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Sunday, January 26, 2014
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The additions of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran more than offset the loss of Robinson Cano from the lineup — assuming they all stay healthy — and, if nothing else, thrust the Yankees into the winter “winners” category as one of the clubs that did the most to improve themselves. Problem with the Yankees was they had a whole lot more improving to do than most of their rivals, and even with their Tanaka-McCann-Ellsbury-Beltran booty, they remain a team with major question marks at all four infield positions, the bullpen and still the starting rotation, unless you really believe Tanaka is going to step right in and pitch like a $155 million ace.
...The Red Sox, seemingly resting on their laurels from last year’s smashing offseason, lost one of their most important players, Jacoby Ellsbury, along with Drew and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to free agency and so far have signed only creaky-kneed Grady Sizemore as a hoped-for platoon center fielder. However, we’re still betting Drew goes back to them on a two-year deal. The Orioles, who badly need starting pitching, a closer and another bat, have done nothing this winter other than back out of deals with players failing physicals. After Baltimore did just that with Balfour and then outfielder Tyler Colvin last week, why would any free agent dare to engage the Orioles? The Blue Jays, despite having the worst starting pitching in baseball last year, were not in on Tanaka and have been curiously passive with all the other free agent starters.
The Cubs kept their bankroll in their pockets all winter, anticipating they would win the Tanaka sweepstakes, and now that they’re left empty-handed, their Opening Day starter, Jeff Samardzija, is again expressing a reluctance to sign long-term with them. Wrigley Field attendance has been gradually declining with each succeeding last-place season — to a 15-year low of 2.6 million last year — and now figures to drop even lower in 2014. As for the Reds, whose most notable offseason acquisition has been utilityman Skip Schumaker, it’s a wonder if maybe they’re feeling choked by the $225 million Joey Votto contract, just as they were years back by Ken Griffey Jr.’s. How else to explain not even making Arroyo, the most durable starter in baseball over the last decade, a qualifying offer?
Posted: January 26, 2014 at 09:50 AM | 29 comment(s)
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