Friday, December 31, 2010

BD Hot Stove: 2010, A Look Back At Wheeling and Dealing | Baseball Digest

BD Hot Stove: 2010, A Look Back At Wheeling and Dealing | Baseball Digest

t’s the final day of 2010 (for me personally this year went very fast.) and as many of you know it is customary this time of year to take a look back at events of the closing year. For the Baseball Digest Hot Stove column that means pondering the best moves in major league baseball over the past year.

The Cliff Lee double whammy: Seattle realized they weren’t going anywhere as the trade deadline approached in 2010, so they worked out one deal with the Yankees, and then went with a trade they felt was better for them in the short and long run. The Mariners landed slugger Justin Smoak and the Rangers got themselves a pitcher that led them to the World Series.

Then it was the Phillies turn to land Lee, bringing him back to the team he helped them to the 2009 World Series, and in the process set up a killer rotation with Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels.

Roy Meet Roy: Long before re-acquiring Lee, the Phillies first dealt J.A. Happ and two minor leaguers last July to the Astros for Oswalt. The veteran right-hander, who had spent a decade with Houston, went 7-1, 1.74 after the trade to help the Phillies win their fourth consecutive NL East division.

Boston Bashers: The Red Sox lost Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre from a lineup that was beset by injuries in 2010. GM Theo Epstein dealt for 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez and signed outfielder Carl Crawford to a long term deal. He also attempted to shore up the bullpen by signing Bobby Jenks.

The Team With Big Shoulders: The White Sox prepped for the 2011 season by re-signing Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski and inked slugger Adam Dunn to a free agent deal. GM Kenny Williams also acquired starter Edwin Jackson at the trade deadline and cut bait with the inconsistent Jenks.

Lilly Loves LA: The Dodgers acquired Ted Lilly too little late for the 2010 season, but then signed him to a new deal for 2011. They also went out and got Jon Garland on the cheap ($5M for one year) and re-signed Vincente Padilla to team with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley to create a formidable rotation.

A New Year’s Memory

On December 31, 1974 George Steinbrenner began his assault on the free agent market. I had just gotten into the car with family after seeing “Freebie and the Bean” in the movie theater. The radio was on and the sports report was beginning. The Yankees had just signed Jim “Catfish” Hunter to a five year, $3.75M contract. By today’s standards it was a mere pittance, but at the time it was a huge amount of money. The length of the contract was quite a committment as well. But signing one of the best pitchers/biggest winners in the game was a monumental move for the the Yankees. Yes, even a better move than signing Reggie Jackson two years later.

Hunter taught his teammates how to win, how to carry themselves with class, what it means to “want the baseball” in the big spot, and to be a team. His deal also opened the way for many free agent deals, not only with the Yankees, but for all of baseball.

Rumors News and Transactions

The Mariners shopping of closer David Aardsma ground to halt when it was discovered the righty needed to have a surgery Monday for a torn hip labrum. Aardsma is expected to start throwing again a month after surgery and hopes to ready for the start of the season.

Shortstop Edgar Renteria has decided he wants to play two years, but still hasn’t decided where to play. The Reds are the latest team he has spoken with.

The Royals inked former Tigers’ left-hander Zach Miner to a minor league deal.

Bartolo Colon, attempting to make a comeback, said that the Yankees, Rangers, and the Indians have recently shown some interest in him.

From everyone here at, we wish a very Happy, Healthy, and Safe New Year!

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