We're going to do a non-traditional baseball preview here (that we're doing one after the season has already started should let you know as much). It will be light on predicted standings and heavy on the stories.
First up we have the two blockbuster trades that happened in the off-season. Johan Santana was shipped to the Mets and Miguel Cabrera (along with Dontrelle Willis) to the Tigers. What was significant about both of these trades is that they were both preceded by tons of rumors that the trades would happen elsewhere. The fall was filled with Santana to the Yanks and Santana to the Red Sox stories, and the winter, to only a slighlty lesser degree, had its share of Miggy to the Angels and then Dodgers rumors. In both cases the suitors seemed to come out of nowhere to trump the previously much publicized (and much debated) offers.
We'll play the "what if" game throughout the season, to the degree that it can be played. We'll regularly check on the players that the Yanks, Sox, Angels, and Dodgers would have given up (stats and commentary both), as well as the ones that the Mets and Tigers eventually did, and try to figure out if the other trade offers were in fact better or worse and for whom. Of course, I say above "to the degree it can be played" because such is the nature of "what if?" scenarios. For example, we only know that the Yankees were offering a package centered around Melky Cabrera and Phil Hughes, with the surrounding pieces uncertain. Similarly the Twins were seeking two of three Sox: Ellsbury, Lester, and Buchholz, and the Dodgers and Angels reported offerings were only for Cabrera whereas the Tigers package was for Cabrera and Willis both.
For this first entry, we're concentrating on the stories and the off-season expectations of the respective players involved. As the season progresses we'll focus more on their stats.
The Johan Trade
Johan Santana - 'nuff said
This is a good recap, a "what to expect" piece from the Twins perspective.
Melky Cabrera - The Post's Joel Sherman sees a Melky regression on the horizon.
Phil Hughes - Meanwhile, Hughes finds his groove.
Red Sox offered 2 of the 3:
Jon Lester - ends spring training with control problems.
Jacoby Ellsbury - There's pressure on Buchholz and Ellsbury to keep it up.
The Miggy Trade
Eulogio De La Cruz
Here's a recap of what both sides got out of the trade.
Howie Kendrick - SI says, Kendrick is a natural.
Jeff Mathis - will compete/platoon with Napoli
and one of three:
Ervin Santana - Scioscia liked Santana's spring, management gave him a pay cut.
Joe Saunders - secures a spot in the rotation because of injuries.
Nick Adenhart - might get the call for the 5th starter's spot.
Matt Kemp - looks like he'll will be starting over Juan Pierre.
Andy LaRoche - out until May.
Clayton Kershaw - on the cusp of the majors.