The last couple of cycles have seen some BIG NL moves involving some big-money players.
One was an old big-money player - Burlington's SP Frank Huff, who's in the 4th year of a 5-year, $18MM/year contract. Off-season rumors have had him moving to numerous contenders - Austin is one we can confirm - but the contract was obviously difficult. In the wee hours this morning, Sioux Falls pulled the trigger, sending a pair of minor leaguers and Bill Mills' expiring contract to the Lake Monsters for Huff and $3.5MM cash.
We like this move for the Stoned Presidents. Their hitters made the headlines last year, but a lot of their improvement was due to pitching - their team ERA improved from 4.48 to 3.68. Huff gives them a true #1 starter, and it didn't really cost them any players or prospects. Even though he may well test free agency in 2 years (54 patience), this move vaults Sioux Falls right to the top of the NL hopefuls.
The new big-money player is Mexico City's Gary Goodwin, who just signed a $110MM, 5-year max deal. Max-dollar deals are tough to grade...if the player puts the team over the top and they win a WS or 2, it looks like a great move. If the player wins an MVP and the team fizzles in the playoffs, well... On the other hand, this is one the Desperadoes HAD to do. They had the most FA money available, and Goodwin was the premier hitter available. And they still have cap room to address other needs. Not a bargain, but Grade A.