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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Free Agency Newsbeat

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Report: Bryce Harper Met with Magic Johnson, Dodgers; Up to 12 Teams Interested

If free agent Bryce Harper is the jackpot of Major League Baseball’s offseason, it is only appropriate the race to sign him has reportedly already taken a number of teams to his hometown of Las Vegas.

According to Tim Brown and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, “upward of a dozen teams” have either met with Harper in Sin City or plan on meeting with him in the coming days with the league’s winter meetings slated to start Sunday.

Magic Johnson, who owns a stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers, accompanied other team officials with the defending National League champions. What’s more, members of the front offices for the Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals have also either met with him or are expected to soon.

After meeting with Bryce, they plan to lose a fortune at the roulette wheel.

QLE Posted: December 04, 2018 at 07:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, free agency, magic johnson

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Speedy Billy Hamilton cut loose by Reds

Cut loose, or ran away?

QLE Posted: December 01, 2018 at 07:14 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: billy hamilton, free agency, reds

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The 2018-19 Ultimate MLB Free-Agent Tracker

Here is the Ultimate Free-Agent Tracker for the class of 2018-19, ranked from Nos. 1 to 197. The rankings are based on a number of variables, including each player’s history, opening-day age and potential, and provide a general outline as free agency unfolds between now and spring training.

Bookmark this page in your browser or favorite it on Twitter – and return frequently. As the offseason progresses, Yahoo Sports will update it with news of signings and their impact on other free agents.

Thibs isn’t going to like this….

QLE Posted: November 29, 2018 at 07:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, tracking

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Joe Maddon plans to manage beyond 2019, thinks of himself as a free agent to be rather than lame duck

Joe Maddon was back in the Tampa Bay area for a charity event in St. Petersburg, Fla., and talked to the Tampa Bay Times about a variety of topics. There were some intriguing Cubs-related nuggets included.

For starters, Maddon said he plans to be “a little more hands-on” in terms of on-field coaching work in 2019.

“I’ve always kind of stayed free of coaching because I really want to stay out of coaches’ way so they can do their job,” Maddon told Marc Topkin in the article. “I’ve always felt that is the right way to do it. But this year I’m going to get a little more hands-on involved in actually coaching.”

Mind you, given that he’s just two years away from winning the World Series, is that really a stance that’s indefensible?

QLE Posted: November 27, 2018 at 08:43 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, joe maddon, manager

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Patrick Corbin Rumors

Here’s a great rundown on Patrick Corbin’s market.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2018 at 11:59 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, patrick corbin

The Income Tax Implications of Bryce Harper’s Choice of Next Team | Community – FanGraphs Baseball

That said, it is worth noting that the difference in local income taxes to be paid by Harper next year would vary widely depending on which team he chooses. And when I say “widely”, I’m talking a difference of millions. Mo’ money, mo’ taxes. Nice problem to have, amirite?

What follows is my attempt to quantify just what this difference might be, by team. Before diving in, two points.

The first point is to dispel any lingering notion that, if Bryce Harper were to choose the Texas Rangers or Seattle Mariners or Miami Marlins—come on now, stop laughing and pay attention, this is kind of important—or any other team in a no-income tax state, he would not have to pay any state income tax at all. That’s not true. In every place that levies income tax in which his team plays games, a ballplayer on a big league roster is responsible for paying them. Regardless of whether he plays 81 games at home as, for example, a member of the Astros in Houston, located in a state with no income tax, when the Astros play their 19 road games in California (top income tax rate: 13.3%), he would owe the Golden State tax on (19÷162 =) 11.7% of whatever his total salary for the year is. Same goes for all the other games in all the other taxing places his team plays in. So no matter what team Bryce Harper plays for, he’ll be paying a boatload in state income taxes to a bunch of states.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2018 at 08:40 AM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, free agency

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The art of the BIG deal: An inside look from the GMs who signed the largest free-agent contracts in MLB history – The Athletic

Very interesting article about big ticket free agents.

Boras, who represents Harper, also negotiated Mark Teixeira’s 8-year, $180 million contract with New York, and Scherzer’s and Fielder’s contracts.

“The biggest challenge is the amount of information that comes to you and to weigh it,” Boras said. “The free-agent process is one that teams do things they never, ever expected to do at the start of things. You really realize in this process that they really change their direction because trade doors have closed, other free agents have closed and they look at their team at a 10-day window and what they thought was their plan in November is not at all their plan in December and it’s a completely different plan in January.

“You have to be open to the idea of immediate change, adjustment and you have to be prepared for all different decision making even though you’ve been given direction otherwise because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 20, 2018 at 05:50 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, pay site

Sunday, November 11, 2018

It’s not just the worst teams not spending money in baseball free agency — it’s the richest, too

CARLSBAD, Calif. – During the great panic of 2017-18, when jobless players were jumping on conference calls and asking one another what the hell happened to free agency, the Major League Baseball Players Association tried to allay fears by pointing toward the future. It wasn’t particularly satisfactory for those lacking employment, but the 2018-19 offseason, players were told, shouldn’t be like this.

The New York Yankees, the game’s financial behemoth, would dip below the $197 million competitive-balance-tax threshold – lawyer-speak for the luxury tax – to reset the penalty for their years of profligacy. Surely they would spend. And the Los Angeles Dodgers, who used 2017 to escape CBT jail, too, would leap back into the market ready to reinvest their hoard of local television money.

However reasonable those assumptions may have been, the early indications given by the Yankees, Dodgers and the team with baseball’s third-highest revenues, the Chicago Cubs, do not portend an offseason of free-flowing cash from the game’s financial titans. Perhaps it is simply early-winter posturing, and by the time Bryce Harper and Manny Machado and the rest of the free-agent class of 2018-19 is locked up all will be well again. Subterfuge, after all, is one of baseball’s time-honored traditions.

So, how do we interpret this state of affairs?

QLE Posted: November 11, 2018 at 06:56 AM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: dollah dollah bills, y'all, free agency, offseason, spending

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Josh Donaldson worth the risk in free agency

What kind of deal is fair? He’s been hurt two years now. I could see a big money contract for a single season but, if I were a GM, unless I’m getting a pretty big discount, I wouldn’t want to be on the hook for more than one year with a dual option triggered by playing time.

For Donaldson’s part, a one-year deal might not be appealing anyway, because then he might be headed out into next year’s market a year older, possibly after declining a qualifying offer, into a third base market that could then include Nolan Arenado and Anthony Rendon.

“Overall,” said a scout to’s Mark Feinsand last month, “I see [Donaldson] as a shorter-term, higher AAV type of option for a team in a win-now mode who has the depth to cover over potential injuries and under performance at the tail end of the deal.”

That mostly sounds right, though it doesn’t have to be limited to win-now teams. In a lot of ways, Donaldson is the hitting version of Jake Arrieta, who entered last year’s market as a recent superstar who had shown signs of beginning his decline. He signed for three years with the Phillies, who were hoping to prove they could begin their next competitive cycle, not urgently win a title in year one.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2018 at 08:11 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, josh donaldson

Bryce Harper Rumors

So, the Yankees would pay Bryce Harper top dollar **and** some of Stanton’s contract? Sorry, that’s not happening.

Would Yankees move another superstar to make room for Harper?
Nov. 5: It has been reported recently by many insiders that the Yankees likely won’t pursue Bryce Harper in free agency, and though some think that New York’s public lack of interest in the superstar outfielder may just be posturing with an eye on Harper agent Scott Boras, the Yankees seemingly don’t even have the room in their outfield for Harper anymore after they re-signed Brett Gardner on a one-year contract—not to mention the continued presence of Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier.

But as one source indicated to Wallace Matthews of the New York Daily News, the Yankees, expected to be very aggressive this offseason, could still make room in their outfield by trading—buckle up—Giancarlo Stanton to make room in both their roster and payroll for Harper. According to Matthews’ source, Stanton, who grew up in Sherman Oaks, California (in the greater Los Angeles area), might be amenable to waiving his full no-trade clause for a move to the Dodgers or Angels.

That would, of course, require either the Angels or Dodgers to be willing to take on some portion of Stanton’s 13-year, $325 million contract—and Angels fans don’t exactly have the fondest memories of long-term, big-money commitments. (Remember Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson?)

Matthews cited Yankees fans’ impatience at times with Stanton’s performance in the former National League Most Valuable Player Award winner’s first season in the Bronx as a reason why both he and the Yankees might be amenable to moving on, though the Yankees would almost certainly have to offer the Angels or Dodgers some salary relief to do so—and that’s not to mention whatever extravagant money they’d need to pay Harper on top of that.

With the Yankees looking to be a favorite to land Patrick Corbin as they seek to patch their starting rotation, Matthews also suggests that New York could engage the Indians in trade talks for Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco after recent reports indicated that Cleveland will listen to trade offers for some of its veterans this offseason.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2018 at 08:00 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Monday, November 05, 2018

Why the Cardinals and Giants could enter the Bryce Harper free agency sweepstakes

You know the deal: Free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, because he’s still just 26 years of age and has MVP upside, is likely going to wind up signing the largest contract in MLB history this offseason. His left-handed power and patience at the plate—plus the possibility that he’s pre-prime—mean he’s of interest to almost any team that thinks it can afford him. As for specifics, you can reportedly add the names of two traditional National League powers to his list of likely suitors.

First, there are the St. Louis Cardinals. Here’s what Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

The team and chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., according to one industry source, are “sending signals they are out to be a player.” The Cardinals intend to explore Harper’s market and see how they fit, sources confirmed.

Granted, if recent history means anything, the Giants ending up with Harper will not lead to the results either one had in mind….

QLE Posted: November 05, 2018 at 08:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, cardinals, free agency, giants

Sunday, November 04, 2018

The starting pitching market will be crazy even without Clayton Kershaw

Free agency has arrived in Major League Baseball, which means we’re off and running with what could go down as the craziest offseason in a long time. That’s despite a potentially chaotic element being settled on Friday.

Clayton Kershaw will not reach the open market. The elite left-hander has elected to remain with the Los Angeles Dodgers after declining his two-year option worth nearly $70 million and re-signing for three years at $93 million.

Kershaw staying with the Dodgers was always the expected outcome. But now that it’s official it gives us a clear perspective of how the starting pitching market will look, at least initially.

Some commentary to keep in mind, as the hot-stove season begins.

QLE Posted: November 04, 2018 at 07:24 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, pitchers

Friday, November 02, 2018

Will Freeze or Frenzy Face 2018 Free Agent Class?

The flame of baseball’s Hot Stove League turns to “high” when the sun comes up Saturday. That’s when free agents are free to sign with any team.

But neither players nor teams are in any rush to sign.

The hundred-or-so players whose contracts have expired are just the first wave in a periodic deluge of athletes who can sell themselves to any team at any price.

A general discussion of free agency for this off-season, and this thread is as good a place for us to have that discussion as any.

QLE Posted: November 02, 2018 at 04:50 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, off-season

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Ignite the Hot Stove: A complete list of MLB free agents

With the World Series in the books, the Hot Stove is about to get switched on for the winter.

Baseball’s free-agency period begins this weekend, and there are a whole bunch of players out there for teams looking to make an upgrade or two this offseason. The list includes a few of the game’s biggest stars, including Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, who could fetch two of the biggest contracts in baseball history.

Here’s a list of the game’s free agents, guys who could end up at a stadium near you.

So, how much movement will we see among the free agents this year?

QLE Posted: October 31, 2018 at 08:00 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, lists

Moose is loose from Brewers; Soria also elects free agency

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas is becoming a free agent again, and so is reliever Joakim Soria.

In addition, the Brewers exercised a $3,175,000 option on All-Star right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, who would have been eligible for salary arbitration if it had been declined.

Moustakas declined a $15 million mutual option Tuesday.

So, will he have any better luck than he did last year?

QLE Posted: October 31, 2018 at 08:00 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, mike moustakas

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

MLB hot stove: Should Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw opt out of his contract and test free agency?

It has been two days since Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers fell to the Red Sox in the 2018 World Series. The Dodgers have now lost back-to-back World Series and Kershaw has allowed 16 runs in 26 2/3 career innings in the Fall Classic. Not great.

Offseason deadlines come quickly, so although the World Series just ended, Kershaw has to make an important contract decision this week. Specifically, he has to decide whether to opt out of the remaining two years and $65 million on his contract. The deadline to do so is 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

“I haven’t made the decision yet,” Kershaw said when asked about the opt-out following Sunday’s Game 5 loss. “We have three days to talk, between us and the Dodgers, see what happens. And then we’ll go from there ... I think we’ll have some conversations, for sure.”

Betteridge’s law of headlines rides again.

QLE Posted: October 30, 2018 at 11:05 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, free agency, opt-outs

Thursday, September 27, 2018

MLB free agency: Matt Harvey says there’s ‘only one team’ he wouldn’t sign with

Matt Harvey is open to signing with 29 teams.

The 29-year-old starter pitched five innings and allowed three runs in the Reds’ 4-3 loss to the Royals on Tuesday. After the game, the right hander was asked about his upcoming free agency this offseason.

“There’s only one team out there I would not sign with, that’s about it,” Harvey said (via The Athletic).

Mind you, if the hunch we have about what he means is remotely accurate, the feeling seems to be mutual…..

QLE Posted: September 27, 2018 at 08:13 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, matt harvey

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Braves organist continues trolling Bryce Harper over impending free agency

Atlanta Braves organist Matthew Kaminski is famous for having fun at the expense of opposing players through is his walkup song selections.

Friday night was no different as the veteran jazz musician and ballpark entertainer continued picking on one of his favorite targets — Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.

The source of Kaminski’s motivation this season has been Harper’s impending free agency. The six-time All-Star will enter the open market following his age 25 season, and will almost certainly command record money. One of the questions going into the winter is whether the Nationals will meet the price. If so, then the question becomes will Harper choose to stay.

In a world of canned music and po-faced solemnity, there’s always something to be said for someone who not only is keeping the art of live music alive, but is actually using it in a stimulating manner.

QLE Posted: September 15, 2018 at 09:05 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: at war with an organist, bryce harper, free agency, matthew kaminski

Monday, July 30, 2018

‘I guess we’ll find out’: What does the future hold for Joe Mauer?

Herein lies the question(s), then: Clearly, Mauer can still hit a bit, but does his offensive profile have any market value, especially in the face of his other deficiencies? And, moreover, does the possibility of qualitative value - the benefit of having a potential mentor in Mauer - make palatable the opportunity cost of committing a roster spot to an aging, power-deficient first baseman?

Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: July 30, 2018 at 04:26 PM | 109 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, joe mauer, minnesota twins

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Neil Walker Is Worried About This Winter | FanGraphs Baseball

Interesting article with interesting comments.

So I quickly threw some numbers together which will be a mess if I paste in here, so I will I try to summarize.

For the top ~50 FA signed last winter, if you assume their 2018 comp is just their average comp for the course of the deal (which I think is generous, since the early years of FA contracts are typically considered the ‘bargain’ portion that the players allow for to reflect an understood over-payment in the later years AND ignores the player-friendly value of options) then I see teams getting ~45 wins this year for about $433M. Slightly over $9.5M/fWin.

I don’t think I see anything terrible out of whack there.

Moustakas is a genuine outlier (although wouldn’t be if he had accepted the QO); the market turned against him in a way he/Boras didn’t anticipate. Chacin and Moreland are bargain guys generating real club value this year. Lorenzo Cain perhaps the only bargain superstar: got paid like a 2-win guy when he was expected to be a 3-win guy and is playing like a 5-win guy. Good for him (and good for the Brewers FO for hitting on two of these).

But guys like Reed and Vargas and Shaw and Swarzak and Duensing are all guys from the mid tier who aren’t looking worth the $3M-$8M they are being paid. Logan Morrison too! His 1x$6.5 deal seemed like a steal for teh Twins in March. Less so now, with a projected 0.2 wins in the offing. As noted above, those are roles fungibly filled by clubs with”AAAA” guys at 90% less. Nobody gets terribly burned by paying Jaimie Garcia $10M for a year of ~0.3 win baseball. But is there a real asymmetry in a deal like that that disadvantages the players? I don’t see it.

And of course the real potential club-killers are things like the Hosmer deal (that deal felt bad when he was supposed to be a 2-win guy. As a replacement level guy … has to make for interesting water cooler conversation for Dave Cameron). Or perhaps Darvish. Unless you think arm-injured pitchers age well.

I certainly get why the players would like to make more money. And it’s hard to argue that minor league players have anything close to a compelling economic existence. But as noted in other comments, this labor union (like others) has chosen to prioritize tenure over merit, and clubs are responding accordingly.

The narratives of “tanking” and “collusion” and “unfairness” just don’t carry water.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 26, 2018 at 09:04 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, free agency




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