The 2017-18 Offseason: Trend or Anomaly?

Jan 18, 2018 | No Comments

In his latest column, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports takes a lengthy, thought-provoking look at what has been a downright glacial free-agent market unlike any seen in MLB history. To date, no free agent has agreed to a contract guaranteeing more than three guaranteed seasons, and the vast majority of top-tier free agents remain unsigned with roughly a month to go until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. If this sounds familiar, perhaps that’s because Passan tackled the general issue months back, when a slow-down was already apparent. Of course, the plot has thickened in many ways since, even as some free agents have signed in the interim. We took our own look at his arguments at the time, and will do so again here. So, is there evidence of collusion? Is the luxury tax line effectively creating a salary cap of sorts? Are factors unique to the 2017-18 market really an explanation

Red Sox’ Offer To J.D. Martinez Reportedly “In Range” Of $100MM

Jan 17, 2018 | No Comments

It has long been known that the Red Sox have dangled a five-year offer to free agent slugger J.D. Martinez. The value, though, hasn’t every fully been clear. Per ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, via Twitter, Boston has offered the Scott Boras client something “in the range of” $100MM over a five-year term. As we covered recently, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reported less than a week ago that Martinez is preparing to wait for those numbers to move northward

Free Agent Profile: Greg Holland

Jan 17, 2018 | No Comments

After missing all of the 2016 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, right-hander Greg Holland enjoyed somewhat of a bounceback 2017 while closing for the Rockies. After a 41-save campaign, he turned down both a player option and a qualifying offer in search of a more lucrative, multi-year pact. Pros/Strengths During Holland’s heyday with the Royals from 2012-2014, Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman were the only qualifying relievers with a better FIP than Holland’s 1.83. He also carried the majors’ 5th-highest strikeout rate (13.02 K/9) and ranked 2nd among relievers in Win Probability Added (8.38). 

Padres’ Chairman On Hosmer, Team Direction, Mitchell, Galvis

Jan 17, 2018 | No Comments

The Padres’ pursuit of Eric Hosmer has been one of the more surprising storylines of the 2017-18 offseason, and executive chairman Ron Fowler directly acknowledged his team’s pursuit of the longtime Royals star in an interview on the Mighty 1090 Morning Show in San Diego (link with full audio of the interview). “We’ve had a lot of dialogue on it — [GM A.J. Preller, manager Andy Green and assistant GM Josh Stein] obviously lead the discussions as it relates to players,” said Fowler. “They talked to me probably six months or so ago when they looked at who the free agents would be for 2018. They like him. They like his makeup, they like his leadership in the clubhouse, and obviously they like him as an athlete. We met with him, and he’s a very impressive individual.” The Padres are reported to have made a seven-year offer to Hosmer and agent Scott Boras, and while word of that offer came in earlier this month, Fowler didn’t suggest that there’ve been any changes to what has been proposed. Moreover, he implied that he’s not exactly comfortable stretching the deal much further. Asked about concerns of paying for too much of a player’s decline phase, Fowler indicated that Boras may have a hard time selling him on a lengthier deal.

Central Notes: Pirates, Harrison, Castellanos, Cubs

Jan 16, 2018 | No Comments

In an Insider post, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney provides some worthwhile perspective on the Pirates’ recent moves, arguing that the organization would be perceived much differently had its 2013-15 postseason appearances gone differently. Some may scoff at the idea that this excuses anything: had the team been better, perhaps, it might’ve achieved playoff glory; that it did not does not bear directly on present decisions. That’s true enough, but it’s also valid to note that a few moments in a few games drastically altered the bigger picture of Pittsburgh baseball, which in turn has impacted the way many will now view the trades of key veterans Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. Olney’s juxtaposition of the Bucs with the Royals — whose own postseason successes followed lesser regular-season accomplishments than those of the Pirates, and turned on some magical moments — seems largely apt. Of course, that doesn’t really reduce the sting for the fans. (It’s also fair to note that, for better or worse, Kansas City mostly kept its best veterans around through the ends of their contracts.) It’s an interesting piece worth a read for subscribers

Padres Extend Brad Hand

Jan 14, 2018 | No Comments

TODAY: The Padres have officially announced the deal. SATURDAY, 7:15pm: Hand passed his physical, making the deal official, per Heyman. The club option is worth $10MM and comes with a $1MM buyout, Heyman adds (Twitter link). 9:54am: The Padres have agreed to terms on an extension with left-handed reliever Brad Hand, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It’s a three-year deal that also comes with a club option. Hand, who is represented by Matt Colleran, will be guaranteed $19.75MM, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. The deal is still pending a physical. At the end of the day yesterday, we noted that Hand’s arbitration case was still unresolved, and obviously we now understand why arbitration filing figures had not been reported. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports notes in his own tweet that both sides had filed at $3.6MM, indicating that extension talks had almost certainly progressed to a point where both sides were quite confident that a deal would get done

AL Notes: Herrera, Royals, Astros, Twins, Rodney

Jan 13, 2018 | No Comments

The Royals are prepared to keep reliever Kelvin Herrera if someone doesn’t offer “a huge haul” for him, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. Kansas City seems poised to begin a rebuild in 2018, which is Herrera’s last year of team control – two factors that make him a potential trade chip. Now doesn’t seem to be the ideal time to demand a major return for Herrera, though, considering his numbers trended in the wrong direction in 2017. After recording a 2.75 ERA with 10.75 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 72 innings in 2016, Herrera pitched to a 4.25 ERA and posted 8.49 K/9 against 3.03 BB/9 across 59 1/3 frames last season. The 28-year-old also saw his swinging-strike percentage plummet from 15.2 to 11.5, even though he continued to offer imposing velocity. More from the American League: Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told reporters Saturday that he’s “very happy” with his current roster, one he thinks is capable of winning a second straight championship in 2018, and added that “we’re in a good spot because we don’t have to do anything.” Luhnow also noted that, although things have been slow to develop across the majors this offseason, free agents and possible trade acquisitions who would improve the Astros would still require “a significant investment.” It seemed earlier this week that Luhnow was set to make such an investment in Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole, but a deal still hasn’t materialized. Luhnow has addressed the Astros pitching in other ways this offseason, though, having added Joe Smith and Hector Rondon to their bullpen (Twitter video via Brian McTaggart of MLB.com). The Twins’ Saturday agreement with Addison Reed “came out of nowhere” for new teammate and fellow reliever Fernando Rodney, a person close to Rodney told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press.

Unresolved 2018 Arbitration Cases

Jan 13, 2018 | No Comments

We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.) Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.) Mookie Betts, Red Sox: expected to go to hearing, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (via Twitter); Betts filed at $10.5MM, Boston countered at $7.5MM (per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, via Twitter) George Springer, Astros: did not settle, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter); Springer filed at $10.5MM, Houston countered at $8.5MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Ken Giles, Astros: did not settle, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter); Giles filed at $4.6MM, Houston countered at $4.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Collin McHugh, Astros: did not settle, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter); McHugh filed at $5.0MM, Houston countered at $4.55MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Jonathan Schoop, Orioles: Schoop filed at $9MM, Baltimore countered at $7.5MM (per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, via Twitter) Kevin Gausman, Orioles: Gausman filed at $6.225MM, Baltimore countered at $5.3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays: Stroman filed at $6.9MM, Toronto countered at $6.5MM (per Nightengale, via Twitter) Roberto Osuna, Blue Jays: Osuna filed at $5.8MM, Toronto countered at $5.3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Jose Iglesias, Tigers: Iglesias filed at $6.8MM, Detroit countered at $5.6MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Avisail Garcia, White Sox: Garcia filed at $6.7MM, Chicago countered at $5.85MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Trevor Bauer, Indians: Bauer filed at $6.525MM, Cleveland countered at $5.3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Jake Odorizzi, Rays: Odorizzi filed at $6.3MM, Tampa Bay countered at $6.05MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Adeiny Hechavarria, Rays: Hechavarria filed at $5.9MM, Tampa Bay countered at $5.35MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Scooter Gennett, Reds: expected to go to hearing, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer; Gennett filed at $5.7MM, Cincinnati countered at $5.1MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Eugenio Suarez, Reds: expected to go to hearing, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer; Suarez filed at $4.2MM, Cincinnati countered at $3.75MM (per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, via Twitter) Shelby Miller, Diamondbacks: Miller filed at $4.9MM, Arizona countered $4.7MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Kyle Gibson, Twins: Gibson filed at $4.55MM, Minnesota countered at $4.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) J.T. Realmuto, Marlins: have not agreed to terms, per team announcement; Realmuto filed at $3.5MM, Miami countered at 2.9MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Dan Straily, Marlins: have not agreed to terms, per team announcement; Straily filed at $3.55MM, Miami countered at $3.37MM (per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, via Twitter) Justin Bour, Marlins: have not agreed to terms, per team announcement; Bour filed at $3.4MM, Miami countered at $3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Brandon Maurer, Royals: have hit stalemate, per Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com (via Twitter); Maurer filed at $3.5MM, Kansas City countered at $2.95MM (per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, via Twitter) Felipe Rivero, Pirates: Rivero filed at $2.9MM, Pittsburgh countered at $2.4MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Kendall Graveman, Athletics: Graveman filed at $2.6MM, Oakland countered at $2.36MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Justin Grimm, Cubs: Grimm filed at $2.475MM, Chicago countered at $2.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Mike Foltynewicz, Braves: Foltynewicz filed at $2.3MM, Atlanta countered at $2.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter) Zack Wheeler, Mets: Wheeler filed at $1.9MM, New York countered at $1.5MM (per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, via Twitter) Others that have not yet reportedly agreed to terms: David Peralta, Diamondbacks; Nick Ahmed, Diamondbacks; Nick Vincent, Mariners; Erasmo Ramirez, Mariners; Yolmer Sanchez, White Sox; Joc Pederson, Dodgers

White Sox Sign Miguel Gonzalez

Jan 11, 2018 | No Comments

11:16am: The deal is now official; the team also announced the terms. Outfielder Jacob May was designated for assignment to open a roster spot, the club announced. The 25-year-old made his MLB debut last year, but struggled badly in a short sample. He has not fared much better at the plate in the upper minors; in 2017, he carried a .248/.307/.325 batting line in 467 Triple-A plate appearances. 10:49am: The White Sox have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent righty Miguel Gonzalez, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). He’ll receive a $4.75MM salary, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link). Gonzalez, 33, spent the bulk of the past two seasons in Chicago, though he was dealt away to the Rangers in late August. Now, he’ll return to help bolster a rotation that features several young hurlers as well as veteran James Shields. For a rebuilding White Sox organization, adding Gonzalez fits with earlier moves

Leitch: Homers for hire on Hot Stove

Jan 10, 2018 | No Comments

Three of the top 10 home run hitters in 2017 are free agents, and none of them have been signed yet.