Here are some of the winning and losing teams with regard to new signings for 2015. Everything could change for any team that signs the biggest pitching fish still available, Max Scherzer. The talk is the team that signs him to a contract can expect to pay close to $30 million per year. Clearly, this limits the suitors to a few teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers.So far the city of Chicago is the winning city for 2015 signings with both of their teams earning a grade of A. On the North Side the Cubs had a great week. After signing the highly successful manager Joe Maddon, they added a number one pitcher Jon Lester. To help the entire pitching staff they signed the veteran catcher Miguel Montero. They also signed veteran pitcher Jason Hammel. Combining these veteran signings with the highly touted young Cubs will make the Cubs a contender for the playoffs. On the South Side the White Sox improved themselves by acquiring Jeff Samardzija from the Athletics. The signing of David Robertson gives them their closer. With the earlier acquisition of first baseman Adam La Roche and their just announced signing of outfielder Melky Cabrera, the White Sox are ready to contend in the tough American League Central.
How have the Mets and my Yankees done so far in 2015 signings? First, the Mets got off to a great start by acquiring the left fielder they needed for power, Michael Cuddyer. The signing of Mayberry is okay and gives them a fourth outfielder. The Mets then went into hibernation. The expression you can’t have enough good starting pitching applies to the Mets. With veterans Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee teaming with their young pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, and Noah Syndergaard they have an abundance of quality starters. Not to mention their top minor league pitching prospects. However, these starters need a quality defensive shortstop behind them. So far the Mets have failed to provide that quality shortstop. Their default shortstop is Wilmer Flores who for a shortstop is an acceptable hitter but a below average fielder. They do have several minor league shortstop prospects like Matt Reynolds who may be ready by July. They still have time to move one of their quality pitchers and a minor league prospect for that needed shortstop. Turning to the Yankees, after acquiring shortstop Didi Gregorius as their replacement for Derek Jeter and lefty relief specialist Andrew Miller, the Yankees had a quiet week at the Winter Meetings. As I mentioned in a previous blog letting David Robertson leave was a big mistake. The trio of Betances, Miller, and Robertson would have given the Yankees the best seventh, eighth, and ninth inning trio in the majors. GM Brian Cashman would like to add a third baseman and a starting pitcher, but seems uninterested in getting into a bidding war. Flash!!! As I am writing this blog the news of the signing of Chase Headley by the Yankees for $52 million for four years is announced. Think of third baseman Hendley as a 52 million dollar safety net for A-Rod. GM Cashman is not enamored with A-Rod and does not know what a soon to be 40-year-old player who has played sparingly for the last three years can give him. For 2015, A-Rod will be fighting for a job even though he is under contract until 2017 and is owed a minimum of $61 million plus an additional $30 million in incentives. The A-Rod situation combined with the wilting of Mark Texeira in the later years of his long term contract will discourage Cashman from giving Max Scherzer a long-term contract. Flash!!! GM Cashman just announced A-Rod will be used solely as a DH and Hendley will be the regular third baseman in 2015.
Before the signing of Headley I would have given both New York teams a C grade but with Headley signed I will raise the Yankee grade to a C+.