Justin Upton a smart bet for Padres 

December, 19, 2014
Dec 19
12:53
PM ET
Justin UptonDale Zanine/USA TODAY SportsJustin Upton is a smart bet for the Padres, who didn't lose either of their top two prospects.
The Padres just keep making transactions -- I feel like they're about to get in a waiver-wire war over Tim Pugh -- to the point where they seem to have too many cooks in their lineup, but acquiring Justin Upton is a smart bet on a great athlete who hasn't reached his potential. Atlanta couldn't retain Upton long-term anyway, so they cashed him in for a solid package of prospects to help them a few years down the line.

Upton's career hasn't quite matched expectations;

Derek Norris deal a win for both sides 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
11:00
PM ET
Derek NorrisBrad Mangin/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesCatcher Derek Norris is headed from Oakland to San Diego.
The Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres, both among the more hyperactive front offices so far this offseason, made a swap on Thursday night that managed to address a critical weakness on both sides. The A's probably get more value in the end, but the Padres get a catcher with a rare offensive skill set and some further growth potential remaining.

Derek Norris is a perfect part-time catcher and first baseman for a team desperate to add some offense -- the 2014 Padres were a few hundred runs below the poverty line -- at just about any position. Norris rakes against left-handed pitching,

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Nationals make out like bandits in trade 

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
9:29
PM ET
Wil MyersTom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesWil Myers is the big name in Wednesday's deal, but the Nationals made out the best.
Today's three-team, 11-player trade was a rarity for its focus on young players, both major leaguers and prospects, with just two backup catchers as the veterans in the deal. The San Diego Padres got something they wanted, but at a substantial cost; the Washington Nationals seemed to make out like bandits in a de facto one-for-two swap; and the Tampa Bay Rays appeared to be much lower on Wil Myers and higher on Steven Souza than the rest of the industry.

San Diego's haul

The Padres get a tremendous buy-low opportunity here with Myers, who turned 24 last week with less than two years of major league service so far.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Astros make a nice pickup; Royals don't 

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
3:16
PM ET
Jed LowrieJoe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsHe might not be able to stick at SS, but Jed Lowrie is a good short-term upgrade there for the Astros.
Jed Lowrie has agreed to terms with the Houston Astros and will be paid about what I expected, getting three years and $23 million with a fourth-year option for another $5 million. It's a deal that underpays him based on expected performance but prices in his injury risk and the probability that he's not able to stay at shortstop for the entire deal.

The Astros did need a better shortstop solution in the short term, with Jonathan Villar, who still has the potential to be at least a quality backup infielder, showing no progress at the plate over two partial years in the majors.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Chase Headley a solid re-sign for Yankees 

December, 15, 2014
Dec 15
12:29
PM ET
The Yankees have all kinds of issues with their infield right now, and while re-signing Chase Headley -- which they did today for four years and $52 million -- doesn't solve the age problem, he's a very good (and slightly underrated, at least by fans) player who

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Cabrera an overpaid upgrade for Chicago 

December, 14, 2014
Dec 14
6:21
PM ET
Melky CabreraKevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsThe White Sox paid a lot to land Melky Cabrera, but he fills a need.
I've liked what the Chicago White Sox have done so far this offseason, as they've repositioned the major league club to make it more competitive while the Detroit Tigers, winners of four straight American League Central titles, seem to be sliding back toward the rest of the division. Adding Jeff Samardzija improved the rotation without hurting the major league roster and with minimal damage to the farm system, and while their two relief additions were too expensive, they did upgrade the worst non-Astros bullpen in the American League.

With Adam LaRoche on for part-time DH duty and the chance that Carlos Rodon sees the big leagues this summer, the White Sox are a much more watchable club and have given themselves a chance to remain relevant into September and possibly, with some luck, even October.

That's the explanation I can see to justify giving Melky Cabrera, a useful but flawed regular in left field, a three-year, $42-43.5 million deal to replace Dayan Viciedo, who now has more than 3,000 pro plate appearances in the United States that tell us he's just not a very good hitter.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Moving Rollins the right move for Philly 

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
3:15
PM ET
Jimmy RollinsAP Photo/Charlie NeibergallThe Dodgers got exactly what they needed in Jimmy Rollins. And Philly did the right thing.
The Philadelphia Phillies threw up the black flag about a year or so too late, but appear to be finally acknowledging that their major league roster was too damaged to repair and that it was time to begin the process of weeding out the old guard. In trading Jimmy Rollins, their icon shortstop and one of the best players in franchise history, they've taken a critical first step in turning the page on the 2008-09 pennant winners so that the next season isn't wasted again on a team that can't go anywhere.

Rollins, 36, is exactly what the Dodgers need

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Mat Latos could be bargain for Marlins 

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
2:48
PM ET
The Reds needed to clear some payroll to be able to make more changes to the major league roster, and moving Mat Latos, which they did Thursday, seemed to be a priority given dissatisfaction in Cincinnati with his makeup and the shoulder issues that cut his 2014 output in half. Those variables are probably what led to such a light return for him

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Kemp's not cheap, but Padres get a bat 

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
2:23
PM ET
Matt KempJeff Curry/USA TODAY SportsMatt Kemp will play a key role in boosting the Padres' weak offense.
The Padres' 2014 offense was one of the worst in big league history, and acquiring Matt Kemp is a huge boost toward fixing that weakness (although I'm not sure that any one player, even Mike Trout, could do that by himself). Padres left fielders hit .229/.318/.366 in 2014 -- and that was their most productive outfield position. Kemp's bat alone is a three- to four-win upgrade if he just has a solid, healthy Kemp season, with the nonzero chance that he produces a lot more now that his shoulder issues seem to be behind him. In total, the deal the Dodgers and Padres agreed to terms on sends Kemp along with catcher Tim Federowicz to San Diego. The Dodgers will receive catcher Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland and right-handed pitching prospect Zach Eflin.

The issue

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Red Sox, Tigers address needs Thursday 

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
12:56
PM ET
Rick Porcello, Yoenis Cespedes USA TODAY SportsThe Red Sox-Tigers trade involving Rick Porcello and Yoenis Cespedes made sense for both sides.
The Red Sox's need for starting pitching drove them to trade for Wade Miley on Wednesday and now has led them to cash in some of their outfield surplus to land Rick Porcello, the somewhat forgotten member of the vaunted Tigers' rotation. Porcello reached the majors very young but has evolved as a pitcher over the past four years, although it hasn't been a linear process. He reintroduced his curveball, his best pitch as an amateur, in 2013, and it's a much better breaking ball than the slider that had given him trouble prior to that. He also has decreased his emphasis on using the two-seamer to get ground balls, perhaps a reaction to Detroit running out some below-average infielders behind him in his tenure there.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

A rebuild of Boston's rotation begins 

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
11:36
AM ET
Wade MileyMatt Kartozian/USA TODAY SportsThe Red Sox acquired lefty starter Wade Miley, a 2012 NL All-Star, on Wednesday.
The Red Sox need major league starters badly, front-line guys and mid-rotation horses, preferably with some years of control involved. Left-hander Wade Miley has three years left, all arbitration years, and has thrown right around 200 innings in each of his three full seasons in the majors. He throws both four- and two-seam fastballs, a slider and a changeup, and depending on the day, you might see either of the secondary pitches become his main out pitch.

He was most successful as a command-and-control guy in his rookie season, but when he missed more bats this past year, he also nearly doubled his walk rate while getting little help from a mediocre Arizona defense.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Dodgers' creativity prevails Wednesday 

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
1:34
AM ET
Howie Kendrick Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY SportsAfter nine years with the Angels, Howie Kendrick will head across town to play for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers created an opening at second base with their trade of Dee Gordon to the Miami Marlins early in the day Wednesday, and filling it with Howie Kendrick was a quick one-or two-win upgrade over what they could have reasonably expected from Gordon in 2015. Kendrick is a much better defender than Gordon and also a better contact hitter, even if he never quite lived up to the expectations placed on him as a prospect because he has never been patient enough to work the count. Kendrick's walk rate spiked in 2014, and if that's a skill change rather than a fluke, he'll be one of the majors' top second basemen and a bargain at $9 million for the year.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Dodgers did well to trade Dee Gordon 

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
9:54
PM ET
Dee GordonAP Photo/Jayne Kamin-OnceaDee Gordon led the majors in steals, but posted a lower WAR than Scott Van Slyke, among others.
The Los Angeles Dodgers need a shortstop, so of course they traded their second baseman. Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins needed a second baseman and got one, but I think the price they paid exceeds what they got in return.

In Dee Gordon, the Marlins get an everyday second baseman and clear upgrade over what they ran out there in 2014, a 1.5-2 win upgrade depending on Gordon's bat.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

'Lovable losers' are winning this offseason 

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
2:46
AM ET
Jon LesterAP Photo/Charlie RiedelThe Cubs reportedly have agreed to terms with Jon Lester on a six-year, $155 million contract.
I said in early August the Cubs were two very good starting pitchers from contention in 2015. Well, they just landed one of those two starters, and given the alternatives out there in free agency and on the trade market, this was the guy they more or less had to get to make that push toward contention a reality for 2015 and beyond.

Jon Lester is coming off his best season to date, with a career-low ERA and walk rate, as well as his highest strikeout rate since 2010 (though everyone's strikeout rates have been rising).

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Liriano, Pirates take the safe route 

December, 9, 2014
Dec 9
10:53
PM ET
Francisco LirianoCharles LeClaire/USA TODAY SportsFrancisco Liriano has posted a 3.20 ERA with 338 strikeouts in 323 1/3 innings with the Pirates.
The Pittsburgh Pirates' re-signing of Francisco Liriano looks like a preemptive strike to lock him up before Jon Lester signs some kind of seven-year, $172 million deal that sends the losers in that market scurrying for the next-best available lefty. It also ensures they'll have the 2013 band back together, thanks to the return of A.J. Burnett on a one-year (discounted) deal, giving them a full rotation to start the year and an extra starter once Charlie Morton returns. This team has built its success around run prevention over the past two years, and they don't seem to see a need to change that strategy.

The surprising bit here is that the Pirates made this deal yet weren't willing to give Burnett $14.1 million last winter, choosing not to make him a qualifying offer and losing him as a free agent to the Philadelphia Phillies.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES