- The still-available free agent pitchers:
Yesterday I speculated on possible destinations for the "name" hordes of still-floating free agent position players; now I'll move onto the pitchers.
There's a lot of them.
Note: I used MLBTradeRumors.com for the list. It's funny how they place Scott Boras clients in boldface. That, my friends, is when you know you've made it. Boldface!!!!
Miguel Batista: I find it hard to believe that there's no team that could have use for Batista. He can start or relieve; he's fearless and will throw inside to anyone; and he's had more comebacks than Aerosmith----the main difference being that Batista's comebacks have been of the welcome variety. He'll get a big league contract to be a reliever/spot starter with a contender around the start of spring training. The Rays could use him.
Erik Bedard: Bedard is the ultimate short-term/low-risk/massive reward free agent. He's injury-prone; he's not well-liked by his teammates or the media; but when he's healthy, he's brilliant. Don't be surprised to see him end up with the Marlins.
Aroldis Chapman: Now this guy's an interesting case. A Cuban defector who's listed at 22-years-old (you can guess at his real age; I'm not even bothering), he's has been auditioning for teams in individual workouts. The 6'4" lefty has been dazzling and teams that normally wouldn't enter into the bidding with the Yankees and Red Sox are going after him, the Blue Jays and Marlins among them. It's going to be interesting to see where he ends up; he's asking for $25 million, so obviously the first teams you look at are the Yankees and Red Sox, but if he's that good, a team that is generally reticent to fling around that kind of cash might ante up. Again, maybe the Marlins.
Daniel Cabrera: Cabrera was hideous with the Nationals and Diamondbacks last year, but he's always had wicked stuff and he's mean. Joe Torre expressed admiration for Cabrera when he was managing the Yankees and Cabrera pitched for the Orioles; and I've always seen Cabrera as a perfect reclamation project for Dave Duncan with the Cardinals.
Doug Davis: Davis's left-handed junk isn't impressive; his control isn't very good; he doesn't strike many hitters out; but no matter what he finds a way to win as many games as he loses and gobbles innings every year; and he's got guts. He must go to a team with a relatively large ballpark and a good defense, but any team signing him would know exactly what they're getting. If the Dodgers ever do anything this winter, Davis would be a good fit.
Jon Garland: Garland's the same kind of pitcher as Davis. The Rangers were after Garland for some reason and Garland in that ballpark would be an utter disaster. He wants a 3-year deal, which he's not going to get. Garland could return to the Diamondbacks or Angels.
Jarrod Washburn: Washburn, represented by Boras, had pitched excellently with the Mariners in the first half of 2009 before he was traded to the Tigers, where he was horrific. I've never been a big fan of his stuff----he's a back-end starter----and he's going to be 36 in August. If Boras thinks he's getting Washburn a 3-year deal, he really is insane. Perhaps Washburn will go back to the Mariners for a 2-year deal, maybe.
Randy Johnson: Johnson hasn't retired and seems to be intent on pitching. On a short-term deal, he's be a big win cheaply. There was talk of him returning to the Mariners, but the Dodgers or Marlins are also possibilities. Johnson would be a good mentor for Andrew Miller in Florida.
Braden Looper: Looper gives up a lot of home runs and didn't pitch very well last year, but he did pitch well at times when he was first converted into a starter by the Cardinals. He's a cheap, back-of-the-rotation option who can also relieve. As a last resort, teams could do worse than Looper.
Pedro Martinez: Pedro will be best-served to do as he did last year and sit out the first half of the season to save his bullets and sign with a contender. He can still pitch and appears willing to go anywhere. The Twins have popped into my head repeatedly with Pedro; possibly the White Sox.
Mark Mulder: Is he healthy? It's stunning what happened to Mulder. With the Athletics, his free and easy motion had him pegged as a long-term winner, but his body broke down completely. Someone will roll the dice on him, but would be unwise to count on him at all.
Brett Myers: Myers can start or relieve and pitched poorly for the Phillies last year as he recovered from hip surgery. Myers seems to want to relieve, and I see him as more of a reliever. He'd be a good option for the Mets as a feisty reliever/spot starter and he'd love to shove it to the Phillies.
Vicente Padilla: Padilla was brilliant with the Dodgers after being released by the Rangers (at least until he blew up in his last start in the NLCS). If he's looking to cash in on that hot month-and-a-half, he can forget it given his bad reputation off the field and flighty career on the field. Returning to the Dodgers is the smart move for Padilla.
Joel Pineiro: Pineiro was asking for 4-years, $40 million. It'd be stunning if some team gave him that amount of money. The question with Pineiro is whether he's a product of Dave Duncan/Tony La Russa or he's really figured it out and will continue pitching as well as he did for the Cardinals. I'm of the belief that it's the latter and if he's in a big ballpark on a team with a good defensive infield, he'd continue his good work. I think Pineiro's going to the Mets.
Mark Prior: Did he retire? Anyone up for ridiculing the Twins for taking Joe Mauer ahead of Prior now? Coming out of college, he was poised and polished; now he's battered and finished----and don't blame Dusty Baker because it would've happened whether the Cubs had employed the Joba Rules or if they'd done what they did and let him pitch trying to win a title.
Horacio Ramirez: I'm halfway expecting Dayton Moore to re-sign Ramirez to a 5-year contract to remain with the Royals. Hell, I might contemplate a comeback from my sandlot days and give the Royals a call; how much worse could I be than Ramirez and Kyle Farnsworth?
Ben Sheets: Sheets is supposedly asking for $12 million for one year and if he was guaranteed to be healthy, he'd absolutely be worth it. The thing that concerns me about Sheets isn't just his injury history, but that he seemed willing to sign last winter with someone as he insisted he was healthy and then, after no one wanted to take a chance on him, he decided to have surgery as if he was saying, "Oh, alright, I'll have surgery if you really want me to." Sheets will have to take an incentive-laden deal, but he'll end up with a contender and could be a massive win if he's healthy. I'm picturing him with the Cardinals, Dodgers or Angels.
John Smoltz: Smoltz can still pitch and the Nationals are pursuing him. Why he'd want to subject himself to that is beyond me. That he can start or relieve should get him a decent NL job with a contender like the Dodgers or Giants.
Chien-Ming Wang: Wang's evidently not going to be ready to go until June, but if he's healthy then he'd be a big-time mid-season acquisition for a team with a good infield defense and big ballpark like the Mets or Giants. The Mariners and Angels are also possibilities.
Kevin Gregg: Gregg isn't any good. He's wild and gives up too many homers and the only place he could get a closing job and not make the team worse than they currently are is the Pirates. It's a match made in heaven.
Mike MacDougal: MacDougal will always have a job because of that 100-mph fastball. He's wild, but always shows flashes of being thisclose to putting it all together. As a low-cost flier, I'd take a chance on MacDougal and that fastball. The Marlins are a good spot for him.
Jose Valverde: He throws very, very hard and has had some excellent years as a closer. A team that needs set-up help like the Yankees might want to seriously look at Valverde.
Doug Brocail: Brocail's not young (he'll be 43 in May), but he's always been a leader in the clubhouse and can still pitch out of the bullpen. The Mets should think about him.
Kiko Calero: Calero's a workhorse and was a key to the Marlins staying in contention. Any number of teams can use Calero. I see him going to the Giants.
Octavio Dotel: Dotel gives up too many homers, but he still racks up the strikeouts. Possibly the Cardinals are a good place for him on a short-term deal.
Russ Springer: The veteran Springer can still pitch and would bolster any bullpen. He should return to the Rays.
Chan Ho Park: The Phillies have moved on from Park with their signing of Danys Baez and Park still harbors thoughts of being a starter when he should focus on staying in the bullpen. The Giants were looking at Park, but the Mariners are an option also.
Joe Beimel: Beimel will always have a job because he's lefty and he's breathing (and the breathing part isn't all that necessary for someone to sign him). He'll have his pick of teams on a low-cost, short-term deal once the dust settles.
Scott Eyre: Eyre was a key component to the Phillies pennant in 2009 and has shown that he can get out lefties and righties. He spoke of retirement, but I think he'll come back with the Phillies.
Ron Mahay: Mahay can still pitch and I'd expect him to eventually return to the Twins; if not, the Angels or White Sox are options.
- Phillies sign Danys Baez...to a 2-year contract (?):
The Phillies are aware that there's such a thing as 1-year contracts, right?
Signing Baez is a good idea to bolster the bullpen, no doubt, but for 2-years?
This is a continuing strange trend from the Phillies. For a club that has all these rules (no contracts longer than 3-years for pitchers, for example), they take that to the extreme by signing the likes of Adam Eaton for three years or extending Jamie Moyer for two years (punch-drunk from the exhilaration of the 2008 World Series win maybe) for no reason whatsoever.
Was Moyer going to reject a one-year deal? Was Baez?
Baez has been up-and-down in his career; as a set-up man he could be very good for the Phillies; but if Brad Lidge's head and body aren't straight and they're expecting to contend if he Baez to replace Lidge as closer, they're deluding themselves.
From the Placido Polanco signing; to the trade of Cliff Lee for Roy Halladay; to the exercising of Jimmy Rollins's contract option for 2011 despite his decline, the 2-year deal for Baez is another bizarre decision in a what's going to be seen as a gaffe-filled winter of 2009-10 for the Phillies.
- Ah, Edwin Encarnacion...
I'm glad Blue Jays third baseman Edwin Encarnacion wasn't seriously injured when his face was burned by fireworks during a New Year's celebration in the Dominican Republic----ESPN Story----but given Encarnacion's history as a supremely talented space cadet, why do I have a different image as to what happened that what's been reported?According to the story, one of Encarnacion's brothers lit a rocket firecracker and it moved laterally instead of upwards and it hit the infielder in the face. The thing with Encarnacion is that I can picture him having had too many beers and leaning over the rocket to see why it didn't go off and having it hit him in the face. It just seems like something he'd do.