The 10 Offseason MLB Moves That Should Have Been Made
It's been a crazy MLB offseason thus far with a lot of moves.
One major change this winter was the migration of Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners, per multiple reports. The 10-year, $240 million contract was enough security for Cano to pick his new home over his old one with the New York Yankees.
And speaking of the Yankees, they've enjoyed another offseason of seemingly limitless spending. Recently, the Bronx Bombers were able to sign Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka despite being challenged by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and others, according to Doug Miller of MLB.com.
Not every team has been able to sign their dream free agents or even fill roster needs. One such team that really needed to upgrade its pitching staff was the Toronto Blue Jays. News recently released that a trade for Brett Anderson fell apart, per Shi Davidi of SportsNet Canada. The Blue Jays pitching staff is still hurting, and they should have already made a move.
Spanning the MLB by not only looking at free-agent signings, here's 10 offseason moves that should have been made thus far through the end of January.
Craig Biggio Getting Elected to the Hall of Fame
Before we dive into trades and signings that should have happened, Craig Biggio makes the list as a former player who should have been one of the newest members to Hall of Fame. The catcher and second baseman had 3,060 hits.
Biggio is one of three members in the 3,000-hit club to not make it to the Hall. Derek Jeter is in the club, but not in the Hall of Fame yet because he is currently active. The other member is Rafael Palmeiro. Biggio also won four consecutive Gold Gloves after making the switch from catcher to second base.
Here's what elected Hall of Famer Frank Thomas had to say on Biggio, as recorded by The Associated Press (via SI.com).
I was, like, shocked, to hear that he didn't get in by two votes, man, I don't want to use the word `tragic,' but it's got to be a tragic moment for him right now. He was one heck of a player. It looks like he's going to get into the Hall of Fame in the future, but yeah, it's got to be a devastating day for him.
Just the ultimate gamer. Sad he didn't get in today. The last few years I spent a lot of time with him, so I know how much it meant to him. We're not going to lose hope now because he didn't make it this year. Hopefully the veterans committee can get him in.
With all of his statistics and accolades, Biggio should have made the Hall of Fame. He missed by just two votes.
Ubaldo Jimenez Signing with a Team
Now that starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez has been on the market for so long, he might consider dropping his asking price. This per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, thanks to MLB Trade Rumors.
Turning to the mound, Heyman said that Ubaldo Jimenez may now be willing to drop his salary demands and could ultimately land in the three-year, $39MM range. The Blue Jays and Orioles are the most likely clubs to sign Jimenez, according to Heyman, with the O’s still concerned about burning a draft pick. Meanwhile, the Indians could still get involved if the price on Jimenez falls even further.
There are many teams out there that could use Jimenez's skills. Of those clubs are the Rangers, with recently injured Derek Holland out until midseason, and the Blue Jays with their lackluster staff. Even teams like the Cubs, White Sox and Diamondbacks could be in the running for Jimenez after missing out on Tanaka.
Still, by the end of January, Jimenez should have found a home by now, given his value.
Bronson Arroyo Getting an Offer
There are many teams that could use Bronson Arroyo on their staff. In fact, 12 clubs have shown interest in Arroyo, but none have made an offer. This according to Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors and picked up by Mike Axisa of CBS Sports in a January 29 article, Arroyo spoke with Jayson Stark of ESPN on not getting any hard offers.
I get [Clayton] Kershaw. I get why he got all that money. But then you've got guys like Dice-K [Matsuzaka], who came over here and was good for the first couple years but then didn't pan out. And when he doesn't pan out, they all just forget and go on to the next guy who's not proven, and pay him.
Meanwhile, they forget about guys like me, who have done the job for the last eight or 10 years, and treat them like they've never done anything in this game. That's hard, man.
I don't know what to do. I'm not trying to break the bank. But I am a guy who's performed for the last 10 years as consistently as anybody in the game. And for some reason, nobody's thrown me an offer yet.
Arroyo is a durable veteran with World Series experience and a 17-win season under his belt. He should have at least gotten one offer by this point in the offseason.
Nelson Cruz Signing with a Team
Nelson Cruz has yet to find a home and this is one move that should have already happened by now. The slugging right fielder declined a qualifying offer early on in the offseason, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
For the entire month of January, Cruz has been linked to the Mariners and perhaps re-signing with the Rangers. And in December, the Orioles, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, Cubs, Astros and Reds were also linked to Cruz. All of this above according MLB Trade Rumors.
Yet, Cruz remains available. Sure, whatever his asking price is might be too high, but it's been months since he first tested the free-agent waters. A little long for a player that had 27 home runs last year despite serving a 50-game suspension.
Ian Kinsler to Toronto and the Blue Jays Upgrading Their Staff
Second baseman Ian Kinsler was supposed to find a new home in Toronto. This via Shi Davidi of SportsNet Canada.
A quiet off-season lacking in impact moves nearly played out vastly differently for the Toronto Blue Jays, who had separate trades for Ian Kinsler and Brett Anderson fall apart earlier this winter. A potential deal was scuttled by the three-time all-star’s no-trade clause, leaving the Rangers to look elsewhere.
Kinsler's no-trade clause eventually helped him land a spot in Detroit instead of Toronto. If Kinsler did go to Toronto, there was a goo chance that a pitcher was heading that way, too.
Even if a pitcher wasn't included in that Blue Jays' trade with the Rangers, it's shocking the team has yet to sign one of the remaining free-agent pitchers. The Blue Jays ranked 12th in AL ERA last season with very good hitters on their team. And, as reported by Davidi, Anderson should have been acquired, but the trade fell through. The Blue Jays just aren't getting it done this offseason.
Los Angeles Dodgers Moving an Outfielder
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a tiny surplus in the outfield and should have made a move. They have Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp.
Kemp appears to be the odd man out. Back in December 2013, the Mariners, Tigers and Red Sox were five teams eyeing Kemp, according to Tom Verducci of SI.com. But the Dodgers have focused elsewhere while extending Clayton Kershaw and going after but missing out on Tanaka.
B/R's Adam Wells put together several packages for teams to consider in terms of trading for Kemp. All of these include top prospects that would eventually help the Dodgers. If Kemp, the former MVP candidate, is still in a Dodgers uniform come spring, the team might have missed out on a golden opportunity to strengthen the farm system.
Cincinnati Reds Making a Move
The Cincinnati Reds have had a very quiet offseason for a team that has what it takes to be a contender in the NL. However, they lost a valuable piece when Shin-Soo Choo signed with the Rangers. In a December 30 article, B/R's Adam Wells gave the Reds a D-plus grade for their offseason acquisitions.
When Skip Schumaker is the best thing to say about your offseason, it's probably been a rather uneventful winter.
It also doesn't help that the Reds watched Shin-Soo Choo, who finished fourth in baseball with a .423 on-base percentage, take his talents to the Texas Rangers.
I'm sure the Reds would have liked to find a trade offer for Brandon Phillips, but teams aren't itching to grab a player whose on-base percentage has dropped 43 points and whose slugging percentage has dipped 61 points since 2011.
As noted in the quote above, the Reds would have liked to have found a new home for Phillips. Maybe with the recent news of Kinsler waiving his no-trade clause on going to the Blue Jays, the Reds could package a deal including Phillips and a pitcher to go to Toronto.
A David Price Trade
David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays is a name that has been thrown around among a lot of teams. And fans from all the other 29 teams have surely, at one time or another, thought of a crazy trade proposal for the lefty. Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus, in a January 24 article, collected some great fan comments geared towards Price trade talk and their prospective teams getting the Vanderbilt graduate.
This offseason, the Rays were able to avoid arbitration with Price, as reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times on Twitter. But that deal shouldn't have any impact on whether or not Price ends up finding a new home.
So, with Price ready to be traded and every MLB team's fans wanting a shot at him, why hasn't he been dealt already?
Miami Marlins Rebuilding Around Giancarlo Stanton
Just like the great Roman Empire, the Miami Marlins' baseball dynasty won't be built in a day (or year). Last offseason, they blatantly dumped salary and then went on to lose 93 games.
The Marlins continue to list slugger Giancarlo Stanton as unavailable and not for sale. Jim Bowden of ESPN tweeted the Marlins' stance based off of what general manager Dan Jennings had to say back in November, "Mr. Stanton is not Available. He will be in right field at Marlins Park on Opening Day. We are building around him."
However, the Marlins only signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rafael Furcal and Garrett Jones while missing out on plenty of other proven free agents. Those are not guys you bring in to build around a young star. The Marlins have plenty of prospects that are great trade pieces, but they haven't made any deals.
In reality, the Marlins want to lock up Stanton long-term, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. But, should the slugger even bother if management can't put a decent team around him?
New York Yankees Finding a Proven Replacement for Mariano Rivera
At the conclusion of the 2013 season, the New York Yankees said goodbye to a legend as Mariano Rivera retired. And as a team known for its offseason spending, the Yankees did little to improve the closer position.
David Robertson is now the lead pitcher to land the coveted bullpen role. But even he doesn't know if he has the job locked up.
Robertson stated in an interview with MLB Network Radio, picked up by Matt Fisher of Fansided, that he's not officially been named the closer.
It’s not officially mine yet. I guess I’m the front runner for the job, that’s how I’m going to approach it…The pressure I don’t think will bother me; I’m not Mo. If I have the success that I’ve had in the 8th in the 9th, I’ll be ok.
While it was known all year that Rivera would be packing his bags at the end of the season, the Yankees sat back and watched instead of finding a replacement. Something should have been in play for the club to find a new heir to the all-time saves leader and World Series champion.