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Knee Jerk Reactions: AL Hot Stove

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Quick thoughts on the rapid player movement from Brian McCann to Joe Nathan.

Knee Jerk Reactions: AL Hot Stove

When the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers completed that blockbuster trade sending Prince Fielder out west, the MLB hot stove officially began to boil. Since then, a flurry of moves have been made in both leagues. I don't claim to be a Tim Kurkjian or Buster Olney, so instead of detailed breakdowns on what these moves might mean, here are my knee-jerk reactions to some of the big moves that have gone down so far in the American League.

• Brian McCann to the New York Yankees: The Yankees needed a catcher desperately. When they let Russell Martin walk in free agency, they didn't realize how much they would miss him. The platoon of Chris Stewart and Austin Romine (with some others thrown in) was pretty miserable for New York offensively. McCann is certainly an upgrade. He will help the offense tremendously (20+ home runs in seven of last eight seasons) and isn't shabby behind the plate either. At 5/$85 million, it's a little pricy but nothing the Yankees can't afford.

• AJ Pierzynski to the Boston Red Sox: Instead of bringing back Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a multi-year deal, the Sox opted to go with a one-year deal for veteran catcher Pierzynski. While he is truly a free swinger, Pierzynski certainly fits the mold of the clubhouse type in Boston. There won't be much of a drop-off there.

• Joe Nathan to the Detroit Tigers: While Joaquin Benoit was very solid with closing duties last year, that really isn't his best position. He's better suited as a setup man. Nathan can really lock down the back of the bullpen for the Tigers.

• Heath Bell and Ryan Hanigan Acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays: I have been conditioned to believe that whenever the Rays make a move, it is going to work out in their favor. I expect the same thing with this deal. Bell has had plenty of ups and downs in recent years, and usually putting a pitcher with that kind of track record in the AL East can spell disaster, but I don't discount anything with the Rays. Hanigan is another solid addition to their large pool of catchers as well.

• Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco to the Minnesota Twins: Do I think Phil Hughes is worth $8 million over three years? Not really, no. But maybe a change of scenery will do him good. Nolasco is the better pickup here for the Twins, and either way these two moves will help bolster their rotation.

• Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees: My extended thoughts from earlier today can be found here.

• Jim Johnson, Scott Kazmir, Craig Gentry and Luke Gregerson to the Oakland Athletics: Billy Beane sure was busy, and I like most of the moves he made. Jim Johnson makes things interesting closing out games, but you can't argue with 101 saves over the past two seasons, especially if Grant Balfour was looking for a lot of years. Gregerson is another nice arm to throw in the bullpen and Gentry is a versatile outfielder that can play all three positions. Kazmir is the move I'm a little skeptical of. One season of decent numbers isn't quite enough evidence to tell me that he's "back." I think $11 million was a lot of money for him, no matter what metrics Beane liked when he rationalized the move.

Check back tomorrow for some reactions to the moves made in the National League.

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