CUT THE CHECK – MLB Signings Report and Recap #4

Posted: December 26, 2013 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Choo_Cincy

Late December is usually a slow period in the MLB winter, and this year mostly has been no exception. Bullpens have been filled out, lineups made complete and the table has been set for the grand finale that is the January that sets the stage for the spring behind it. The major exception this December has been the wait for the top remaining hitter to declare, as well as the foreign property that is Masahiro Tanaka to have his future decided….which ultimately leads to determining the future of more than half of the MLB clubs remaining dollars.

While Tanaka’s availability is finally eminent, there is one team that will likely not be in that pursuit – the Texas Rangers. But only because they made the major move that they have been needing to make to bring it all back together for over a year now. Ironically enough, via the addition of an intriguing player that does just a bit of everything well…

Here’s more on that move, as well as the remaining recent moves from the free agent pool….

3. Shin-Soo Choo-Outfielder-31 Years Old-2013 Team: Cincinnati Reds

Signed: Texas Rangers—7 years, $130 million

The Rangers and Choo went back and forth for over a month on him landing there, which especially took off after Jacoby Ellsbury filled a similar vacancy in New York. Yet, it came to be clear that Arlington is where Choo wanted to land the most, and it looks to be a mutually beneficial marriage looking ahead.

The Rangers lineup rebuild will benefit from the versatile Choo, who’s balanced offering of talents (a 162-game average spread of .289/.389/.465, along with 20 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 37 doubles for his career) makes him equally useful batting anywhere  between 1-3. Andrus can stay at leadoff or drop to the 2 spot, or Choo can return to the third hole, allowing Prince Fielder to stay at cleanup and have Adrian Beltre hit fifth, which is best for him. Overall, the Rangers final signing made every part of the team better, which is a rarity, but is why it was worth $130 million.

29. Joaquin Benoit-Relief Pitcher-36 Years Old-2013 Team: Detroit Tigers

Signed: San Diego Padres—2 years, $15.5 million

Bullpen depth has long been the strength of the Padres, but after dealing setup man Luke Gregorson that strength took a hit and necessitated adding Benoit. He spent the last few years as a varied arm in the backend of the Detroit pen, and over the past four years, he’s averaged better than nine strikeouts per nine innings.

42. Chris Perez-Relief Pitcher-28 Years Old-2013 Team: Cleveland Indians

Signed: Los Angeles Dodgers—1 year, $2.3 million

Perez’s career took a spin last year due to the marijuana case that befell him, and the side effects carried over to the field. On the heels of that season that saw him lose his closer role and post career highs (or lows), he’ll head to LA as a part of their ensemble of hard throwing closer-types in a demo season for another run at landing a closer job next winter.

43. Raul Ibanez-Designated Hitter-42 Years Old-2013 Team: Seattle Mariners

Signed: Los Angeles Angels—1 year, $2.75 million

After moving out Mark Trumbo, the Angels needed to replace his power potential in the lineup and Ibanez fits the bill. A quick rental bat that has continued to show he’s got some powder left in his cannon: he tied Ted Williams for the most home runs in a season, post-40th birthday.

51. Scott Downs-Relief Pitcher-38 Years Old-2013 Teams: Los Angeles Angels/Atlanta Braves

Signed: Chicago White Sox—1 year, $4 million

The Sox added a much needed left-handed presence to their bullpen mix, and caught a decent break with Downs. He struggled some once switching the National League, but overall finished with his fourth career season with an ERA under 2.00 during his American League run in Anaheim.

63. Jose Veras-Relief Pitcher-33 Years Old-2013 Teams: Houston Astros/Detroit Tigers

Signed: Chicago Cubs—1 year, $4 million

The Cubs picked up the former Astros closer-by-default to take the first swing at the role for them to start the year off. Pedro Strop will be in the mix as well, but Veras (21 of 25 saves converted, .199 averaged against) has the edge coming in.

For more on the winter’s work to prep the MLB summer, follow me in real-time on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.

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