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Best and Worst Baseball Moves of 2005

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  • Best and Worst Baseball Moves of 2005

    QUOTE
    The good ... and the bad from '05

    As the end of the season approaches, it is a good time to evaluate some of the decisions made last offseason regarding free-agent signings and players acquired via trade. Not all deals work out for the best, and in many cases the first season doesn't always necessarily tell the whole story of a player's tenure with a club. A full season, though, allows for the hot streaks and slumps to be accounted for and gives a pretty good sampling of whether the acquisition has been successful.

    Following are the 10 offseason moves that have worked out the best and the 10 that have worked out the worst.


    The Good
    1. Pedro Martinez, New York Mets: Martinez has been everything the Mets desired when they signed him. He has been the stopper. The day he pitches is an event in New York. Despite the fact that his hip has bothered him and the Mets have massaged his time between starts, he has logged innings and been very productive.

    2. Carlos Delgado, Florida Marlins: It would be hard to imagine where the Marlins would be without Delgado. He has been the force that the Marlins expected in a year when they have not gotten nearly the offensive production from others in the lineup. He has made the adjustment to the NL very well and will probably be even better next year.

    3. Richie Sexson, Seattle Mariners: Sexson's signing was a bit risky because of his health history. Remember, he only had about 90 at-bats in 2004, but the Mariners threw big bucks at him anyway. It has proven to be a very good move since he will likely hit 40-plus homers and drive in more than 120 runs this year. He is back. Now if the Mariners could only get some pitching to go along with him.

    4. David Eckstein, St. Louis Cardinals: Edgar Renteria left to chase a big contract, and it was thought the Cards settled for Eckstein. Of all the free-agent shortstops last winter, he had the least sex appeal (Renteria, Nomar Garciaparra, Orlando Cabrera, Cristian Guzman, etc.). But he has proven to be the most stable and reliable of the group. Eckstein is the type of player Cardinals fans fall in love with ... and they have. He is a winner.

    5. Jeff Kent, Los Angeles Dodgers: Kent is having his eighth 100-RBI season this year. A lot went wrong in L.A. this season, but not the signing of Kent. He has delivered just as GM Paul DePodesta had hoped and expected. Kent's run-in with Milton Bradley was interesting and reinforced why Kent is not beloved by the media or his teammates. Nevertheless, Kent is part of the solution in L.A.

    6. Carlos Lee, Milwaukee Brewers for 7. Scott Podsednik, Chicago White Sox: These two are linked together forever now. This trade was one of those great baseball trades. It satisfied obvious needs for both teams and made both teams better. Lee is coming into his own. If he commits himself to getting in better shape, I think there is another level in his production.

    Podsednik gave the White Sox their personality and style. He defined them for the first half of the season. What really proves his importance to the Sox is the fact that his leg issues have reduced his impact on the game and has, in turn, changed Chicago's approach as evidenced by its second-half swoon.
    8. Troy Glaus, Arizona Diamondbacks: The D-Backs took the chance on Glaus that they were not willing to take on Richie Sexson. Health was a concern with Glaus, too, as he had shoulder surgery last season and had not really proved that he could throw across the field. Sexson has had the better year, but Glaus also has been good.

    9. Mark Mulder, St. Louis Cardinals: Mulder has not quite lived up to the status he earned in Oakland, but he still has been quite good. He adds great depth and balance to the Cardinals' rotation. He also adds postseason experience. The Cards gave up quite a bit to get him, but it was worth it for his ability on the field and the fact that his acquisition removed the one major stigma that hurt the Cards last year -- the lack of a No. 1 starter. The reality is that this year the Cards really have three aces in Mulder, Chris Carpenter and Matt Morris.

    10. Todd Jones, Florida Marlins: Jones has been a savior for the Marlins. He is a bulldog on the mound. When Guillermo Mota got hurt early in the season and then struggled miserably upon his return, the Marlins were in big trouble. Jones stepped in and was so good that he allowed the Marlins to avoid having to trade away talent to acquire a closer. That was a huge move both for the short-term and long-term welfare of the organization. This may be the 37-year-old's best year ever, certainly the best since 2000 when he saved 42 of 46 games.

    Honorable mention: Tim Hudson, Danny Haren, Omar Vizquel, Mark Grudzielanek, Tadahito Iguchi, Dustin Hermanson, Jon Lieber.


    The Bad
    1. Carlos Beltran, New York Mets: The expectations were far too high to begin with when it comes to Beltran. Many expected that he would be the player who hit eight postseason homers in 12 games last year. He is a good player, just not a great player. He is a good player who had a great two weeks and capitalized on that to secure a big contract. When you sign a contract for $119 million, you have an obligation to be the face and voice of the organization, an even more arduous task when your new hometown is New York. He has not delivered nearly as expected. He has even drawn the ire of fans in New York for bunting in critical RBI situations.
    2. Cristian Guzman, Washington Nationals: Many considered Guzman overpaid when he received a four-year, $16.8 million contract in the offseason. Now that he's barely hitting .200 it appears to be highway robbery. Guzman has been a disappointment offensively, defensively and on the bases. His game has gone completely backward. The big question now is, can he be salvaged? Only time will tell, but the answer will surely be found since he does have three more years left on his contract.

    3. New York Yankees starting pitching: Randy Johnson, Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano: Johnson's New York career had an inauspicious beginning when he shoved a camera out of his way when walking the streets in New York. It has not gotten much better as the stroll has continued. He has struggled at times due to bad mechanics, bad health or some combination of the two. He is an ornery sort who has not endeared himself to the New York media or fans yet. Johnson doesn't seem very happy in New York and New York hasn't seemed very happy with him.

    Wright has been hampered by shoulder problems ever since he negotiated his contract with the Yankees. His physical revealed some issues that caused a renegotiation of the deal, and then he was injured early in the season. Been there, done that. After a brilliant start to his career with the Indians, Wright suffered numerous setbacks due to injury. He became a professional rehabber. He rehabbed again this season and is now pitching again. Bad luck seems to find him, as he has been hit by line drives and broken bats. At some point, hopefully his luck will turn good.

    Pavano's season has been lost to injury. It is hard to get too upset when the struggles are injury-based, but it seemed that Pavano was not going to handle New York very well prior to getting injured. He seemed overwhelmed with the questions about his production and, later, his health. It will be an uphill battle when he returns because the fans and media are suspicious about his makeup. He will need to get off to a good start whenever he returns or the boo birds will come thundering back.

    4. Eric Milton, Cincinnati Reds: It was a doomed relationship from the start: A fly-ball pitcher in a home-run hitter's park. Milton gave up 43 homers as a member of the Phillies in 2004 and is already at 40 in 2005. The homers have affected his confidence and it doesn't look very good for him. The Reds won't move back the fences at Great American Ball Park, so unless Milton changes his approach it could be a long couple of years.

    5. Troy Percival, Detroit Tigers: Percival jumped at the first offer he received, which came from the Tigers in the offseason. He liked what he heard from the Illitch family about the plan to return to competitiveness in Detroit. Unfortunately, a tear in his forearm ended his season soon after it started, and there is thought that his career may be over.

    6. Sammy Sosa, Baltimore Orioles: After a decline in Chicago in 2004, we probably should have seen this coming. Sosa is half the player he used to be. His power is gone, as is his plate discipline. He can't catch up with a good fastball anymore, either. He needs 12 more homers for 600 in his career, so he will hang around for a couple more years. But 700 homers is not going to happen. It was a great career for Sammy.

    7. Danny Kolb, Atlanta Braves: He was thought to be the linchpin acquisition in the offseason, allowing the Braves to move John Smoltz back to the starting rotation. Kolb may go down in history as one of the few pitchers that coach Leo Mazzone has not been able to fix. I guess Mazzone is human after all. There is a difference closing games when they don't mean anything in Milwaukee and when there are expectations to win, as there are in Atlanta.

    8. Adrian Beltre, Seattle Mariners: Beware of the player who has a career year in his free-agent season. Will the real Adrian Beltre please stand up? He is standing and is wearing a Mariners' uniform. The 2004 season was a remarkable one for Beltre, who finally maximized the potential that many saw in him. In 2005, however, he has returned to the form that he had shown for the five other seasons he played for the Dodgers. Unfortunately, he is being paid like a superstar. He signed a five-year deal, so look for another breakout year in 2009.

    9. Steve Finley, Los Angeles Angels: It seemed like such a good move at the time. The Angels made a preemptive strike staying out of the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes and instead signed Finley. The veteran Finley hit 36 homers in 2004 but this year only has 10. He never seemed to get it going after injuring his shoulder early in the season. He tried to play with the injury and it hampered his swing. Despite being in great shape, injuries take longer to heal when you're 40 years old.

    10. Nomar Garciaparra, Chicago Cubs: The only good thing about the move to re-sign Garciaparra was the fact that it was a one-year deal. The injury bug bit Nomar again early in the year when he tore his groin off the bone. He had a great spring training and there were high hopes in Chicago that he was back. But he is not the same player he once was. It will be very difficult for a contending team to lock up Garciaparra as the starting shortstop next year because his health has been so unpredictable. Teams need to know their starting shortstop can play every day. He may need to make a deal with a noncontender and hope to stay off the DL in order to get back with a competitive team.

    Honorable mention: Russ Ortiz, Magglio Ordonez, Orlando Cabrera, Armando Benitez, Al Leiter, Derek Lowe.

    QUOTE
    The Top '06 Free Agents

    1. Johnny Damon, Boston Red Sox: If the Sox don't re-sign him, then look for a bidding war for this productive leadoff man and center fielder.
    2. A.J. Burnett, Florida Marlins: He has not been subpar down the stretch, and he will have the best stuff of any pitcher available not named Roger Clemens. His health history will make him a risk despite his great stuff.

    3. Billy Wagner, Philadelphia Phillies: The Phils have tried to work out an extension with Wagner but have come up short. If he reaches the market, he will be the best closer available.

    4. Rafael Furcal, Atlanta Braves: The Braves do not overpay to keep their own. Jimmy Rollins got a five-year, $40 million contract. The Braves won't come close to that to keep Furcal. The Braves will be OK, though, as they always are. Furcal should do well, too, as there are a number of teams just waiting to overpay for a speedy leadoff batter.

    5. Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox: It will be a shame if he doesn't stay in Chicago. He seems like such a good fit there. He will be a popular target in the free-agent market because he has power and is a solid citizen.

    6. Brian Giles, San Diego Padres: Giles is interesting because his power is gone, but he has great plate discipline and gets on base. He won't cost premium money because of his lack of power, but in the right park maybe it can come back.

    7. Hideki Matsui, New York Yankees: I suspect it will be the Yankees or a return to Japan for Matsui. It will be an interesting negotiation to watch since he is represented by Arn Tellum, the same agent who represents Jason Giambi. George Steinbrenner is reportedly angry at Tellum for how Giambi handled all the steroid questions last offseason. Could it be a grudge match?

    8. B.J. Ryan, Baltimore Orioles: Ryan has proved he can close games. He is young and has a relatively fresh arm. He is a horse out of the pen and has good makeup. There could be a bidding war for his services.

    9. Ramon Hernandez, San Diego Padres: Good catching is hard to come by, so look for Hernandez to have a number of suitors this offseason. He has handled some pretty good pitchers in his career, and most rave about him.

    10. Matt Morris, St. Louis Cardinals: There is no question that he is back to being a premier pitcher. A good postseason can do for him what it did for Derek Lowe last year. He has re-established himself as a front-end starter with guts. St. Louis will get the first shot at keeping him, but look for others to jump in and run the price out of the Cardinals' range.-- Steve Phillips[/b][/quote] [/b][/quote]
    Official sponsor of the St. Louis Cardinals

    "This is a heavyweight bout indeed."--John Rooney, Oct. 27, 2011

  • #2
    How is Edgar NOT on that list?
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    • #3
      Edgar's been average at shortstop. It's just that he's grossly overpaid.
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      • #4
        Morris is back to being a premier pitcher?
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        • #5
          QUOTE(Ohio Blues @ Sep 23 2005, 12:48 PM) Quoted post

          Morris is back to being a premier pitcher?
          [/b][/quote]


          He is a Bad Move Expert, after all.
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          "This is a heavyweight bout indeed."--John Rooney, Oct. 27, 2011

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          • #6
            Whats the odds of letting Morris walk, and signing Damon, Giles.

            Short on power, but stout...

            Damon
            Eck
            Pujols
            Edmonds
            Rolen
            Giles
            Grudz
            Molina


            Carp
            Mulder
            Marquis
            Reyes
            Suppan




            just daydreaming
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            • #7
              QUOTE(kah @ Sep 23 2005, 02:49 PM) Quoted post

              QUOTE(Ohio Blues @ Sep 23 2005, 12:48 PM) Quoted post

              Morris is back to being a premier pitcher?
              [/b][/quote]


              He is a Bad Move Expert, after all.
              [/b][/quote]

              I agree with most of Phillips' article, but it's obvious he hasn't seen Morris pitch since July.
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              • #8
                Damon and Matsui will both cost gobs and gobs of money.

                Giles could be a possibility, though, esp. if they let Morris walk.
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                • #9
                  It's always hard to listen or read this guy and accept it as intelligent. He made some absolutely terrible baseball decisions when he worked for the Mets.

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                  • #10
                    Eric Milton, a bad move?

                    We were mislead!!!!1111111onejuan

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                    • #11
                      QUOTE(kah @ Sep 23 2005, 02:54 PM) Quoted post

                      Damon and Matsui will both cost gobs and gobs of money.

                      Giles could be a possibility, though, esp. if they let Morris walk.
                      [/b][/quote]
                      I like Giles, but isn't the goal to get younger in the outfield?
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                      (the move messed it up)

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                      • #12
                        QUOTE(Brosnan2715 @ Sep 23 2005, 01:16 PM) Quoted post

                        QUOTE(kah @ Sep 23 2005, 02:54 PM) Quoted post

                        Damon and Matsui will both cost gobs and gobs of money.

                        Giles could be a possibility, though, esp. if they let Morris walk.
                        [/b][/quote]
                        I like Giles, but isn't the goal to get younger in the outfield?
                        [/b][/quote]


                        Only if available. Why not take another shot at a title next year also. If it presents itself.

                        What did you have in mind?
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                        • #13
                          QUOTE(Brosnan2715 @ Sep 23 2005, 01:16 PM) Quoted post

                          I like Giles, but isn't the goal to get younger in the outfield?
                          [/b][/quote]


                          I guess, but you won't do that via free agency.
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                          • #14
                            QUOTE(kah @ Sep 23 2005, 03:17 PM) Quoted post

                            QUOTE(Brosnan2715 @ Sep 23 2005, 01:16 PM) Quoted post

                            I like Giles, but isn't the goal to get younger in the outfield?
                            [/b][/quote]


                            I guess, but you won't do that via free agency.
                            [/b][/quote]
                            I agree.

                            I still think Marquis will be traded in the offseason for younger outfield help.
                            In Construction

                            (the move messed it up)

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                            • #15
                              QUOTE(lazydaze @ Sep 23 2005, 03:17 PM) Quoted post

                              QUOTE(Brosnan2715 @ Sep 23 2005, 01:16 PM) Quoted post

                              QUOTE(kah @ Sep 23 2005, 02:54 PM) Quoted post

                              Damon and Matsui will both cost gobs and gobs of money.

                              Giles could be a possibility, though, esp. if they let Morris walk.
                              [/b][/quote]
                              I like Giles, but isn't the goal to get younger in the outfield?
                              [/b][/quote]


                              Only if available. Why not take another shot at a title next year also. If it presents itself.

                              What did you have in mind?
                              [/b][/quote]
                              If there aren't many good options out there, then I'd be fine with Giles, but it also depends on the length and $$ of the contract.

                              I don't really know who would be available in the offseason in a trade, but Walt usually gets the job done.
                              In Construction

                              (the move messed it up)

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