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Mike Napoli

MLB Winter Meeting Wrap-Up – New Signings, Fact or Fiction?


The MLB winter meetings have adjourned, and even though OF Josh Hamilton and SP Zack Greinke–the two best free agents on the market–still remain unsigned, several key players made themselves some solid scratch joining new teams. 
Of course, we had our usual mixed bags of bone-head deals and virtuoso acquisitions. Some new contracts screamed “Fiction!”, while other ones roared “Fact”. That being said, let’s take a look at the best and worst signings–MAMBINO certified–of the MLB Winter Meetings.
FACT
Seattle Mariners get:  OF Jason Bay
Jason Bay gets: 1 year, $1 million (plus $2 million in incentives), another chance at relevancy
It’s no secret; Jason Bay could very well be finished as an everyday baseball player. After a monster year and a half in Boston where he hit 47 home runs with 46 additional extra-base hits and a 7th place MVP finish in 2009, Bay signed a 4-year, $66 million dollar contract with the pre-Mayan Disaster Mets. In the next three seasons, the Canadian outfielder had only 26 jakks and 47 extra-base hits, missing almost 200 games due to various injuries. The Mets, hurting for offensive talent in the worst way, thought they’d gain more by simply buying Bay out of his last contract year, and allowing younger, albeit more inexperienced and lower ceiling players to get reps instead. Essentially, the Mets paid Bay to go away, which is what I’ll say while I’m eating hay on this fine day.
After being hit with injury after injury, including a post-concussion symptoms and oblique issues, the now former Met reminded people more of MAMBINO whipping boy Endy Chavez than Jason Bay. However, he’s only 34 years old, has a keen batting eye and knows that this will be his last major league contract if he doesn’t produce. For the risk that the offense-strapped Mariners took, which is extremely low, this could end up paying huge dividends. From a sheer risk/reward ratio, this was a fantastic signing for Seattle.
FICTION
Anaheim Angels get: SP Joe Blanton
Joe Blanton gets: 2 years, $15 million, laughter of Phillies and Dodgers fans everywhere
Let’s be straight here; Joe Blanton isn’t terrible. He’s just wildly, incredibly, steadfastly mediocre. He’s thrown at least 175 innings every year of his career but one, but has averaged 200 innings on the whole. Blanton won’t wow you in any fashion: he’s strikes out a solid but unspectacular 6 per 9 innings and generally limits his walks to 2 per 9 innings. As was pointed out to me my ardent Halos fan and my Silver Screen and Roll colleague Ben, Blanton’s advance metrics point to the fact that his ERA wasn’t nearly as bad as his Dodgers’ mark of 4.99–he simply was unlucky. However, when you look at his numbers the pas
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2013 Free Agency for the newly-bought LA Dodgers

We can’t wipe the smiles off our faces over here at MAMBINO. The reign of Frank McCourt has come to it’s unofficial end, with the paperwork ready to be drawn up and stamped. We will all breathe easier knowing that the autocratic rule of one of the most disgraced owners in professional sports will soon be a but a bad memory. I’ve truly never wanted to move past anything more than this, ex-girlfriends included.

That last sentence obviously was untrue.

For weeks this winter, the chatter on the interweb was that the Dodgers were secretly in the running for first baseman Prince Fielder, a power-hitting whale (of a human), whose massive presence both on the field and in the line-up was the exact addition LA so desperately needed. The offer never turned into anything more than that, sadly, as Fielder and his agent Scott Boras signed a massive 9-year, $214 million dollar deal with the Detroit Tigers, a deal that I don’t necessarily think makes the Tigers into a title contender. Nevertheless, Prince is now a Tiger, and my dreams of a make-good 1-year deal is off the table.

As we stated in our 2012 Dodgers Preview, the team just can’t be considered a contender this year. They face deficits in their starting rotation, every infield position and at least 1 corner outfield spot. Playoffs are simply out of the question for this October. Except for aiming at a .500 record retaining our dignity, the 2012 season will largely be the Dodgers’ front office holding a 162-game audition for the 2013 edition of the boys in blue. GM Ned Colleti and company will see which players would be able to impact a championship-caliber team going forward, and which men should be sold off for prospects and future considerations.

That all being said, let’s look towards winter 2012-2013, when the Dodgers will ride Guggenheim Partners checkbook in landing the big players on the free agent market. Mark Walter, Stan Kasten, and of course, Magic Johnson know they have to make a big national splash, one that says “THE DODGERS ARE BACK”, which will sadly be the next major LA marketing campaign (just envision that Billboard on the 10 Freeway – I’d put even odds on it happening).

Who will the free agents be? Who will be the next Los Angeles Dodger? Here is the list of 2013 free agents so far, courtesy of MAMBINO-approved superblog mlbtraderumors.com. From it, we’ve cherry-picked the very best free agents that the new and improved Los Angeles Dodgers will most likely be after:

1). Cole Hamels, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies
With a bullet. The fastest bullet that’s ever existed. Like, one of those talking bullets from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” One of those.

His deal: Cole Hamels is going to be, without a doubt, the most sought-after free agent on the market. He’s one of the 10 best pitchers in the league (CC-Verlander-Halladay-Felix-Clayton-Cliff Lee-Lincecum-Weaver-Wainwright-Hamels? Challenge!) and everyone is going to be after him. I’d say the likely suitors are the Phillies, Yankees (just because), Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Texas, Chicago Cubs and the Dodgers.

Why the Dodgers want him: Because he’s one of the 10 best pitchers in the league. LA has a rotation of guys that are chock full of 3, 4 and 5 starting pitchers, rather than a potential 1 or 2 type of guy. NL Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw has finally come into the ace we all thought he’d be one day, but behind him are guys like Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly. Cole Hamels would give the Dodgers a 1-2 … Read more...