- A free agent frenzy...of poor construction:
I'm not talking about specific teams and their pursuits and acquisitions...yet.
No, I'm talking about "The Worldwide Leader In Sports" and their horrific writers on ESPN.com.
Does this count as English?
Jeter, Lee about to be able to talk to any teams
The content of the story is irrelevant because the headline construction is so hideous. I'm not going to bother taking it apart as to why it's so bad; nor am I going to enter a long-winded rant about how irresponsible it is of ESPN to be a party to such ineptitude; what I will say is that there were a million better ways to create an alluring headline that, y'know, makes sense.
They could've written: "Let The Bidding Begin For Jeter And Lee"; "Free Agency And Options Beckon For Jeter And Lee"....anything would've been better than that awkward and outright awful choice they made.
It's beyond embarrassing at this point; it's laughable; and they're treating their readers like fools by putting such garbage out on a high-profile, heavily trafficked site that many people (myself included) rely on for information.
How about a little pride?
Or at least competence?
- As for the free agents...
I'm not getting into a game of predicting where the big fish are going to wind up; it's become increasingly clear to me that it's a colossal waste of time that's more of an exercise in egomania than anything of use. If I correctly predict where Lee winds up, how is that of any value to anyone other than myself being able to say I was "right"?
It's a guess for everyone, insiders and outsiders.
And it's a waste of time.
What I will do is look at members of the free agent class and whether they're a player to pursue (for a variety of reasons); or if clubs should be hesitant before loading up financially with a player who may not be worth it. They're in no particular order either way and include a reasonable (in my addled mind) contract; along with what they'll end up with when all is said and done.
Free agents to pursue:
Grant Balfour---RHP, set-up man:
Some teams have made it a practice to shy away from signing non-closers to prohibitive long-term contracts. The Phillies are a notable exception to this practice.
Balfour was a flier pickup for the Rays and became an integral part of their pennant-winning bullpen in 2008; had an off-year in 2009 in which he reverted back to the wild journeyman who had fastball number 1 and fastball number 2 and little control of either; in 2009, he was again brilliant as a set-up man for Rafael Soriano.
He racks up the strikeouts and handles lefties and righties well.
2009 Salary: $2.05 million.
Reasonable deal: 2 years, $7 million.
What he'll get: 3 years, $9.5 million.
Miguel Batista----RHP, starter, long-man, set-up man, closer:
I don't think it's understood how useful Batista has been and can still be.
He can start; pitch long relief; has been a set-up man and closer. It's asking a bit much for him, at age 40 to be considered for the latter two roles. When he's off, he gets blasted; but for the most part, he's reliable and willing to do anything. He's mean and quirky too.
2010 Salary: $1 million.
Reasonable deal: 1 year, $1.5 million.
What he'll get: 1 year, $1.5 million.
Kevin Correia----RHP, starter:
Correia had a breakout year for the Padres in 2009 after wallowing in mediocrity with the Giants and being non-tendered. He was pitching similarly well in the first month of 2010----good for about 6 innings or so with 3 runs allowed; not great, not bad. Then his younger brother was killed in a hiking accident in early May. He pitched well in spurts after the tragedy, but it's obvious he was affected.
Correia has great stuff and would be a good mid-to-back of the rotation starter.
2010 Salary: $3.6 million.
Reasonable deal: 2 years, $10 million.
What he'll get: 3 years, $16 million.
Adam Dunn----1B, OF, DH:
Dunn's walks were down in 2010 and that, naturally, resulted in a lower on base percentage than normal. With Dunn, you know what you're getting. You'll get homers (around 40); you'll get 100 walks; you'll get 200 strikeouts; you'll get a good guy in the clubhouse.
Put him in the Yankees lineup and he's a wrecking crew shooting at that short right field porch and walking in front of the Yankees bashers. The Mariners and White Sox could use his bat as well----desperately.
There's something to be said for "knowing". He needs to go to the American League where he can DH.
2010 Contract: 2 years, $20 million.
Reasonable deal: 3 years, $33 million.
What he'll get: 4 years, $45 million.
Matt Guerrier----RHP, set-up man:
Guerrier has been an indispensable part to what the Twins do with their competent starters and deep bullpen. He's a contact pitcher who doesn't walk or strike out many; but he's been durable pitching in over 70 games in each of the past four seasons.
One concern I'd have is how he'll react to being out of the Twins cocoon of use and protection; he'll get a good deal somewhere with a contending team.
2010 Salary: $3.15 million.
Reasonable deal: 2 years, $7 million.
What he'll get: 2 years, $7.8 million.
Laird can't hit.
He couldn't hit in the hitters' haven of Texas; and he definitely couldn't hit in Detroit; but he's an excellent defensive catcher who calls a fine game and would have use for a team as a part-timer/mentor to a young catcher.
The Mets could use him to split time with Josh Thole.
2010 Salary: $3.95 million.
Reasonable deal: 1 year, $4.5 million.
What he'll get: 1 year, $5.2 million.
Micah Owings----RHP, starter, reliever, pinch-hitter, extra outfielder:
I've always liked Owings as a pitcher and preferred him as a starter despite the Reds using him as a reliever. I also liked the idea of using him as a long man and an extra bat off the bench on non-pitching days----he can hit.
He needs to hook up with a "guru"-type pitching coach like Dave Duncan.
2010 Salary: $440,000.
Reasonable deal: 1 year, $600,000.
What he'll get: A minor league contract.
Free agents to be wary of:
Beltre had a terrific year for the Red Sox offensively, defensively and as a clubhouse leader. But he also had a fantastic year with the Dodgers as his first foray into free agency beckoned and got a massive contract from the Mariners, but never again approached his 48 homer level from 2004.
I'm not a fan of players who seem to turn it on as they're about to become free agents----see A.J. Burnett. Considering the position he plays, Beltre will get himself a great deal somewhere.
2010 Salary: $10 million.
Reasonable deal: 3 years, $31 million.
What he'll get: 4 years, $48 million.
Pedro Feliciano----LHP, reliever:
Feliciano was tried as a full-time set-up man by the Mets and it didn't work as righties tuned him up to a .336 batting average with a .436 on base. He's also been overused by the Mets revolving door of reliever-shredding managers.
2010 Salary: $2.9 million.
Reasonable deal: 1 year, $2 million.
What he'll get: 2 years, $6 million.
Carl Pavano----RHP, starter:
Now this will be fascinating.
Sans the battered reputation, Pavano is in the exact same position (albeit six years older) as he was when he left the Marlins for the Yankees. Then he was coming off an 18-win, 200 innings, solid-across-the-board season; now, he's coming off a 17-win, 200 innings, solid-across-the-board season.
Then it got him the ill-fated 4 year, $40 million deal from the Yankees that will go down as one of the worst contracts for a free agent in the history of baseball. Now, who knows? Suffice it to say he won't be going back to the Yankees.
2010 Salary: $7 million.
Reasonable deal: 2 years, $16 million.
What he'll get: 3 years, $22 million.
Uribe doesn't walk, but he's versatile and had so many big hits in the regular and post-season as the Giants rolled to their World Series win that he'll expect a multi-year contract. He'll provide 45 or so extra base hits to whichever team signs him.
You pretty much know what you're getting with Uribe, the good and the bad.
2010 Salary: $3.25 million.
Reasonable deal: 2 years, $11 million.
What he'll get: 3 years, $18 million.
Rafael Soriano----RHP, closer:
Soriano had a terrific regular season for the AL East champion Rays, but his one bugaboo reared its head in the playoffs as he allowed a meaningless homer to Nelson Cruz in the Rays game 3 win, and a critical homer to Ian Kinsler in game 5 of the ALDS to essentially put the game out of reach.
As a closer, you could do far worse than Soriano during the regular season and the playoffs are something to worry about when you get there. He's 31 and wants to cash in now. If I were a legit title contender, I'd prefer a more reliable post-season entity than Soriano----I'd try to trade for Jonathan Papelbon first.
2010 Salary: $7.25 million.
Reasonable deal: 3 years, $25 million.
What he'll get: 4 years, $35 million.
Hisanori Takahashi----LHP, starter, long-man, set-up man, closer:
Takahashi was a revelation for the Mets in 2010 as he was a competent starter and versatile reliever who did everything from quieting games down as a long-man to successfully closing. He wants a 3-year contract for $12-15 million and would prefer to start.
Takahashi will not be returning to the Mets; he's a loss, but the team finished at 79-83 with him; presumably, they'll find someone to replace him and although he was very useful to them, he's being a little delusional in thinking he's going to get an automatic job as a starter, especially after the job he did out of the bullpen.
2010 Salary: $1 million.
Reasonable deal: 2 years, $6.5 million.
What he'll get: 3 years, $11 million.
I was linked on Baseball Think Factory again yesterday----link.
I read a couple of the comments and they were true to form of relentless ripping without courage to go after me on my own turf. I wish they would.
They want to come after me, they can do it here----all are welcome----but they won't because I think it's well-known as to the hammering they're in for if they do. It's easier and safer to be snide on a forum and, as usual, watch as the debate deviates into an "I Grok Spock" style of argument from a Star Trek convention.
I'm here and ready to rock if they want to scrap.
- Sunday Lightning Preview:
I'll do the mail tomorrow. Plus, the Mets clubhouse manager is in, um, trouble from all sides. Big trouble. Plus we'll see what shakes out today as things move along in other areas of interest.I was on with Sal at the Sportsfan Buzz on Wednesday talking about the World Series; free agency (Derek Jeter, Cliff Lee, et al). You can listen directly here; or download it from I-Tunes on Sal's site here.