Let me begin by apologizing that this is a day late. I was stuck traveling yesterday (thank you snow storm and the flight delays that came with you) and was unable to post this. Nevertheless, here are the top four moves of the past week.
The Houston Astros could contend this season! No, not for the American League West title, but for winning more than 62 games (not losing 100 games for a fourth consecutive season). Yes I know that does not sound like much of an accomplishment, just remember you have to start somewhere to build a winning team. The trade for Dexter Fowler from the Colorado Rockies was the first move in the long march towards building a winning team again. Fowler has the speed to play an excellent outfield, thus saving some runs for the Astros’ pitching staff. His speed will also help to manufacture some runs, which should keep Houston in more games this season, and thus win more games. Is Dexter Fowler the cure for what ails the Astros? No, but he is a critical step towards finding the cure.
The Miami Marlins, yes Miami still has a Major League team, made two separate deals this week that could result in South Florida seeing a more respectable team on the field in 2014. The signing of Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three year, $21 million deal should improve the Marlins offense by providing some protection for Giancarlo Stanton. It also gives a veteran voice to the locker room and experience to work with the young pitching staff. Jose Fernandez just got better. The marlins also signed middle infielder Rafael Furcal to a one year deal. Again this adds some veteran leadership to the team and it also allows the Marlins to continue developing their prospects in the Minor Leagues for an additional year. Furcal missed all of recovering from Tommy John surgery, so he may be a bit rusty early in the year. However he is a low risk, high reward signing for the Marlins. This could be the beginning of the Marlins rebirth, but I would not get too excited yet because we have seen the fire sales which have happened before.
Seven years and $153 million. That is what it took for Jacoby Ellsbury to go from Red Sox nation to the Evil Empire that is the New York Yankees. Ellsbury most likely be the normal member of the Bronx Bombers, as he does not traditionally hit for a ton of power. However this could change in Yankee Stadium, where everyone suddenly becomes a home run hitter. Ellsbury’s value is in his legs. He hits for a high average, gets on base a lot and steals a ton of bases. This distracts pitchers and could prove valuable for the rest of the Yankees line up. Fewer balls will drop in the Yankee outfield as well, thus saving runs for the some times suspect Yankee pitching staff. Overall I think it is a good deal for both sides, Ellsbury gets the money he wants and the Yankees get an elite player but do not have to sign him until he starts receiving Social Security checks.
In case you have not heard Robinson Cano has left the building. He signed a ten year, $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners. Just like with the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, you can never be mad at a guy for making as much money as he possibly can. However, the Mariners may be wishing they had not signed Cano to such a long contract as it gets closer to the end of the deal and Cano’s career. Cano is an elite player, but I doubt he is going to provide the power the mariners signed him for throughout the contract. I unfortunately see it as becoming a hindrance to the Mariners remaining competitive towards the end of the deal and Cano being the final blow to the ten year contract in Major League Baseball.