Sunday, February 24, 2013

Offseason Winners Rankings

"All is well!" - to Yankee fans screaming about a quiet offseason

I ran across an article at the Wall Street Journal from Brian Costa, in which Mr. Costa uses Zip's WAR projections in order to find the the "winners" of the offseason. He has the Toronto Blue Jays as the offseason winner, whose moves have improved the team by 10.7 wins, thanks to the acquisitions of Jose Reyes (4.3), R.A. Dickey (4.0), Josh Johnson (3.4), Mark Buehrle (2.5), and Melky Cabrera (2.5). The Jays are followed up by the Cubs (+8.2), Indians (+7.2), Red Sox (+6.3), and Phillies (+5.4).

Right off the bat I was skeptical. Sure, the Blue Jays are the "cool" pick to do well this season, and although I don't see them winning the division they will be good, but the other top 5 teams don't frighten me. The Cubs just finished 2012 with a record of 61-101, the Indians were 68-94, and Red Sox were 69-93, and the Phillies were 81-81.

Yes, the rankings by Brian Costa are not trying to say those teams have set themselves up to win anything this coming season. But I wanted to point out that winning the offseason means nothing. Take a look at the top 5 from the Wall Street Journal's "winners" of the 2011/2012 MLB offseason. They had the Angels winning it, which makes sense as they added Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson, while really only losing Joel Piniero. However, they finished 3rd in the AL West behind the Rangers and Athletics. The Marlins, Tigers, Nationals, and Mariners rounded out the top 5. The Tigers went on to win the American League, while the Nationals finished with the best record in the National League. But the other two teams, the Marlins and Mariners, finished a combined 36 games below .500. Meanwhile, the eventual 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants finished 26th in those rankings.

So what does winning the offseason really mean? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

"'Nothing'... kind of like my analysis."

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