Category Archives: Free Agency

Ervin Santana: A Potential Bargain for Pitching-Starved MLB Teams

At the same point last offseason, starting pitcher Kyle Lohse was still a free agent. In fact, it would take until March 25 for Lohse to finally sign a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. But unlike Lohse, who too wore the rejected-qualifying offer Scarlet Letter, current free agent Ervin Santana has apparently waved the white flag in his pursuit of a multiyear deal.

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the 31-year-old is eager to sign with a team and get to spring training—even at the cost of a lucrative, long-term contract. Aside from how most teams would forfeit an unprotected first-round pick to sign the right-hander, the sheer opportunity to sign a free-agent pitcher of Santana’s caliber to a one-year deal instantly makes him a bargain. Continue reading

What Changed the New York Yankees’ Mind About Brett Gardner?

According CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the New York Yankees reportedly extended outfielder Brett Gardner to a four-year, $52 million contract.

Gardner, 30, is young by Bombers’ standards and has excelled as a starter over the past four seasons. And with a career park-adjusted 97 OPS+, 10.3 percent walk rate, 161 steals (an 80.9 percent SB%) and 84 defensive runs saved (DRS) in the outfield, Gardner is undoubtedly a valuable asset.

Yet, in less than a three-month period since signing Jacoby Ellsbury, which subsequently incited hoopla surrounding Gardner’s future with the organization, per The Star-Ledger’s Andy McCullough, the southpaw went from seemingly expendable to a core organizational mainstay. Given the extreme variance, it only makes one wonder: What could have changed the Yankees’ mind about Brett Gardner? Continue reading

The Baltimore Orioles Are a Good Fit for Ubaldo Jimenez

It took until mid-February, but Ubaldo Jimenez, one of the better starting pitchers on the free-agent market, has finally put pen to paper. Jimenez, who posted a 3.30 ERA, park-adjusted 114 ERA+ and 2.43 K/BB in 2013, is set to sign a four-year, $50 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The deal matches the one the Milwaukee Brewers handed Matt Garza in January, but is perhaps surprising to some given Ubaldo’s struggles from 2011 to 2012 (a combined 5.03 ERA, 82 ERA+ and 1.87 K/BB). Yet, despite the contract-year alarm bells going off, there are a few factors that point to at least a continuation of success in 2014 with the Orioles. Continue reading

Paul Maholm Should Fire His Agent

Like most good, high-payroll organizations, the Los Angeles Dodgers weren’t satisfied with just winning the National League West in 2013. General manager Ned Colletti has spent over $80 million this offseason in free agency and another $215 million to extend the team’s ace, Clayton Kershaw. Needless to say, the Dodgers are the favorites to win the NL West and arguably the pennant too.

But while Colletti is doing his job as general manager, one can’t say the same for the agent of recent Dodgers’ signee Paul Maholm. In an offseason where mediocre starting pitchers garnered multi-year contracts, Bo McKinnis was only able to net his client a one-year, $1.5 million deal. Continue reading

5 Realistic Moves the New York Mets Should Have Made This Offseason

Playing armchair general manager is often met with skepticism. In an ideal world, the New York Mets would have outbid the Seattle Mariners for Robinson Cano’s services, subsequently adding one of the premier offensive threats at a notoriously light-hitting position.

But given the Mets’ small-market approach, inking Cano was never in the realm of possibility—even if the team did buy him lunch (per the NY Post’s Ken Davidoff).

Yet, there were a number of low-cost, high-reward acquisitions other teams executed that the Mets could have also made.

For instance, despite posting comparable three-year averages to many of the highest-earning starters this offseason, Paul Maholm only garnered a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Given the mediocre Plan B rotation options behind Jenrry Mejia, the Mets should have invested in Maholm. Continue reading

The Best Free-Agent Defensive Players Still Available

Surprisingly, Juan Uribe was the best defensive free agent before the offseason began.

Surprisingly, Juan Uribe was the best defensive free agent before the offseason began.

As expected, most of the big-name free-agents have signed contracts by this point.

That said, if the Baltimore Orioles decided to upgrade from Nolan Reimold, both Kendrys Morales and Nelson Cruz, who hit 23 and 27 home runs in 2013, respectively, are still looking for jobs. The same goes for the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels, both of whom could bolster their rotations by inking the likes of Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, Bronson Arroyo and even Masahiro Tanaka.

But when it comes to improving teams’ defenses last minute, the pickings might be slimmer.

The top-six free-agent defenders have long been off the market, with Juan Uribe’s glowing 15 DRS and 35.3 UZR/150 leading the way.

Player Pos. Inn UZR/150 DRS
Juan Uribe 3B 900.1 35.3 15
Jacoby Ellsbury CF 1188.1 12.9 13
Mark Ellis 2B 950.0 7.8 12
Marlon Byrd RF 1168.1 2.6 12
Mike Napoli 1B 1097.1 13.3 10
David Murphy LF 980.1 15.5 8

Below is a position-by-position breakdown of the best free-agent defensive players still available.

Note: players must have logged at least 100 innings at a given position to become eligible. Continue reading

Ubaldo Jimenez: What Kind of Contract Does He Deserve?

Property of ESPN.com.

Property of ESPN.com.

It’s a rather commonplace for players—in particular, pitchers—to cash in on productive seasons. For instance, Scott Kazmir and Scott Feldman both landed multi-year contracts this offseason that few could have predicted before their respective 2013 seasons.

That said, remaining free-agent Ubaldo Jimenez has yet to receive the love he deserves. Continue reading

Where’s the Love for Paul Maholm?

The 2013 offseason has been a joyous one for starting pitchers. Rotation arms have garnered an average contract of 1.88 years and $9.3 million annually.

Yet as willing as teams have apparently been to hand out inflated contracts, the interest in southpaw free-agent Paul Maholm has been non-existent. Continue reading

The New York Mets Need to Sign Shin-Soo Choo This Off-Season

The New York Mets offense is struggling. The team has a collective .230/.302/.382 triple-slash, with a .684 OPS–which ranks 26th in the major leagues. However, the real issue is with the Mets’ outfield. Mets’ center fielders have combined for a .530 OPS+ (worst in the majors) and right fielders a .621 (tied for third worst). While Mike Baxter and Andrew Brown, perhaps, deserve a chance to start this season, the Mets need to sign to-be free agent Shin-Soo Choo this coming off-season. Continue reading

Kyle Lohse Could Become This Generation’s Curt Flood

For many fans, the beginning of the baseball season starts in early-February, when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. Ten days ago, the likes of David Price, Justin Verlander, and even Greg Burke took the mound in sunny Florida and Arizona for their respective organizations. Yet even though all Major League pitchers are picking up baseballs and getting their arms in working order, Kyle Lohse will not be one of them. Lohse, who is coming off a terrific 2012 campaign, where he hurled a career-best 134 ERA+ and 3.76 K/BB over 211 IP, still remains a free-agent.

The 34 year-old’s status is hardly surprising, however. Due to the new qualifying offer agreement, which entitles organizations to extend one-year, $13.3MM (based off the top 125 player’s average salaries) retention offers or subsequent draft pick compensation if the player rejects the deal, it has deterred suitors from signing Lohse. The pitcher, who presumably had been seeking a multi-year contract, declined the St. Louis Cardinals’ qualifying offer, and has since been patiently sitting on the free-agent market. Continue reading