Some quick takes on recent baseball news...
- I like Jonah Keri's take on the Marlins/Blue Jays trade in his appropriately titled piece, "There's Shrewd, There's Genius, Then There's Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria". After all the hand ringing and righteous indignation, the Marlins made some good baseball trades and unloaded a bunch of bad contracts. And baseball needs its villains and I'm sure Loria is fine with being one.
Thing is, the Marlins weren't going to win with the players they had, at least not for the foreseeable future. Last offseason, they signed Reyes, Buehrle, and Heath Bell while narrowly whiffing on Albert Pujols, breaking the bank in an attempt to build an exciting, winning team as they moved into a new ballpark. After all that, they won 69 games, finishing second to last in the National League in runs scored while allowing more runs than all but four other NL clubs. Free agents tend to produce their best results early in long-term deals, while they're still at or near their prime, then fall off in later years. The Marlins got productive Year 1 performances from Reyes and Buehrle, bundled them with a talented but hugely injury-prone pitcher in Johnson plus a couple of fungible veterans, and cashed them in for some intriguing prospects, plus the GDP of a Pacific island nation in salary relief.
Better to realize your mistakes and move on quickly then compound them. Stadium financing and local politics are their own issue. The Blue Jays did alright, they certainly acquired some talent and will pay dearly in Canadian dollars for it. If Josh Johnson is healthy and pitching like Josh Johnson and if Jose Reyes doesn't blow out his legs on the turf, they'll certainly be right in the mix with the rest of the talented A.L. East.
- The Tigers signed Torii Hunter for 2/$26M today. He'll probably have his pick of left or right field with the departure of Delmon Young. The Tigers are in the position of win it now, so a short deal for a 37-year old isn't all that foolish and Hunter's value seems to extend to the clubhouse. Of course, last year was the first time he topped .300 in his career and safe money would be on a steep decline soon to come. To pile on, Pete Abraham had an interesting tweet.
Hunter last season: .817 OPS, 16 homers, 92 RBIs. Cody Ross last season: .807 OPS, 22 homers, 81 RBIs. 5 years younger, too
- This year's "Managers of the Teams We Completely Undersold in the Pre-Season" were awarded to Davey Johnson and Bob Melvin. I have no comment other than it's still the dumbest award out there. There is absolutely no criteria beyond there teams were expected to suck and they did not suck, so it must be the manager.
- Back to the Marlins, saw some folks chirping about Cubs making a call for Ricky Nolasco while the Marlins are in payroll dump mode (he's owed $11.5M for 2013). Here's a reminder of his ERA+ starting from 2006: 90, 81, 124, 85, 92, 84, 88. Let's never speak of it again.