was a steal.
Seattle Mariners – Logan Morrison
Here they are. The M’s are the team I was talking about. Obviously their big name signing was Robinson Cano but he is not a steal because he is unlikely to be worth $24M a decade from now. However, they did made a very good trade for Logan Morrison who could fill an outfield role or a first base role as well as anyone. He could be a big upgrade for quite a few seasons if things were to go well for him there.
St. Louis Cardinals – Peter Bourjos
The Cardinals went plenty far last season obviously but they really did have a slight weakness in parts of the outfield for many reasons. They were able to land Bourjos at the same time as freeing up their infield for a better fit all around and that is a perfect steal deal.
Tampa Bay Rays – Ryan Hanigan
Players forgotten by many teams end up being stars for the Rays all the time. Hanigan is about to do so for them once again I believe. The Reds let him go pretty easily but watch what happens when he is given an everyday role with the Rays.
Texas Rangers – Shin-Soo Choo
We were all waiting for what huge payday Choo was going to demand from his agent Scott Boras. What a surprise it was that the Rangers were able to land him for what, while was a ton of money, wasn’t nearly what some figured Choo would go for. This was a steal plan and simple.
Toronto Blue Jays – Dioner Navaro
Navaro is the catching upgrade the Blue Jays wanted. He was also one of the more talked about catchers that many figured the Cardinals would get in 2013 to replace the injured Yadier Molina. An easy release of one catcher to sign their desired replacement was a good move for a team that many times trades away talent for additions.
Washington Nationals – Doug Fister
This one ranks towards the top of the list for sure. Few if any experts even knew the Tigers were willing to deal Fister and the Nats swept in at stole him right off of the top of the crop. This is a big addition obviously and one no one expected. They jump to the top of the thievery list like a burglar in the night.