The White Sox have acquired Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox For Zach Stewart and Brent Lillibridge. From the Boston aspect of the deal, Will Middlebrooks was doing to good to send down and Youk’s time had run out in Boston as Middlebrooks was doing better and a better fit moving forward, Boston got some great years and moments out of Youkilis and he was one of the better Red Sox in their 2000’s history. They got Zach Stewart, a top pitching prospect with a good arm, who may not be as good as he was once touted to be but he could fill in as a four or five guy or a power bullpen arm one day, he was a nice, decent piece for the Red Sox in the deal. The Red Sox also got Brent Lillibridge, who can play outfield and infield and should continue to do what he’s done with the White Sox, although in Boston his power could get a bit better. The teams that didn’t get Youk are the Pirates,w ho I think should have tried hard for him, the Dodgers who he would have helped but didn’t lose out on as much or the Indians, where he could have been a nice piece. Though the Tigers should still overtake the White Sox, their line-up is good enough to stay in the race with Detroit now and the Tigers need to beat them. Youkilis needed a change of scenery and the White Sox are a good fit, he;s still in a hitter friendly park and though his numbers have a downward trend, he should make it go upward and even if he doesn;t, he will still be productive and be a huge upgrade over Morel and Hudson at third. Youkilis should continue being an all-star in Chicago and it was a key and real good acquisition for the White Sox, Dunn, Konerko, and Youk will be pretty good for them, but I still don;t think it’ll be enough. I’d hit Youkilis fifth, like he did some of his time in Boston, but second isn;t a bad slot for him either.
Marlon Byrd is returning to the AL, getting traded from the Cubs to Red Sox. The last time Byrd played in the AL, he had his career year in 2009 with the Rangers and he wasn’t that bad in 2007 or 2008 either. The traded happened almost two weeks ago, but I wanted to sample his first 10 games and so far he has lived up to what he can do in the AL. He’s hitting .308 and that could be a constant and he will replace Ellsbury well, and when Jacoby comes back he should played right. He won’t be as good as he was from 2007-09 but he will do well and his extra base hits will rise and he will hit some homers in Fenway. He will play a good center fielder for the Red Sox too, He should help and he should do better than Sweeney and be almost as good as Ross. Byrd should have more good AB’s with the Red Sox and be himself again. The Cubs were just a bad fit for Byrd and he’s in a good place all around again and I think he will have a strong finish and help the Sox and his market value. Good move by the Red Sox
The Tigers are a great team and have a great chance to win the World Series but they have some small holes and here are some moves that may help some, but I wouldn’t make all of them or maybe none but all could work. I would only do 1 of the following trades for sure too.
- Sign a Slugger for the Bench Magglio Ordonez needs a team and the Tigers need a DH, it may be his best option and he could just start 3 or 4 times a week and be a pretty good player. Marcus Thames could do the same , except on a smaller scale and has done very well in Detroit and could have a great year for the Tigers. Xavier Nady is a good bench player to think about too. If I signed on of them it’d be to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training and my choice of player would be Ordonez, Thames then Nady
- Sign A Relief Pitcher- Just as an insurance option, especially with Albuquerque out until mid-July. Michael Wuertz is one of the better options, but David Aardsma is younger and better and then there is always Mike Gonzalez who is pretty good and could have a good year. I’d take Aardsma, Gonzalez and then Wuertz in that order and sign them to a minor league deal with an invite once again, if I signed one of them
- Trade for Chone Figgins in exchange for 8 million dollars and SS Cale Iorg- The M’s may dump him but it seems as if he may hit leadoff, which may help him get better but if he falters during Spring this could work, the M’s get a once promising prospect who may just need a new teams and dump Figgins and the Tigers get a great second baseman and a guy who has speed and could return to his old self, for the most part
- Tigers Acquire Jeff Baker from Cubs for RP Dan Bennett and 1B Ryan Strieby- The Cubs get a power hitter who may do well at Wrigley and a guy who could contribute to the bullpen in a few years and the Tigers get a good hitting, decent fielding second baseman who has some pop too and could play other potions and hit well second or at the bottom of the order.
- Tigers get Carlos Lee from Astros for OF Jamie Johnson, RP Kenny Faulk, and SP Kyle Ryan- Some good prospects for a slugger the Tigers need, biggest deal but wouldn’t go down until July and if the Tigers really need him.
- The Cubs have signed Paul Maholm, rounding out a rebuilding rotation that figures to do okay. He will join Dempeter, Garza, Volsatd, Randy Wells, and Travis Wood. Garza is likely to be dealt. Maholm is probably the second best without Garza, behind Dempster and not by much. He may have better stats this year and should have good stats no matter what. Maholm isn’t great and never will be but he’s an ideal number four who can be more at times and even though he’s moving to Wrigley, which will hurt a little, he could build on his success last year and even if he does decline he will still do well and be an innings eater. It’s a good deal for one year and a good one for two. He should earn his money if not more and could have a pretty good 2012 or at least part of it. His stats should be good and a WAr of 1.75 isn’t out of reason and maybe a little higher.
- Jason Frasor was re-acquired by the Blue Jays from the White Sox and he will be a good arm in the bullpen and do what he always has in Toronto, he will be another good, late inning guy and I like him. He won;t pitch like he did in Chicago but like he did in Toronto. The Jays gave up Myles Jaye, who is a toss up but has been good so far and has upside and Daniel Webb, who I don;t see going anywhere, both are pitchers. EDGE: Jays
The Padres got Carlos Quentin in a deal for Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez. I like Castro, but his lack of pitches could hurt in the long run and he may have a good year or maybe a few but I get the feeling he will be inconsistent, sort of like a right-handed version of Liriano but I like him and his fastball and if he gets some more pitches he could be good, although I don;t like him in US Cellular. Hernandez may be a good bullpen guy or a five starter but he also may never make it, so the return of Quentin is bad. Quentin’s defense is horrible and it always will be, but Maybin will make up some of his ground and it won’t be much worse than it was as a White Sock. His power won’t take too much of a hit, I can;t see him hitting less than 25 homers and he will still hit okay and though he’s not the ideal slugger he will do fine for San Diego and he will be their best hitter in 2012 with decent stats. EDGE: Padres
BOTTOM LINE(Using my gut and sabermetrics): Quentin probably will regress a little but he will still be good and the White Sox are heading backwards with not too many good prospects to show for it.
The NAtionals have acquired Gio Gonzalez. Although he has had his struggles with walks in the past, he is still a very bright young lefty pitcher and he will continue on with his great career. The Nationals have made a big addition in getting him and he will help out their rotation a lot. Gio, Strasburg and Zimmermann will make a great 1-2-3 in their rotation for years and Gio will always walk guys but his strikeouts may go up and I think he will fix his control problems and have a great next few seasons. He will keep the Nats in a lot of games and moving to the NL helps him and he will do well in the park and the division. The Nats did have to give up a lot of prospect and that may hurt them a little but not as much as some people are making out to be and this will be a huge loss for the Athletics. Thee Athletics got Derek Norris, a good offensive catcher who will have a lower average in the MLB but have amazing pop and be a great catcher. Norris should be up by the end of this year and he will start doing good, he’s better than Kurt Suzuki. The A’s also got Brad Peacock, who will be a really good two or three starter who constantly puts up great numbers and he should have a good career. AJ Cole was acquired by the A’s and he has the biggest upside and should have at least some success at the major league level, maybe a lot. He’s a very good, overpowering starter who will get a lot of strikeouts always. The A’s also got lefty Tom Millone, who be also be every good but as a five starter. The Nationals also got Robert Gilliam, who may or may not pan out but could do okay in Oakland’s ballpark, maybe. EDGE: NATIONALS
- The Giants traded Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez to the Mets for Angel Pagan. This move makes little sense for the Mets. Ramirez is a good reliever and will continue to be good but Pagan is a lot better than Torres and younger. Ramirez will put up good numbers, maybe even some improvements from 2011 but he may also face a few struggles facing some better hitting now. Torres is getting older and though he can still be a leadoff man and steal some bags, his skills are going down fast and he could have some disappointing years ahead. The Giants got Angel Pagan coming off of a down year but I think he will rebound and he can play all three outfield positions well. He will climb back up his stolen base ladder and come close to 40, in fact he will probably steal more bases than Torres and with 15 homer pop and good play all-around he was a good aquastition. This is a great deal for the Giants and decent for the Mets. EDGE: Giants, by a little bit
- The Mets signed Jon Rauch, who I think out of all the relievers they have now should close and is best suited and would be best at it. Rauch could stick as a Met and have some pretty good seasons and he might have a real good season this year, closer or not and no matter what he will be a good reliever who’s a good fit and a good signing for New York
- The Mets also got Frank Francisco, coming off of a good second half, but that’s just what he will be a streaky releiver who looks dominant at times but bad at other, sort of like a Fernando Rodney (in his prime). So it will be a so-so signing and he could keep decent stats and not hurt the Mets as much as he helps, but he wouldn’t be my first choice out of the pen. He will be a decent reliever in 2o12 who puts in some good innings and is a good fit.
- I like this Mets bullpen in 2012 and it could be every good and surprise a lot fo people, I think that this bullpen will defiantly improve and I like the mix of veterans and younger guys who can pitch the back-end of a game.