5 MLB Teams Greatly Overvaluing the Talent on Their Rosters
MLB teams typically use the offseason to make personnel changes that either address weaknesses or strengthen what's been working. These five teams overvalue the talent on their rosters and seem reluctant to bring in new faces.
That mindset puts the following clubs at a competitive disadvantage because they tend to overpay for familiar players. In other cases, the front offices neglect reputable free agents and insist that a homegrown guy can be just as successful.
As a result, each would disappoint if the 2013 season began today.
With an objective perspective, it's easy to see the error of their ways.
1. San Francisco Giants
The resilient San Francisco Giants made an epic trip to the World Series by winning six times with their backs against the wall.
General manager Brian Sabean couldn't bear to see any of the significant players sign elsewhere. He spent a combined $78 million to retain Jeremy Affeldt, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, even though two of the three have passed their athletic peaks.
Granted, the free-agent market lacked depth at most positions. Nonetheless, there were inexpensive yet comparable players available to replace Affeldt and Pagan.
San Francisco's starting rotation evaded injury last summer, but the team would be naive to expect another campaign of such good fortune. Against their better judgment, the Giants have neglected to add a decent swingman.
2. Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers have an unhealthy obsession with their top prospects.
We heard them mentioned in connection with R.A. Dickey, Justin Upton and all the other top trade targets. Nothing materialized, however, because the team covets high-ceiling guys more than established major-league players.
Despite their clear need for a center fielder and fifth starting pitcher, the Rangers have presumably backed away from free agents Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse because signing either would mean forfeiting a 2013 draft pick.
GM Jon Daniels is overly fond of contract extensions. He has completed them with six players over the last 12 months.
According to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, Daniels is "not expecting anything big" in terms of offseason moves.
3. Milwaukee Brewers
A second-half surge led the Milwaukee Brewers surprisingly close to the playoffs.
You would think they would make flashy additions to ensure a few extra wins...and you would be wrong.
The Brew Crew has addressed its weak bullpen, which often imploded at inopportune times in 2012. Milwaukee signed Burke Badenhop, Michael Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny to modest deals.
But the starting rotation will be comprised entirely of internal candidates. There are at least eight pitchers under consideration, only one of whom (Yovani Gallardo) has tossed as many as 170 innings in a major league season.
Behind the productive lineup lies a nondescript bench. The Brewers don't feel compelled to build depth behind any of their position players, even with the news that first baseman Corey Hart will miss significant time with a knee injury.
4. Colorado Rockies
Based on their inactivity this winter, you would never believe that the Colorado Rockies just completed the most embarrassing year in franchise history.
Of course, the focus should be on their pitching staff, whose members combined for a league-worst 5.22 earned run average.
It was rumored at the winter meetings that the Rockies might exchange center fielder Dexter Fowler for a capable arm, but they reportedly set the asking price too high. There was also reluctance to move Michael Cuddyer.
Overvaluing the talent already on the roster has limited the front office to subtle additions, like Miguel Batista, Jeff Francis and Chris Volstad.
In 2012, Troy Tulowitzki again missed significant time with injury.
Why hasn't Colorado bothered to sign an experienced backup? It would only require a cheap minor-league deal.
5. Baltimore Orioles
The 2012 Baltimore Orioles defied logic by qualifying for the postseason.
Their plus-seven run differential was by far the lowest among teams that finished better than .500. Perhaps even more revealing, the O's had a negative differential through the ninth inning. Buck Showalter's crew would have finished a distant third in the AL East had it not dominated in extra frames.
In short, Baltimore entered the offseason needing to add—or at least retain—talented players to contend again, but that hasn't been the case.
Mark Reynolds, for example, provided a lot of power last summer and became very comfortable at first base. Wary of payroll limitations, the front office non-tendered him after declining to exercise his $11 million club option. Still, it's unclear why the Orioles weren't motivated to match the Cleveland Indians' $6 million guarantee.
If healthy, Nolan Reimold could be a comparable middle-of-the-order bat. Though without another major-league acquisition, this team lacks the depth to survive any injuries to its sluggers.
Too impatient to wait for Joe Saunders and too cheap to bid for Kyle Lohse, Baltimore signed Jair Jurrjens for 2013 (via Jon Heyman, CBS Sports). The rotation lacks a trustworthy veteran, as it's filled out by MLB sophomores and two others coming off breakout seasons.
With a couple months left until Opening Day, the O's are ill-prepared.