AL East Round-Up
Oct 7, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher G. Balfour (50) and catcher D. Norris (36) celebrate after game three of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Oakland won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Ok, so this is not exactly the news of the week for the AL East. Depending on where you’re from, you could feel that the Red Sox signing of former All Star OF Grady Sizemore was much more important. (It’s not.) Obviously, there’s that Japanese guy that went to the Yankees. (This is!) I’m not exactly hurt over the Yankees signing, but I’ve read enough on Twitter to know not to go there. (I still have to.) Not to mention, many other sites have used the same two pictures to choose from when the lead story is about said Japanese pitcher. I’m sick of looking at it. So ENTER: THE RAGE. LET’S DO THIS!
TAMPA BAY RAYS: I don’t really have a preference when kicking this column off, so this week it leads off with Tampa Bay. The Rays brought back THE RAGE, Grant Balfour, on a 2 yr/$12M deal. Afterwards, GM Andrew Friedman called Baltimore Orioles GM Dan Duquette and said “Thanks for making this easy! Suckaaaa!” Ok– that obviously didn’t actually happen, but it should have! (In case you don’t recall the story, you can read it here. It’s got an Oriole POV, which means bitter! Enjoy!) Also this week, seems to be the quiet ongoing saga that leads one to ask “Where will David Price go?” According to MLBTradeRumors.com, the Balfour signing may indicate nowhere, though I’m not really impressed with the logic. (Since the Rays spent $5M on Balfour, why not keep Price at $14M?) It would make sense to keep Price at this point solely because $14M now looks like a bargain. If you had your choice of that Yankee Japanese guy (no, not Kuroda. The other one. No–the OTHER one! Yes, him!) at $14M or David Price at $14M, who would you choose? Please don’t answer that. It’s not a debatable question.
Quietly, or maybe it just seems that way to me because I don’t have cable, the Rays made a trade with the San Diego Padres, sending LHP Alex Torres and RHP Jesse Hahn to S.D. for 2B Logan Forsythe, SS Maxx Tissenbaum and RHPs Brad Boxberger, Matt Lollis, and Matt Andriese. It’s a curious move for the Rays. Trading away Torres means the Rays did not just give up their best lefty arm, but possibly their best arm out of the bullpen (1.71 ERA, 2.32 FIP, 1 HRA in 58 IPs, 80.2% LOB%). Not just that, but as recently as early 2013, Torres was a starter for the Durham Bulls. It should be interesting where the Padres use him. Not surprisingly, the Rays added depth to the 2B position. Forsythe, however, is not expected to be a full time starter. The stamp on the deal may be Boxberger. Coming out of the pen for the Padres, he had struck out 24 batters in just 22 IPs. The concern may be the 13 walks and 3 HRA in that limited time. He does have MLB strike out stuff and what team doesn’t like having that on their roster? As always the case with the Rays it seems, he’ll also be under team control for some time.
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: I didn’t place them here to rub it in, but how can you not? For the second time this offseason, the Orioles pulled a deal off the table after a player eval came back with injury concern. This time it was OF Tyler Colvin. I’m of the belief that Duquette tried signing somebody and Orioles owner (READ AS: Penny Pincher) Peter Angelos said “Get bent, Duke! Get me the doctor’s report!” But Birdswatcher.com Editor Domenic Vadala says that theory just isn’t true as Baltimore is revered for having excellent physicians. It’s tough not to think it’s a money issue however, when Orioles 101 writer Josh Michael makes a case that it IS about the money. I guess it all depends on what you’ve witnessed since Jeffrey Maier 1997.
The Orioles did make some signings, albeit, minor league deals. One of interest could be OF Delmon Young. The former Rays stud prospect is only 28 and is only a few seasons removed from his 21 HR, 112 RBI effort with the Twins. The problem with Young, aside from his bat throwing incident while in Durham in 2005, is that he doesn’t stick with any team for very long. The Orioles will be Young’s fifth team (sixth if you include the second stint with the Rays last season) in the last eight years. LHP Aaron Laffey also signed a minor league deal with Baltimore. He too is well traveled, but it is more due to an abundance of underwhelming stuff as Jays fans well know. This is a homecoming for the 28 year old lefty, as he was born in Cumberland, MD.
BOSTON RED SOX: I thought we would make it through the offseason without hearing a rumour that the Red Sox were in on that Japanese fella. I was wrong. According to The Providence Journal’s Tim Britton, he discusses why reeling in you-know-who would have made more sense for the Red Sox. Sorry Timmy, I know we’re from the same town, but I’m going to have to disagree with you there.
A signing that did make sense is the Sox signing of OF Grady Sizemore. (Say that 5x, fast!) The former Cleveland Indian All Star could help fill the gap in CF or as a fourth OF if he has anything left in the tank. Despite being only 31 years old, he’s been around the game for 10 years already, having last played in the majors in 2011. The rise and fall of Sizemore has been quick, but in the event Jackie Bradley Jr isn’t ready for MLB playing time, Sizemore could be a nice fallback option for the Sox if he stays healthy and productive (but let’s be realistic here and call this a longshot).
NEW YORK YANKEES: Masahiro Tanaka went to the Yankees. There! I said it! Yes, it is the Champ Kind double “WHAMMY” that Blue Jays fans did not want to see. In my CONS of Tanaka article, I wrote why this may not be all bad if Toronto doesn’t land him. However, Tanaka landing in the AL East and not with Toronto hurts. If he is anything of substance, the Jays will be seeing their fair share of him. I can hear the boos now, raining down from the Rogers Centre seats when he takes the mound. I can see riots especially if he outpitches R.A. Dickey if/when they do happen to match up. Let’s all hope this scenario NEVER happens. Plus, this is Toronto and not Vancouver right?
In other news, it’s rather old news now, but former Jays stud Vernon Wells is a free agent after the Yankees DFA’d him. Former Orioles All Star 2B Brian Roberts was brought into the fold to hopefully crawl his way onto the field–I mean try to replace Robinson Cano–No I don’t. I clearly mean he’ll most likely go on the DL. 2B Scott Sizemore was also brought in to try and handle this task of replacing Cano. Maybe this is going out on a limb, but why not ask Derek Jeter to move over? His already poor range at SS is most likely worse now and maybe the combination of Roberts and Jeter splitting time will keep them both healthy? Just putting it out there, but I know obnoxious sounding Yankee fan, “Jeter is one of da greatest Yankees of all time! You shut dat yappa, capisce?” Yes sir, Mr.Soprano, my mistake! No, you don’t sound obnoxious. I do!