Tuesday, December 21, 2010

BD Hot Stove: Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes | Baseball Digest

D Hot Stove: Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes | Baseball Digest

It’s time to check in on the AL East and see what progress or lack of progress the teams have made.

Champion of the Winter Meetings: The Boston Red Sox clearly claim this title. First they swung a deal to bring the powerful bat of Adrian Gonzalez to Beantown and then signed the speedy Carl Crawford to a free agent deal. Post winter meetings, GM Theo Epstein has worked on stocking the bullpen. He’s added Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler, and Matt Albers and will still look to add another lefty (Felix Doubront is the sole left-hander in the pen at the moment).

Where’d everybody go?: The Tampa Rays knew this would happen, but it still has to be painful for manager Joe Maddon to see his team being dismantled. Crawford and Wheeler are in Boston. 1st baseman Carlos Pena went to the Chicago Cubs. Shortstop Jason Bartlett was dealt to the Padres. Set up man Joaquin Benoit went to Detroit. Lefty Randy Choate signed with the Marlins. Brignac will replace Bartlett and there’s still very good starting pitching, but some major holes need to be filled.

Standing Still: The NY Yankees had a chance, but it turns out they never really had a chance, to land Cliff Lee. While Boston’s offense and pen got stronger, the Yankees have been unable to fill their biggest needs, starting pitching and bullpen help. Andy Pettitte has yet to determine if wants to play again. Kerry Wood wanted a sizable “donation” from the Yankees, but instead gave the Cubs a hometown discount. Jon Rauch should be on the Yankees radar. The Yankees did add a new starting catcher, Russell Martin, with Jorge Posada taking on full time DH duty. It remains to be seen whether or not minor leaguer Jesus Montero will have an impact in 2011.

Oh Canada: The Blue Jays dealt their top starter, Shaun Marcum, for a top 2nd base prospect in the Brewers’ Brett Lawrie. A good deal for both squads. The Blue Jays are counting on their stud, Kyle Drabek, to earn a spot in the rotation some time during the 2011 season.

The Jays lost reliable set up man/closer Scott Downs, 1st baseman Lyle Overbay, and catcher John Buck, who enjoyed his best season, to free agency. As possible additions, the Jays signed 1st baseman Mike Jacobs and outfielder Corey Patterson to minor league deals. It’ll be difficult to compete with those plusses and minuses.

Hot L Baltimore: It’s been a tough off-season for the once proud Orioles. Players just don’t want to sign with a team that has been floundering in the AL East for so long. The O’s did get shortsop J.J. Hardy in a deal with the Twins and slugger/whiffer Mark Reynolds from the Diamondbacks. The latter deal cost them David Hernandez, but dealing the pitcher for some more offense was worth it.

Rumors, News, and Transactions

The Angels have reportedly dropped out of the running, for now, for 3rd baseman Adrian Beltre. The free agent is demanding a sixth year guaranteed contract.

Brandon Webb is said to be weighing offers, with either the Rangers, Cubs, or Nationals being the right-hander’s final destination.

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