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The 7 Most Overrated Moves of the 2013 MLB Offseason

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2013

The 7 Most Overrated Moves of the 2013 MLB Offseason

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    For every offseason move that is viewed as a win across the league, there is one that is far more polarizing for one reason or another.

    Whether it is a team paying too much for a free agent, giving up too much in a trade or simply acquiring a player with a questionable background and track record, there are plenty of reasons to question an offseason acquisition.

    Here are the seven most overrated moves of the 2013 MLB offseason, moves that simply do not look good for one or more of the above mentioned reasons.

Red Sox Sign SS Stephen Drew to a One-Year, $9.5 Million Deal

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    A former first-round pick back in 2004, Drew looked to be on his way to joining the ranks of the best offensive shortstops in the game when he turned in a .278 BA, 15 HR, 61 RBI season in 2010.

    However, his 2011 season was cut short by a broken ankle after just 86 games and upon his return last season he was not the same player.

    After hitting .193 through 135 at-bats, he was traded to the A's in August where he hit .250 BA, 5 HR, 16 RBI in 59 games down the stretch.

    Now expected to be 100 percent healthy for the first time since his injury, the Red Sox took a chance on him returning to form as a one-year stopgap option. 

    The fact that he was essentially the only viable option on the free-agent market at shortstop added to his value, but him returning to his 2010 form would be a surprise and should not be what's expected.

Dodgers Sign RP Brandon League to a Three-Year, $22.5 Million Deal

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    During the 2011 season, Brandon League ranked among the best closers in all of baseball, saving 37 games with a 1.076 WHIP and 2.79 ERA for the Mariners.

    However, he lost his closer's job last season when he converted just 9-of-15 save chances and the free-agent-to-be was traded to the Dodgers at the deadline.

    He turned things around with LA, going 6-of-6 on save chances with a 2.30 ERA, and that was enough for the team to sign him to a three-year deal to be their closer moving forward.

    If he'd had a better track record before his struggles last season it would be easy to write them off as a fluke, but he has just one full season as an effective closer under his belt, and there were safer options for the free-spending Dodgers.

Diamondbacks Acquire SS Didi Gregorius in Three-Team Trade

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    Even with an early-season trade that landed them Cliff Pennington from the A's, the Diamondbacks' biggest need throughout the offseason was finding a viable option at shortstop for now and the future.

    For better or worse, the Diamondbacks found their man in Didi Gregorius when he was a acquired in a three-team trade involving the Reds and Indians.

    In total, the deal cost the Diamondbacks top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer and relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. Along with Gregorius, the Diamondbacks acquired reliever Tony Sipp and first base prospect Lars Anderson.

    In the end though, it's Gregorius and Bauer that were the notable pieces of the trade from the Arizona side of things, and one has to wonder how the team was not able to get something better for one of the game's top pitching prospects.

    With a .271/.323/.376 line in five minor league seasons, Gregorius is by no means ready to step into the everyday role to start the season, and the trade looks to be a loss for Arizona at least on the surface.

Dodgers Sign LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu to a Six-Year, $36 Million Deal

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    Signing Zack Greinke was the splash move of the offseason for the Dodgers, but the addition of Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu has gotten plenty of fanfare as well.

    The 25-year-old has spent the past seven seasons with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball League. He has a career line of 98-52 with a 2.80 ERA and 8.8 K/9 during his time with the team.

    The Dodgers won the right to negotiate with him thanks to a $25.7 million posting fee, and they locked him up on a six-year deal.

    Reports vary on how experts expect him to make the transition to the United States, but his relatively low strikeout rate in Korea won't get any better in the United States, and he'll need to display dominant control without overpowering stuff.

    Does anyone else think of former Yankees flop Hideki Irabu when they look at this guy?

Blue Jays Sign Melky Cabrera to a Two-Year, $16 Million Deal

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    One of the biggest surprise stories of the first half of the 2012 season, Melky Cabrera entered the All-Star break hitting .353 and captured MVP honors in the Midsummer Classic.

    However, his breakout season came to a screeching halt when he earned a 50-game suspension for a positive PED test.

    Set to cash in on a major payday, the positive test could not have come at a worse time for Cabrera, and he entered the offseason hoping someone would take a chance on him.

    The Blue Jays turned out to be that someone, and while it was a solid risk/reward move for them, this is not quite the move-of-the-offseason type steal that some have made it out to be.

    No one knows exactly when Cabrera began using PEDs, but entering the 2011 season he was putting up an average season of .267 BA, 7 HR, 45 RBI before taking a big step forward in 2011 and then another last season.

    A one-year deal would have been a far safer move for the Blue Jays, and if he reverts to his pre-2011 form as he very well could, the team has a very expensive fourth outfielder on their hands. 

Nationals Sign Dan Haren to a One-Year, $13 Million Deal

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    After a disappointing season last year in which he went 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA, the Angels declined their $15.5 million option on Dan Haren.

    One of the best pitchers in baseball since his first year as a full-time starter back in 2005, Haren entered the 2012 season with a career record of 107-84 with a 3.59 ERA.

    However, there are concerns about his hip (h/t Buster Olney via Twitter) and he's also dealt with back problems. That, coupled with a well-documented dip in velocity (h/t FanGraphs) makes him a big risk.

    Still only 32 years old, Haren is certainly a strong bounce-back candidate, but at $13 million he is not exactly a low-cost guy the team is taking a chance on. He could very well struggle to replace Edwin Jackson's production, let alone return to form.

Phillies Acquire CF Ben Revere from the Twins

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    After missing out on B.J. Upton, the Phillies turned their attention to Plan B to fill the void in center field, and that wound up being Twins speedster Ben Revere.

    It cost the Phillies a big league starter in Vance Worley and their top pitching prospect in Trevor May, which appears to be a steep price on the surface.

    However, the 24-year-old is not arbitration eligible for the first time until the end of next season and is under team control through the 2017 season so his team control certain adds to his value.

    Revere is essentially Juan Pierre lite, as he's never hit a home run in 989 big league at-bats but has swiped 74 bases over the past two seasons.

    He's a plus-defender thanks to his speed, but he'll need to hit over .300 to be viable option offensively as he does not get on base at a high enough clip (.319 career OBP) to justify hitting near the top of the order otherwise.

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