Inside MLB | MLB offseason recap: Dollars and players fly
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 08:02
It feels like just yesterday that the beards of the 2013 World Series champion Boston Red Sox were parading down Boylston Street. But with pitchers and catchers already at spring training, the 2014 season is near. During this time of year an opportunity for hope arises. Managers feel their team has improved in the offseason, and are optimistic they are a World Series contender. As opening day approaches, the Daily recaps the biggest stories of the 2014 offseason.
Robinson Cano Signs 10-Year Deal with Seattle
The Mariners landed the prize of the 2014 free-agent class, signing the MLB’s best second basement to a 10-year, $240 million deal, outbidding the New York Yankees by more than $70 million. In prying Cano away from the Bronx Bombers, the Mariners got one of the best hitters in the game to man the middle of their order.
Cano has averaged 29 home runs and 106 RBIs while hitting .310 over the past three seasons in New York. He will add some much needed punch to a weak Seattle lineup that ranked in the bottom third of the league last season in runs, hits and on-base percentage.
In the field, Cano is as steady-handed as they come, combining smooth hands with a superb throwing arm that has led to two Gold Gloves awards. It still remains to be seen if Seattle has enough talent to compete in the tough AL West, but signing Cano is definitely a step in the right direction.
The New York Yankees Spending Frenzy
Not to be outdone by the Mariners, the Yankees have had their own spending spree this offseason.
Last time the Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008, they reacted by shelling out over $400 million in the offseason to sign CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira -- which led to their 2009 World Series Championship.
Following suit, general manager Brian Cashman has given out over $450 million worth of contracts this offseason, hoping to catapult the Yankees back into title contention. Entering the offseason with a major hole in its starting rotation, New York went out and signed the best pitcher on the market, Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka, who figures to slot in nicely in the top half of the rotation.
They also shored up their offense with the additions of center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, right fielder Carlos Beltran and catcher Brian McCann. With Ellsbury, the Yankees get arguably the best lead-off hitter in the game who also has unmatched skills on the base paths. McCann’s power from the left side will play nicely with the short porch in Yankees Stadium.
While there still are a few holes to fill in the Yankee infield, it seems New York is in good position to compete for a spot in the 2014 playoffs.
Blockbuster Deals in Texas
Following back-to-back appearances in the World Series, the Texas Rangers took a step back, failing to make the postseason in 2013. Needing to shake things up, the Rangers made the first blockbuster move of the offseason dealing second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers for powerful first baseman Prince Fielder. While Fielder had a down year by his standards in 2013, he’s only 29-years-old and stands to benefit from the friendly confines of the Arlington Ballpark. Furthermore, despite his size, Fielder has proven to be among the most durable players in baseball, playing in at least 157 games each season since he became a starter in 2006. Kinsler, on the other hand, has begun regressing as he turns 32 this season, and with superstar prospect Jurickson Profar waiting in the wings, he became expendable.
The Rangers, however, weren’t done dealing there. With Nelson Cruz’s contract expiring, the team went out and signed Shin-Soo Choo to a $130 million deal. Choo will be among the top 15 outfielders in baseball this season while providing elite on-base skills to stabilize the top of the Rangers’ lineup.
The End of the Alex Rodriguez Saga
The Alex Rodriguez saga finally came to an end about a month ago, when he accepted the 162-game suspension given by baseball. A-Rod ran out of people to blame, and finally came to terms with the fact that it was essentially impossible to overturn the arbitrator’s ruling. While he has yet to admit to his involvement in Tony Bosch’s Biogenesis ring, Rodriguez has come to terms with the fact he won’t take the field in 2014, so the rest of the baseball world can refocus their energy to on the field activities.