First, I'll let Phil explain the reasoning behind his new metric. Take it away!For the purpose of identifying the most on-the-surface improvement around the major leagues, consider the core players--hitters projected to be regulars and pitchers who either start or work the last two innings of games--who have come and gone.
In this simple accounting, the Sox rate a plus-two, having added Swisher, Orlando Cabrera and Scott Linebrink while losing only Jon Garland. That puts them alongside Detroit (plus-three), Tampa Bay (plus-two), Toronto (plus-one) and Houston (plus-one) as the most improved teams in the majors.
The Cubs excited their fans with the signing of Kosuke Fukudome, but that addition is offset by the departures of Jacque Jones, Cliff Floyd and Jason Kendall. That leaves the Cubs at minus-two at present. The only teams that have lost more are Oakland (minus-four) and St. Louis (minus-five).
Allow me to break this down Tinker Toy style, just in case anyone missed the point of Rogers' column.
If you assume that all "core" major league players (I'm guessing this is defined as "players Phil Rogers recognizes when he sees their name in the transactions list) bring the exact same amount of value to their new ballclubs, then clearly the White Sox are having the second-best offseason, while the Cubs are the third-worst.
That's if you have absolutely no way to differentiate the talent and impact of ballplayers other than whether or not Phil Rogers recognizes their names. Apparently losing Jason Kendall is proportiately opposite to signing Scott Linebrink.
To quote the great Raymond Chandler, "People pay brisk money for this crap?"