MLB Free Agency: Establishing Fan's 'Approval Rating' for All 30 GMs
The MLB hot stove has been burning all season long, with big name free agents receiving hefty deals and GMs trying to strengthen their squads.
But what do the fans think of these moves?
We often hear the opinions of analysts, experts, fellow GMs and team brass about offseason acquisitions, but not much from fans.
Often diehard fans who watch every game and keep a close eye on their team are extremely knowledgable and insightful in regards to their team.
Well, here's to you, fans. It's your time to shine.
Here are some fan comments regarding each team's GM's offseason moves:
GM: Kevin Towers
Key Acquisitions: Trevor Cahill and Jason Kubel
Key Departures: Jarrod Parker, Collin Cowgill and Ryan Cook
Aside from adding Trevor Cahill and Jason Kubel, Arizonca Diamondbacks' GM Kevin Towers has added a few more pieces to the puzzle. Pitcher Craig Breslow and infielders John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist will also call Arizona home this season.
The signing of Kubel has some scratching their heads, as the Diamondback's outfield already features Chris Young, Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra, who won a Gold Glove last season.
"Parra is more valuable than Kubel at this point in their respective careers. Should have applied their resources elsewhere."
On the subject of signing Cahill, one fan heaves some advice towards D-Back fans:
"I can't imagine Cahill doing good at Chase field with all those walks and a high homer rate. Chase field is a lot different from the Coliseum. He's also only had one good year so I would be a little worried if I was a dback fan especially since he's coming off of an injury."
After browsing the comments, it seems that Arizona fans are disappointed with who Towers gave away in order to obtain Cahill, most notably Jarrod Parker.
GM: Frank Wren
Key Acquisitions: Josh Wilson and Adam Russell
Key Departures: Derek Lowe, George Sherrill, Nate McLouth and Alex Gonzalez
After an excruciating end to the 2011 season, Atlanta Braves' GM Frank Wren has been idle this offseason.
AJC.com writer Mark Bradley quotes Wren as saying,
“I think we’ll have more answers at the end of spring training. If everyone bounces back, then we’ve got a good ballclub that doesn’t have a major need. I’d rather be in that position [than having to fill a specific void] because when the season starts another need can come up.”
While Wren feels that the Braves do not need to add any pieces, many fans feel the exact opposite.
"We will have to be active come trade deadline. We can't beat the Phillies in the long haul with the same lineup we had last year ( except for rookie SS ). Our pitching is good enough to help us make the playoffs, but we need a ligit 2 hole hitter and a power hitting outfielder. Other wise, we will come up short once again when it counts in Sept. & Oct."
Jeff Schultz of AJC also believes that Wren is making a big mistake by not bolstering his squad, writing:
"Wren would be playing a dangerous game if he doesn’t make a major move. The Braves aren’t healthy. They may not get healthy. Even Chipper Jones used the word “erode” when describing the decline of his own aging body the other day, adding, “For some reason, I can’t keep my leg muscles together.'"
For now, we'll need to wait and see if Wren's stationary behavior pays off for the Braves. If not, you can put the blame on Atlanta's GM.
GM: Dan Duquette
Key Acquisitions: Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom
Key Departures: Vladimir Guerrero, Jeremy Guthrie and Luke Scott
Dan Duquette has added a number of players to the Baltimore Orioles' roster for the upcoming season, including We-Yin Chen from Taiwan, Tsuyoshi Wada from Japan, Ronny Paulino, Jason Hammel, Matt Lindstrom, Nick Johnson Luis Ayala, Taylor Teagarden and more.
The guy they're most excited about is Chen, who will immediately be a part of the starting rotation in Baltimore.
So what do fans think of Chen?
One fan seems optimistic about the addition of Chen and the upcoming season, writing:
"With the continued progression of Arrieta and Britton, and the additions of Chen and Wada, the Orioles have 4 good solid arms in the rotation right there. Assuming we don't trade Guthrie, we should have a pretty fearsome rotation next year. No more Brad Bergesens or Chris Jakubauskases getting in there, but actual quality arms. I really think the Orioles can surprise some people in 2012 with another bat added to the line up, having Reynolds as a part-time DH, and getting rid of Gregg entirely, and having JJ as the closer. Over .500? Wild Card? Anything is possible!"
Another fan praises Duquette for his efforts this offseason, saying,
"Duquette gets it: 99 times out of 100 great ballplayers don't want to stagnate with a losing team. he thought outside of the MLB 'box' and signed two very good Japanese pitchers who are not that choosey about what team they join in the States - they can't afford to be all that selective about the MLB team they sign with. Wait and see how Wada and Chen do. Give Dan Duquette credit for not being a slouch or a dummy."
Overall, it seems as though fans appreciate the moves Duquette made for the O's.
Boston Red Sox
GM: Ben Cherington
Key Acquisitions: Cody Ross, Andrew Bailey, Nick Punto and Mark Melancon
Key Departures: Jonathan Papelbon, Tim Wakefield and J.D. Drew
After an epic collapse in 2011, Ben Cherington and the Boston Red Sox needed to make some moves.
Instead, they cleared house, saying goodbye to Theo Epstein, Terry Francona and Jonathan Papelbon.
Red Sox fans appear to be pleased with the signing of Ross, as evident by one fan's reaction:
"Nice compliment for the price. I like the platoon of Ross and Sweeney in RF. Both are solid defenders that can get on base. Also provides a little better insurance if Crawford's recovery takes longer than expected. With Ellsbury, Crawford, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Youkilis, and Ortiz in the lineup... the Red Sox are not looking for much from RF. For that... Ross (and Sweeney) should be more than adequate."
While the Sox will miss Papelbon in the ninth inning, Cherington has found a new guy to close out games in Boston, in the form of Andrew Bailey.
Bailey's 2011 season saw him convert 24 out of 26 save opportunities in 2011 while sporting a 3.24 ERA.
One fan from MLB.com details his likeness for Bailey and issues with Papelbon.
"I thought Pap was a good closer, but I think Bailey can be a good one as well. I thought at times Pap relied on his fastball too much. No doubt he had a good one, but when an MLB hitter sees one over & over again, he can 'sit on one' and hammer it."
It's a brand new start for the Red Sox. New GM, new head coach and a new closer. The 2012 season should measure how much fans miss Epstein, Francona and Papelbon.
But for now, Red Sox fans seem pleased with the moves made by Cherington.
GM: Jed Hoyer
Key Acquisitions: Gerardo Concepcion, Paul Maholm, Ian Stewart, Travis Wood and David DeJesus
Key Departures: Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez
Jed Hoyer and the Chicago Cubs have reportedly been working on a deal for Cuban prospect Gerardo Concepcion since early February.
On his new Cuban lefty, Hoyer is quoted by ESPN, saying:
"One of our focuses has been on continuing to bring in pitching depth, and he's a 20-year-old left-hander, really good feel for pitching, three-pitch mix, has had success at a really young age in Cuba. He's a guy we're excited to bring over here and work with."
Concepcion's deal guarantees him $6 million over five years, with a $3 million signing bonus.
For this move alone, Cubs fans are pleased with their new GM, as evident by this post on an ESPN article.
"Already we see a difference in the Hoyer led Cubs... let's see if it sticks. The difference? Under Hendry, the signing bonus would have been about $10 million and he'd be with the major leagues as Hendry had no qualms about developing potential talent while at the major league level. This would result in Concepcion having a 2-15 record with a 7.97 ERA and leading all NL pitchers in HRs allowed. Hoyer could make BIG strides if he has the cahones to send Concepcion to AAA if he does not impress while in Mesa."
At that price, the youngster sounds like a steal. Even if he doesn't pan out to be the ace he's projected to be, they still paid a small price to find that information out.
Cubs fans are pleased with Hoyer.
Chicago White Sox
GM: Ken Williams
Key Acquisitions: Pedro Hernandez, Nestor Molina, Dan Johnson and Kosuke Fukudome
Key Departures: Mark Buehrle, Carlos Quentin and Juan Pierre
Now without their fiery manager and key starting pitcher, Ken Williams and the Chicago White Sox need some help.
The hot stove was burning all offseason long, but Williams and the White Sox failed to make any moves that would solidify Chicago entering the 2012 season.
When analyzing the signing of Fukudome, here is what a few fans had to say:
"Kenny Williams, the Sox GM, needs to be arrested for drug possesion. He must have been high on pot to sign this guy."
"Oh geez Kenny is at it again. Falling in love with guys 10 years ago and then finally getting them well past their prime...Robbie Alomar, Manny, and now Kosuke."
For a guy who was quoted in December as saying "this is the start of rebuilding," Williams hasn't even laid the groundwork.
And as for trading away Carlos Quentin, here's how fans felt:
"Another example of Kenny trading away useful parts for bags of magic beans!"
"Stupid, stupid, stupid.."
"Seems like the Sox are already throwing in the towel for 2012."
Clearly fans aren't happy in Chi-town and it's a direct result of Williams' actions.
GM: Walt Jocketty
Key Acquisitions: Mat Latos, Ryan Madson and Sean Marshall
Key Departures: Yonder Alonso and Edinson Volquez
Cincinnati Reds' GM Walt Jocketty traded away a very good first baseman in order to obtain Mat Latos.
Some have said that Latos' biggest roadblock is his mental toughness, but for the most part, fans seem excited to have Latos in Cincinnati.
"I expect Latos to pan out well for the Reds. Plus with us stacking our bullpen with talent and if Chapman comes around as a starter we could very well be a team that no other wants to face!! GO REDS!!!"
"Welcome to Cincy Latos.......Best chili - Skyline - Best ice cream - Greaters- best ribs -Montgomery Inn - best steaks - any of Jeff Ruby's resturants - GO REDS!"
"As a Reds fan, I can't remember a year I've felt more excited to start baseball. These next two years are looking really good for us."
While some fans have been critical of the deal between the Reds and the San Diego Padres, the fact of the matter is that Yonder Alonso wouldn't be playing much behind Joey Votto. Jocketty went out and got an immediate starter for his rotation, and for the most part, fans seem to approve.
GM: Chris Antonetti
Key Acquisitions: Casey Kotchman, Kevin Slowey and Derek Lowe
Key Departures: Jim Thome
Chris Antonetti has been busy this offseason, acquiring a handful of new players, including Casey Kotchman, Andy LaRoche, Jeremy Accardo, Derek Lowe, Felix Pie, Robinson Tejeda and many more.
They may not be big name guys, but at least Antonetti is doing what he can with a small market team.
Fellow B/R writer Pat Kondzella grades the Indians' offseason moves in his article, in which he doesn't hand out a grade higher than a B+.
Indians' fan and Yahoo! Contributor Cory Felegy believes that Antonetti is making the right moves this offseason.
"It's tough to remember that baseball and the Cleveland Indians even exist during this time of year. By now, sports fans are engrossed with the mighty pigskin and rightfully so. But this dead zone in the baseball calendar can be crucial for the success of a team like the Tribe. So far, Indians GM Chris Antonetti and the front office are making positive moves."
Unfortunately for Cory, the commenters on his article didn't share the same opinion:
"Cory this article is supposed to be joke right? "Strong Offesason Moves", other then getting rid of some dead wood the Indians have not made one strong move. They are all weak moves with questionable players who all had bad years in 2011 and are doubtful to turn it around in 2012. Questionable starting pitching, a weak hitting lineup with little power and two of their key players Hafner and Sizemore are coming off more injury plagued seasons. Still need help at first base and a righthanded power hitter which has been a problem all of 2011 and has still not been addressed by any signings so far this winter. The title of your article should be "Questionable Offseason Moves Dims Tribe's Chances of Competing for Division Title in 2012."
They may not be flashy moves, but they're moves. At least Antonetti isn't waiting around like Frank Wren.
GM: Dan O' Dowd
Key Acquisitions: Michael Cuddyer, Casey Blake, Marco Scutaro and Jeremy Guthrie
Key Departures: Mark Ellis, Huston Street, Ian Stewart, Ty Wigginton and Chris Iannetta
Dan O'Dowd and the Colorado Rockies have added just as many players as they have lost this offseason.
The addition of Michael Cuddyer will add a solid bat to the bottom of the lineup, as well as veteran leadership in the clubhouse.
Judging by the comments on ESPN's article announcing Cuddyer's signing with the Rockies, Colorado fans seem pleased with the move despite the suspect $30 million contract:
"The Rockies got a good ball player and an even better teammate. Cuddyer will do everything that is asked of him and never shy away from a challenge. The Twins would have loved to keep him, but the price was just too much. Too bad they didn't trade him away last year at the deadline when there were multiple offers."
"Twins lost a TEAM player -- Rockies got a great pick-up. This guy will do anything for you - play about any position.....question the $30-millions, but I guess this is what MLB is now....a business."
As O' Dowd told Denverpost.com, his main goal this offseason is to change the clubhouse culture.
"Our focus this year is creating this. If you look at our club from purely a talent standpoint, you can see its strengths, and it's very obvious you can see its weaknesses. Some of those will either go away or they will get stronger. But every single day, the work will go into trying to pour this foundation that should have already been here. So when all of those other young kids come along, there will be some standards that are Rockies standards."
A former Sporting News MLB Executive of the Year, O'Dowd seems to be working toward fielding a winning team in 2012.
Unfortunately, some are predicting they'll finish dead-last in the NL West.
GM: Dave Dombrowski
Key Acquisitions: Prince Fielder, Octavio Dotel and Collin Balester
Key Departures: Magglio Ordonez, Joel Zumaya, Carlos Guillen and Carlos Guillen
Detroit Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski made one of the biggest splashes in free agency this offseason, signing Prince Fielder to a nine-year, $214 million mega deal.
The excitement of this signing resulted in more than 5,000 comments on an ESPN article announcing the signing. It looks like Tiger fans are happy about Fielder, but not about the price.
Here's what some fans had to say:
"AL Central Champions 2011-20."
"I can't imagine any scenario in which Fielder provides any sort of return on investment in even the same ballpark, and the most convincing argument for why the Tigers gave up this kind of moolah is the Bucket List wish of 82-year-old owner Ilitch to win a World Series and a GM who is clueless."
"Tigers are paying Cabrera $19+ mil/yr. Fielder $23+ mil/yr. Did they overpay? Perhaps a little, but Martinez going down required $5 mil/yr. more to cover the loss. Boras smelled blood. Cabrera is odds-on favorite to win the AL MVP."
"Did anyone tell tubs Comerica Park is a heck of a lot harder to jack out homers than Brew town."
Just browsing through the comment thread on the article, there are a lot of fans who criticize Fielder's weight. I guess they've never heard of Babe Ruth, Mo Vaughn, CC Sabathia, David Ortiz and the many other "fat" guys to play the game of baseball.
It looks like the only way fans will praise Dombrowski is if Fielder hits 50-plus homers, 140-plus RBI and brings a World Series trophy to Detroit.
GM: Jeff Luhnow
Key Acquisitions: Jed Lowrie, Kyle Weiland and Travis Buck
Key Departures: Mark Melancon, Clint Barmes and Craig Tatum
Houston Astros' GM Jeff Luhnow recently found himself in hot water after referring to the Texas Rangers as "drunken sailors" in regards to the amount of money they've spent on the international market.
As far as his offseason, Luhnow has made a plethora of moves as detailed in B/R's own Zachary Rymer's article.
But there weren't any big-name acquisitions that are going to turn the franchise around anytime soon.
So what's Luhnow's take on it?
"Adding players that have performance history, where they've done things in the past that appear they can help us here now, that was part of the equation. You look at guys like Jack Cust and Livan Hernandez and Zach Duke and Jed Lowrie, for that matter. These are guys that have done it at the big league level and proven they can play at this level. We wanted to make sure we added depth across all areas, starting pitcher and infield/outfield, etc., so that was part of it."
Despite no huge moves, fans seem to be content with Luhnow, saying,
"This guy sounds very refreshing in comparison to Wade. I really liked his comments on Lyle. If he can perform at the major league level he will be there but will not be force fed. I look forward to seeing some very good results from our minor league teams this year which will project into a good major league team soon. Why couldn't anyone see after 2005 that we needed to keep 'replenishing the pipeline'?"
"Big difference between this guy and Ed Wade, just from the perspective of accessibility and throwing a few tidbits out there for fans to consider and maybe even get excited about. Wade's policy of "loose lips sink ships" was probably true to some degree, but it also helped sink interest in the ball club. The Hot Stove thrives on talking baseball, even if a lot of the rumors aren't true. I like that Luhnow feeds our interest."
Keep up the good work, Jeff. It looks like the fans are behind you.
Kansas City Royals
GM: Dayton Moore
Key Acquisitions: Jonathan Sanchez, Jonathan Broxton and Jose Mijares
Key Departures: Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francis, Jeff Bianch and Yamaico Navarro
Dayton Moore hasn't made too many impressive offseason moves to improve the Kansas City Royals, and it doesn't look like he plans to.
In an interview with FoxSports.com, Moore was quoted as saying,
“We’re kind of set with what we have,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told FOXSports.com in a telephone interview Thursday. “We’re not a finished product by any means, but we’re staying focused on keeping our core group of players together. Our next step needs to be getting some of our young starting pitching to the major leagues.”
“We could have probably jumped in there on some pitchers who were traded, but we need another year to find out what we have here with guys like Chris Dwyer, Jake Odorizzi and Montgomery. We may be more receptive to a deal like that next year."
With that being said, here's on fan's reaction to Moore's patient plan:
"Not enough pitching. Sanchez has to show that he can throw strikes. There is no legit No. 1 or No. 2 starter. They'll have a decent and entertaining ballclub, but no postseason play. They're gonna have to find some revenue stream to build a contender; perpetual youth movements almost never cuts it."
After reading forums and comments on articles, most Kansas City fans have little complaints about Moore. While his patient mentality may be seen as risky, it may also prove to be wise in a couple of years.
Los Angeles Angels
GM: Jerry DiPoto
Key Acquisitions: Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson
Key Departures: Russel Branyan and Jeff Mathis
One name: Albert Pujols
Los Angeles Angels' GM Jerry Dipoto landed one of the most coveted free agent sluggers this offseason.
Oh, and he landed one of the most sought after pitchers this offseason too, in C.J. Wilson.
Angels' fans are undoubtedly excited about seeing Pujols in L.A., but how do they feel about his 10-year, $254 million deal?
"The Angels aren't the New York Yankees. They can't swallow $30 million dollars annually in the final years of Pujols's contract and expect to compete for a championship. I understand that's the price the team had to pay to get both Wilson and Pujols, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. I hope owner Arte Moreno continues to find way to bring income into the club, or else the Angels' window to be contenders could close rapidly."
And while Ciapala acknowledges the hefty price paid for the slugger, he believes the Angels are in prime position to make a run at a title.
"I'm not sure how the Pujols contract will work out in the end, but I still think the team made the right decision to make the deal. By signing Pujols and Wilson, the Angels made themselves serious World Series contenders alongside the Texas Rangers and the Yankees."
The Pujols signing resulted in more than 5,000 comments on ESPN's article announcing the deal, which you can view here.
All in all, Angels' fans have a lot to be pleased about, as evident by their comments on a Fox Sports article detailing the Wilson deal.
"Pujols hit three homers and the Cards won. Wilson had 16 wins that the Rangers will miss along with his under 3 ERA and 200 K's. sorry fans, but the Angels will dominate the west and make the WS in 2012."
Fans have to be pleased with DiPoto's big offseason signings.
Los Angeles Dodgers
GM: Ned Colletti
Key Acquisitions: Mark Ellis, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang
Key Departures: Casey Blake, Jonathan Broxton and Hiroki Kuroda
The Los Angeles Dodgers haven't made too much of a splash this offseason, and L.A.'s GM Ned Colletti is content with it, saying:
"I think we're in a better place than we were before, when you look at our bench. If there were ways to add offense by moving some people around, we were open-minded to doing it."
Colletti may be satisfied with the moves (or lack thereof) made this offseason, but the fans aren't. Here are a few comments from fans regarding the Dodgers' offseason.
"You can spin this eight ways from Sunday, but the Dodgers did nothing to improve other than signing Kemp. Letting Kuroda go was a really boneheaded move. McCourt needs to be run out of town on a rail."
"Can we throw in Colletti in a deal for GM to be named later?"
"Colletti's consistently lackadaisical attitude toward not signing anyone of note of late, except Harang, I give him that, even though the note is quiet, shows he is as good a GM for the Dodgers as he is their P.R. man. To be so satisfied with the debris he found on the beach the day after the other team in LA emerged with a treasure chest, for all it will do for them, while his fan base is grinding its teeth to the pulp, could only come from a guy devoid of awareness just how badly he sucks."
Shall I go on?
"We suck. i love how we never go anywhere, sign Prince, do something, we can't win with a crap second baseman and two OK if at best below average pitchers that we have signed this off season."
"I've had it with this guy. He's arrogant and stupid. You add up the crap journeyman signings and we could be in the hunt for Prince. Ned is one of the reasons there's 10,000 people at games now."
Looks like Colletti is in hot water in L.A.
But then again, so is the entire organization.
GM: Mike Hill
Key Acquisitions: Carlos Zambrano, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell
Key Departures: John Baker, Chris Volstad and Javier Vazquez
Miami Marlins' GM Mike Hill has been extremely busy this offseason, signing superstar Jose Reyes and arms such as Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and the controversial Carlos Zambrano.
While fans' reactions are mixed–of course–about Zambrano in Miami, the comments about Zambrano's temper are worth reading:
"Ozzie is a hothead himself, so he'll get in Zambrano's face and keep him under control. Zambrano has a chance to revive his career , so there is plenty of motivation for him to do well. It's a good deal for him. Cubs get a serviceable pitcher. Good deal for both sides."
"May have to buy the Miami local t.v. package. The Zambrano vs. Guillen match will be more epic than that Lesner/Overeem fight."
"Attention Marlins equipment manager: please reinforce the watercoolers IMMEDIATELY. Thank you."
As far as the signings of Reyes, Buehrle and Bell, fans seem ecstatic for a new beginning in Miami:
"Oh, is it wrong for me to think that The Fish might make it to the playoffs next year or at least have an 86 win season? I mean our team is on the right track. I like how the team is doing!"
"Buehrle, welcome to South Florida! I'm sure you will be key to our WC run!"
"The Marlins have decent pitching and with the lineup they have now it will get better. They needed run support last year and now they will get it. They will have three 15 game winners on that staff this year. Maybe a 20 game winner if Johnson stays healthy. And there is more to come! Marlins make the playoffs this year, at the very least."
The Miami Marlins will be one of the biggest story lines heading into Opening Day, and Mike Hill deserves a lot of credit.
GM: Doug Melvin
Key Acquisitions: Aramis Ramirez, Jose Veras and Alex Gonzalez
Key Departures: Prince Fielder, Mark Kotsay, Yuniesky Betancourt and Casey McGehee
Milwaukee Brewers' GM Doug Melvin has some big shoes to fill, those of his former All-Star first baseman Prince Fielder.
Melvin did acquire an All-Star third baseman in Aramis Ramirez, who hit .306 for the Chicago Cubs last season while driving in 93 runs and jacking 26 homers.
"This is a great pick up for us. I hated him, but now he gets a pass. Welcome, Rammy!"
"Last five (full) seasons averages for Aramis: .287/.351/.518 with 28 homeruns and 101 RBI. People can say what they want about him "not showing up early" or "not trying"....but facts are facts, the dude can flat hit the ball."
"He's not your Ramis, hes not my Ramis, he's Aramis! Welcome to the Crew! You will find that unlike Chicago, we actually win in sports here."
Unfortunately, Melvin has failed to find a seasoned first baseman to fill the void left by Fielder, as B/R's Zachary Rymer predicts that Mat Gamel will be the Brewers' starting first baseman come opening-day.
While Melvin made a decent signing in Ramirez, he's still absorbing the pressure from losing Prince Fielder in free agency.
GM: Terry Ryan
Key Acquisitions: Josh Willingham, Jason Marquis, Joel Zumaya and Jamey Carroll
Key Departures: Kevin Slowey, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Joe Nathan
Terry Ryan has made a number of offseason signings this season.
As of January, he had accumulated 20 signings for the Minnesota Twins.
And as B/R FC Tim Arcand writes,
On Arcand's article, a reader comments:
"Terry Ryan is stuck in a couple of ways this year. Players looking to make a bundle of money at the same time player frustrations to get that illusive World Series Ring. ( Cuddyer, Nathan and Kubel ). He was also on a mission to find some pitchers at a reasonable price, which there really were not too many to choose from. The farm team was used extensively last season due to injuries. Some good things came from that though, Hughes & Parmalee to name two. I think Mr. Ryan has tried to fill some holes and at the same time show his support of the players he still has. He is also in a watch and see what happens stage also. Maybe last year was just a bad year for everyone and this year will possibly turn into a banner year for everyone."
The loss of Michael Cuddyer is definitely felt among Twins' fans, but they do welcome Josh Willingham to Minnesota. Here are a few comments:
"Good move for the Twins. It's hard letting go of the almost 10-year face of the franchise, but this move is for the better. So long Cuddy, and best of luck to you in Colorado! Mr. Willingham, we welcome you with open arms."
"What a steal for the Twinkies, great sign."
"I like this signing. About 10 mil cheaper than Cuddyer and you get a guy with more power and similar batting average. Might lose a little in the defensive category but not enough to worry about it."
Ryan hasn't made any flashy moves, but he's out there making every move possible to improve the Twins in 2012.
New York Mets
GM: Sandy Alderson
Key Acquisitions: Ramon Ramirez, Frank Francisco, Andres Torres,
Key Departures: Jose Reyes, Angel Pegan, Jason Isringhausen and Chris Capuano
With New York Mets' owner Fred Wilpon facing a lawsuit and the cash flow drying up, the Mets are in a hole.
They lost their franchise shortstop to the Miami Marlins and play in one of the toughest divisions in the MLB.
The franchise is in such disarray that even GM Sandy Alderson is poking fun at it via Twitter.
Getting ready for Spring Training-Driving to FL but haven’t left yet. Big fundraiser tonight for gas money. Also exploring PAC contribution.
— Sandy Alderson (@MetsGM) February 9, 2012
So how are Mets fans feeling about Alderson and the season outlook?
"WOW 1986 continues to seem further & further away. Its going to be a long year in the NL East."
"Poor Sandy. I'm sure he knew he was inheriting a mess, but the guy's working with peanuts here. Might as well find some humor in it."
"I am a Mets, Jets, Islanders and Knicks fan....1986 last time any team won it...it stinks to be me."
"Sandy Alderson drives to Florida so he can take his dog with him. I can never be a Mets fan, but Sandy Alderson just went up a notch in my book."
"Maybe Alderson can stay at Reyes' house in Florida, at least he can afford the light bill now... I don't mind Alderson, like him actually, but concerned he's going to be the new liar for the Wilpons... There's one thing not funny and that is this ownership stinks and a BOYCOTT has to happen this season to force a change!"
New York Yankees
GM: Brian Cashman
Key Acquisitions: Michael Pineda, Huroki Kuroda, Raul Ibanez and David Aardsma
Key Departures: Jesus Montero, Jorge Posada, Bartolo Colon and Hector Noesi
Even amidst a scandal, GM Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees was still able to improve the pinstripes in 2012.
The biggest splash being Michael Pineda from Seattle, for whom they had to deal the bright-futured Jesus Montero.
Cashman also acquired ex-Dodger Huroki Kuroda to bolster the Yank's pitching staff.
"Great moves! I was looking forward to seeing Montero for a full season, but this was worth it. Just the deepening of the staff and having a real competition for the rotation in spring makes it worth it. And signing Kuroda for one season was solid! If the Yankees are serious about ducking under the Luxury Tax threshold in 2013-2014 this makes a lot of sense. Not to mention getting Betances another year to develop in the minors. I applaud Cashman!"
Another fan writes about the Pineda deal, saying:
"The Yankees have Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez waiting in the minors to take over at catcher. Plus they can actually play above average at that position. So as a Yankees fan I see no problem with this trade. We get a great young pitcher to put with CC, Nova, and Hughes for a decade and it clears room for Romine and Sanchez. I think it was a good trade. GOOD JOB CASHMAN!"
Keep in mind that Yankees' fans are some of the most critical people in all of sports. These comments were mixed, but I tried to pick out some of the most "thoughtful" and "clear" comments on the board.
Being a Yankees' fan myself, I approve the moves that Cashman made this offseason.
GM: Billy Beane
Key Acquisitions: Yoenis Cespedes, Manny Ramirez, Bartolo Colon and Brad Peacock
Key Departures: Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey and Trevor Cahill
Billy Beane may have landed Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, but he's taking a lot of heat from Oakland Athletics fans who were sorry to see Gio Gonzalez go to the Washington Nationals.
One angry A's fan commented on the ESPN article, saying:
"As a lifelong A's fan, this is getting tougher and tougher to support. Billy keeps wanting to go "younger" and not spend money, I get all that!! But as fans , we like to see "our" players, we enjoy them when they have personality, The mustache gang, Billy Ball, Bash Brothers, Carney, Rickey and Hendu!! C'mon Billy, its painful to see all these players leave via trade or free agents. Winning on the cheap was a mirage, thats not the reality. Please let our players develop and stay put! For goodness sakes Billy, I didnt realize Trevor and Gio were that old!!?"
Another commenter says:
"No matter how you spin this trade, and the trade of Trevor Cahill and now Andrew Bailey, you can understand the frustration of the Oakland A’s fans. It’s hard to keep rooting for a team that doesn’t contend year after year. And trading away reasonably priced solid starting pitching is hard to justify. In my opinion the A’s organization is trying to show Commissioner Bud Selig the worst possible scenario, where almost no fans show up in 2012, and MLB is forced to OK the A’s moving."
As far as Cespedes, this ESPN article detailing the complete details of Cespedes' contract with the A's resulted in mixed reactions from fans, with most of them being negative due to him never playing in the MLB before.
And then there's Manny Ramirez.
Ramirez, who signed for $500,000, will miss the first 50 games for violating baseball's drug policy for the second time.
So what do fans think of the lackadaisical Manny?
"Just when I think you couldn't possibly be any dumber you go and do something like this. AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF. Nice going A's. How does Manny stack up to Moneyball?"
"Billy Beane..."There are rich teams and there are poor teams, then there's fifty feet of crap, and then there's us.".......yes you have reached a new low."
"I heard Kenny Powers is playing for the A's as well."
Of course, like any MLB signing, there are fans out there who are happy with the deal.
But for the most part, fans appear to be extremely critical of Beane.
GM: Ruben Amaro Jr.
Key Acquisitions: Jonathan Papelbon, Jim Thome and Ty Wiggington
Key Departures: Raul Ibanez, Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge
Philadelphia Phillies' Gm Ruben Amaro Jr.'s biggest signing this offseason came in the form of a dominant closer, Jonathan Papelbon, after Brad Lidge signed with the Washington Nationals.
Papelbon's deal amounts to four years and $50 million, which has come under great scrutiny.
Phillies' fan and Yahoo! contributing writer Mark Paul writes,
"The Phillies have to hope they get the good in Papelbon. He should benefit by playing in the National League and he should benefit by the stronger starting pitching that the Phillies have. I think his new stomping grounds will help motivate him to stay focused on the season. The only issue could be his health. Papelbon relies heavily on velocity. If he can't get his arm working, he won't do this team any good. For now, Phillies fans should be optimistic because of the way the organization has been run lately. But only time will tell if the team made the right choice."
True Phillies' fans appear to like the signing and justify the contract, writing:
"They are paying Papelbon the same amount per year that they paid Lidge. Papelbon pitched in AL East and should post better numbers in NL and they are only paying 1M more per season than Madson. I'll take it."
"I understand that closing isn't a magical skill that a lot of baseball people think it is but Papelbon is a good reliever. Madson is a good reliever. Most closers who get paid the big dough right now in this game are good relievers and they are being paid as so. It's time to face it: relief pitching is becoming an expensive commodity these days, or an expensive luxury if you will."
If Papelbon performs well in Philly, Amaro Jr. is going to look like a genius.
GM: Neal Huntington
Key Acquisitions: A.J. Burnett, Rod Barajas, Erik Bedard and Clint Barmes
Key Departures: Ross Ohlendorf, Derek Lee, Ryan Ludwick and Paul Maholm
Neal Huntington is under contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates through the 2014 season and has been busy making some moves this offseason.
While these comments date back a few months, here are what fans had to say about Huntington's impact on the franchise:
"Keeping a guy who continually throws a losing product on the field because he can turn a profit is straight disgusting....pirate loyal revolt!"
"Hey Bob Nutting...before you start gushing on Neal Huntington, your ball club is a whopping 19-36 since the All Star break.The only players drafted under Huntington's regime that are on the big league club are Alvarez--a colossal disappointment for the second pick in the draft--and D'arnaud who is hitting a huge .200 with 0 homers in about 120 ABs. Alvarez is grossly overweight and appears to be unmotivated with regards to maintaining his weight and physique. Plus his .193 batting avg is abysmal. Yes Neal has made some nice stop gap acquistions, especially with some pitching,.It worked for half a season. This is still the Bucs reality--a poor team that needs much help. Huntington has been on the job since the fall of 2007. Good GM's would have done more and drafted better, especially with all the money they have thrown around in the draft. Who are the impact players that are knocking on the door for the Pirates under this regime?Just saying."
"In other words, let's wait until 2014 to fire Huntington. What a losing franchise. Almost as bad as Florida and its cheapskate owner."
As for his offseason moves this winter, Pirate's fan Pat Lackey writes,
"I think that the path Huntington took with the rotation this winter is admirable; he exposed himself to some serious risks to make a real upgrade in the pitching staff rather than simply sitting back and bringing in "safe" guys like Jeff Francis or Paul Maholm. Those two may end up being better pitchers than Bedard or Burnett in 2012, but they don't offer the same upside. The Pirates' rotation could be very good or very bad in 2012 as a result of Huntington's winter, and honestly the result could cost him his job. I'm happy he elected to roll the dice, rather than to play it conservatively because that's the only way the team will truly improve in 2012."
And that's from a true Bucs' fan.
San Diego Padres
GM: Josh Byrnes
Key Acquisitions: Yonder Alonso, Carlos Quentin, Edinson Volquez and Huston Street
Key Departures: Anthony Rizzo, Mat Latos, Aaron Harang and Heath Bell
At first look, San Diego Padres' GM Josh Byrnes has added some good players this offseason, making seven trades and signing two free agents.
Fans appear to appreciate Byrnes and his spending thus far this offseason, but some are wary of the Rizzo move:
"Good job so far Mr. Byrnes, keep it up! The Maybin extension signing was a great move. Let's hope we can lock up some more quality players long term to keep the team as together as possible. Show us what you can do Byrnes! Don't stop now!"
"I do believe the Padres have strengthened themselves at 1st base and left field. Still, I believe we may regret trading Rizzo within a year or two years."
"I was suspect when Moorad brought in Byrnes, but i have to say, he's grown on me as the new GM. The guy likes to make moves and spend money, he did it in Arizona and I'm hopeful he continues to do it here. Force Moorad to open that check book. Overall I like the moves he's made, only time will tell how they play out, but I'm almost sure that the moves he's made will work out better than Orlando Hudson, Bartlett, Booboo Brad Hawpe, Cantu and Ludwick."
"Regarding Byrnes, his biggest strength has been to continue to rebuild the farm system. All the trades look good on paper, but they will look even better if the Padres get off to a decent start."
"Padres GM Josh Byrnes has already proven he's better at trades than his predecessor. Latos fetched far better talent than what we got in the Adrian Gonzalez deal. That said, we have to be patient to see who won out on this. It very well could be a win win for both teams. I think Volquez can find his groove with SD, especially after Buddy Black and Balsey work with him. And Petco will give him the confidence to throw strikes as opposed to nibbling at GAB. And yes, I'm sick and tired of the Padres trading away every good player we have, but this seems to be one of those deals we couldn't say no."
While it still remains to be seen how his moves pan out, Byrnes has done well in his first offseason as Pad's GM.
San Francisco Giants
GM: Brian Sabean
Key Acquisitions: Angel Pagan, Melky Cabrera, Gregor Blanco and Ryan Theriot
Key Departures: Andres Torres, Ramon Ramirez, Orlando Cabrera, Carlos Beltran, Jonathan Sanchez and Cody Ross
Brian Sabean has made some solid moves this offseason, yet he still gets grief regarding his moves.
But Giants' fans have backed him this offseason. Here are a few comments:
"I can't understand how people seem to ignore the value of getting two All-Star quality players, in addition to Cabrera and Pagan, to the line-up this season. I'm talking about Posey and Sanchez. This seems to be overlooked as people whine about not signing that elusive $225 million man."
"Yes, the Giants could've done more, there is no question that Beltran should've been resigned. But you have to admit the team has improved, whether through the free agent additions that were made, or just through getting guys back healthy. The offense will be better, which will give the pitchers more wins and make them better. And before everyone starts worrying about the Diamondbacks, even though they're pretty good, remember, Lincecum, Cain and Bumgarner have already beaten better lineups and better teams like the Phillies and Rangers in the postseason."
"We are currently a stronger team, admittedly on paper, than the 2010 team. If last years injuries to Posey and Sanchez prove too difficult to come back from, we are in trouble. But, if they return to even 80% of their 2010 form, we're in business. I predict the latter. Remember, we had the fat-panda in 2010, not the new trim determined perennial all-star panda."
Losing Beltran probably stings the most for San Francisco, but it shouldn't be too hard to swallow. Beltran is injury-prone, playing in a combined 287 games the past three seasons.
Overall, Giants' fans seem pleased with Sabean's moves.
GM: Jack Zduriencik
Key Acquisitions: Jesus Montero, George Sherrill, Carlos Guillen and Hector Noesi
Key Departures: Michael Pineda, Adam Kennedy, Josh Lueke and Josh Bard
GM Jack Zduriencik was moving like molasses for the Seattle Mariners until he acquired Jesus Montero from the New York Yankees.
He had to give up rookie All-Star Michael Pineda, but in return he's getting another likely All-Star for years to come.
So what do fans think about their Mariners getting Montero?
Well, as you can imagine, reactions are mixed.
"For some reason I feel like this could be a very good trade on the Mariners part. I know my fellow Mariner fans are not happy too see Pineda go(neither am I) but we haven't seen what Jesus can bring to the table just yet. What do you do if you have more than enough Linebackers and no Running Back???? You trade one of your Linebackers for a RunningBack!!!! Which in a way Jack Z did for Seattle in getting Montero. Were not gonna know who got the better deal for 2-3 years at least. So be patient M's fans. Good things are to come..."
"As a Mariners Fan I am truly sick to my stomach."
"Mariners fans I have to ask why you hate this trade? We avoided getting stuck in an 8 year deal worth $180 million plus, we signed a young great hitting prospect to support a young growing nucleus of players. We have pitching, that is not an issue at all. This trade is a win win for both teams but M's fans, we all have come to appreciate great pitching rather than offense in this city, time to change that mind set and become focused on young offensive minded players like Montero."
"How can you trade Pineda????????????"
"If they wanted Montero so bad, then they should have traded a half year of Cliff Lee, instead of 6 years of a younger Pineda!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These are the moves that set a midmarket team back years!"
"I'm a Mariners fan and I love this trade. I don't get why so many people are hating on this trade. The Yankees needed pitching and they got it. The Mariners have has the worst hitting team for 2 years in a row so they took a chance for the #3 prospect in baseball. What's the issue? It seems like both teams addressed needs. And no one can predict whether these guys will succeed or be busts, just like any other sports draft. Its a crapshoot but you will never get better if you don't take a risk, so stop hating on the Mariners for taking a risk to make this team able to compete in 1-0 games."
"So this just gives the M's organization an excuse if they don't land Prince Fielder. It makes me sick we just gave up our 2nd best player."
Although this was really the only "big" move Zduriencik made, if it pays off, M's fans should be pleased with him.
St. Louis Cardinals
GM: John Mozeliak
Key Acquisitions: Carlos Beltran and J.C. Romero
Key Departures: Albert Pujols, Nick Punto, Gerald Laird and Edwin Jackson
After the high of winning a World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals and GM John Mozeliak had to deal with the low of Tony LaRussa retiring and losing Albert Pujols to the tune of $254 million to the Los Angeles Angels.
Steve Gardner of USA Today quoted Mozeliak as saying,
"It's been the busiest offseason I've ever experienced. From winning the World Series to within 48 hours announcing Tony's retirement … and then rolling over right away into the Pujols negotiations, it's been nonstop."
Replacing Pujols is impossible, but Mozeliak did go out and get Carlos Beltran to replace a small piece of the offense.
Here are some fan reactions about the Beltran deal:
"This could be as good as the Berkman deal or it could be more akin to the Rolen situation. I think the Cardinals stay relevant in 2012, especially with a healthy Wainwright."
"There's a reason why people in St. Louis have hated Beltran... he has always killed the Cardinals. Now that he's on the good side of Adam Wainwright's curve ball, this should be a huge plus for the Birds. This is a great signing."
"If you are a Cardinals fan, how could you not be excited? Matt Holiday is a franchise player on 25+ MLB teams... now the lineup consists of Holiday, Berkman, Beltran, Freese, Molina (who has established himself as a .300 hitter) and guys like Jay and Craig... Also take this into consideration... all of these guys are going to want to prove that they're capable of winning without Albert Pujols. The Birds will continue to be a perennial playoff team. Anyone that's not cool with that should just face facts."
"Cardinals really don't have to make another move this off season. Maybe trade Westbrook for some more farm depth or some bullpen help. Our MLB roster is set. Our farm is stacked. We are solid."
Cards fans seem surprisingly pleased with the signing of Beltran; let's see if it pays off.
Tampa Bay Rays
GM: Andrew Friedman
Key Acquisitions: Carlos Pena, Jose Molina, Josh Lueke and Fernando Rodney
Key Departures: Casey Kotchman, John Jaso, Kelly Shoppach and Johnny Damon
Andrew Friedman believes he's done a good job this offseason making moves for the Tampa Bay Rays.
In an article written by Jared E. Smith of SB Nation, Friedman is quoted as saying,
"If you had told me then where we stand now with upgrading where we did and also maintaining our depth in the meantime, I would have said that that was a dream scenario. We still have a lot of work to do in terms of this division and this league, but as far within the scope of what we can do, this off-season worked out very well in our estimation.’’
We've seen how Friedman feels; what about fans?
Well, they seem to be extremely happy with the signing of Molina behind the plate.
"Jose Molina is the master of framing pitches."
"Brilliant. Yes. Exactly. Finally, we are getting where we need to be in understanding a catcher's worth."
"He is very, very still when he receives the pitch. Not a lot of wasted movement; and he starts low. It's a thing of beauty. Maybe the best I've ever seen."
As for the Pena signing, some fans have been critical of the move:
"This guy has made more money hitting around .200 than any player in history...does he have incriminating pictures of these teams, or can he talk his way into big money?"
"Yes, Pena has good power, but I can always remember him striking out with RISP and homering when the rays were up 5-0. If he could flip those traits around then I would love to have him back."
"Way too many holes in Pena's swing; 34 HR average per season is great but that career almost 2:1 K/BB ratio is a killer (avg 170 K's per year). The Rays would actually be better off with a high average, less power, good defense 1B."
"How does Carlos Pena continue to get signed by teams. he's a strikeout machine which equals inning killer. He rarely puts the ball in play. So what if Kotchman wasn't a power hitter. I rather have a contact hitter. This was a bad move by the Rays."
Either way, the Rays will be in the hunt for the playoffs, especially with the new wild-card format.
GM: Jon Daniels
Key Acquisitions: Yu Darvish and Joe Nathan
Key Departures: C.J. Wilson, Taylor Teagarden, Andres Blanco, Endy Chavez, Matt Treanor and Darren Oliver
After adding a top starter and closer, Texas Rangers' GM Jon Daniels says that they're done making moves this offseason.
So how do fans feel about the two big signings?
"Hopefully this investment pays off for the Rangers. He [Darvish] definitely has promise, however they have committed a lot of money to a player who has never pitched in a MLB game."
"Darvish should be an upgrade over CJ Wilson. Younger, with better stuff. And hopefully for Rangers fans, he won't choke in October.."
"I'd rather take a chance on Yu than to sign CJ Wilson for almost 80 million."
"Great move, if he can be the closer he was a couple of years back."
"Signing Nathan for 2 years (and option) is a terrific move and not a big gamble."
"Very good move by the Rangers. The closer role is vastly overrated, so if Nathan can be even half of his former self, they get a very good bargain, and get the chance to test Feliz in a far more valuable role. If Feliz doesn't take to starting, you can always put him back in the pen. Best of all, if Nathan can't get the job done, the Rangers still have several relievers who can easily slide into the closer role."
Daniels is definitely taking a gamble with both of these guys, especially given the money he laid out for Darvish. If it pays off, fans will praise him in Texas.
Toronto Blue Jays
GM: Alex Anthopoulos
Key Acquisitions: Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver and Jason Fasor
Key Departures: Jose Molina, Mark Teahen, Jon Rauch and Frank Gailey
Toronto Blue Jay's GM Alex Anthopoulos' biggest contribution to the team this offseason was stocking up on relief pitching.
Darren Oliver and Jason Fasor will add depth to bullpen while Sergio Sanchez will be in charge of closing out games for the Jays.
"This wasn’t a bad winter for a team to be ready to make its move, either. Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Yu Darvish and Jose Reyes were out there, and the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox weren’t going to be players. On the trade market, there was young pitching to be had in Oakland, Seattle, Chicago and San Diego."
Yet Toronto came up empty.
I can't speak for Blue Jays fans in regard to the entire offseason, but I can show you what they thought about acquiring Sergio Santos:
"This trade is very much in the Brett Wallace mold in that no one saw it coming. Obviously giving up Molina was tricky but as a prospect, we've no idea how good he'll be. Santos has good numbers, a killer slider and solves our closer problem with a very friendly contract. A good move."
"GREAT move. At the price we have him at, he doesn't even need to be our closer. One more solid arm at the back end like Bailey or K-Rod- solid bullpen move. Create one more bat via free agency or trade and we can make a serious run at this."
"AA is smart, he must of seen something he really liked in this guy, aside from the great contract, and as other already mentioned you never know what you're gonna get from a prospect, so who's to stay Molina would be a sure fire pitching star in the majors. Even so, we have a decent core of young pitchers, Romero and Morrow being the best and should be our number two and three starters, followed by Alvarez, Perez, Cecil, McGowan and Drabek who can compete for the four and five spots in the rotation... all we need now is a veteran ace to fill out the rotation and then some relief pitchers."
Fans in Toronto seem to appreciate the moves made by Anthopoulos and are looking forward to the 2012 season.
GM: Mike Rizzo
Key Acquisitions: Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson and Brad Lidge
Key Departures: Todd Coffey, Laynce Nix, Jonny Gomes and Livan Hernandez
Mike Rizzo told ESPN that he's had his eye on Gio Gonzalez for the last decade or so.
"I've known him since he was in high school in the Miami area. This is a guy I followed for years. I really like the way he competes," Rizzo said on a conference call. "I call him, in a good way, a sore loser."
Nats fans share the fondness of Gonzalez, saying:
"This trade marks the Nat's actually turning the corner from a very bad team of collected players to having a solid unit in place and now making moves to build into a contender in 2 years from now."
"Very good trade for the Nats...Adding Gio to a staff that includes Zimmerman and Strasburg will defiantly be the strength of this team. Just got to keep Strasburg healthy."
"I don't really know how good the prospects are, but Gio is very solid. If he can ever get his consistency up, he will be seriously good. Although he walks quite a few people some days, that's just it. He walks them, they don't get hits. He can rack up the k's, and will win if he doesn't beat himself. He's definitely a solid addition."
It's nice to see Nats' fans excited for the upcoming season. They have a nice young group of players who are looking to compete in a tough NL East in 2012.
Fans seem content with Rizzo and his acquisitions.
Follow Pete Schauer on Twitter @Pete_Schauer