Thursday, February 19, 2009

Heyman and I Don't See Eye-to-Eye

It has become pretty evident that Jon Heyman and I agree on very few issues. In a recent article, he graded each team's winter moves. I have a few bones to pick.

Heyman's Top 10 "Winners"

Phillies (1): As Heyman alludes to, the Phillies signed Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard to long-term deals. However, barring a trade, these two had no way out of Philadelphia as the team controlled their arbitration years anyway. They weren't going anywhere. The Phils other "big move" - signing 36-year old Raul Ibanez to a three-year, $30 million deal - now looks laughable. This team did not improve that much to warrant the #1 ranking. Ruben Amaro gets a B from me in his first winter as GM.

Mets (2): Sure, the Mets added K-Rod and JJ Putz to help mend a shredded bullpen, but they failed to add any difference-making starters. No, Tim Redding and Freddy Garcia do not qualify. I won't even get started on the ageless Livan Hernandez signing. They also did not address the hole at second base. Luis Castillo will not cut it. Omar Minaya gets a B- from me.

Yankees (3): Any of these lists that does not have the Yankees at the top should be discarded immediately. CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira in one winter? Unreal. Brian Cashman gets an A+ here.

A's (4): I've detailed Oakland's moves ad nauseam in past posts, but I love the Holliday deal. Billy Beane gets an A.

Diamondbacks (5): Arizona lost Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, and Brandon Lyon and will probably watch Juan Cruz depart via free agency. They must have signed someone or many someones to compensate, right? Heyman ranks the D'backs this high because, "Jon Garland gives them a solid No. 3 starter." Is this some sort of joke? How does that equation yield a positive result? Aside from the fact that Garland has a career WHIP around 1.4 and averages about 4.5 K's/9, the team failed to add anyone else of note. Josh Byrnes gets a D from me.

Rays (6): No arguments here as they added Pat Burrell at a reasonable price and did not lose anyone of note. Andrew Friedman gets a B-.

Giants (7): Stop me when you hear the name of an impact player: Juan Uribe, Rich Aurilia, Edgar Renteria (I said impact not intact), Bobby Howry, Jeremy Affeldt, Randy Johnson. I heard crickets until RJ's name and he'll be 45 years old on Opening Day. Brian Sabean gets a C-, and that's only because he didn't trade Tim Lincecum.

Braves (8): They overspent for Derek Lowe but traded no Major League-ready prospects for Javier Vazquez. Frank Wren gets a B.

Red Sox (9): Again, no arguments as they signed Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis to long-term deals and bought a number of low-risk, high-reward free agents. Theo Epstein gets a B-.

White Sox (10): They lost Vazquez, Nick Swisher and Orlando Cabrera and added no one of note. Kenny Williams gets a C.

Banter's Top 10 "Winners"

1. Yankees
2. A's
3. Braves
4. Cubs: Added Milton Bradley and Kevin Gregg.
5. Indians: Added Kerry Wood, Mark DeRosa and took a flier on Carl Pavano.
6. Orioles: Locked up Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts to long-term deals. Dished out no palm-to-the-forehead deals which means a lot in Baltimore.
7. Mariners: Improved the defense and lost Type A free agent Ibanez meaning they get a first round pick as compensation.
8. Phillies
9. Rockies: They can't afford Holliday so getting Huston Street, Greg Smith and Carlos Gonzalez is a decent return.
10. Mets


  1. I disagree with your B- grade for Friedman. The question is not who signed the most high profile free agents but how effective was the GM in filling the team's needs. If a team is well situated, it may need fewer pieces, but if the GM assesses his team's needs accurately and those pieces are well-chosen and cost-effective, it should be kudos to the GM.

    In the Rays' case, they needed a RH big bopper and got the premier one on the market at a good price. They needed bullpen depth and flexibility and got tons of it at good prices. They wanted to shore up the major league ready depth at AAA and got no risk/possible reward players for that function. He even extended Aybar who is considered the best reserve in the majors by some informed sources and was an important component of the team's 2008 success.

    In a way, the restraint they showed in not showering money on big name starters or regulars is part of their successful off-season. Friedman seems to have done everything he needed to and then done more to back up his regulars with quality players. That earns him an A in my view.

  2. The Rays finished two games ahead of the Red Sox and eight games ahead of the Yankees. In my mind, the Yankees improved themselves by 10 games with their offseason acquisitions of Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and AJ Burnett.

    Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman earned B-'s because they improved their teams slightly, but now figure to finish behind the Yankees in the AL East.