Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke, and Justin Upton are three pieces of three monster deals that could be on verge of either getting done at any moment, or fall apart at the last minute.
That’s all fine and dandy, but there are plenty of other players, serviceable players that are available that no one talks about.
Look at Randy Choate for example. According to Jon Morosi’s twitter account, a source confirmed Choate signed a three-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.
He is strictly a left-handed specialist, a LOOGY (Lefty One-Out GuY) and as evidenced by his stats in 2012, he’s one of the best. As a member of the Dodgers/Marlins, Choate appeared in 80 games yet tallied only 38.2 innings, and held opponents to a .206 batting average. In 2011 he held batters to a .149 average in 24.2 innings.
When teams are looking for that extra push to the playoffs, it’s not the earth-shattering deal that takes them to the next level it’s the fill-in piece that no one pays attention to.
Marc Rzepczynski is a prime example. Expendable by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011, he was traded as part of the deal that brought the Jays Colby Rasmus. Rzepczynski was an integral part of St. Louis Cardinals championship run holding opponents to a .226 batting average throughout the postseason.
Up in the air is the status of Scott Kazmir.
He has been linked to many teams during the Winter Meetings but even if a starter’s role doesn’t pan out, lefty specialist is there for the taking. So many teams continue to look for a lefty out of the pen, and if you can throw strikes, you’re gold. When Kazmir was on the top of his game he was almost untouchable against left-handed batters.
2005 - .174 BAA
2006 – .227 BAA
2007 – .217 BAA
2008 – .198 BAA
Sure the monster deals are always fun and make for good stories, but sometimes it the ones off the radar that have the biggest impact.
Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.