While Robinson Cano and the Yankees negotiate a $150 million difference, two other recognizable free agents found deals to their liking on Monday.
Carlos Ruiz re-signed with the Phillies for three years and $26 million, which immediately raised the prospect of another classic Ruben Amaro Jr. overpay. Then Jon Heyman mentioned that the Phillies had to outbid the Red Sox, who know a thing or two about building a winner through middle-tier free agents.
Ruiz fell behind Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia on the catcher list. He actually outproduced Saltalamacchia easily from 2009 through 2012, but his production declined in 2013, which was delayed due to a 25-game suspension for stimulant usage (reportedly Adderall). He'll be 35 by next Opening Day, so it's possible that the drop-off is the start of his official decline phase. Still, he was the most reputable cheaper starting-quality alternative, and he was rewarded handsomely.
The White Sox were never tied to Ruiz, but his signing is the first step toward establishing a market for the free agent backstops that the front office may be evaluating. Amaro has a history of paying above the going rate, but if Boston's interest was genuine, he might have actually paid what was required of him this time.
In less relevant news involving a recognizable name, Tim Hudson has reportedly landed with the Giants for two years and $23 million. A fluky, hard-to-watch ankle injury limited the 38-year-old Hudson to 21 OK starts with Atlanta last year. Brian Sabean may have gotten a good starter at an injury-reduced price, or, by acquiring a pitcher who is working his way back from an ankle injury, he might have set himself up for a Peavying.
Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters hit the rumor mill when the Scott Boras factor made his free agency imminent in two years. The first foray into negotiations suggests a team that wants to acquire Wieters must have designs on winning by 2015.
One of only a few 2013 White Sox performance reviews that could qualify as "glowing."
Lloyd Pettit and Jack Brickhouse call Jim Maloney's 10-inning no-hitter for the Reds. Al posted this last week, but I finally got around to watching some of it. I'm a fan of this camera angle.
Larry posted this in the comments on Monday, but Max Weinstein's post about catchers is worth a read, as are the comments, which flesh out the sample a little bit.
A falling metal wall hanging knocked John Sickels out of action, and at a terrible time for him. He's getting back into the swing of the offseason now, so forgive him if his top prospects list is a little late in arriving this year.