So far the baseball offseason has been nothing short of exciting but with the winter meetings beginning in Dallas tomorrow, GM's around the league are just getting started. Some thoughts on a few early offseason moves:
Phillies sign Tom Gordon for 3 years $18 million: I'm very lukewarm about this signing. Yea the Phillies needed a closer since Billy Wagner left for the Mets but I would have rather seen them get Trevor Hoffman or maybe even let one of the younger guys like Robinson Tejada close games out. One of the keys to Tejada's success is that he was effectively wild - sounds like a closer to me. Flash is already lined up for failure - Philly is where closers who have had a slight amount of success come to die. Heathcliffe Slocumb, Jose Mesa, and Ricky Bottalico just to name a few. All these guys had some amount of success in their career but for the most part flopped in Philadelphia (Wagner being the obvious exception). Gordon seems to fit the profile of those first 3 guys. Gordon was fine as a setup man for the Yanks but in Chicago before that, he wasn't exactly a lights out closer for the Cubs. Not a huge fan of this signing.
Phillies trade Jim Thome to the White Sox for Aaron Rowand and two minor leaguers: It was about time. Nothing against Thome, he remained a class act throughout the whole ordeal but his time in Philadelphia had come to an obvious end. Ryan Howard is going to be a 40+ homer guy (22 in half a season) and this kid is the definition of a clutch hitter. Thome now that he's 35 and coming off an injury riddled season has got to be strictly a DH. He'll fit in perfectly in Chicago - he's a huge upgrade of Carl Everett. And ChiSox have prospect Brian Anderson fill the void left by Rowand in CF. The Phils get one of the best centerfielders in the game and Rowand has the potential to be a 20/20 guy. Also the two minor league pitchers the Phils got could be pitching in the big leagues within 2 years. Good trade for both teams but edge to the phils with the two lefty pitchers.
Mets spending like the Yankees to get Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner: Maybe the Mets haven't been watching A Bronx Tale on the other side of town but someone should let GM Omar Minaya in on the fact that you can't always buy championships. No doubt Minaya is doing his best and by default New York has to be the front runner in the NL East. But starting pitching is still and issue. You can pencil Pedro in for 18-20 wins. But the rest of the rotation? Tom Glavine isn't getting any younger and isn't the Glavine the Braves knew and loved. Kris Benson may not even be in New York to start the season but if he is he's a decent #3 but not anything to write home about. And then what. Jay Seo? I seem to remember another New York team that had issues with an aging starting staff that typically trys to buy championships? Delgado, Cliff Floyd, David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran (grossly underachieved last year). Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui. And that was with Randy Johnson, supposed all star Carl Pavano, Chien Ming Wang, Mike Mussina and surprise stud Shawn Chacon. The Mets lineup is a little younger but I wouldn't buy those World Series tickets for the Amazin' Mets just yet. That being said a division title for the Mets would be a great success.
White Sox sign Paul Konerko to 5 years $60 million: There would have been a mutiny on the southside if the World Champs hadn't brought back their captain and clubhouse leader. It really wouldn't have made sense for Konerko to leave Chicago - He's loved by the fans, he's on a team that will contend to a repeat title, and he helped bring the southside its first World Series in 88 years. The Orioles never had a shot, who in their right mind would go to Baltimore. And allegedly the Angels were close to landing Konerko, but with that starting staff in Chitown the Sox have a better shot of contending for the title.
Rafael Furcal to the Dodgers. The Cubs seemed minutes away from landing one of the most coveted free agents and all of a sudden the Dodgers swept in and snagged him for their grasp. So Furcal lands in the city of angels but as far as overall impact, he's not gona put the Dodgers over the top. I wonder if those DUI's carry state to state.
Josh Beckett to the Red Sox. The Yankee killer lands in Boston and brings some help to a starting staff in disaray. Beckett has to stay healthy which has been an issue and he gets a lot of hype for being a career .500 pitcher. But he'll pitch a great game or two against the Yankees this year and every Sawx fan will love him if only for that.
Manny Ramirez and Bobby Abreu? I would love this trade for the Phillies. But its not going to happen. Ramirez and Ryan Howard would be like Manny and Big Papi all over again. Yes the Phillies need more starting pitching but Ramirez could legit hit 60 home runs at Citizens Bank. But these two could very possibly be in different cities by the end of the week.