- Ever since I stumbled onto the online baseball community about five years ago, I've found myself amazed by the consistent shock, the utter disbelief, from some fans regarding the current price for free agent talent. It shouldn't be a surprise anymore.
Of course, there's never been a Daisuke Matsuzaka available on the market before either. 26-year old free agents are beyond rare, which is why I was surprised that Jon Garland signed a deal before the season when it probably wasn't in his best long-term interest. What do you suppose Garland would command on this market where Barry Zito is asking for 7/$105M? He might not stack up with the elite pitchers in the game, but he's among the most durable. After the Burnett deal last year, I seem to recall speculating that Garland could expect a 6/$66M deal if he had opted for free agency this year. That might have been a low estimate. In any event, 2/$22M, which is what is left on his current contract, is a whole lot easier to manage.
- Because it's early, and the market is probably only going to get crazier, I'm not going to run the risk of looking foolish by making fun of the Cubs signing of, the career backup and utility man, Mark Derosa to a 3/$13M deal. Honestly, the money doesn't shock me; the years do. DeRosa had only one season with more than 300 at-bats under his belt (and that was 309) before his breakout campaign, at age 31, in '06. A single signing like DeRosa's isn't going to kill a club like the Cubs, but their recent history of paying top dollar for part-time players coming off of career years (Eyre and Howry) is a good way to make your supposed large market team into a mid-market team that can't afford the few truly elite players available at free agency.
- As for the Sox, I have a hard time envisioning us signing any highly coveted free agent that we didn't develop from within (ala Konerko last year). In fact, I'm beginning to think that the best long-term move for the Sox this off-season is to once again make sure none of their starters are in their walk year. I have to see the off-season really start to play out to be sure, but trading Garcia, while locking up (or even trading) Buehrle, for top pitching prospects under control for multiple years would help the Sox compete with the likes of the Bostons, LAs, and NYs.
The Sox are never going to be able to lure a top pitcher in free agency due to their understandable caution regarding contracts longer than 3-years. The only top free agent pitchers who will get 3-years or less in the future will be over 35 years old. And not many 35+ year olds can be considered top free agents.
- Earlier today, I caught an brief interview on the radio with Kenny Williams at the GM meetings. Kenny was asked whether there would be a long-term deal for Joe Crede in the off-season. He said that the issues regarding Crede's back have been overblown by people (including myself, though, surprise, he in no way mentioned me) but that he didn't expect a deal to be reached "and that has everything to do with his representation." He said the Sox and Boras have different views on the value of players and he doesn't expect that to change anytime soon. He did try to downplay Bruce Levine's suggestion that Crede would be traded, saying that the Sox saw no problem with holding onto Crede for two more years thanks to arbitration.
- I just looked through the archives. On this day one year ago, I was actually complaining about the inactivity of 28 of the GMs, since both the Dodgers and Red Sox still had GM vacancies. No such complaining this year. The slow trickle of Japanese players being posted has provided enough material for me.
- A year ago, who would have thought that the Devil Rays would have the top bid for a highly sought after Japanese import? My first reaction after seeing the news was something like, "OMG?! What becomes of Mr. Upton?" which appears to be the same thing that came across Jim's mind.
If I was the D-Rays, I would have moved him to center field last season. He had already displayed the poor hands on the infield that should have foreshadowed his trouble moving to third. He should have been moved to the next most valuable position on the defensive spectrum, center field.
- Yankees and White Sox officials ate dinner together last night at the general managers' meetings.