If I had to sum up last week in one word, it would be wacky. In the past week alone, almost 40 major leaguers changed teams, including top free agents Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury. We break down all of the weeks action below.
The week kicked off in Toronto, with the Blue Jays sign free agent catcher Dioner Navarro to a two year deal. The Nivaro signing allowed the Blue Jays to non-tender their current catcher, J.P. Arencibia. Later that afternoon, the Pirates traded for catcher Chris Stewart from the New York Yankees. In other small moves, Willie Blomquist signed a two year deal with the Seattle Mariners, and Scott Kazmir signed a 2 year, $22 million deal with the Oakland A’s, finishing the Bartolo Colon era in Oakland. Then, later that night, the biggest news from that day broke. The Nationals acquired widely underrated starting pitcher Doug Fister from the Detroit Tigers for Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol, and Robbie Ray. This trade allowed the Nationals to fill the hole they lost when Dan Haren signed with the Dodgers. For the Tigers, the trade freed up a rotation spot for highly anticipated pitcher, Drew Smyly. Another trade from that night was a surprising one; The Baltimore Orioles trade closer Jim Johnson to the Oakland A’s for INF/OF Jemille Weeks. The reason that this is so surprising is because the moneyball belief is that a team doesn’t need a proven closer in order to succeed. However, acquiring Johnson is going against that belief. That night was also the non-tender deadline, where players like Justin Turner, Ronnie Belsario, Daniel Hudson, and former 2009 Rookie of the Year winners, Chris Coghlan and Andrew Bailey.
This was possibly the biggest, non-winter meetings day in offseason history. The day started off with AJ Pierzynski signing a one year deal to go to the world champion Boston Red Sox. The A’s remained very active in acquiring Josh Linbolm and Craig Gentry from the Rangers, and Luke Gregorson from the Padres. The Padres recieved outfielder Seth Smith as part of the Gregorson deal. Then, the Rays got themselves another defensive catcher in Ryan Hanningan in a three way trade with the Reds and the Diamondbacks. The Rays also got struggling relief pitcher Heath Bell in that trade. The rebuilding Astros decided that they wanted to acquire a center fielder, so they traded Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barns for Dexter Fowler, who is coming of a career year. Another rebuilding team making some moves were the Marlins: they signed catcher Jarrod Saltalamachia to a 3 year, $21 million deal. The Yankees signed second baseman Kelly Johnson, as they prepared for Robinson Cano going to another team. They also signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7 year, $153 million deal, the third largest contract for an outfielder. The Tigers finally got a good closer in Joe Nathan, and the Rockies found a replacement to Todd Helton with Justin Morenau. In total, 17 major leaguers were moved in this one day, alone.
Wednesday was a very slow day, in terms of this week. The biggest news was probably that Paul Konerko was re-signing with the White Sox. Konerko, who had one of the worst years of his career, will most likely platoon with DH Adam Dunn in 2014. Also reported that day was the fact that Seattle was going to be a major suitor for Robinson Cano.
Another slow day in terms of this week. Norichka Aoki was traded from the Brewers to the Royals. At the time, this trade seemed odd, as it seemed that Carlos Betran was close to signing with the Royals to a three year deal. For the Brewers, the trade allows Ryan Braun to move from Left Field to Right Field and opens up a spot for outfielder Khris Davis, who shinned last year when Braun was serving his 50 game suspension. Edward Mujica changed world series teams, as he signed a one year, $8 million deal with the Red Sox. Brian Wilson returned to the Dodgers on a one year, $10 million deal. Lastly, the Marlins signed INF Rafael Furcal, in hopes that they can convert him into a second baseman.
Friday was also an extremely busy day in baseball. It started off early, with reports that Robinson Cano and the Mariners were no where close to a deal. Then, about an hour later, Jon Heyman reported that Cano had signed a 10 year, $240 million deal with the Mariners. That deal ties Cano with the Mariners until 2023, when Cano is 41 years old. It is also the third biggest contract ever, behind Alex Rodriguez’s two contracts when he signed with the Rangers and then the Yankees. Soon after Cano it was announced that Cano was leaving New York, another Yankees announced he was leaving, but only across town. The Mets signed Curtis Granderson to a 4 year, $60 million deal. Right after that deal was announced, the Astros announced that they had agreed to signed starting pitcher Scott Feldman to a 3 year, $30 million deal. Recently non-tendered players like Ryan Webb and J.P. Arencibia found themselves new homes on Friday: Webb signed with the O’s while Arencibia signed with the Rangers. The Nationals signed OF Nate McLouth to a two year deal to help fill out their bench. Carlos Beltran ended up signing with the Yankees on a three year, $42 million deal. The Yankees weren’t done there as they signed Huroki Kurdoa to a one year deal. And lastly, Mike Napoli ended up back in Boston, signing a two year, $32 million deal.
Because of this crazy week before the winter meetings, we might have one of the most boring meetings ever, with the top free agent available being Matt Garza. However, look for top players like David Price, Mark Trumbo, and even Chris Sale to be on the move this week via trade. Hopefully, this week will be as fun as last.