MLB round-up: What was the move of the week?

Dan Haren, now the enemy. - Ronald Martinez

It seems like the hot-stove has heated up earlier than usual. We're not even at the winter meetings and we've already seen some big signings and trades. Let's review what has gone done in the past week.

Trades

  • No question about the biggest trade - literally and figuratively - with the Detroit Tigers moving the largest contract in team history, trading former MVP Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers, along with a medium-sized armored car full of cash, and receiving second-baseman Ian Kinsler in exchange. The $30 million Detroit had to pay was a hefty sum, but it gets them off the hook for the remaining seven years and $138 million of Fielder's deal, freeing up salary so they can look at retaining Max Scherzer

    From the Texas side, it frees up a log-jam and allows them to put top prospect Jurickson Profar at second-base. Even given Fielder's down season in 2014 [a crappy year which included a rather too public divorce], it should also give them a significant improvement at first-base over Mitch Moreland, not least because their park is better for left-handers than Comerica. The Tigers can move Miguel Cabrera back to first-base.and that would open up third base for their prospect, Nick Castellanos
  • The Cardinals and Angels put together the other big deal of the week. St. Louis received center fielder Peter Bourjos and outfield prospect Randal Grichuk from Anaheim, and sent them third baseman David Freese and RHRP Fernando Salas.

Free-agent signings

  • The Yankees have locked up catcher Brian McCann for a five-year deal for $85 million, with a $15 million vesting option for 2019. It also has a full no-trade clause for McCann, who will be 34 by the end of the guaranteed deal. It's interesting to put this beside Miguel Montero's five-year, $60 million deal, which also takes him to the same age. New York also re-signed Derek Jeter, to no-one's surprise, on a one-year, $12 million contract.
  • The Cardinals have inked shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year deal worth $52 million, a somewhat controversial move, as Peralta served a 50-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis. It clearly didn't hurt his market value too much, and Brad Ziegler was notably unimpressed.

  • Jason Vargas got a nice pay-day for a man with a career 91 ERA+, signing for four years with the Kansas City Royals, and will be paid $32 million for his services.

  • Also on the catcher front, Carlos Ruiz will be remaining in Philadelphia for three more years, on a $26 million contract.

  • The Angels have spent a surprising amount on reliever Joe Smith, giving him three years and $15.75 million. That seems a lot for a pitcher with a total of three saves, but Smith has been among the most reliable of bullpen arms, with a career ERA below three, and a 160 ERA+ over the last three years.

  • The Indians picked up outfielder David Murphy, a former Ranger, for the next two seasons, signing him to a $12 million contract.

NL West Round-up

The Diamondbacks have been the least active of all the clubs in the division to date: just about everyone else has been snapping up players, with an apparent emphasis on pitching. The biggest deals was by the Giants, who picked up Tim Hudson for two years at $23 million, taking a gamble that he will have recovered from the nasty ankle fracture which ended his season in July, and re-signed left-handed reliever Javier Lopez through 2016, on a $13.5 million contract. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have signed former D-back, Dan Haren to a one-year, $10 million deal, with a 2015 option that kicks in if if Haren throws 180 innings.

The Padres signed Josh Johnson for $8.5 million on a one-year deal. Johnson is looking to rebuilt his value, and had elbow surgery in October, so this could be a dicey proposition. According to Josh Byrnes, if this year doesn't go well, they'd like to think they'll get a discount on Johnson for 2015. Hmmm. Not sure how that'll work out, Josh. Finally, the Colorado Rockies looked to shore up their ongoing terrible bullpen - worst in the NL by ERA, which is bad even by Coors Field standards - signing LaTroy Hawkins as closer for 2014, at a cost of $2.5 million. He'll be 41 next month, but it's not exactly a massive contract.

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