Tuesday November 13th, 2012
Kyle Holland: On Saturday, the Nationals announced that they were re-signing manager Davey Johnson for the 2013 season. With the Nats clearing up the managerial situation it leaves the rest of their offseason for signing free agents. One free agent they will start with is outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher.
Swisher would be a great fit in a Washington uniform. He just recently rejected the Yankees offer of $13.3 million for one more year in New York. With Adam LaRoche declining his qualifying offer from the Nationals, they could let him walk and sign Swisher. Swisher has been known to play first base along with his usual outfield, so he could be a great replacement for LaRoche. Added versatility is always a bonus in today’s game. Read the rest of this entry
Monday November 12th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: There isn’t a single general manager is baseball that enjoys negotiating with Scott Boras, the man behind many of baseball’s top players. He usually gets his way when the final dominos fall, but he isn’t perfect. Edwin Jackson and Ryan Madson are two examples of Boras’s flawed work of late.
Here’s how they have and will be affected in free agency:
How Edwin Jackson Will Be Affected
Jackson seems to be the MLB’s definition of a journeyman. With ten years under his belt, he has pitched on seven teams, and not once has he signed a contract worth longer than three years. Jackson had an opportunity to erase that trend last off-season with several long-term deals at his disposal. However, Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal noted last winter that instead of taking the safe route, he could roll the dice and shoot for a larger contract next winter, which is now this winter. Jackson followed Rosenthal’s blueprint, signing a one-year deal with the Nationals worth $11 million. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday November 8th, 2012
Sam Evans: When it comes to closers, 2012 was the year of the injured veteran reliever. A couple of teams probably would have had different postseason success had they been able to use their reliable ninth-inning man. From Mariano Rivera to Sergio Santos, the list of closers that missed the 2012 MLB season goes on and on. Here’s an early glance at some of these pitchers hoping to rebound from their respective off years in the upcoming season.
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera is the best closer in the history of baseball and probably the best relief pitcher as well. Even as a forty-one year old in 2011, Rivera was forty-four for forty-nine in save opportunities. That was his ninth consecutive season with thirty or more saves. Unfortunately, Mariano Rivera missed almost all of the 2012 season due to a torn ACL he suffered while shagging fly balls. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday November 4th, 2012
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Jonathan Hacohen: Here we go again. We spend the whole offseason waiting and hoping for the MLB season to start. We speculate where free agents will sign, which teams will pull off trades and which teams have reason for optimism once the season. We dissect every move and weigh the dollars/years on each contract. Welcome to hot stove baby! But then the season comes and goes in a flash- then we end up right back to the offseason again. Right back to free agency talk again.
This week we have a nice mix of topics. From covering free agents, to trades, division realignment- our readers really went through the whole spectrum of baseball topics. We couldn’t possibly jump into ATR during free agency season without hearing the names Hamilton, Greinke or Upton? Of course not! So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.
Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry
Friday August 24th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: In the present time, Josh Hamilton is the Texas Rangers’ best player. One of the best in baseball baseball in fact. Hamilton has enjoyed one of the finest seasons of his career thus far, hitting .285 with 34 homers and 102 RBIs. He had a hot stretch at one point that included four home runs in a single game. Players like Hamilton don’t come around often, so if the Rangers are smart, they will extend his contract ASAP.
With Hamilton in the lineup, the Rangers have played in two World Series. He won the 2010 MVP award when the Rangers lost to the Giants in the Fall Classic in five games. If the Rangers wait until Hamilton hits free agency this offseason, they will have to compete with other teams and likely pay more than they would if they offered Hamilton right now. They could also risk losing him to the division rival Angels (this is highly doubtful given the large contracts of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson and a future contract of Mike Trout). This would be the worst possible scenario with the Angels already looking like a World Series-caliber team.
Thursday July 26th, 2012
John Burns: Two of baseball biggest sluggers Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder both signed $200 million plus contracts this offseason when they hit free agency. Pujols was the first of the two sluggers to sign. On December 10th, 2011, Pujols signed a ten-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, worth around $254 million. It was speculated around the winter meeting that Pujols could join the Miami Marlins who emerged as early favorites for Pujols. Albert could have easily been a Marlin right now if it wasn’t for Miami not granting Pujols a no-trade clause. As for Prince Fielder he waited until late January to sign. Fielder ended up signing a nine-year, $214 million contract with the Detroit Tigers. Both Fielder and Pujols shocked the baseball world by signing with teams that you would have never expected to see either of them play for. But that is part of the beauty of this game. You never know what will happen. Read the rest of this entry
Friday June 15th, 2012
Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): For better or worse, Josh Hamilton has been one of the most talked about ballplayers in the past four seasons. He started out as an inspirational story for overcoming drug and alcohol addiction, returning to baseball after three years on the restricted list due to failed drug tests. His talent always peaked the interest of teams, going first overall to the Devil Rays in the 1999 draft and third overall in the 2006 Rule 5 draft to the Chicago Cubs, when he was “the biggest name in the Rule 5 in many years,” according to Baseball America. Immediately after he was traded to Cincinnati, where he spent most of the 2007 season in the Majors. Another team interested meant another trade, and Hamilton landed in Texas for the 2008 season. Since then, he has been an All Star every year, a Silver Slugger winner twice, and the American League MVP in 2010.
Hamilton will no doubt gain even more attention if he hits free agency after this season. Though he is eligible to file for free agency at the end of the year, there are rumors circulating that the Rangers may try to sign the tattooed center fielder to an extension. Age 31, Hamilton is in the prime of his career and he’s currently on pace to hit 60 home runs in 2012. That, along with a career .311 batting average that is only getting better, makes for a huge payoff in the near future. At the same time, Hamilton is in danger of relapsing, as he did when he was seen drinking at a Dallas bar in February, and some teams may not want to invest in a potential addict. Either way, this Fall and Winter will be very interesting for the star who has brought his team to the World Series twice in two years. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday February 26th, 2012
Sam Evans: The Angels 2011 offseason was the most surprising and significant winter in team history. They signed the best player of the last ten years, and brought in the best available free-agent starter. After a seemingly dormant start to the 2011 offseason, the Angels and new General Manager Jerry DiPoto made a phenomenal splash heading into the new season. This offseason will affect the Angels (and their payroll) for years to come. The rest of the AL West better watch out! Read the rest of this entry
Monday November 21, 2011
MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: Every baseball offseason, we all seem to fall into a familiar trap. The focus always seem to be on the “prize” free agents, while bargains always seem to be had (especially when the big spenders have reached their budgets). So while Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, C.J. Wilson and company are the majority of the headlines- are they truly the difference makers? Getting quality players that are more economical may in fact have a stronger impact on a team that is looking to compete. It allows for a team to fill needs while devoting financial resources to other resources, including scouting, signing draft picks and locking up younger players before they hit free agency. Remember: a team has many expense areas but only a certain amount of money to go around. Devoting $100 million+ to 1 player tends to significantly limit a team, regardless of the strength of such a player. ”Spreading the wealth” so to speak, will limit the risk of putting all the eggs in one basket. It is a similar to diversification of stocks. A well-rounded portfolio will tend to outperform most others. But if those assets can be acquired at a reduced cost, the return will look even better.
Now, imagine that we were going to build a starting lineup based purely on free agents. What available free agents would give a team the best bang for the buck? If we were to look at the 2012 MLB free agency list, our All-Bargain team would probably look a little something like this:
C: Ryan Doumit (starter) and Jose Molina (backup): At approximately $5 million combined, Doumit and Molina should offer fairly solid production at a reasonable rate. Doumit also offers versatility by playing first and some outfield. If (and when) Doumit gets injured, Molina can handle the starting chores for a stretch with a minor leaguer backing up. In my estimation Doumit has the potential to breakout in a Mike Napoli manner. He has the skills and power. The guy just has to stay healthy. As far as overall offense and defense from the catching position, there are fewer solid backups that Jose- part of the great “Catching Molinas.”
1B: Carlos Pena: This one area that I am prepared to splurge. For all the talk of the low average, Pena should offer good power, a solid OBP and gold glove defense. At approximately $10 million per season, he will still be a bargain to the other heavyweights at the position. This is one area that you need top-notch offense and Pena should deliver again in 2012.
2B: Kelly Johnson: See Carlos Pena but at a more reasonable ticket price. Johnson has a strong knack for getting on base and has excellent power for the position. He is a gamer that will always have a spot on my team.
SS: Ramon Santiago: You can’t fully appreciate what Santiago offers unless you watch him on a daily basis. Few infielders have a glove as strong as his. While not the most gifted offensive player, he can chip in the occasional big hit while holding his own as a #8 or #9 hitter. Another versatile player to have on the roster. Options are always good.
3B: Kevin Kouzmanoff: The “Crushin’ Russian” is on the squad. Yes, I am still holding out hope that he will come together. I would take a chance on a breakout. At the very least you will get good “D” and some offense at a bargain basement price. If he doesn’t come together, I would grab Casey Blake or Wilson Betemit to sit on the bench if they come dirt cheap.
CF: Grady Sizemore: I like the style of Ruben Amaro Jr. and Pat Gillick. I would have been at Sizemore’s house on the first day of free agency as well. Given his high upside and apparent health, I would sign him as quickly as possible. If you get even 75% of the old Sizemore, you still have a likely All-Star.
LF: Raul Ibanez: I’ve heard about his defense. But I am still signing him. Rauuuuul will come at a fraction of his last big contract. The man owns his own rejuvenation chamber and still has the body of a 35-year old. Strong leader, 20+ home runs and all at a maximum of cost $5 million per season. Mark him sold.
RF: J.D. Drew: Hungry for one more big contract? With Scott Boras as his agent, this on-base machine should be hungry to prove that he is healthy and productive. He may cost $3 million per season. Well worth the risk. Just to cover ourselves, Johnny Damon is also coming on board as a 4th outfielder. Between Sizmore, Ibanez, Drew and Damon, we should be able to run out an outfield most days. If David DeJesus or Rick Ankiel are prepared to hang around as 5th outfielders/designated hitters, we may find some spare cash for them as well.
DH: If we are talking non-National League team, then we HAVE to grab Josh Willingham as our designated hitter. Or even a right fielder if we must. The Hammer still carries a heavy bat and should anchor the offense. He still has a couple of more productive years in him. He should come at a relative bargain price considering 25+ home run bats are not easy to come by.
SP: Chris Capuano, Bruce Chen, Aaron Harang, Paul Maholm, Brad Penny, Dontrelle Willis: From these six selected starters, we should have ourselves a fairly decent rotation. Pitching is one of the most difficult areas on any roster to fill, especially starters. You have to catch lightning in a bottle and hope many factors, especially health, work out. Maholm and Harang should be our “aces” with approximately 12 wins a-piece. Capuano will be the third starter, who should be even better with another healthy year under his belt. Between Chen, D-Train and Penny, we will count on veteran inning-eaters who are able to squeeze out wins. Not the team’s greatest source of strength, but all six of these pitchers combined will cost less per season that C.C. Sabathia on his own.
RP: Matt Capps, Jonathan Broxton, Jeremy Accardo, Shawn Camp, Fernando Rodney, Damaso Marte, J.C. Romero: Going with the Tony La Russa formula, we are putting together a veteran pen with several closing options. If at full strength, Broxton should be the ninth inning guy. Otherwise, the role will fall to Capps or Rodney. Accardo and Camp should be decent middle relievers with Marte and Romero balancing out the pen. Used to their capabilities, our pen should help us contend.
Conclusion: Building a team on a budget is not the easiest process. This team will cost us likely north of $80 million dollars, but should stay under the magical $100 million mark. Considering it is a team built from scratch and based on availability, “Team MLB Reports” should be a veteran squad that stays in the pennant race. Even with the relative slim pickings in some areas, this year’s free agency squad offers value at most positions. While no teams will be built based solely on free agency this year, there are enough complimentary parts that any Major League team can find good value. It is just a question of shopping smart and buying at the right time.
Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports: You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)
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