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Here’s a review of the signings and trades so far this off-season and as a bonus I’ll throw in my opinion! (Ratings are as follows: excellent, good, all right, bad, and horrible.)

Long, May switching teams: 11/8/04

The San Diego Padres added Darrell May, an inning eater, and Ryan Bukvich, a prospect whose prospects for the future seem less dim than Tankersly. They had to part with money as well, but managed to get rid of Terrence Long, which is something they needed to do. This move was: good (Padres)/all right (Royals).


Pirates re-sign Jose Mesa, Solomon Torres; 11/11/04

When the Pirates signed Jose Mesa last February, many scouts thought it absurd. Then Mesa cleaned up his mechanics and bam same ol’ Mesa. Joe Table appeared in seventy games and saved forty-three games while blowing five. His setup man Solomon Torres was re-signed for two year as well. This tandem gives the Pirates something to be happy about, and at the trading deadline, it should bring them some decent prospects. This move was: good.


Giants sign Omar Vizquel; 11/14

The end of the Omar Vizquel era has begun in Cleveland. After manning shortstop for many a good Cleveland teams, Vizquel won’t be around for the rebuilding era. Instead he’ll be in San Francisco, most likely hitting in front of Barry Bonds and scooping up everything in his path. He has won nine Gold Gloves and has the highest fielding percentage of any shortstop to have played 1,000 games there. The deal lasts for three years and is worth $12.25 million, which is quite a long time for a thirty-seven year old. This move was: all right.


Phillies re-sign Cory Lidle; 11/16

Desperate for pitching help at midseason, the Phillies received decent pitching from him. He was 5-2 with a 3.90 ERA in five starts with the Phillies, but 12-12 with a 4.90 over the entire season. Call this a weird hunch, but this move could be beneficial for both parties, as the deal was 2 years worth $6.3 total. This move was: all right.


Nationals sign Vinny Castilla, Cristian Guzman; 11/16

General Manager Jim Bowden, who I picked to be an excellent man for the job, made two moves in his debut with the Exp…Nationals, excuse me. He first signed shortstop Cristian Guzman to a four year deal worth $16.8 million per year and then third baseman Vinny Castilla to a two year, $6.2 million deal. This should greatly help out the Nationals defensively, but I’m not too certain about offensively. Also, these two were probably overpaid and this money could have been spent better elsewhere. This move was: all right.


Tigers sign closer Troy Percival; 11/17/04

Shortly after arriving at Tiger Stadium, Troy Percival inked a two-year, $12 million deal. This was a rather surprising move, as Percival is a top notch closer and could have gotten much more money from different places. But he said he was comfortable with the team, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Signing Percival gives the Tigers a magnificent arm in the bullpen. This move was: excellent.


Angels deal Guillen to Washington; 11/19/04

GM Jim Bowden continued his good moves by acquiring Jose Guillen for the 2005 season for two minor leaguers in Juan Rivera and Maicer Izturis. Guillen should give a good bat in the middle of the order and most likely won’t talk back to manager Frank Robinson. This move was: good (both teams).


Cubs re-sign SP Glendon Rusch; 11/20/04

Glendon Rusch was 6-2 on the year with a 3.47 ERA. But most impressively, when Kerry Wood went down with a triceps injury and Matt Clement struggled late in the season, Rusch filled in brilliantly. As an extra bonus, Rusch is a lefty, which the Cubs currently have none of on their starting rotation. They can let Matt Clement walk with no worries and use that money elsewhere. This move was: good.

Mets re-sign SP Kris Benson; 11/20/04

The Mets traded for Kris Benson at the trading deadline to try and bolster their playoff push, but to no avail. Now they had to re-sign him to make up for dealing their prospects. In his time in New York last year, he was 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA. I think that they spent too much money to bring him back, as his deal was worth around $23 million over three years. This move was: all right.

Tribe re-sign Bob Wickman; 11/24/04

One of the last holdovers from the good ol’ years, Wickman returns as the closer for the Tribe. The Indians hope that he can help Riske learn the ropes of becoming a closer. For the price tag of $2.75 million with incentives to reach $3.5 million, this is a good deal. In thirty appearances Wickman saved thirteen games with a 4.25 ERA. This move was: good.

A’s acquire catcher; 11/27/04

The A’s used their “get the player someone doesn’t want who’s actually good” mentality and brought in catcher Jason Kendall. His high OBP gives them a number two hitter, most likely, as well as a decent catcher behind the plate. The A’s had to give up a mid range starter in Mark Redman and failed closer Arthur Rhodes, who will look good next to Solomon Torres setting up Mesa. The move was: good for both teams.

Brew Crew signs Damian Miller; 11/29/04

A few days delayed, the Brewers signed Damian Miller to a two-year deal from Oakland. His biggest claim to fame is that he caught Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, and Mark Mulder. He will be seen as a positive influence upon the young starters the Brewers have like Ben Sheets, Jorge De La Rosa, and Doug Davis. He will earn $8.75 million at least for two years, but could gain more money through incentives. This move was: all right.


Reds re-sign Paul Wilson; 11/30/04

After going 11-6 with a 4.36 ERA, Paul Wilson attracted quite a bit of attention from other teams. The two year deal is reportedly worth $8.2 million, which is a fair sum. The Reds need Wilson to pitch a hell of a lot of innings for their staff, as well as help the young starters the Reds have coming up out a little bit. The move was: good.


Giants sign Benitez; 11/30/2004

Out of the complete blue, the Giants signed Armando Benitez to a three-year deal worth $21 million. This is Keith Foulke money, and Benitez is definitely not Keith Foulke. Benitez, throughout his career, has seemingly not come through in the postseason, which is what the Giants are aiming for. The eleven year veteran has a high 90s fastball, hard splitter, and devastating slider. This move was: good.


Angels sign Kendry Morales; 12/1/04

The Angels brought in Cuban defector Kendry Morales. Not much is known about this guy, but reports have it that he’s a first baseman, something the Angels need, and he should hit with at least some pop, which the Angels need. I’m not too sure about this guy, as he’s only 21, so he’ll spend some time in the farm. I wonder what’s wrong with Casey Kotchman. This move was: bad.

Yankees add two; 12/06/04

The New York Yankees dealt Kenny Lofton and cash to the Philadelphia Phillies for right-hander Felix Rodriguez. On the year Rodriguez was 5-8 with a 3.29 ERA in 59 appearances. The second move came when the Yankees sent deadweight Felix Heredia and cash to the Mets for lefty Mike Stanton. Stanton was 2-6 with a 3.18 ERA over 58 appearances. This move was: excellent (Yankees)/horrible (Mets)/all right (Phillies).

Radke re-signs with Twins; 12/7/04

Late Tuesday night, the Twins reportedly reached an agreement with Brad Radke, thus avoiding salary arbitration. The deal is worth, supposedly, $18 million over two years. The 32-year-old starter was 11-8 with a 3.48 ERA. He has been a Twin for his entire baseball career. There could have been some pitcher on the same level that would have been cheaper, but it’s nice to see Radke stay with the Twins. This move was: good.

Morris stays with Red Birds; 12/7/04

The Cardinals were not going to offer salary arbitration to him, so this last minute deal was good for both sides. Pitching 202 innings with 15 wins, albeit with a 4.72 ERA Morris recently underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder. The injury may have caused him to change his mechanics, which would leave the ball up in the zone, which might be a reason for the thirty-five home runs. This move was: good.

Garciaparra stays with Cubs; 12/7/04

After being considered moody by the Boston Red Sox, Theo Epstein dealt him to the north side of Chicago. He played the year out and hit .308 for the season. And now he is returning for eight million for next season with incentives that could knock it up to 11. This is a far cry from the four years, $60 million he turned down with Boston. This move was: excellent.


Keeping it Rheal in Philly; 12/7/04

The Phillies kept their workhorse left-hander with a two-year deal worth $4.75 million. He went 4-5 with a 3.56 ERA in eight four games. This was the second most in team history, only behind Kent Tekulve’s 90. They have quite the anti-lefty duo in the back of the bullpen with Cormier teaming Billy Wagner. This move was: good.

Woody returning to San Diego; 12/8/04

Getting almost no press was Woody Williams’ return to San Diego. He is a hard working, inning eater that most every team would love to have. The deal is worth $3.5 million in base, plus incentives. In the 2004 season, he was 11-8 with a 4.18 ERA, and he won ten of his last thirteen decisions. This move was: good.

Lieber returns to NL; 12/8/04

In his major league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Jon Lieber threw six innings against the Phils. Now he’ll be returning to where he started in career to pitch for the hometown Philadelphia Phillies. Next season he’ll earn $5.25 million, $7.25 million in 2006, and $7.5 million in 2007. He has a $1 million signing bonus also. This seems like a good deal for Lieber, but I’m not sure what the Phillies are getting exactly. Lieber’s a ground ball pitcher, so he’s in good shape with Jimmy Rollins manning shortstop. But I’m not sure if he’s back to his 20-game form of years past. This move was: good.

Leiter returns to Miami; 12/8/04

In two years with the Marlins, Al Leiter was 27-21 with a 3.51 ERA with the Fish. He won a World Series win in 1997 with them and also pitched a no-hitter. Why am I bringing this up? Because Al Leiter is returning to Miami, where he is a career 22-9. I think that Leiter is a good pitcher and definitely should deserve a spot on any team in the Majors. This move was: excellent.

Jeff Kent goes back to Los Angeles; 12/9/04

 

 

In a deal worth reportedly $17 million, Jeff Kent went to the Giants archrival: the Los Angeles Dodgers. I can just imagine how Giant fans will respond to his presence, especially after his quotes about him not being surprised that Bonds took steroids. This deal leaves some questions unanswered like which position Kent will play. The most logical is first, which would allow Green to move back into the outfield, but there is some talk about third. I think Kent should move to first and end his career there. This move was: excellent.

Troy Glaus goes to Arizona; 12/904

On Thursday the DBacks inked Troy Glaus to a four-year deal worth forty-five million bucks. The team has made promises to contend, but this is just the start of something. Glaus gives the DBacks a power bat that should produce 35 homers a year with a decent to good glove at third. This move was: excellent.

Jermaine Dye returns to AL Central; 12/9/04

The Chicago White Sox brought Jermaine Dye back into AL Central fold by signed him to a two-year deal worth 9 million over the next two seasons. This all but spells the end of the Magglio Ordonez era in the south side of Chicago, but Dye should produce decently in this lineup, probably better than that in Oakland. This move was: good.