Baseball News And Opinion

Early risers grabbing headlines during MLB offseason

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The World Series has concluded with the Boston Red Sox winning their third world championship in the last 15 years. Red Sox nation is happy while all the other Major League teams try to figure out what their magic formula was in 2013. While most folks think baseball is done till spring, nothing could be further from the truth.

The hot stove league is just getting warmed up as December comes a calling. The Winter Meetings are usually when things get a rocking as team general managers descend on one city and try to strike deals. Something funny happened this year though. No one felt like waiting till the meetings started to redesign their clubs.

Some of the biggest names on the free agent markets will have new addresses this year as the first week of December brought a bevy of activity to the game. None of the moves has been bigger than former New York Yankees star Robinson Cano heading out to Seattle.

The all star second sacker heads to the Mariners, with $240 million in tow. Many thought there was no way Cano would leave the Bronx, but a wise man once said that money talks. Seattle has not been competitive in recent years, but they are hoping to turn that around by signing this big bat for their lineup.

All those Yankees haters who are laughing at their loss might want to stop. New York is not batting an eye at the loss of Cano or Curtis Granderson, who signed a big contract with the New York Mets. The Yanks do what they do best. They laid out big bucks to acquire Boston center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann, and St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran.  Ah, and they are probably not done.

The Detroit Tigers have been one of the more consistent winners in the past few seasons. The problem is that winning the regular season, but not finishing the deal in the playoffs causes changes to occur.  Perhaps no one could have seen the trade that they pulled off coming. The Tigers sent first baseman Prince Fielder packing to Texas, in exchange for infielder Ian Kinsler.

On paper, it looks like Texas got the better end of that deal, but the Prince needed a change of scenery. Kinsler is a fine ballplayer and brings a clutch stick to the Tigers.  That might be one of the biggest reasons for the trade, that being the world clutch. For two post-seasons running, Fielder has disappeared on the biggest stage. He has contributed neither home runs or RBI’s, which were the reasons for his Detroit existence.

Fielder was not the only woe for the Tigers, but they addressed another big one when they signed Joe Nathan. Nathan has been one of the league’s best closers, which is something that killed Detroit last season. Speaking of closers, Baltimore dealt the top closer, in terms of saves, of the past two seasons away.

Jim Johnson, who was due to make upwards of $10 million in arbitration, was sent to Oakland for Jemile Weeks. On the surface, it has left many O’s fans scratching their heads, wondering what the team is doing. However, Baltimore claims to be a small market team, so they wanted to allocate their payroll differently. To this point, that has meant signing more minor leaguers.

For those who love the Winter Meetings, fear not. There should be much more action coming. There are plenty of big names out there, including Tampa Bay stopper David Price, who is supposedly on the trade block. It should be an interesting week to watch and be a fan.


More about this author: John Atchison