As the disappointment of another World Series lacking local baseball teams wears off, focus shifts to next season. Although spring training is a few months away, decisions that will have a large impact on next season are already being made. December is usually when most of the off-season trades and signings occur, and this December is no different.
A major highlight of the past months transactions was the Yankees signing of former Red Sox third basemen Kevin Youkilis. The Bronx Bombers signed their former rival to a one year deal as a third baseman/designated hitter where he is expected to start at least until Alex Rodriguez returns from hip surgery in the summer. Rodriguez brushed off the signing and didn’t appear to consider Youkilis a competitor. “Youk has always been a tough out,” he said, “He’s a tough player, a guy that’s a winning player.”
The Mets, however, were at the the opposite end of the trade spectrum. Loyal fans had to watch National League Cy Young Award winner R.A Dickey sign with the Toronto Blue Jays for a three-year 30 million dollar contract. The deal also sent catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas to the Blue Jays. The Mets in turn got several other players, including young catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who general manager Sandy Alderson called “one of the top catching prospects in the game.” This deal, while it takes away one of the best pitchers in baseball, puts the Mets in a good position to make the playoffs three or four years down the road. If you are a Mets fan, expect some suffering the next one or two years, but remember that it is darkest before dawn.
Elsewhere in the MLB, the Los Angeles Angels signed Josh Hamilton on December 15, 2012 to a five-year contract, worth $125 million. Hamilton’s signing makes him one of the highest paid players in baseball and leaves the Angels with possibly the greatest lineup in baseball history, with Hamilton, Mark Trumbo, reigning Rookie of the Year Mike Trout and perennial MVP candidate Albert Pujols. Elsewhere in the league, the Red Sox acquired pitcher Ryan Dempster and speedy outfielder Shane Victorino to compete with the resurgent Blue Jays and the Yankees.
Will these new acquisitions and trades benefit the Yankees and the Mets in the long run? Only time will tell, but fans of both teams are already dreaming of a ticker tape parade next November. At least the Yankees fans are. Met fans might have to wait a little bit.