Early Winners and Losers In Free Agency

Steve O Speak

While there might be a signing or two over the next few days, usually the Hot Stove cools down around Christmas for a few days. With this brief cool down period I thought it would be a good time to take a quick look at who has helped themselves or hurt themselves so far this offseason:

Playoff teams:

New York Yankees: They lost Johnny Damon and Matsui but have signed Nick Johnson and traded for Granderson and Vasquez. The Yankees added some big names and filled big holes in CF and in the rotation (which i’m sure Sabathia and company are thankful for), but they did pay a price for them. The 6 players they gave up all had pretty decent value to the Yankees and leave a hole in the organization most notably in their bullpen. I think the signing of Johnson was their best move, he doesn’t have Matsui’s power but he is an excellent hitter. The Yankees still need to fill their hole in LF and add at least one bullpen arm. Right now they are neck and neck with the Red Sox for best team in baseball.

Boston Red Sox: They lost Jason Bay, but did sign John Lackey, Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro. Losing Bay is tough, but Cameron’s defensive ability almost makes the move a wash. Also the Red Sox hitting this year will be better with a full season of Victor Martinez and the major upgrade at SS with Scutaro. The best part about the Red Sox moves is that they haven’t sacrificed any of their top young talent or prospects, giving them plenty of flexibility to make additional moves. They still need to add another big bat, and some bullpen help.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins added J.J. Hardy which fills a major need but they lost Orlando Cabrera so its a minimal improvement. The Twins could still use a 3b, and another starter if they really want to contend with the Yankees and Red Sox.

Los Angeles Angels: The Angels signed Matsui, but they did lose both Lackey and Figgins, neither of whom have been replaced. The Angels have a big hole at the top of their rotation right now. The Angels could use some bullpen help, a frontline starter and another bat. Los Angeles will need to fill at least two of those needs if they hope to stay atop the AL West.

Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies finally got Roy Halladay, but they gave up Cliff Lee for three lesser prospects than those they gave up for Halladay. While their might be a slight improvement I doubt it will make a drastic difference in their rotation. Adding Polanco gives them better production from 3B, but wasn’t a huge upgrade. The Phillies need to still add help at the back of their bullpen and in the back of their rotation.

St. Louis Cardinals: The Cards could still potentially resign Matt Holliday or Pineiro so its hard to say whether or not the Cards are winners or losers just yet. Signing Penny was a smart move and if the Cards add another quality pitcher their rotation could be unstoppable. They will need to find a way to replace Holliday’s production if he doesn’t resign.

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies lost Jason Marquis, and he will need to be replaced in the rotation. Outside of that the Rockies need to add a few bench and bullpen players. The most important thing for the Rockies is the continued development of their young players, as their are no major holes in the roster.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers have lost Randy Wolf, and Jon Garland and Padilla could be joining him from their rotation exodus. The Dodgers will likely lose Orlando Hudson as well which leaves a big hole in their middle infield. Los Angles needs to add a 2B, two starters some bullpen help and a couple of bench players. Right now they are a team without direction and I don’t know if they will make the playoffs unless they make a major move or two.

So who do you think are the Winners and Losers among last season’s playoff teams?

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