Monday, February 1, 2010

Yet Some More MLB Moves

Here are yet a few more MLB moves made over the past several days.

Outfielder Eric Byrnes signs 1-year, $400,000 deal with the Seattle Mariners

Byrnes had the best season of his career in 2007 when the Arizona Diamondbacks won the NL West. That season he enjoyed career highs in batting average, RBI, stolen bases and runs scored. But for the past two seasons, Byrnes has been plagued by injuries to his hamstrings and a broken left hand. This has resulted in Byrnes missing nearly 200 games.

Given the amount of money for which he signed this is a relatively low risk signing for the Mariners. He'll probably be used as a fourth outfielder but could come in handy if Milton Bradley doesn't pan out.

First baseman/DH Ryan Garko signs 1-year, $550,000 deal with the Mariners

Garko split the 2009 season between the Cleveland Indians and the San Francisco Giants. Look for Garko to platoon with Casey Kotchman at first base. He'll also be used occasionally as a DH. The Mariners are leaving no stone unturned. The fact that Mariners GM can sign players of the calibre of Garko and Byrnes for less than $1 million combined is pretty remarkable.

Shortstop Orlando Cabrera signs 1-year, $3 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds

I really like this move. I think Orlando Cabrera might be the most underappreciated player in the MLB. Cabrera has played in the post-season five of the last six years (2004 with the Red Sox, 2005 & 2007 with the Angels, 2008 with the White Sox and 2009 with the Twins.) The guy has tremendous energy, can hit .275, has decent power, good range in the field. He's also a clubhouse leader who has the makings of a future major league manager. If the Reds have their first winning season since 2000, Cabrera will be right in the middle of it.

Outfielder Gabe Gross signs 1-year, $750,000 deal with the Oakland Athletics

This is the fourth major league stop for Gross since making his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004. Gross has also played with the Milwaukee Brewers and most of the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. Gross was part of the 2008 AL champions with whom he hit a career high 13 home runs and 40 RBI. His experience for a recent winner could benefit many of Oakland's young players.

Cincinnati Reds trade outfielder Willy Taveras and infielder Adam Rosales to the Oakland Athletics for infielder Aaron Miles and a player to be named later

This deal confuses me somewhat. I understand Oakland obtaining Rosales as a utility infielder. In fact, Rosales is essentially a younger version of Miles who had a terrible 2009 with the Chicago Cubs hitting only .185 in 157 at bats. So why were the Reds eager to get Miles? But no sooner than Oakland acquires Taveras they designate him for assignment. He did lead the NL in stolen bases in 2008. I would have thought Taveras would have looked good in an outfield of Coco Crisp and Gabe Gross. All three have had postseason experience.

All of which begs the question who will be the player to be named later for Cincinnati.

Melvin Mora signs one-year, $1.275 million deal with the Colorado Rockies

After playing with the Baltimore Orioles for the past nine seasons, Mora is moving out west. His offensive numbers declined steeply in 2009 hitting only 8 home runs with 48 RBI after posting 23 HR and 104 RBI in 2008. Still, Mora could become the Rockies starting third baseman in 2010. Although Ian Stewart hit 25 HR with 70 RBI he hit only .228 with 138 strikeouts. On the other hand, Mora turns 38 on February 2nd while Stewart turns 25 in April. It could end up as a platoon situation with Mora in there to face left-handed pitching.

Reed Johnson signs one-year, $800,000 deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers

I'm a big Reed Johnson fan from his days with the Toronto Blue Jays. He's an excellent defensive outfielder, can hit in the .280s, hits a lot of doubles and can occasionally hit one out of the park. Johnson spent the past two seasons with the Chicago Cubs. A foot injury limited him to just 65 games in 2009. But he made what I would argue the most spectacular catch of 2009 when back in April he robbed Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder of a game tying grand slam home run. I saw this play as it happened on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. Even Fielder tipped his cap - literally.

Johnson will probably be limited to playing late inning defense in left field for Manny Ramirez. Still, the Dodgers are smart to sign him.

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