|The 5 Worst Offseason Moves|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on March 16, 2008
San Francisco Giants sign OF Aaron Rowand for five years, $60 million
The San Francisco Giants are rebuilding. After all, the team had six of the first 51 picks in the 2007 draft and spent five of them on high schoolers. They decided not to bring back outfielder Barry Bonds, who would have helped an anemic offense. Their own general manager, Brian Sabean, said that the ballclub was going to rebuild.
Wait, why did they sign outfielder Aaron Rowand for $60 million over five years? All of that money is going to waste. He may take them from 73 wins to 75 wins over the next few seasons, but he wonâ€™t be around or great when the team is ready to compete again in 2012 and beyond.
Of course, Rowand may not be an effective player then, too. Consider this: at the age of 29, which is about two years past a position playerâ€™s peak, Rowand set career bests in home runs, RBIs, and on base percentage. He also nearly matched his career high in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS. A good explanation for this is that Rowand was playing for a new contract.
Furthermore, Rowand is moving from a great hittersâ€™ park to a great pitchersâ€™ park, which will limit his offensive production. Also, Rowand plays all-out, which means heâ€™ll become more prone to injury as he gets older. Need proof? What ever happened to Jim Edmonds?
Seattle Mariners sign P Carlos Silva for 4 years, $48 million
The Mariners totally misread the market for Silva. This contract was signed when Kyle Lohse was rumored to be seeking a five-year deal worth about $10 million annually. The Mariners got scared and signed Silva quickly. For their mistake, theyâ€™ll have to suffer through four years of mediocre pitching at a higher price tag than Tim Hudson.
Of course, it may be true that the Mariners thought they could convince Johan Santana to waive his no-trade clause by signing Silva. After all, he is a close friend of his from their time together in Minnesota. However, Santana isnâ€™t a Mariner, and it is unrealistic to think he wouldâ€™ve been.
There is the argument that Silva should improve his numbers moving from a park slightly skewed toward offense -- the Homerdome in Minnesota -- to SafeCo Field, which favors pitchers because the outfield walls are further back. However, since he is an extreme groundball pitcher, that should not matter.
Cincinnati Reds sign P Francisco Cordero for 4 years, $46 million
There is some logic for making this move. The Reds bullpen blew 28 save opportunities last year. That ranked them second-worst in the major leagues, only one less than the Colorado Rockies. Bringing in a big-name closer like Cordero should solve some of their problems in the ninth inning. Because he routinely blows between seven and 11 saves a year, he wonâ€™t be the sure-thing fireman the Reds could definitely use.
And for a club that doesnâ€™t figure to be in contention, signing Cordero to a huge deal also does not make sense. They have very few quality arms to bridge the gap from a mediocre starting rotation to him. With a team this shallow in relief pitching, a wiser move would have been to go after several above-average arms, rather than one good one.
Houston Astros sign 2B Kazuo Matsui for 3 years, $16.5 million
Matsui was hyped as a supreme defender and excellent top-of-the-order hitter when he came over from Japan in the 2003-04 offseason. He never showed any of that talent on this side of the Pacific Ocean. After two and a half seasons, the Mets released Matsui, glad to part ways with a player that had been an inexorable waste.
He caught on with the Rockies and has ridden a drastic home/road split to financial stability. Matsui â€śhitâ€ť .249/.304/.333 away from Coors Field last season. Compare that to his .330/.381/.482 at home, and you realize he was nothing but a Coors Field creation. Heâ€™s a washed-up player who will be getting paid about $4.5 million more a season than heâ€™s worth.
Houston Astros acquire SS Miguel Tejada for P Matt Albers, P Troy Patton, P Dennis Sarfate, OF Luke Scott, 3B Mike Costanzo
To continue picking on the Astros, they added Mitchell-Report-named shortstop Miguel Tejada at the cost of three young arms, a solid third base prospect, and a decent role player. It would be understandable for them to make this move, if they had plenty of arms to spare. But after Roy Oswalt and Jose Valverde, there is nothing worth mentioning.
The offensive upgrade Houston receives over Adam Everett will be noticeable and Tejada has always done well to stay off the disabled list. However, for a team with little pitching, this move is just a waste of money. Tejada is leaving the prime of his career, and he may never approach his 2003 numbers -- .278/27/106 -- again.