2012 MLB Free Agency: Each Team's Most Disappointing Non-Move
During the MLB offseason, everyone talks about moves that could potentially be made, and everyone talks about ways that their team could improve through free agency or trades.
Naturally, only a handful of these come to fruition. While many of these ideas were a pipe dream, there are situations where a players fits very well with a team, yet the team does not pull the trigger, or a team throws a player on the trade market and doesn't actually trade him.
Here is each team's most disappointing move that never happened.
Baltimore Orioles: Not Acquiring Talent
The Orioles have been last in the AL East for a while now, and on top of that they have one of the weakest farm systems in the league. As a result, this offseason should have been spent actually using their payroll on players that could help them, or finding ways to acquire farm talent.
The Orioles did neither, instead signing players like Dana Eveland, with their big names arguably being Wilson Betemit and Endy Chavez. They couldn't even get a Vladimir Guerro-type this year. Heck, the O's seem to be the team that talks a big game, yet mostly makes non-moves.
Boston Red Sox: Not Adding a Quality Starting Pitcher
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees had one thing in common this offseason: they needed to add some depth in their rotation, especially the Sox. The Yankees did that, and in fact have an overabundance of starters now.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, acquired Clayton Mortensen. He could be decent at the back of the rotation, but John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka are fighting there already. They needed a quality number three starter like Hiroki Kuroda, who can actually pitch a full season.
If they let Roy Oswalt get by them, then it will likely be another disappointing season on the pitching end.
New York Yankees: Not Signing a DH
The New York Yankees only needed to do two things this offseason to keep them at the head of the AL East. They needed some starting pitching depth, and they needed to pick a DH. Luckily, they had someone ready to be a DH in Jesus Montero.
To fix the first issue, however, they sacrificed the second, and while Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda were great pickups, the DH by committee plan has never been one that's worked out well for a team.
Tampa Bay Rays: Not Trading James Shields
This is a tough one because I'm sure there are a lot of James Shields fans who want him to play in Tampa Bay as long as he can. That's something I get entirely.
However, there were plenty of trade rumors surrounding Shields, and after a career year in 2011 that looks to be an anomaly, his value wasn't going to be any higher than it was this offseason. The Rays are usually good at making the right small market moves, but I think they missed an opportunity here.
Toronto Blue Jays: Not Adding Starting Pitching
The Blue Jays have suddenly acted like a small market team of late, and the odds of them signing a starting pitcher that's actually worth putting in their rotation is quite low.
After Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow, there are many question marks in the rotation, and just because other AL East teams lack starting pitching depth does not mean the Blue Jays can afford to.
Chicago White Sox: Not Re-Signing or Replacing Mark Buehrle
When Mark Buehrle became a free agent, the Chicago White Sox were far from out of the loop, especially since they had the money, as evident by the big contract extension John Danks got.
However, they didn't push that much for him, and he signed with the Miami Marlins. They did not replace him, which means they'll have to hope that one of their prospects can show up and have a decent year for the Sox, since they're not doing anything to move up in the division this year.
Cleveland Indians: Not Signing Carlos Pena
The main thing that the Cleveland Indians seemed to need in the offseason, aside from perhaps a veteran presence in the starting rotation, is a first baseman. Prince Fielder was out of their price range, but Carlos Pena made great sense for what they needed him for.
Instead, talks never really got serious, and Pena instead signed with the Tampa Bay Rays. Casey Kotchman and Derrek Lee aren't necessarily better than Matt LaPorta, so the lack of a move widens the gap for the Detroit Tigers.
Detroit Tigers: None
Yesterday, I had this slide all set, noting that the Tigers had not yet found a replacement for Victor Martinez, which they needed to do if they wanted to remain AL Central front-runners. They did that by signing Prince Fielder out of nowhere.
After Victor Martinez returns, Miguel Cabrera could theoretically play third base as well, filling that weak spot. There's really nothing to regret when it comes to the Tigers, as they did more than anyone expected.
Kansas City Royals: Not Adding a Fifth Starter
The Kansas City Royals had a fairly good free agency. Jonathan Broxton gives them a good bullpen, and Jonathan Sanchez could be a good starter alongside Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar.
They may be good with their lineup, but with Mike Montgomery perhaps a year away from the big time yet, it would have been better for them to add some pitching depth to keep them competitive in the AL Central.
Minnesota Twins: Not Adding Injury Insurance
The biggest problem with the Minnesota Twins last year was injuries. Once Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, and others went down, the downhill spiral fell into place. The departure of Michael Cuddyer doesn't help either.
They solved that by signing Josh Willingham, but what happens if the injury bug strikes again? Their bench is quite thin right now, as the signing of Jamey Carroll doesn't exactly cancel out Jason Kubel. Signing someone who can play first, as well as other positions, would be ideal.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Not Trading Mark Trumbo
With the signing of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, there's little to criticize with the Angels, who are clearly aiming at a World Series title. Now that they have Pujols, however, Mark Trumbo has become expendable.
He had a great rookie season, and there are many teams in the market for a first baseman, so it's surprising that both remain on the roster, even though both could split DH duty if they get rid of Bobby Abreu. Either way, they have an overstock.
Oakland Athletics: None
The Oakland Athletics lost everyone of note either through free agency or trading them away, and as a result, the team will be entirely different next year. There's no disappointment about failing to acquire any talent because there was zero expectation of that once everyone was traded away.
Seattle Mariners: Not Signing Prince Fielder
The Seattle Mariners have a great pitching staff, yet even with the acquisition of Jesus Montero, they still have an anemic lineup. When they appeared to be a major player to acquire Prince Fielder, it was a perfect fit, as he could help solidify the lineup with a power bat.
The Mariners apparently bowed out of any discussions well before Fielder's eventual signing. As a result, they are looking at a third place finish next year without that extra bat.
Texas Rangers: Not Re-Signing C.J. Wilson
It seemed likely that C.J. Wilson was going to leave the Rangers once he hit free agency, but after two straight AL pennant wins, the Rangers could have taken a shot at him.
Their damage control with Yu Darvish should work out, but it's disappointing that they couldn't keep Wilson, as that left them without an ace for 2012, and it's unknown if Darvish can fill that role yet.
Atlanta Braves: Not Trading Jair Jurrjens
I like Jair Jurrjens, and the Braves will have a great rotation next year with him in the midst of it. However, he lands on this list for two reasons.
First, the Braves have a number of great prospects that are ready to be a part of the starting rotation, and even with Derek Lowe gone there isn't room. Second, by throwing Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado out there, then not trading them, it is likely to cause some morale issues in 2012 for both players.
Miami Marlins: None
The Marlins gained a potential ace, or at least a number two starting pitcher. They gained a closer, a leadoff hitter, a new stadium, and a new attitude, and were even able to get Hanley Ramirez to change positions instead of trading him.
They also acquired Ozzie Guillen, someone who may finally bring stability to the manager position. There's not much more that could be asked of them.
New York Mets: Not Getting Anything for Jose Reyes
No one really expected Jose Reyes to re-sign with the Mets, at least I didn't, but the Mets had to have that on their mind. The fact that they did not get anything for Reyes after he became a free agent is a problem for a team that needs more farm depth.
They have the same situation with David Wright this coming season, and it feels like this could happen again, which would push the Mets ever further into the cellar. They're doing the right thing in getting rid of bloated contracts finally, but they have to work the other side too.
Philadelphia Phillies: Not Getting Cole Hamels Signed Long-Term
This is a tough one, since most of the Phillies moves were great this offseason. Signing Jonathan Papelbon gives them an elite closer, and Jim Thome gives them some offensive insurance.
All they need to do is extend Cole Hamels' contract if they want to keep him. He's set to make $15 million this year, and they have to balance what he's worth combined with how much they already pay Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
The only reason this makes the list is because this could potentially be an issue throughout the season.
Washington Nationals: Not Signing Prince Fielder
The Washington Nationals were accepted as the front-runner to sign Prince Fielder for a good chunk of the offseason. It makes sense, as he could have solidified the center of their lineup and the Nationals have the payroll to spare.
Now that Fielder has signed with Detroit, the Nats missed out on bolstering their lineup. Perhaps it's better that they didn't overpay, but now they will have to work harder to gain ground in the NL East.
Chicago Cubs: Not Trading Alfonso Soriano
You can't attack the lack of moves much with the Chicago Cubs, since there certainly had not been that. They acquired Anthony Rizzo to be their future first baseman, they got rid of Carlos Zambrano, and most of their bloated contracts are gone.
The only remaining one is Soriano, and due to how many years are left on his deal, it's not surprising that they've been unable to find a buyer.
Cincinnati Reds: Not Getting Ace for Prospects
The Cincinnati Reds went into win now mode this past offseason, and the biggest move they made was trading most of their farm system for Mat Latos.
When trading Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, and others, I would expect a much bigger payout than a young pitcher who could be good, but had also played his whole career at PetCo Park, so naturally his stats are going to be good. Latos will do fine, but he's not going to win 20 games and a Cy Young.
Houston Astros: Not Trading Anyone Major
Entering the offseason, many were expecting the Astros to dive into full rebuilding move, especially since they have a couple nice names, namely Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, and Carlos Lee, who can build up their farm system big time.
Perhaps they will be waiting for the trade deadline to make their moves, but that just pushes the rebuilding further away. They're already dead last in the league, the rebuilding window is not going to get any more open.
Milwaukee Brewers: Not Re-Signing Prince Fielder
It was accepted that the Brewers were not going to be able to re-sign Prince Fielder, since a team was going to overpay for them. That doesn't mean that it's not disappointing, as they are going to be losing that source of power from their lineup next year.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Not Adding More Pitching
You could argue that the Pirates didn't do much in free agency, but you have to factor in their low payroll and lower your expectations.
They picked up someone who could potentially be their ace in Erik Bedard, added a solid infielder in Clint Barmes, and added Rod Barajas to replace Ryan Doumit, which is only a minimal downgrade.
The only thing that would have helped more is signing some solid pitchers to deals of one or two years while their pitching prospects mature.
St. Louis Cardinals: Not Re-Signing Albert Pujols
This one's a no-brainer. The mood in St. Louis, a baseball city if there ever was one, was dismal the day Pujols signed elsewhere. At least he brought the Cardinals two World Series titles while he was there.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Not Trading Gerardo Parra
I'm not really sure what the Arizona Diamondbacks are planning to do with their outfield, as they have injected a lot of money into four outfielders with the signing of Jason Kubel.
Gerardo Parra is not going to get enough playing time there given his skill, and while the D'Backs will likely platoon Kubel and Parra, they then overpaid for a guy who won't play very often.
Colorado Rockies: Not Passing on Kevin Slowey
The Rockies made a lot of solid moves this offseason, and if anything, they may have picked up too many young starters, as there's no way they can put all of them on the mound in 2012.
It made little sense to pick up Kevin Slowey, who was bad in 2011, and it made less sense to trade him for another pitcher when they already have plenty. It's a better route than putting all their money into one good pitcher, which never works out for them, but it's still a bit odd.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Not Re-Signing Hiroki Kuroda
It seemed almost a certainty once free agency hit, that the Los Angeles Dodgers would re-sign Hiroki Kuroda for a couple years. It made sense, since he's been great for the Dodgers as their number two pitcher.
Instead, he signed with the Yankees, and to replace him the Dodgers picked up Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, who certainly are not at Kuroda's level.
San Diego Padres: Not Finding a Better Closer Bargain
The San Diego Padres made mostly good moves this offseason, completely restocking their farm system, finally adding a couple power pitchers, and making use of one of their great pitchers.
However, they also traded for Huston Street, who will now be the closer, as well as easily the highest paid player. Yes, he should perform well in San Diego, but so would most other pitchers. They could have found a closer at a cheaper price who would have done just as well.
San Francisco Giants: Not Getting Matt Cain Signed Long-Term
The San Francisco Giants added some badly needed outfield help with Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera coming in. As a result, they fixed their main issue for 2012.
Now, all eyes are on Matt Cain, who's a free agent in 2013. He'll cost quite a bit, but he's been consistently good, and has been a great number two option behind Tim Lincecum. Ideally they'll find a way to keep both around.