B/R MLB Experts Pick Favorite, Worst Moves of the 2013 Winter Meetings

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B/R MLB Experts Pick Favorite, Worst Moves of the 2013 Winter Meetings
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Another winter meetings can go in the bag. And with it, naturally, can go a collection of transactions to be analyzed, scrutinized, criticized and various other sorts of "ized."

Here to do just that is Bleacher Report's crew of MLB experts. Adam Wells, Jason Catania, Jason Martinez, Joe GiglioMike Rosenbaum and Zachary D. Rymer were all keeping a close eye on the goings-on during the winter meetings, and now's the time for them to sound off on the wheeling and dealing that went down.

Their picks for their favorite and least favorite moves of the Orlando proceedings start now, and they can be discussed, questioned and nitpicked down below in the comments section.

 

Adam Wells

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Favorite Move: Angels Acquire Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago in Three-Team Trade

When your payroll is virtually maxed out and you have no pitching help in the system, you have to get creative or find another desperate team to fill a void.

The Angels did both in acquiring two young left-handed starters in Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago. They exploited Arizona’s desire for power at all costs by dangling the overrated Mark Trumbo, and they got the White Sox to give them Santiago without having to give up anything of significance.

Even if Skaggs and Santiago aren’t difference-making starters, they give the Angels much-needed innings from the rotation. Skaggs, in particular, could benefit from getting away from Arizona, where his mechanics got out of whack last year and never got fixed. As a result, his stock took a hit.

 

Worst Move: Whatever the Mariners Are Trying to Do…

Signing Robinson Cano for $240 million over 10 years is OK, if a little long, but following that up by acquiring two first basemen (Logan Morrison and Corey Hart) with Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero already on the roster is puzzling.

The idea that Morrison and/or Hart can play the outfield after both have had multiple knee surgeries in the last two years is even more confusing. I guess the Mariners are trying to take the 2012 Detroit Tigers approach by punting defense.

Hart and Morrison Career OF Defense
Player Innings DRS UZR UZR/150
Hart 6,680.2 2 -13.8 -3.0
Morrison 2,044.2 -36 -26.9 -15.6

FanGraphs

The only problem is the Mariners don’t have Detroit’s 2012 lineup with Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder at the top. Unless they turn into a player for Shin-Soo Choo, their moves at the winter meetings make no sense at all.

 

Jason Catania

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Favorite Move: White Sox Acquire Adam Eaton in Three-Team Trade

This was the overlooked and underrated part of the three-way deal between the Angels, Diamondbacks and White Sox in which Mark Trumbo was the headliner.

Eaton, who was a preseason Rookie of the Year candidate before injuring his elbow late last spring, is a 25-year-old everyday center fielder with several years of team control remaining. He hits from the left side, plays solid defense, possesses good speed and knows how to get on base. Last I checked, those don't grow on trees.

The White Sox gave up lefty Hector Santiago (and reportedly player to be named later Brandon Jacobs) to get Eaton. While Santiago is an intriguing arm, he's probably a swing man, and the White Sox's rotation depth was one of their few areas of strength. Now they can look to move an outfielder, like Alejandro De Aza or Dayan Viciedo, to upgrade elsewhere.

 

Worst Move: Marlins Trade Logan Morrison to Mariners

It was a given that the Marlins were going to move Morrison at some point this offseason, but even with that being anything but a secret, they could have done better.

Morrison has had his ups and downs, in large part due to multiple knee surgeries. He played only 178 games the past two years, but he's a former top prospect who will play almost all of next season at age 26. He's also under control through 2016. A lefty hitter with gap power and solid plate discipline, there's at least a chance something clicks for him now that he finally has his legs under him.

Logan Morrison's Career Stats
G PA AVG OBP SLUG HR OPS+
363 1,479 .249 .337 .427 42 107

Baseball-Reference.com

It's not so much that Miami unloaded Morrison, who had occasional run-ins with the organization, but the return lacks any real creativity. Carter Capps is a massive, hard-throwing righty with closer potential, but shouldn't a team that's still years from contention be aiming for something more than a guy who'll pitch 70 innings a year?

 

Jason Martinez

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Favorite Move: Giants Sign Michael Morse to One-Year, $6 Million Deal

Morse might be my top pick for "Comeback Player of Year" next season after struggling through an injury-plagued 2013. One month into his first season with the Seattle Mariners, Morse had an .837 OPS with nine homers and 14 runs batted in 25 games. Six of those homers, however, came prior to suffering a fractured pinkie finger. 

Michael Morse's 162-Game Pace 25 Games into 2013
AVG OBP SLUG OPS HR RBI
.248 .303 .535 .837 59 91

Baseball-Reference.com

The 31-year-old continued to play through the injury and remained in the lineup until a strained quadriceps muscle knocked him out of action for five weeks. He also battled a wrist injury late in the season after being traded to the Orioles, where he continued to slump. 

Over his last 63 games, he had a .562 OPS with four homers. There's a good chance the multiple injuries had something to do with his drop-off after posting an .861 OPS over his previous three seasons with the Nationals.

For a modest price of $6 million, the Giants are taking a low-risk chance that he can bounce back to his previous form and be a significant upgrade in left field over the light-hitting Gregor Blanco

 

Worst Move: Diamondbacks Acquire Mark Trumbo in Three-Team Trade

In filling the team's need for some more power in the middle of the lineup, the Diamondbacks sacrificed speed, grittiness, defense and on-base ability in leadoff man Adam Eaton, as well as a top pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs.

Skaggs could have been the centerpiece to a deal for a front-line starting pitcher or better all-around position player. 

Trumbo should give the D'backs 30-40 homers, but the outfield defense will take a hit. His subpar on-base percentage and high strikeout total will quickly remind general manager Kevin Towers of why he wanted to get rid of Mark Reynolds and Chris Young so badly. 

 

Joe Giglio

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Favorite Move: Mets Sign Bartolo Colon to Two-Year, $20 Million Deal

Despite Colon's age (40), recent performance-enhancing drug suspension and considerable girth, he's the right pitcher at the right time for the New York Mets rotation.

After finishing sixth in the 2013 AL Cy Young vote, Colon moves to the pitcher-friendly National League and a pitcher-friendly ballpark in Citi Field. Even if he declines some, the Mets should get 175-plus good innings out of him in 2014.

Bartolo Colon, 2012-2013
GS IP K% BB% K/BB ERA ERA+
54 342.2 14.8 3.7 4.00 2.99 127

Baseball-Reference.com

In 2015, the deal becomes even better. Even though Colon will turn 42 in May 2015, the Mets could use their veteran to move in two distinct directions: contention or completing a long rebuilding process. 

If Matt Harvey returns to dominant form, and young, high-upside kids like Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard become contributors, the Mets can contend with Colon as a veteran presence in their rotation.

If they falter, or the road back to contention isn't smooth until 2016, the front office can flip Colon to a contender at the 2015 trade deadline for one more young, useful piece.

 

Worst Move: A's and Rockies Swap Brett Anderson and Drew Pomeranz

Baseball writers aren't supposed to doubt Billy Beane, but it's hard to imagine that Oakland couldn't have received more for Anderson.

Despite injuries derailing what looked like a future All-Star-laden career, Anderson still has the look (2.98 SO/BB, 54.9 ground-ball percentage) of a very effective left-handed pitcher. At 25, it's hard to imagine moving any lefty that flashes those skills, unless the return is overwhelming. 

After moves to acquire Craig Gentry, Jim Johnson and Luke Gregerson, Oakland has the look of a team trying to win a championship in 2014. With that focus, Anderson's trade value needed to be moved for something more substantial.

 

Mike Rosenbaum

Norm Hall/Getty Images

Favorite Move: White Sox Acquire Adam Eaton in Three-Team Trade

The White Sox were able to buy low with Eaton, who missed the first 88 games of the regular season with an elbow injury and then posted an uninspiring 84 wRC+ in 277 plate appearances upon his return.

In the 25-year-old Eaton, the White Sox received an everyday center fielder and likely top-of-the-order bat that will be under team control through the 2018 season. He’s set to line up alongside 22-year-old outfielder Avisail Garcia, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the three-team deal for Jake Peavy at the trade deadline and won’t become a free agent until after the 2019 season.

Adam Eaton's 2012 Season
G PA AVG OBP SLUG wRC+ WAR
22 103 .259 .382 .412 118 0.7

FanGraphs

Acquiring Eaton came at the cost of left-hander Hector Santiago, who likely would have been the odd man out in Chicago’s Opening Day rotation anyway. Santiago proved he could consistently miss bats last season despite bouncing between the bullpen and rotation, but his 4.6 BB/9 and inability to work deep into starts continues to hurt his projection as a full-time starter.

Even if Eaton doesn’t become the impact player folks have been expecting, his high floor and low cost make an ideal long-term option for a team, such as the White Sox, who are steadily restructuring at the major league level.

 

Worst Move: Phillies Sign Roberto Hernandez to One-Year, $4.5 Million Deal

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. stated, via the Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Gelb, on Wednesday that the team “left no stone unturned” in its pursuit of starting pitching at the winter meetings.

Well, the Phillies turned over a stone on Thursday that would have been better off left face down. They reached an agreement with right-hander Roberto Hernandez—you know, Fausto Carmona—on a one-year, $4.5 million contract.

Pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays last season, the 33-year-old Hernandez posted a 4.89 ERA (78 ERA+) and career-best 2.97 strikeout-to-walk ratio while logging 151 innings (24 starts).

However, what makes the signing such a concern is that the right-hander also allowed 24 home runs—20.9 percent of the fly balls he induced left the yard—during that span and pitched to a career-worst line-drive rate of 22.5 percent.

 

Zachary D. Rymer

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Favorite Move: A's and Rockies Swap Brett Anderson and Drew Pomeranz

As Billy Beane put it to MLB.com's Jane Lee, the A's have a chance to "turn back the clock" with Pomeranz. The former top prospect is a lefty with a pitching style similar to Anderson's, and the two are also the same age at 25. The difference is that Pomeranz is controlled through 2018, giving the A's plenty of time to make something of him.

As for the Rockies, they're getting a pitcher who hasn't been healthy since his rookie season in 2009. But while taking on Anderson is a roll of the dice, it's a roll of the dice on some solid career numbers:

Brett Anderson's Career Stats
K% BB% K/BB WHIP ERA FIP xFIP
18.8 6.3 2.98 1.28 3.81 3.56 3.52

FanGraphs

Also worth noting is Anderson's ever-improving ability to generate ground balls, a habit that ought to play well at Coors Field. If his health holds, the Rockies will have turned a long-term reclamation project into a key rotation piece.

The A's got the kind of controllable player they covet, and the Rockies got the short-term upside they needed. It's a good deal for both clubs.

 

Worst Move: Diamondbacks Acquire Mark Trumbo in Three-Team Trade

Trumbo has the power that the Diamondbacks sorely lacked from their outfield last season, but power is only worth so much without on-base percentage. That's an issue with Trumbo, who owns a .299 career OBP. Things won't get much better as long as he has an average-ish walk habit, a bad strikeout habit and non-BABIP-friendly contact habits.

Furthermore, Trumbo's not an outfielder. Or shouldn't be, anyway. He belongs at first base, where he's quietly a pretty good defender. In left field, he's going to provide below-average defense at a non-premium position, which is no fun for anyone.

If all the D-Backs care about is the power, they won't be disappointed. But Trumbo's not an ideal fit for the need they had to fill, and I'm not crazy about them giving up two players with legit upside in Tyler Skaggs and Adam Eaton to get him.

 

Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted/linked.

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