Best Move: Signing Nelson Cruz for 1 year/$8 million
It took them a while to make some moves, but fans were not complaining when they got it done. This deal was relatively cheap for someone with the power potential like Nelson Cruz. Cruz signed a one year deal to improve his value for next season with teams skeptical of his talent after being caught using PEDs. If Cruz works out, they can ride him out till the playoffs or use him as trade value. If not, they just don’t resign him. Not much risk here but plenty of rewards.
Worst Move: Signing Ubualdo Jimenez to 4 year/$50 million.
You know how the last move was low risk/high reward? Yeah, this one is kind of high risk/low reward. Jimenez has shown his inability to stay consistent throughout the course of a season. He had a solid year for Cleveland last season but asking him to do that 4 years straight is a tall order.
Boston Red Sox
Best Move: Deepening their bullpen with Edward Mujica and Burke Badenhop.
Who knows if Koji Uehara can last a full season closing games. Mujica does have late game experience with the Cardinals. Badenhop can serve as a strong middle reliever for a bullpen that has the makings of being one of the best in the league.
Worst move: Not replacing Jacoby Ellsbury.
The two men competing for the starting center field spot in Boston are Jackie Bradley and Grady Sizemore. Bradley couldn’t hit over .200 in his short time in the majors last season and Sizemore last played in 2011 where he hit .224. If either of these cheap replacements work out, they will look like geniouses for not dropping all that cash on a guy like Shin-Soo Choo. If not, the reigning world champs have a huge hole to fill.
New York Yankees
Best Move: Signing Brian McCann to a 5 year/$85 million dollar contract
This move solidified the Yankees backstop for the upcoming season, which was a position they desperately needed to fill after loosing Russell Martin to the Pirates. McCann can handle a pitching staff and that short right field porch will help keep the home runs coming. The only question is whether he can stay healthy for a full season, but other than that, this move should be money well spent.
Worst Move: Signing Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7 year/$153 million dollar contract
This signing looks great right now, but will it be great when Ellsbury is 35 with two years left to go? Speed is a big part of his game and while the right field porch is good for him, he has only hit over 10 home runs once in his career. Another question is if he can stay on the field. I think after two or three seasons, this move will look like money thrown away for the Yanks.
Tampa Bay Rays
Best Move: Re-signing James Loney
The Rays don’t have the kind of money Boston or New York has, so keeping a guy like Loney is crucial for them. He plays stellar defense at first and had a .299/.348/.430 line for them last year. His lack of power is what makes him affordable and a great fit for the low budget Rays.
Worst Move: None
They didn’t make many moves to begin with. Acquiring Heath Bell was a questionable one, but they also got Ryan Hannigan in that deal.
Toronto Blue Jays
Best Move: Holding off on Ervin Santana
The Jays have been connected to the right-hander but his asking price and years is a bit steep for any team, given the history of Santana.
Worst Move: Not making any moves.
The Blue Jays didn’t really do anything except sign Dioner Navarro to a two year deal. They didn’t really have money to throw out but you would have liked to see them shake up something after miserable 2013.
Chicago White Sox
Best Move: Acquiring Adam Eaton
Eaton is a great base-runner in terms of speed and smarts. He hasn’t had much success in the big leagues but at the same time, he hasn’t played very much. If he can develop into a solid Center fielder who has a knack for reaching base, then it can make the White Sox an exciting team to watch in 2014 and beyond.
Worst Move: Signing Jose Abreu for 6 years/$68 million
Abreu has a lot of potential but he is an unproven bat. If he ends up hitting the way he is projected, then they wont mind paying him just over 10 million a season. But if he ends up being a bust, then he gone.
Best Move: Signing David Murphy for 3 years/$18.5 million
It is a cheap contract for someone who has shown the potential to hit .300 and get on base. He could end up playing a key role in the Indians lineup which features a lot of depth.
Worst Move: Watching Ubualdo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir walk away and not replace them
The Indians have a lot of young arms with potential but their rotation will take a hit with Jimenez and Kazmir leaving. They have plenty of guys competing for the 5th starting spot, including Trevor Bauer, but there are a lot of question marks behind their young pitching.
Best Move: Trading Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler
They had a whole to fill in second base and Fielder was clogging up a lot of salary. They dumped his salary for a second baseman who can run and hit for power. The move also give new manager, Brad Ausmus, more flexibility with his lineup. Miguel Cabrera can go back to first while Nick Castellanos can move from the outfield to third base, his natural position.
Worst Move: Trading Doug Fister for INF/OF Steve Lombardozzi, LHP Ian Krol, LHP Robbie Ray
The best part of this trade is Robbie Ray, who was ranked as the Nationals 5th best prospect. Aside from that, the deal doesn’t make much sense as they had to pay Fister just $7 million.
Kansas City Royals
Best Move: Trading for Norichika Aoki and signing Omar Infante
Aoki is known for his defensive play and can also provide quality at-bats from the top of the order. Infante plugs up a whole they have had at second base for a while, so they finally have a regular second baseman.
Worst Move: Signing Jason Vargas for 4 years/$32 million
Vargas has had his moments in the big leagues, but four years is a long time for a 31 year old whose best ERA was 3.78 in the pitcher friendly Safeco field.
Best Move: None
The Twins didn’t make any great moves or even okay moves this off-season. They don’t have the money to make big splashes, so signing Ricky Nolasco for all that money will likely do more damage than good. They signed Phil Hughes, but after the “nightmare” season he had with the Yankees, it’s tough to see him bouncing back. I’m not sure if Twins fans want his inconsistency for three years.
Worst Move: Signing Ricky Nolasco for 4 years/$49 million
Nolasco is another pitcher, like Vargas, who got a lot of years for someone who is inconsistent. It seems teams are willing to go the extra year or two if they can have the player now. Nolasco has never really been a 200 inning type of guy and he also has a career 4.37 ERA.