Top Ten ďWhat Were They ThinkingĒ Moves of the Off-season So Far

By Asher B. Chancey, January 14, 2005


10.  Vinny Castilla and Jeromy Burnitz


Let me break this down for you: playing in Colorado, good. Playing away from Colorado, bad. Burnitz and Castilla each had significant resurgences last year, as they joined the Rockies and enjoyed a couple of classic Mile High summers. But for whatever reason, neither player had the sense to re-sign with the Rockies for whatever the Rockies will pay them. For Castilla, leaving Colorado the first time may have literally cost him a shot at being considered one of the all time great third basemen, and leaving the second time would appear to only entail more disaster and possibly the final stage of his career.


9. The Washington Nationals Sign Vinny Castilla


You just signed Vinny Castilla and let Tony Batista go! When the two of them are away from Coors, Batista has easily been the better player. Sure, neither of their OPS have been very high (Batista was, after all, the winner of the First Annual Dave Kingman Award in 2004). But, crucially, they have produced similar runs and RBI totals in their last three non-Coors seasons, and Batista is six years younger than Castilla.


8.      Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Sign Orlando Cabrera


Okay, first of all, dumb name. Second of all, the Los Anaheimgels gave Cabrera a four year, $32 million contract. He will be making $8 million a year. This is a player who has never had an OPS+ over the league average, hits into a high number of double plays for a fast guy, and in his best season had an on base percentage of .347. Donít get me wrong, defense is valuable, but come on. Eight million? Who do you think this guy is, Kris Benson?


7. New York Mets re-sign Kris Benson and Victor Zambrano


Wow, we picked these guys up for the stretch run last year, and they sucked. Benson hasnít gotten his ERA below the league average in 3 seasons, and Zambrano generally walks as many as he strikes out. Meanwhile, the only consistent player weíve had the last few years, Al Leiter, walks. Priorities.


6. Jaret Wright Signs with the Yankees


What do these names mean to you: Kevin Millwood, Denny Neagle, John Burkett, and Tom Glavine? These are all players who were good to great pitchers in Atlanta under Leo Mazzone, and then struggled, some mightily, when they left Mazzone.


Now, what do these names mean to you: Javier Vazquez, Jeff Weaver, Kevin Brown, and Esteban Loaiza? These are all pitchers who have had success on other teams and then came to the Yankees and performed poorly.


What does it all mean? You just left the single best pitching team of the last 14 years to join a team that chews up and spits out pitchers like you every year.


5. Billy Beane Acquires Jason Kendall


Big salary. Light bat. A seemingly uncharactistic move from Billy Beane, but I have already said my part on this one.


4. Arizona Diamondbacks Sign Russ Ortiz.


Hey, DíBacks, I got something for ya: Last year, Randy Johnson went 16-14 despite having one of his best seasons ever because your sorry offense couldnít support him. So, you trade Randy Johnson and go out and sign a guy who has walked over a hundred batters each of the last two years and had an ERA over 4.00 last season? And you give him over $8 million a year for it? I know you are improving your offense, but I am still not sure I see the logic.


3. Red Sox sign Jason Varitek and Edgar Renteria to $10 million-a -year contracts


I realize Jason Varitek is Mr. Red Sox, but that is a LOT of money for a 33 year old catcher. Catchers have a tendency to short circuit around this point in their careers, and Varitek ainít cominí off a career year.


Nomar and Renteria each had disappointing seasons last year. Nomar was hurt, so his production lag was understandable. Renteria played on a high powered offense in which he got a ton of protection in the lineup, so his lag was not understandable. Nomar signed for $2 million less than Renteria. Letís see who has the better season.


2. Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles Sign Derek Lowe to 4 year, 36 million dollar contract


So the team that paid Shawn Green 16.67 million last year, and Darren Dreifort 10 million last year refuses to learn from its disasters but instead signs a pitcher who had a 5.42 ERA last season to a 9 million dollar deal. Only reason this isnít number one: Lowe was good once, and Dodger Stadium will probably treat Lowe well. Thatís still a lot of money


1.      Cinncinnati Reds Agree to Pay Eric Milton Over $ 8 Million per Year for Three Years.


Eric Miltonís CAREER ERA is 4.76!!! His career best ERA is 4.32!!!! Last season, he walked a CAREER HIGH 75 batters!!!!! The Great American Ballpark has played like a hitterís park. And for this, he gets EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS??????? This is a New York Mets move in Cinncinnati Reds clothing. This is a BAD PITCHER getting a big money contract.