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Baseball rankings: The 10 best and worst off-season acquisitions

Lance Berkman has been a steal for the Cardinals, so far, while Manny Ramirez stole out of Tampa Bay and retired to avoid a drug suspension.

April 30, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman (12) is congratulated by catcher Gerald Laird after hitting a home run, his second of the game, in the ninth inning of an 11-7 victory over the Astros on Thursday.
Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman (12) is congratulated by catcher Gerald… (Pat Sullivan / Associated…)

Some off-season acquisitions, such as the Rays' signing of free agent Johnny Damon have worked out well. Others, such as the Rays' signing of free agent Manny Ramirez? Well, not so much. Kevin Baxter lists the 10 best and worst winter acquisitions given performances to date (through Friday's games):

Best

1. LANCE BERKMAN (Cardinals, free agent): Leads majors in slugging (.770), second in batting (.402), home runs (8), fourth in RBIs (22).

2. JOHNNY DAMON (Rays, free agent): Has baseball-best six game-winning hits and a league-high 20 RBIs as a DH.

3. JEFF FRANCOEUR (Royals, free agent): $2.5-million bargain is among AL batting leaders in five categories.

4. RUSSELL MARTIN (Yankees, free agent): Six HRs more than he hit last season with Dodgers; slugging career-best .597.

5. ADRIAN BELTRE (Rangers, free agent): Signed to provide power, ranks second in AL in RBIs (21), third in HRs (7).

6. ADRIAN GONZALEZ (Red Sox, trade): Improves defense, leads team in batting (.314), hits (32) and RBIs (15).

7. AARON HARANG (Padres, free agent): Was 4-0 with 1.88 ERA until tripping up in last start.

8. BARTOLO COLON (Yankees, free agent): $900,000 insurance policy replaces Phil Hughes in rotation with two quality starts.

9. SAM FULD (Rays, trade): Returning to earth after fast start but stills leads AL with 10 steals, excels at highlight-reel catches.

10. SHAUN MARCUM (Brewers, trade): Gave up no earned runs in three of last four starts, improving to 3-1, 2.21 ERA.

Worst

1. MANNY RAMIREZ (Rays, free agent): Manny being Manny: Went one for 17 then "retired" rather than face drug suspension.

2. VERNON WELLS (Angels, trade): Improved OF defense doesn't make up for .181 average, $81-million contract.

3. ADAM DUNN (White Sox, free agent): Hitting .155 and striking out more than 40% of the time.

4. DAN UGGLA (Braves, trade): Hitting .192 and on pace for career-low 54 RBIs — and 126 strikeouts.

5. CARL CRAWFORD (Red Sox, free agent): Hit .337 last April, .160 this year with more strikeouts (17) than hits (15).

6. CARLOS PENA (Cubs, free agent): Paid $10 million for power bat, homerless so far, slugging .175 and batting .159.

7. RAFAEL SORIANO (Yankees, free agent): Heir-apparent to Mariano Rivera has 7.84 ERA, 1.94 WHIP in 11 games.

8. BRAD HAWPE/ORLANDO HUDSON (Padres, free agents): This paired entry is batting a combined .199 with no homers.

8. MARK REYNOLDS (Orioles, trade): For $5.5 million, Reynolds is hitting .175 with two home runs.

10. JOHN BUCK (Marlins, free agent): Tight-fisted Marlins invested $18 million in a weak-throwing catcher with .210 average.

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