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MLB winter meetings: Winners, losers, and others

After a busy few days in San Diego, it's time to tally up the scores.

Tommy Giglio-USA TODAY Sports

In today's sports scene, it's not enough for there to be winners and losers on the field. Our culture is so competitive that we must keep score not of just the sporting events themselves, but of the period between seasons as well. So here, to satisfy your thirst for competition, are the winners and losers of the 2014 baseball winter meetings.


Chicago White Sox

Adding Jeff Samardzija and David Robertson to a strong nucleus that includes Chris Sale and Jose Abreu suddenly makes this team legitimate contenders in what should be a four-team AL Central race. That the best player they had to give up was solid infield prospect Marcus Semien to get Samardzija easily makes the south-siders slam dunk winners.

Chicago Cubs

Signing Jon Lester to headline a rotation that also includes 2014 breakout pitcher Jake Arrieta was a major step towards making the Cubs relevant again, even if they had to overpay to land him. Solid veteran Jason Hammel was signed to a reasonable two-year deal, while catcher Miguel Montero was smartly acquired from Arizona in a salary dump. With their new-found rotation depth, as well as an exciting young stable of hitters, the Cubs are set to make some noise in 2015.

Los Angeles Dodgers

No one was busier than Andrew Friedman, who basically transformed the Dodgers overnight from contenders to...even better contenders. Essentially flipping Dee Gordon for Howie Kendrick was an upgrade at the keystone, although the Dodgers may regret trading Andrew Heaney, who they had just received from the Marlins, down the freeway to the Angels. The addition of Jimmy Rollins fills the hole at shortstop vacated by Hanley Ramirez, while trading Matt Kemp netted them catcher Yasmani Grandal, as well as salary relief to potentially upgrade their pedestrian bullpen. And while four years and $48 million may seem like a lot for a guy who had never reached 200 innings until last season, the addition of Brandon McCarthy helps strengthen an already talented rotation.

Max Scherzer

No, he didn't sign a contract yet, but considering that Jon Lester received $155 million over seven years, Scherzer may be in for an even bigger payday than most people expected.

Dillon Gee

Before the winter meetings, the Mets were not expected to find many suitors for Gee. In reality, there were rumored to have been several teams interested in acquiring the 28-year old. Although nothing has materialized yet, it's always flattering to find out that people are interested in you.


Oakland Athletics

Billy Beane should still have quite a bit of good will among Oakland's fan base, but he is certainly testing their patience this offseason. After jettisoning Josh Donaldson, who many pegged as their franchise player, the A's continued to dismantle their playoff roster by shipping away Brandon Moss for unheralded second base prospect Joe Wendle. But the trade that generated the most negative buzz among A's fans was the deal that sent Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox for Marcus Semien. While Semien actually looks like a good young player who could fill their hole at shortstop, he is not considered to be in the same league as prospect Addison Russell, who was dealt alongside others to acquire Samardzija last season. For a fan base that has had to watch their Bay Area neighbors celebrate championships in three of the past five seasons, this could be a long and trying season. At least the Raiders just beat the 49ers?

Kansas City Royals

How exactly does Kendrys Morales's .218/.274/.338 line from 2014 scream two-years, $17 million? That's a lot of money for a guy who has not been worth more than 1.7 fWAR since 2009, while being worth negative-1.7 fWAR last season.


Boston Red Sox

Losing out on Jon Lester hurts, but swapping Yoenis Cespedes for Rick Porcello was a smart way to deal from strength to improve a weakness. Justin Masterson at one year, $9 million is a solid, low-risk signing, though there is no way to know whether they'll be getting the guy who was an All-Star in 2013 or the guy who was abysmal in 2014. Wade Miley is an innings-eater who has averaged exactly 200 innings per season over his three-year career, but Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster seems like a lot to give up for an unspectacular mid-rotation arm.

Miami Marlins

Acquiring Mat Latos to be their #2 starter without giving up any top prospects is a nice move, and he should take well to his new, pitcher-friendly environment. Where the Marlins may have erred was in trading Andrew Heaney, their top prospect, for a player who has regression written all over him. Dee Gordon gives them game-changing speed at the top of the lineup, but his breakout season came along with an unsustainable .346 BABIP and a well-below-average 4.8% walk rate.

New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants

It was not any move in particular that made this a frustrating winter meetings for the above teams, but rather the moves that were not made. Both the Yankees and Giants watched divisional rivals improve their teams while players they were looking to sign ended up elsewhere. The Yankees saw David Robertson and Brandon McCarthy depart while watching the market for Chase Headley balloon. The Giants missed out on Jon Lester despite a full-court press to sign him, and have yet to fill the hole left when Pablo Sandoval bolted for Beantown. Of course, there is plenty of time for these two teams to address their needs, but ours is an impatient society in need of snap judgments.