In an offseason full of big names on the move and several teams drastically improving, there were some teams that made moves which left fans scratching their heads.
Let’s take a look at some teams that made questionable, or too few, moves this past offseason.
The Angels are a talented team and will be a contender in the AL West. However, their lack of moves this offseason may strongly hurt their playoff chances.
The Angels offer to Carl Crawford (six years, $108 million) was blown away by that of the Red Sox (seven years, $147 million). As a result, the Angels had little to work with.
So they went out and made a deal.
Yet, the acquisition of Vernon Wells and his immense $86 million contract leaves many questioning the Angels front office. Coming off a brutal 2009 season, the 32-year-old outfielder certainly rebounded in 2010, mashing 31 homers.
However, is Wells truly the answer to losing out on free agents like Crawford or Adrian Beltre? Or were the Angels backed into a corner to make an “impact” move?
On the positive side, the signing of lefty Scott Downs and RHP Hisanori Takahashi immediately improves their shaky bullpen.
When it comes down to it, the Angels simply were not aggressive enough this winter to sign a much-needed significant bat.
First came the bumpy Derek Jeter contract negotiations. Then Crawford signed with the rival Red Sox and Cliff Lee shocked the baseball nation by turning away the Yanks $150 million offer.
And finally, the dagger: Andy Pettitte retired from baseball.
The Jeter negotiations took a dismal turn when GM Brian Cashman questionably challenged the legendary Yankee to shop with other teams. Even though Jeter did re-sign, he made sure he voiced his opinion regarding the negotiations.
"I'm going to be honest with you guys, the thing that bothered me the most was how public this became," said Jeter. "This was a negotiation that was supposed to be private. It was an uncomfortable position I felt I was in. That is something I was not happy about. I let my feelings be known."
Not the best way to treat one of the greatest Yankees of all time.
Furthermore, the dynamic Crawford signed with the Red Sox. It’s hard to measure the interest the Yankees held in the top free-agent outfielder.
Was Cashman intrigued? Or did he simply miscalculate the market for Crawford? Remember, the Yankees made no formal offer to Crawford, as the Angels finished second after offering a $108 million contract.
As for the Cliff Lee negotiations, the Yankees are not at fault. They did their part by making a strong push for Lee, offering a $150 million contract. There’s nothing more the Yankees could have done. After turning away an extra $30 million, it’s clear that money was not the number one priority for the 32-year-old lefty.
To top it off, Pettitte announced his retirement at the age of 38. Although he did not have a contract with the Yankees, this announcement still came as a shock. After a remarkable 2010 season (11-3, 3.28 ERA), there’s no doubt the Yankees will miss the feared lefty.
Whether it’s poor negotiating or a stroke of bad luck, the Yankees had an unsettling winter. Although they improved their bullpen, adding RHP Rafael Soriano (at a very high price), this team still has many issues that may have Cashman working the phones frantically.
Despite his status as an elite pitcher, Felix Hernandez cannot carry the Mariners rotation.
They needed to add some complementary starters, like Kevin Correia, Justin Duchscherer, Aaron Harang, Jon Garland, or Brad Penny. As for the offense, why not kick the tires on a Vladimir Guerrero or a Ty Wigginton? They didn’t need to make an impact move, simply because they aren’t ready to take that next step into contention.
But at least do something to improve.
Yes, they are in a rebuilding phase. Outfielder Michael Saunders and 1B Justin Smoak will be interesting to watch grow. But the Mariners need to take a page out of the Orioles' offseason plans next winter in adding players to short money contracts, with a chance of high reward.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre had a phenomenal season with the Red Sox in 2010. Any player who posts a line of .321, 28 HRs and 102 RBI is a worthy candidate of a payday.
However, with Beltre’s reputation of overachieving during a contract year, the Rangers offseason deserves to be challenged.
What exactly has Beltre accomplished to deserve a six year, $96 million contract? Two colossal contract years? Additionally, he will turn 32 years old this April.
Perhaps it was a reactionary move after failing to re-sign Lee. But Beltre could inevitably become one of the most overpaid players in MLB when it's all said and done.
With the latest Michael Young dilemma, the Rangers are looking frantically to deal the disgruntled 34-year-old to avoid any clubhouse issues. This is something that should have been done at the beginning of the winter, not heading into spring training.
Although the Rangers will be one of the top teams in the American League, mark this offseason as an ineffective management of payroll.
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