By Jacob Luft
January 20, 2005
MLB Hot Stove Power Rankings
Rank LW Team
1 9 New York Mets
They got the best pitcher (Pedro Martinez) and best position player (Carlos Beltran) on the market. Yes, they overpaid. GM Omar Minaya has cast himself as the old lady who overbids on The Price is Right Showcase Showdown by $20,000. New York also torpedoed every mid-market team west of the Hudson River with the Kris Benson signing, but that isn't the Mets' problem.
Key additions: OF Beltran, RHP Martinez, RHP Kris Benson
2 1 Boston Red Sox
The club insists it owns the ball from the last out of the World Series, but first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz isn't giving it up. On a related note, USA Today says the Hall of Fame will be getting Curt Schilling's bloody sock. The museum might need 24-hour security for it once the Nation hears about this.
Key additions: LHP David Wells, RHP Matt Clement, SS Edgar Renteria, RHP Wade Miller
3 8 New York Yankees
Randy Johnson didn't wait to officially become a Yankee to issue his first brushback pitch to the New York media. "Don't get in my face! Don't talk back to me!" he shouted to a local news cameraman on the streets of Manhattan on Monday. Now that the Big Unit has laid down some ground rules, I'm sure the Big Apple press corps will be more respectful of his privacy in the future.
Key additions: LHP Johnson, RHP Carl Pavano, RHP Jaret Wright
4 2 Atlanta Braves
Center fielder Andruw Jones can cover a lot of ground, but at some point the Braves might want to consider adding two more outfielders to their roster. With the free-agent market nearly stripped clean, it will be interesting to see how this vaunted front office handles this dilemma.
Key additions: RHP Tim Hudson, RHP Dan Kolb
5 3 San Francisco Giants
When the Giants held an online auction to raise money for the tsunami relief efforts, somebody paid $30,200 to chat with Barry Bonds in the dugout before the game. Other prizes included throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day, a Spring Training trip for four and a lifetime supply of "cream" and "clear."
Key additions: OF Moises Alou, SS Omar Vizquel, RHP Armando Benitez
6 4 Seattle Mariners
It took a while, but the Mariners finally got Pokey Reese. The diminutive middle infielder once deemed "untouchable" during the Ken Griffey Jr. trade talks signed a one-year deal to become the M's starting shortstop. His last season with Griffey, 1999, was the first and only time Reese slugged above .400 in his career.
Key additions: 1B Richie Sexson, 3B Adrian Beltre
7 5 Anaheim Angels
If you decry Tony La Russa-like micromanaging of the bullpen, then Mike Scioscia is the skipper for you. According to this fascinating study, the Angels were last in the league in one-batter appearances by relievers with a paltry six. That's right -- only six times all season did Scioscia bring in a reliever just to face one batter, recording five outs in the process. The most efficient team in the majors? It was La Russa's Cardinals, who recorded 54 outs in 54 one-batter appearances.
Key additions: SS Orlando Cabrera, OF Steve Finley
8 10 Minnesota Twins
The Twins have kept Brad Radke and Jacque Jones while allowing the easily replaceable Cristian Guzman to leave via free agency. Now they are trying to lock up Cy Young winner Johan Santana to a long-term contract. If they succeed, consider this offseason a wild success.
Key additions: None
9 6 Oakland Athletics
The D'backs traded away two of the game's best pitchers and have Casey Fossum and a pair of overpaid veterans (Javier Vazquez and Shawn Green) to show for it. A's GM Billy Beane trades two great pitchers and gets a slew of talented players who won't make any money for years. Take a wild guess which team will return to the postseason sooner.
Key additions: C Jason Kendall, RHP Dan Haren, RHP Kiko Calero, LHP Dan Meyer, RHP Juan Cruz, C Daric Barton
10 16 St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals did what most teams couldn't this offseason -- land a top-flight pitcher without paying through the nose. The Mark Mulder trade gives the rotation a legitimate ace. Unfortunately, replacing the double-play tandem of Edgar Renteria and Tony Womack with David Eckstein and Mark Grudzielanek will mean less range and decreased production from the middle infield.
Key additions: LHP Mulder, SS Eckstein, 2B Grudzielanek
11 7 Milwaukee Brewers
With Los Angeles investor Mark Attanasio buying the franchise from the Selig family, is it only a matter of time before they announce the new team name "The Los Angeles Brewers of Milwaukee?"
Key additions: OF Carlos Lee, RHP Jose Capellan, C Damian Miller
12 12 Chicago White Sox
Now that the White Sox have brought in noted clubhouse cardplayer A.J. Pierzynski, does this mean the South Siders will be the team to beat in a Texas Hold 'Em tournament? Just watch out for the Matador.
Key additions: C Pierzynski, RHP Orlando Hernandez, OF Scott Podsednik, OF Jermaine Dye
13 14 Florida Marlins
The Marlins are so accustomed to playing in the Dolphins' shadow, it seems only fitting that Pro Player Stadium is being renamed "Dolphins Stadium." Then again, this is also a baseball club that features cheerleaders.
Key additions: LHP Al Leiter
14 23 Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are taking this overhaul thing pretty seriously. The L.A. Times reports the team even laid off the guy who designed the Eric Gagne-in-goggles "Game Over" logo. Next thing you know they will change the team name to "The Los Angeles Dodgers of Anaheim."
Key additions: RHP Derek Lowe, 2B Jeff Kent, C Dioner Navarro, OF J.D. Drew
15 20 Cleveland Indians
Unable to land any of the arms they targeted, they switched gears and went bottom feeding. Right-hander Kevin Millwood signed for one year and $7 million ($3 million if he misses significant time with injury) and now it appears Juan Gonzalez will come in on a minor-league contract. Those are two low-risk, high-reward moves.
Key additions: RHP Millwood, LHP Arthur Rhodes

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