National / Sports / February 29, 2012

Old faces, new places in Major League Baseball

With preseason games set to start up this week it only makes sense to do a quick breakdown division by division of the big moves of the MLB offseason.

AL West

Key Losses: David DeJesus (Athletics), Josh Willingham (Athletics), Andrew Bailey (Athletics), Trevor Cahill (Athletics), Gio Gonzalez (Athletics), Michael Pineda (Mariners), C.J. Wilson (Rangers)

Key Additions: Manny Ramirez (Athletics), Yeonis Cespedes (Athletics), Hisashi Iwakuma (Mariners), Jesus Montero (Mariners), Joe Nathan (Rangers), Yu Darvish (Angels), C.J. Wilson (Angels), Albert Pujols (Angels)

Winner: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They lost nobody of importance and brought in the two best free agents at their respective positions in Pujols and Wilson.

Loser: Oakland Athletics. Notice how many of those “Key Losses” are followed by “Athletics”? Yeah, not a lot of explanation needed.

AL Central

Key Losses: Jason Kubel (Twins), Joe Nathan (Twins), Michael Cuddyer (Twins), Melky Cabrera (Royals), Carlos Quentin (White Sox), Mark Buehrle (White Sox), Joel Zumaya (Tigers)

Key Additions: Jonathon Broxton (Royals), Jonathon Sanchez (Royals), Derek Lowe (Indians), Josh Willingham (Twins), Joel Zumaya (Twins), Prince Fielder (Tigers)

Winner: Detroit Tigers. Just like the Angels, they lost nobody important and added one of, if not the most important free agents of the year.

Loser: Minnesota Twins. While it is tempting to give this spot to the “not-rebuilding” rebuilding Chicago White Sox, the Twins lost three of their most important players. Combine this with the looming injuries of their two franchise players, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, and things do not look bright for the Twins in the coming years.

AL East

Key Losses: Jonathan Papelbon (Red Sox), Erik Bedard (Red Sox), Jesus Montero (Yankees)

Key Additions: Carlos Pena (Rays), Luke Scott (Rays), Hiroki Kuroda (Yankees), Michael Pineda (Yankees), Sergio Santos (Blue Jays)

Winner: New York Yankees. In a surprising move the Yankees do what the Yankees do worst and tried to not spend money in the offseason. Instead they traded away a highly touted catching prospect (Montero) for a highly touted pitching prospect (Pineda) and got a quality starter on a discounted price in free agency.

Loser: Boston Red Sox. While they did get rid of their manager and general manager, they also no longer have one of the best closers in baseball (Papelbon). While the loss of Erik Bedard may not seem huge to most teams, the lack of pitching depth in the Red Sox system makes it a huge loss.

NL West

Key Losses: Mat Latos (Padres), Anthony Rizzo (Padres), Heath Bell (Padres), Jonathon Sanchez (Giants), Jonathon Broxton (Dodgers), Huston Street (Rockies)

Key Additions: Yonder Alonso (Padres), Edinson Volquez (Padres), Huston Street (Padres), Carlos Quentin (Padres), Jason Kubel (Diamondbacks), Trevor Cahill (Daimondbacks), Melky Cabrera (Giants), Michael Cuddyer (Rockies), Aaron Harang (Dodgers)

Winner: San Diego Padres. While it is true that Petco Park is the place where power hitters go to die, the Padres did sign two very good power hitters in Quentin and Alonso. Alonso is also one the league’s most prized hitting prospects. Not only that but they also added a solid starting pitcher in Volquez, as well as one of the more consistent NL closers in Street.

Loser: Colorado Rockies. While it is true that they did not lose anybody major, all that they did was make their team older than it was last year. They lost their closer and only added mid-30s utility players.

NL Central

Key Losses: Albert Pujols (Cardinals), Edinson Volquez (Reds), Yonder Alonso (Reds), Travis Wood (Reds), Carlos Zambrano (Cubs), Sean Marshall (Cubs), Carlos Pena (Cubs), Aramis Ramirez (Cubs), Prince Fielder (Brewers)

Key Additions: Carlos Beltran (Cardinals), Mat Latos (Reds), Sean Marshall (Reds), Ryan Madsen (Reds), Travis Wood (Cubs), Aramis Ramirez (Brewers), Erik Bedard (Pirates)

Winner: Milwaukee Brewers. With the recent news that Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension was overturned it seems like all is not gray over Miller Park. While losing Prince Fielder was a huge loss, Braun being allowed to play every game means that this year will not be a complete loss.

Loser: Chicago Cubs. While the obvious answer is the St. Louis Cardinals since they lost one of the best hitters ever (Albert Pujols) they responded nicely and signed Carlos Beltran. The Cubs on the other hand lost four main contributors to their less than stellar year and only really added an unproven lefty pitcher in Travis Wood.

NL East

Key Losses: Jose Reyes (Mets), Derek Lowe (Braves), Brad Lidge (Phillies)

Key Additions: Gio Gonzalez (Nationals), Brad Lidge (Nationals), Jonathan Papelbon (Phillies), Albert Pujols (Marlins), Mark Buehrle (Marlins), Heath Bell (Marlins), Jose Reyes (Marlins).

Winner: Miami Marlins. Was there ever a doubt? They signed arguably the best hitter in the league, the NL batting champ last year, one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball the last five years and a dominating closer. They went from pretender to contender almost too fast. A lot can change when you get a new stadium/team name/uniforms.

Loser: New York Mets. The Mets were as bad as the Marlins were good this offseason. They lost their best player seemingly without trying to keep him and signed a couple of middle of the pack pitchers. It seems like the most important thing that the Mets did in the offseason was the decision to move the outfield walls of Citi Field in.

Gabe Ayers

Tags:  baseball MLB

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