This offseason has seen a great deal of player shuffling, highlighted by Cliff Lee’s return to Philadelphia.
Between the never-ending carousel that is free agency and multiple teams swapping players, there are bound to be a few players in some peculiar situations. Here’s a list of 20 players who may look a little strange in their new duds this season.
Acquired: Trade for player to be named later
2010 Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke has been on a very bad team for a long time. Duke has pitched all six of his professional seasons in Pittsburgh. In his six seasons, he went 45-70 with 505 strikeouts and a 4.54 ERA. Remember too, as a team the Pirates’ best record during that time 68-94, with their roster essentially serving as a form of development team as players were often shipped out if they started performing well.
Duke was designated for assignment in November, which allowed the Pirates to trade him to Arizona. Although getting a new start, Arizona may be the beginning of the end for Duke, as the Diamondbacks are favored to finish last in the NL West for the third straight year.
Acquired: Free Agent, 1 year/$1.1 million
2010 Team: San Diego Padres
Chris Young isn’t exactly a huge name, but he’s been with the Padres for the past five seasons. In his time in San Diego, he went 33-25 with a 3.60 ERA. The main problem has been staying healthy. He’s spent a bunch of time on the disabled list in each of the past three seasons, including half of 2009 and all but four starts in 2010.
Before the injuries he was an above-average pitcher. If he can stay healthy, he could be a big help at the rear end of the Mets’ rotation.
Acquired: Trade for P David Hernandez and P Kam Mickolio
2010 Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
Mark Reynolds, after spending his entire career in Arizona (four seasons), got shipped out following the 2010 season. He’s a slugger coming off a few productive seasons. After a 2009 where he went .260 with 44 HRs and 102 RBIs, last year he only went .198 with 32 HRs and 85 RBIs.
He’s a home run threat every time he steps up to the plate, but he’s even more of a threat to strikeout. He’s struck out over 200 times each of the last three seasons, leading the NL each year (204, 223 and 211). He’s another offensive weapon added to the Baltimore “Boppers” I mean, Orioles.
Acquired: Free Agent, 1 year/$4 million
2010 Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Russell Martin will be 28 next week and is a five-year veteran, all of which has been spent with the Dodgers. He won a gold glove in 2007 and has a career .990 fielding percentage. At the plate, he’s been decent. A career .272 hitter, he also has 54 home runs and 300 runs batted in.
The main downside to Martin is that he’s coming off a season-ending hip injury that required offseason surgery. He has said that the hip is not quite back to 100 percent, which is cause for concern for the Yankees as they have said Jorge Posada is now the primary designated hitter.
Acquired: Free Agent, 4 years/$56 million
2010 Team: Washington Nationals
Adam Dunn is one of the game’s best pure sluggers. In 10 seasons, he has 354 HRs and 880 RBIs. With the good also comes the bad, as he also has 1,632 strikeouts, of which he led the NL in three seasons (2004-06).
The biggest drawback of Dunn’s game is his defense. He’s been terrible on defense throughout his career. However, after signing with the White Sox, they’ll be able to use him as a designated hitter and avoid putting him in the field.
Acquired: Free Agent, 4 years/$50 million
2010 Team: Boston Red Sox
Victor Martinez going to the Tigers may not seem so strange, but go ask any Cleveland Indians fan how he feels about this move. They’ll tell you they hate it, just as much as watching Jim Thome wear a White Sox and Twins uniform. After spending his first seven and a half years with the Tribe and a year and a half with Boston, he’ll start anew in Detroit.
A catcher by nature, Martinez has split time the past few seasons between catching and playing first base. Sources report Martinez will spend the majority of his time as the Tigers’ designated hitter. Good news for the Tigers as in only 183 games with the Red Sox, Martinez hit .313 with 28 home runs and 120 runs batted in.
Acquired: Free Agent, 1 year/$3 million
2010 Team: Arizona Diamondbacks (Injured)
Brandon Webb is perhaps the biggest surprise on this list. Webb has known no other team but the Diamondbacks. He won the 2006 NL Cy Young and finished second in the voting in 2007 and 2008. In the fifth inning of his first start in 2009, he injured his shoulder. He would require surgery and would miss the entire 2009 and 2010 seasons.
His contract was not renewed after the 2010 season and signed with the Texas Rangers. One would be quick to believe he would be a shell of his former self, but with how much success he had prior to the injury, it’s a mystery why Arizona wouldn’t invest in him.
Acquired: Free Agent, 1 year/$5.25 million
2010 Team: Detroit Tigers
Johnny Damon was signed by the Rays to help fill the hole left by the departure of Carl Crawford. Though Damon spent most of the 2010 season as the Tigers’ DH, he did play 36 games in the outfield, committing two errors. Damon is known for having a below-average arm, but is still considered a speed threat on the bases.
The Rays will be Damon’s sixth team since coming into the league in 1995 with the Royals. After six years in Kansas City, he spent one season with the A’s before playing four seasons with the Red Sox and four seasons with the Yankees.
Acquired: Free Agent, 1 year/$5 million (pending physical)
2010 Team: Texas Rangers
Vlad, like Derrek Lee, was signed to a one-year deal by the Orioles to help put some power in their batting order. The main drawback to this is that both players are up there in age, Guerrero just turned 36, while Lee is 35.
Of the 152 games Vlad was in, he only played 18 in the outfield, the rest were as the DH. He will figure to resume that same role with the Orioles. However, with Lee coming off thumb surgery, combined with his age, speculation could arise over the durability of these two players.
Acquired: Free Agent, 1 year/$7.25 million
2010 Team: Atlanta Braves
Derrek Lee is coming off an injury-shortened 2010 season. After only 39 games, Lee was forced to miss the remainder of the season with a thumb injury.
This will be Lee’s fifth team after stints with the Padres, Marlins, Cubs and Braves. He could be a dangerous bat in a rebuilt lineup for the Orioles.
Acquired: Free Agent, 5 years/$120 million
2010 Teams: Seattle Mariners/Texas Rangers
Cliff Lee was the big prize of the offseason. While it may not be so weird to see him in a Phillies uniform (since he was already in one), it is the surrounding circumstances that make it weird.
All offseason, the Yankees and Rangers were said to be the two teams fighting to sign Lee. Then, to the surprise of everyone, the Phillies came in and got him back. Lee is getting paid more than the Phillies’ number one starter Roy Halladay, and is listed as the team’s number two starter.
Acquired: Free Agent, 1 year/$10 million
2010 Team: Tampa Bay Rays
Carlos Peña exploded over the last four seasons with the Rays. In his tenure there, he hit 144 home runs and 407 RBIs.
As part of the Rays’ 2010-11 offseason clearance sale, Peña would wind up signing with the Cubs. The Cubs have been active this winter, signing Peña and his Tampa teammate pitcher Matt Garza.
Okay, so this one is more for next year than this year, but it’s too big of a name to ignore for this list. Albert Pujols is in the final year of his contract and has set a date of February 16th as his deadline to reach a new deal. He said he does not want negotiations to extend into the season.
Many reports are saying that Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals are “not even close” on agreeing to a contract extension. He is looking for a contract in the range of 10-years and $300 million.
If the Cardinals aren’t willing to shell out that kind of a deal, who will? The Yankees have Mark Teixeira and the Red Sox just got Adrian Gonzalez so they won’t be in the market. Perhaps the Padres? Angels? It’s definitely a story worth watching as Pujols is on pace to be the greatest hitting first baseman in baseball history.
Acquired: Free Agent, 1 year/$2 million
2010 Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers/Chicago White Sox
Manny Ramirez has actually been a sort of journeyman lately, going from the Red Sox to the Dodgers to the White Sox in only two years. Many people forget that before his great success in Boston, Manny played eight seasons with the Cleveland Indians.
Ramirez joins a Tampa Bay Rays team that has dumped a ton of weight this offseason. The addition of Manny seems to be a last ditch effort to salvage ticket sales.
Last season, in only 90 games, Manny hit .298 with just 9 home runs 42 RBIs. After losing slugger Carlos Peña, Tampa hopes Manny can help fill the void.
Since he now plays for a Boston division rival, he’ll be travelling to Fenway more than a few times this year.
Acquired: Free Agent, 2 years/$12 million
2010 Team: Chicago White Sox
Bobby Jenks has been with Sox his entire career. Except now his sox will be red instead of the white ones he’s worn his entire six-year career. The Red Sox, like the Yankees, signed another team’s closer to be their set-up man. Except in Boston’s case, Jenks may not be the set-up man for long.
In what could be the most interesting storylines of the Red Sox’ season this year, Jenks could replace Jonathan Papelbon as the everyday closer. Papelbon has lost some confidence in his coaches and has a contract that expires after this season.
Acquired: Trade with SS Yuniesky Betancourt and cash for SS Alcides Escobar, OF Lorenzo Cain, P Jake Odorizzi and P Jeremy Jeffress
2010 Team: Kansas City Royals
Zach Greinke has spent his entire seven-year career with the Royals. “How?” is the real question. In his past three seasons, he went 39-32 with a 3.25 ERA and 606 strikeouts. Remember, this is the Royals, so run support came at a premium.
Greinke won the 2009 AL Cy Young with a 16-8 record, a super slim 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts. After being traded to the Brewers, Greinke will have a chance to be on a winning team and possibly pitch in the postseason for the first time in his career.
Acquired: Free Agent, 7 years/$126 million
2010 Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Jayson Werth is the greatest player ever. Well, at least the Washington “Natinals” think so. Werth has had decent production the past two seasons, averaging 31 home runs, 92 RBIs and a .282 batting average. He was also a part of the two Phillies teams that went to the World Series.
It came to a surprise to all, not that he signed with the Nationals, but that they gave him a $126 million contract. That kind of money usually goes to a player with much higher production than Werth has had.
Acquired: Trade for UT Omar Infante and P Mike Dunn
2010 Team: Florida Marlins
Dan Uggla made his first start with the Marlins in 2006 and instantly became a starter. In his five seasons with the Florida, he hit .263 with 154 HRs and 465 RBIs. He leads the franchise in home runs, is fourth in RBIs and sixth in games played (776).
After all Uggla has done for the Marlins, they repaid him by trading them to division rival Atlanta. He’ll join an already dangerous lineup and will fit in nicely with the Braves, including his former manager in Florida, Fredi Gonzalez, who is now managing the Braves.
Acquired: Free Agent, 7 year/$142 million
2010 Team: Tampa Bay Rays
Many people figured that with Carl Crawford becoming a free agent following the 2010 season, he would end up with a new team (especially since many of his teammates did). Crawford signed a long-term deal with division rival Boston.
Crawford is coming off his best season as a big leaguer, setting career highs in homers (19) and RBIs (90), fantastic numbers for a leadoff hitter. He also hit for .307 and stole 47 bases.
The addition of Crawford will add another dangerous weapon to an already potent lineup.
Acquired: Trade for P Casey Kelly, 1B Anthony Rizzo, OF Reymond Fuentes and 2B/OF Eric Patterson
2010 Team: San Diego Padres
The Boston Red Sox’ acquisition of first baseman slugger Adrian Gonzalez is arguably the biggest offensive move this offseason. Gonzalez has hit at least .277, 30 HRs and 99 RBIs each season since 2007.
The two-time gold glover brings defensive stability as well as power at the plate. Gonzalez finished fourth last year in the NL MVP voting
This will be Gonzalez’s third team. Before his five great seasons with the Padres, he spent two seasons with the Texas Rangers. He is entering the last year of his current contract but has said he is in no rush to sign an extension with the Red Sox.