While the White Sox busied themselves with restoring their stockpile of catchers to their original 2013 levels, other teams kinda went nuts before the non-tender deadline.
Tigers and Nationals
Dave Dombrowski continued his eventful, curious offseason by trading Doug Fister to Washington for promising lefty starter Robbie Ray, left-handed reliever Ian Krol, and utiltyman Steven Lombardozzi. Baseball Twitter basically erupted in confusion for a few reasons, all valid:
- The Tigers are in a win-now situation, and Fister is rock-solid in the middle of the rotation. He doesn't have gaudy win-loss records, but his numbers could easily support them.
- Ray has potential ... to be as good as Fister is now.
- If Detroit wanted to open up a spot for Drew Smyly, Rick Porcello is movable.
Plus, Scott Kazmir just got a $22 million contract. Fister, who has two arbitration years remaining, will make something like $17 million over the same period. That seems like it should be worth more than a one-for-one-plus deal.
In Detroit's favor, Dombrowski's crew has a really good eye for other teams' talent, so perhaps getting Ray was paramount. It also suggests that the Tigers aren't done making huge moves, so I don't think this one deserves instant judgment. Instant questioning? Well, yeah.
Athletics (and Orioles)
Billy Beane spent quite a bit of money -- or at least allocated it -- toward two pitchers. He signed Kazmir for two years and $22 million, then pulled a late-night trade for Baltimore closer Jim Johnson, sending Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later to the Orioles.
Kazmir looked done two years ago, and now he's got a lucrative two-year deal because Bartolo Colon is in line for an even bigger payday. There's been a ton of movement on the No. 3-5 starters (Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Jason Vargas, etc.), and very little action on the top-tier guys. The struggle to find a workable posting system with NPB is holding up the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes, so Matt Garza and friends have to wait.
Consecutive 50-save seasons put Johnson in line for an estimated $11 million in his final year of arbitration, but nine blown saves and eight losses made his status a popular argument topic in Baltimore. That's a lot of money for a reliever with pedestrian strikeout numbers, so Dan Duquette decided to flip him to Oakland for Weeks, who is in need of a change of scenery.
Signed Michael J. Monster, which sounds more like a Teen Wolf knock-off than a right-handed pitcher.
Washington State's favorite son returns, as Willie Bloomquist parlayed two batting-average-dependent years in Arizona for a two-year, $5.8 million deal with the Mariners. Lookout Landing and USS Mariner are, predictably, not excited.
The link between A.J. Pierzynski and the Twins seemed to fray on Monday, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press said that Pierzynski is looking for multiple years. On top of that, even if he had to settle for one year, one of his sources says Pierzynski doesn't have an interest in returning to Minnesota.
The free agent market narrowed further when the Blue Jays signed Dioner Navarro to a two-year, $8 million contract. That allowed them to non-tender J. P. Arencibia, who posted a .227 OBP in 2013 and didn't respond to criticism too well.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia doesn't look like a good bet to return to the Red Sox, because who can compete with the Marlins' open wallets?
Non-tenders of note
Arencibia was one of 40 players who became free agents after not receiving a contract on Monday. Others interesting names, for one reason or another:
- Daniel Hudson
- Chris Getz
- Ryan Webb
- Jerome Williams
- Ronald Belisario
- Chris Coghlan
- Andrew Bailey
- Jayson Nix