Five best moves not made during 2012 offseason
Washington Nationals not signing Prince FielderFielder can hit for power and average. He is not an excellent fielder (a naming irony which should be pointed out much much more), but he does not often lose games with his errors. But Fielder would still have not been a smooth fit in the Nationals speedy roster. Despite the offseason flirtations, they ultimately were able to keep their sights on Adam LaRoche, who has, so far this season, outdone Fielder with his bat. While LaRoche will not continue to have twice as many RBIs as Fielder, his offensive game gives that Nationals much more bang for the buck. More importantly, the Nationals were able to take a fraction of the money they would have poured into Fielder, and use it to give an extension to rising star Gio Gonzalez. With all the money saved, the Nationals can afford to keep their young and talented pitching staff intact for years to come.
New York Yankees not dealing Nick Swisher
The Yankees could have dealt away Swisher in an attempt to lower salary or pick up pitching. Instead, they decided to keep their jovial outfielder and his consistent bat. While the Yankees always start out with a dynamic offense on paper, injuries often leave them struggling to plug their lineup holes. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, in particular, find new and surprising ways to leave the lineup. Though Teixeira plays through the pain of his injuries, his home run power is sapped. Swisher’s consistent play and ability to poke the ball over the outfield walls in Yankee Stadium made him a must-keep.
New York Mets not signing Jose Reyes
Reyes said if the Mets had made a competitive offer he would not have gone to the Miami Marlins. Even if this is true, the Mets made the right call in not bringing back their oft-injured shortstop. He was not the home run hitter the Mets still need after their disappointment with Jason Bay. He will lose his speed in the next few years and become a singles hitter who will lose much of his ability to stretch his hits into doubles much less triples. The Marlins would have been better off if they had given the position to underappreciated Emilio Bonifacio.
St. Louis Cardinals not keeping Albert Pujols
Apparently, $200+ million was not enough to keep the king of St. Louis from migrating to Los Angeles. The Cardinals, coming off one of the most thrilling Word Series victories ever, did what they could to keep future championship berths within reach. They could have given Pujols everything he asked for, but they chose to bring in a capable backup in the form of Carlos Beltran. Like the Nationals, they are keeping enough money on hand to resign their own up and comers like David Freese. And with their ace Chris Carpenter nearing the end of his career, they can still afford to make a move for a dominating pitcher in free agency.
Chicago Cubs not trading Matt Garza
The Cubs will be last in the National League Central and may even have the worst record in all of baseball. They completely lack offense and would be pitching-poor if they gave away Garza. Garza is the glue holding together the Cubs’ ability to recruit future free agents. If they dealt him away for prospects and salary relief, even medium-tier free agents would not seriously consider signing multi-year deals with the Cubs, as victory would seem just too far away.