December 3, 2013 was a busy baseball day.
Players were traded. Players were signed. Organizational philosophies were displayed, organizational philosophies were mocked. I'm guessing someone with a Twitter handle of @PeterGarnmons tweeted the Winter Meetings were cancelled, and everyone freaked out.
Here are most of the (mostly) official moves, ranked from most sensible to least sensible. Think of the scale as "starting a 401(k) at a young age" to "clown makeup on blind date."
1. Yankees - Signed Kelly Johnson, one year, $3 million
Hey, that makes sense. If Robinson Cano comes back, Johnson can play all over the infield. If Cano doesn't come back, at least there's a built-in replacement. These baseball teams are smart!
2. Rays - Acquired Ryan Hanigan for Justin Choate and a PTBNL
Hanigan is a framer, which pleases the new school, but he also hit before last season, which makes him a good buy-low candidate.
3. Astros - Acquired Dexter Fowler for Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes
I'm not sure how much help Fowler will be to the Astros over the next two years, but if he's traded in the next two seasons, he'll bring back a better return than that.
4. Dodgers - Close to signing Brian Wilson, money not announced
If I were a billionaire, I would pay $50 for a package of Funyuns if that's what they cost. And I would tip the clerk at the convenience store, too. The Dodgers will likely get a good reliever. Who cares what they pay? They don't.
5. A's - Acquired Craig Gentry for Michael Choice
Gentry is a defensive wizard, and his right-handed bat replaces Chris Young just fine.
6. Rangers - Acquired Michael Choice for Craig Gentry
I'd rather have Gentry, but Choice is a good buy-low prospect with first-round tools.
7. Tigers - Signed Joe Nathan, two years, $20 million
If you include the Doug Fister trade as a way to save money for this, it's a travesty of a package deal. As a standalone deal, the Tigers needed a bullpen, and this isn't a bad gamble. As a Giants fan who watched Nathan shred his shoulder and suffer through two miserable Triple-A seasons, let me be the first to express amazement that he's 39 and still this good.
8. Marlins - Signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia, three years, $21 million
The Marlins have an awful offense. This makes them less awful. Quite reasonable, considering the numbers thrown out there earlier. And the Marlins are probably closer to contention than you might think, considering their collection of young talent.
9. Red Sox - Signed A.J. Pierzynski, one year, $8.25 million
And with this, the Red Sox became the most unlikeable team in … oh, right. Well, they're just running up the score, now. I'd rather have Saltalamacchia for the extra two years and $13 million, and that's my biggest reservation.
10. Padres - Acquired Seth Smith for Luke Gregerson
Take the everyday player over the reliever every time. Take the platoon player over the reliever … every other time? Regardless, the Padres seem to know how to find relievers easier than outfielders, so this makes sense.
11. A's - Acquired Luke Gregerson for Seth Smith
Operation Build Nutty Bullpen is a go, and the A's cashed in a pretty good spare part to do it. But it was a spare part, so … okay.
12. Rays - Acquired Heath Bell for Justin Choate and a PTBNL
Don't know the player to be named later, but it's hard to argue against the Rays' strategy of acquiring a formerly impressive piece of bullpen straw and turning him into bullpen gold.
13. Rockies - Signed Justin Morneau, two years, $13 million
I'm assuming Morneau is taking a front-office position, and that Todd Helton will be back, doing Morneau things, wearing a Mission Impossible-style mask. This isn't a bad deal. There's even a little risk/reward working in the Rockies' favor. But Morneau has been subpar for the last three years. There's no reason to think Coors is going to be the magic elixir.
14. Phillies - Acquired Brad Lincoln for Erik Kratz and Rob Rasmussen
Blue Jays - Acquired Erik Kratz and Rob Rasmussen for Brad Lincoln
I'm downloading my opinion of this trade on the RealPlayer of hot takes, and it's buffering, forever and ever, spanning eons, buffering and buffering, never realizing its full potential, never becoming a hot take, unless …
I don't have a problem with any of those moves up there, really. There were a lot of moves on Tuesday. Most of them made sense. But there are two left.
15. Yankees - Signed Jacoby Ellsbury for seven years, $153 million
Assuming Robinson Cano doesn't sign for more than $180 million, and also assuming the Yankees aren't the ones who sign Cano, I'm going with this contract being ludicrous. Ellsbury is good, no question. His injuries were more fluke than destiny. But if we're picking between awful, desperate, necessary, franchise-pillar, long-term deals, I go with the Hall of Famer with the much longer track record.
If the Yankees are more in "lol no just kidding we're like the dodgers now" territory, who cares? Ellsbury is a pretty fantastic player at his best.
But if this affects the Yankees' ability to get Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, or Masahiro Tanaka, I'm not wild for the short-term prospects of Ellsbury making up for the short-term loss of those players. Then you get to the long-term prospects. There's about a Teixeira-percent chance the Ellsbury deal is pure nitrous oxide by 2018.
16. Rockies - Acquired Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes for Dexter Fowler
I hate this move so much. You can read more about it on the front page in a couple hours. Even if the Rockies were determined to trade Fowler, this was the best they could get? A three-year disappointment and a role player? Really, a Fowler-for-Fister trade makes all kinds of sense for both teams. Instead, both teams have a lot of future flotsam in exchange for present value.
Now that's a day of offseason wonder. There are a lot of GMs with Epcot Center passes next week.