Baseball friends…it’s already December and the off season is in full swing. The Winter Meetings have passed and there have been big roster moves. The countdown to spring training and Opening Day have gotten a little closer and we can start to set our expectations for the 2015 season.
Personally, December has been a difficult month for me and many people close to me for many reasons – which is why I haven’t written anything in more than two weeks. While dealing with these difficulties, I’ve of course followed baseball news and have some thoughts on the off season so far. Some of these topics could be an entire post themselves, but here are the highlights –
Corey Kluber wins the A.L. Cy Young Award
Cleveland is my hometown, and I couldn’t be more excited about this. Throughout the season, a friend and I often discussed the possibility of Kluber winning and both thought that if it didn’t happen this year, it never would. No, we don’t have psychic abilities and have no idea how his career will progress from here, but it was a gut feeling for both of us. Unfortunately, I do not see the Indians being a big threat in 2015 – but I do believe they will be a decent team. Kluber winning the Cy Young is great for team morale, and great for the city of Cleveland. (I’m over Lebron’s “coming home” – it’s time to get excited about Kluber/the Indians.)
Nelson Cruz signs with the Seattle Mariners
There’s a lot I could say about this, and not much of it is good. It’s not that I have anything against the Mariners, or free agency, or even any of the details of the deal (4 years, $57 million). It does piss the Orioles fan in me off that he didn’t seem to give much consideration to staying in Baltimore after they were seemingly the only team who would sign him after his PED suspension.
Nick Markakis signs with the Atlanta Braves
This move hurts – it’s like your best friend is moving away. I’m not sure there was any other guy on the team more well liked and respected than Markakis. Since he was drafted by the Orioles, he’s been a solid part of the team and, along with his wife, has been very involved with the community. He seems like an all around nice guy. I fully expected him to retire as an Oriole and see him at team celebrations in the future beside Cal Ripken. Going to Atlanta means going home for him, but he will truly be missed in Maryland. Fans have already said they were putting their Markakis shirts away – for now – but that his name would always be popular in Baltimore. To me, that shows just how well this guy is liked here.
New York Yankees trade Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers
I’m not sure what it was about the kid, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Greene pitch this year! Obviously, the Tigers also really liked him, and I definitely understand his trade value. Aside from a few rough patches (which I attribute to age and inexperience in the major league), he was a pretty solid pitcher for the Yankees. I saw a lot of potential in him and expected him to continue to develop into a strong pitcher – and still do, although he’ll be doing so for another team.
David Robertson signs with the Chicago White Sox
At the top of my off season wish list was for the Yankees to resign Robertson. (I wrote about how that should have actually happened months ago.) Of all days, it was my birthday when I woke up to see the report that Robertson signed with the White Sox – of all teams in Major League Baseball. (There are two MLB teams I hate – the Red Sox, and the White Sox.) The only thing that made me hate this deal more was hearing reports that the Yankees met with Robertson/his representative(s) only to tell him they would not be making him an offer. I’m not saying he’s the best pitcher in the world, and I’m not even sure he’s worth the money he will be making ($46 million for 4 years), but he was a product of the Yankees farm system and learned from the greatest closer ever. While I love Brett Gardner, it’s a little disappointing to think he’s the only veteran homegrown Yankee.
Chase Headley signs with the New York Yankees
This deal makes a lot of sense. Headley may not be the most outstanding third baseman in history, but he was very reliable after being traded from the Padres. Something very important he brings to the team that no stat can reflect is his enthusiasm – which most of the team seemed to seriously lack last year. He seems like a great guy to have in the clubhouse and was one of the first players to celebrate any victory last season. With Francisco Cervelli gone, the team needs someone who will get excited and fire up other teammates.
What I dislike about this deal is the intense focus on what it means for Alex Rodriguez. While I am one of the biggest Rodriguez fans ever, Headley’s return really isn’t about him (and so far he’s said nothing – so he isn’t making it about himself). Of course this is a topic that would eventually be discussed. Instead of overshadowing Headley’s return with speculation about Rodriguez’s future, just let Headley have his day. The Rodriguez story will inevitably come up again, but for now it should be about Chase Headley, his return, and what he will bring to the team.
There’s still plenty of off season left, but just remember – spring training is getting a little closer each day!