Recap: Offseason developments thus far- Part 1
This is meant to be a lighter post, while we wait for the rest of the moves, the signing of Octavio Dotel and the clearing of roster space for the newly signed relievers, so read it in the spirit. So what has Neal Huntington been upto this offseason- one where Alex Anthopoulos dealt his ace in return for 3 premier Phillies’ prospects, and promptly celebrated by marrying and taking off for a honeymoon in Hawaii, Jack Z earned more praise from the Mariners’ fans for acquiring Chone Figgins, Cliff Lee and Milton Bradley, and one the MLB joined the union in asking the Marlins to spend more of their money, and presumably better? Dealin’ Neal has been at it again, letting players go and signing some more. Some love him, some hate him; in this post, we look at some of the pearls that Neal didn’t protect, letting them get away from the Pittsburgh coffers.
The Pirates rewarded Matt Capps for a great time as their closer before 2009 by non-tendering him. Many claimed that the Pirates got worse, and Capps was believed to have suitors across baseball. Well, Capps proved them wrong by joining the only team worse than the Pirates in 2009, the Washington Nationals. And if the $3.5M salary wasn’t worth it, he gets the added bonus of facing the Phillies 18 times in 2010, a team against which he gave up 7 runs in 2.1 innings pitched in 2009.
Jesse Chavez saw his value spike after the regular season ended in 2009, with the Tampa Bay Rays finding him so valuable that they gave up their slugging second baseman straight up for Chavez. That wouldn’t be the end of Chavez’s off-season travels since the Atlanta Braves belatedly realized his immense value and pulled the trigger on a trade, managing to get Chavez giving up only their closer, Rafael Soriano, who only had a 2.97 ERA, 1.057 WHIP, and a 12.1K/9 in 2009.
Luis Cruz, who has been slugging multiple run home runs to lead his team to victory unlike Garrett Jones who only slugs solo home runs to the same end, was waived. The hated Brewers swooped in, and the versatile Cruz and his charisma should easily replace the traded JJ Hardy, and maybe even the loss of their Dave-Kerwin-name-calling catcher, while the fans wait for his well-hidden major league power to shine through.
The USA-Japan hatred continued as Neal Huntington found an insidious but still-unknown way to dump Chris Bootcheck in Japan. The Japanese didn’t realize what hit them at the time, but they soon did and set to work in their meticulous manner. They couldn’t find a way past Huntington’s defenses though, and settled on his alienated brother across the state, who was reeling from blows by the Mariners who took Cliff Lee for 3 average prospects, and from having traded away 3 of his top 4 prospects for Roy Halladay. Now, the Phillies system has Ryan Vogelsong, the man!
Eric Hacker, he of the one fan, joined the SF Giants organization who added further depth to a system already boasting Lincecum, Cain and Bumgardner, and who could afford to let Scott Barnes go for a 2 month rental, and Tim Alderson go for a 2nd baseman with a gimpy knee. The SF Giants weren’t done though. They added another killer blow by signing Pedro Martinez’ cousin.
The Pirates also let Phil Dumatrait and Robinzon Diaz get away to the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers, thus thrilled even more following the Jackson-Granderson trade, went crazy hereafter, adding Jose Valverde to a $14M/2 years contract, giving up a 1st round pick in the draft.