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Jim Furtado
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Free Agency Newsbeat

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mets sign left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo to bolster bullpen

It’s not the free-agent signing that fans are pining for, but getting lefthanded reliever Antonio Bastardo on Wednesday might prove to be very important for the Mets.

The team agreed with Bastardo on a two-year, $12 million deal. If that sounds like a lot for a set-up reliever, it’s similar to what others like Mark Lowe, Steve Cishek, and John Axford − all righthanders − have received this winter.

Bastardo, meanwhile, was one of the few quality lefties in this free-agent market. Lefties are in such demand, in fact, that Ollie Perez received a two-year, $7 million deal from the Nationals.

The 30-year-old Bastardo went 4-1 with a 2.98 ERA for the Pirates last season in a set-up role, holding lefthanded hitters to a .138 batting average.

Along with Jerry Blevins, Bastardo gives the Mets two lefty relievers who are exceptionally tough on lefthanded hitters, and adds some much-needed depth to the back end of the bullpen.

Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: January 21, 2016 at 02:34 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, mets

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Free agency was born 40 years ago today | HardballTalk

O.K., so this is what Craig Calcaterra is writing about now. Actually he was writing this yesterday. I don’t really know what he’s writing about now, although he’s probably just sleeping at the moment.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 24, 2015 at 05:59 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Alex Rodriguez $252 million contract with Texas Rangers remains landmark on 15th anniversary

Rodriguez exercised his right to void the final three years of the contract after seven seasons, and agent Scott Boras revealed the news during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the 2007 World Series—just as the rival Red Sox were putting the finishing touches on a sweep of the Rockies. Yankees executive Hank Steinbrenner initially said there was “no chance” the team would re-sign Rodriguez, but six weeks later Rodriguez inked a new 10-year, $275 million deal with New York.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 12, 2015 at 08:32 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, free agency

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

How did the price tag for elite pitchers get so high? - The Boston Globe

A very interesting take by Alex Speier.

Ultimately, the Red Sox are making a huge commitment, but they’re not simply making that commitment to the best pitcher available – a sometimes less-than-impressive pool – but instead to someone who is unquestionably one of the best pitchers in the game. For such a pitcher, in the aftermath of a second last-place finish in as many years, the team elected to spend, a sign of the staggering resources that have been made available by Red Sox owners to Dombrowski to address the team’s deficiencies.

It’s a deal that guarantees nothing. Starting with Brown’s landmark deal, 11 pitchers prior to Price have set a record for average annual salary. Just two of those pitchers – CC Sabathia in 2009, Barry Zito in 2010 (when he wasn’t part of the postseason rotation) and 2012 – have been on World Series winners.

Some of those record contracts (Mike Hampton, Johan Santana) were greeted with considerable fanfare and concluded as franchise-derailing albatrosses. The Red Sox understand that history. They were willing to bet on Price as an outlier.

That willingness suggests that the Red Sox are operating from a different vantage point than they were when they seemed almost relieved at times that they didn’t re-sign lefthander Jon Lester to a contract that might have represented around half of what the team is committing to Price. But by all indications, they can afford this risk.

The Red Sox have crossed a momentous contractual threshold. It will be years before the wisdom and success of the deal can be judged.

But despite the sticker shock that inevitably greets a record contract, it seems fair to suggest that the Sox’ first foray into a nine-figure commitment for a pitcher won’t remain the pitching gold standard forever, or even for the life of his contract. The game, as Colletti noted, continues to move forward.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 02, 2015 at 11:07 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: david price, free agency, red sox

Monday, November 30, 2015

GM Jed Hoyer: Chicago Cubs not close but moves are coming - Chicago Cubs Blog- ESPN

Hoyer couldn’t pin down whether the Cubs would add via trade or free agency, calling both markets “developing.” Several free agents have signed contracts, including pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, who agreed on a deal with Detroit over the weekend. The big question for the Cubs has been whether to spend a limited increase in their budget mostly on one player or to spread it around to various needs, which include center field and starting pitching.

“Those are the philosophical questions we’ve all been having over the last couple of months,” Hoyer said. “There’s good with both. Elite players can change a team.”

The “elite” players on the market who the Cubs have been tied to include pitcher David Price and outfielder Jason Heyward, but Hoyer indicated it’s the smaller moves that are sometimes just as important. The Cubs have signed or picked up several relievers over the last few weeks but still haven’t made the one or two big moves many are expecting.

“Depth is underrated, especially in the winter,” Hoyer explained. “Everyone will write out lineups in the offseason and they don’t focus on bench, they don’t focus on the bullpen, they don’t focus on guys in Triple-A that are going up and down. Over the course of six months, those are the little moves that make a huge difference.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 30, 2015 at 03:37 PM | 150 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, free agency, jed hoyer

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tigers, Zimmermann reportedly reach deal

DETROIT—The Tigers on Sunday have reportedly come to terms with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, according to FOX Sports said the deal is expected to be for five years and roughly $110 million. The Tigers have not commented.

FOX reported late Saturday night that the two sides were in negotiations, which were believed to have grown serious. A baseball source later confirmed the two sides were in talks, though no deal was believed to have been finalized.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

ESPN: The Marketing of Yoenis Cespedes

As a prelude to the Hot Stove shopping season, Cespedes’ representatives at the Creative Artists Agency and Roc Nation distributed a coffee table-type book to a select list of teams. The book, titled “52 Reviews” (in honor of Cespedes’ jersey number), has a black-and-white cloth cover, runs about 100 pages and features laudatory comments and testimonials from managers, coaches, players, front-office executives and members of the media.

In a bow to technology, the book also has a video player embedded inside the front cover. Executives who push the “play” button are treated to an array of Yoenis Cespedes home runs, jaw-dropping throws and other highlights set to music.

The Cespedes pitch created something of a buzz at the recent general managers meetings in Boca Raton, Florida. Although was unable to obtain a copy of the book, several MLB executives gave it reviews that sounded like something fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

One GM described the book as “unique, well-done and creative,” while a National League executive said it was the subject of some “gawking” in his team’s front office. An AL front-office man, meanwhile, wondered about the printing costs.

“It’s beautifully done,” the executive said. “I don’t know where to start to guess at the expense involved with this. My hunch is, 5 percent of whatever [Cespedes] is going to earn is significantly more than the investment in the book.”

bobm Posted: November 21, 2015 at 05:35 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, yoenis cespedes

Friday, November 20, 2015

SB Nation 2015 Off-season Simulation

I wouldn’t ordinarily post my own stuff, but this was of interest when it was posted last year. We wrapped up our simulation where we take 30 fans and have them work out trades and free agents under quasi-real world conditions. This is the result.

New York Yankees
Declined option on Brendan Ryan, Ryan picked up the player option
Non-tendered Andrew Bailey and Sergio Santos
Acquired Aroldis Chapman from Cincinnati for Michael Pineda, Slade Heathcott, and John Ryan Murphy
Acquired Ben Revere and Wendell Rijo from Boston for Brett Gardner
Acquired Starlin Castro from the Chicago Cubs for Ian Clarkin, Jacob Lindgren, and Jose De Leon
Acquired Jorge Alfaro and Cornelius Randolph from Philadelphia for Rob Refsnyder and Nathan Eovaldi
Signed Justin Upton to a 8 year $230 million deal
Signed Zack Greinke for 7 years $210 million
Signed Tyler Clippard to a 3 year $26 million deal
Signed Doug Fister to a 2 year $25 million deal
Signed outfielder Chris Young to a 1 year $8 million deal
Signed Edwin Jackson to a minor league deal
Recommended Budget: $241 million
Final Payroll: $296.6 million

Holy Steinbrenner, Batman!

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 20, 2015 at 07:34 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, off-season

Monday, November 16, 2015

Your team should pay for a pitcher now because next year’s free agents stink

Isn’t Jaret Wright still available?

Who’s available? A power ranking:

1. Stephen Strasburg
Oh, he’s an ace, alright. Probably. He comes with risks (Tommy John history, a lousy 2015 season, Scott Boras), but if you’re going to pay for talent, it helps if the pitcher has talent. Strasburg has talent. He practically leaks talent. Uh, anyone want to get some rags and help us out with this talent? It’s sort of getting everywhere.

But, yes, Strasburg has the potential to lead a rotation. Most definitely. Don’t forget just how awe-inspiring he can be at his best.

2. C.J. Wilson
He used to be okay! He’ll be 36, but I could see a team giving him a two- or three-year deal.

Wilson might be the second-best pitcher on the 2016-2017 free agent market.

3. Jered Weaver
Wait, he throws 83 miles per hour.

4. R.A. Dickey
Wait, he’s 83 years old.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 16, 2015 at 11:12 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, stephen strasburg

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hot stove survey—Offseason questions for baseball execs

In conjunction with an annual fall tradition, polled 34 general managers, assistant GMs, scouting directors and other baseball evaluators on seven questions that will help dictate the course of the Hot Stove season.
3. Which free-agent power hitter would you rather invest in for the long haul—Chris Davis or Yoenis Cespedes?

Responses: Cespedes 17. Davis 15. Two respondents said they would pass on both.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 10, 2015 at 01:52 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, gm meetings

MLB execs: Why best chance to upgrade starts at GM meetings -

Ben Nicholson-Smith assesses the market.

Even building an elite team offers few guarantees. Just as lesser teams can advance, top teams such as the Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t even assured of a Division Series appearance in some years.

“It drives teams to the middle,” an AL executive said. ” The main thing is teams are less likely to rebuild because 86 can get you in, and then anything can happen.”

The first steps to sneaking in typically take place during the winter. As baseball’s middle class grows and summer trades become harder to pull off, the off-season becomes that much more vital for would-be contenders.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 10, 2015 at 01:47 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, gm meetings

Friday, November 06, 2015

2015 MLB qualifying offers |

Ace right-hander Zack Greinke got a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, as did Jordan Zimmermann from the Nationals, Hisashi Iwakuma from the Mariners, Yovani Gallardo from the Rangers, Brett Anderson from the Dodgers, Wei-Yin Chen from the Orioles, John Lackey (Cardinals), Jeff Samardzija (White Sox), Ian Kennedy (Padres) and Marco Estrada (Blue Jays).

Qualifying offers also were extended to a who’s-who of star position players: outfielders Jason Heyward (Cardinals), Alex Gordon (Royals), Dexter Fowler (Cubs), Colby Rasmus (Astros) and Justin Upton (Padres); slugger Chris Davis (Orioles); catcher Matt Wieters (Orioles); and infielders Howie Kendrick (Dodgers), Ian Desmond (Nationals) and Daniel Murphy (Mets).

High-profile free agents such as David Price (traded from Detroit to Toronto), Yoenis Cespedes (traded from Detroit to the Mets) and Johnny Cueto (traded from Cincinnati to Kansas City) weren’t part of this group because they were dealt in the middle of the 2015 season.

Starter Doug Fister and outfielder Denard Span of the Nationals, as well as Angels third baseman David Freese, were notable players who did not receive qualifying offers.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2015 at 10:05 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, qualifying offers

Qualifying offer deadline: Fowler, Iwakuma to get offers; who else?

Some interesting names this year.

The Cubs will give the $15.8-million qualifying offer to outfielder Dexter Fowler, the Mariners are planning to give the qualifying offer to pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, the Padres are said by sources to be likely to give one to pitcher Ian Kennedy, and the same goes for the Dodgers with second baseman Howie Kendrick and pitcher Brett Anderson and the Mets with infielder Daniel Murphy.

The qualifying offer was originally designed to provide teams with compensation for the very top free-agent players, and perhaps bring a very slight drag on the free-agent deals of those superstar players. But the reality is that the teams now see a value in extending the qualifying offer to even very good players who fall short of that great category, with one-year deals unwanted by free agents, and draft choices carrying increased value.

The Rangers are said to be all but assured of giving the qualifying offer to pitcher Yovani Gallardo, and the same goes for the White Sox with pitcher Jeff Samardzija, a big talent who didn’t have a particularly good year. The Blue Jays are giving out no signs, but there seems a decent chance starting pitcher Marco Estrada, who had a big postseason, gets the qualifying offer, as well. A big October can change a team’s thinking. That may be the case with Murphy, who went into the postseason with no chance of receiving a qualifying offer but now seems all but assured of getting one.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 06, 2015 at 12:26 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, qualifying offers

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Costa: Yoenis Cespedes: Baseball’s Most Improbable Golf Prodigy

Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former left fielder, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac ... It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!

Cespedes, 30, spent the first 25 years of his life in Cuba, an island with only two golf courses. He had virtually no exposure to the sport until early last year, when he tried it at a charity event in Florida. Now, he plays often before night games, smashing monster drives and posting scores that range from the low 70s to the low 80s.

“I’ve witnessed it. I’ve played with him at least three times. His power as far as driving the ball, hitting the ball up, is incredible,” said Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen. “400-yard drives, 250-yard 5-irons, just pure.”

The habit first drew widespread attention last week, when Cespedes was spotted playing a morning round at Medinah Country Club before Game 4 of the National League Championship Series in Chicago. But for Cespedes, the outing was only in keeping with routine. ...

Unlike starting pitchers, who typically have four days off between starts, everyday players are usually too worn down by the grind of a 162-game season to spend much time playing golf. But the Mets don’t merely tolerate Cespedes’s hobby. They encourage it.

“I want him to play golf as much as possible,” Long said. “It tires him out a little bit. Instead of having so much energy, it seems like when he’s just a little bit less amped up and fresh, the better he plays.”

JEe (Jason) Posted: October 29, 2015 at 09:31 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, golf, mets, yoenis cespedes

Monday, October 26, 2015

Orioles free agents will be free after World Series - Baltimore Sun

Team building is an incredibly interesting topic. It’s why I’ve loved playing in intricate sim leagues for so long. Who do you sign? Who do you get? How do you balance out long-term vs. short-term?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 26, 2015 at 10:56 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, orioles

Matt Goldman: What’s Daniel Murphy Worth?

Happy Murphy Day!

With Murphy’s new stance, his ISO has increased dramatically, as well as his batted ball distances. From 2010-2014, the average distance on Murphy’s HR’s, fly balls, and line drives was 254.39 feet; this season, though, it rose to 269.95 feet.

It would seem that not only is Murphy deserving of a multi-year deal, but that the initial estimates of a contract worth $30 to $40 million might be shortchanging the second baseman. Over the last three years, he’s produced fWAR’s of 3.1, 2.5, and 2.5, respectively, and with the resurgence of his power, Murphy could easily be worth more in the future.

To be completely honest, when I began this article, there was a notably different tone. The title was meant to be “A plea to sanity: Don’t overspend on Daniel Murphy”, but it turned out that the sane conclusion was that he might very well be worth more than what he eventually signs for. While it likely would have been possible to keep the original angle for this article, it would have been disingenuous to ignore his statistics and the value that he’s provided in recent memory.

Murphy isn’t going to get a contract worth $100 million, but something in the range of four years and $60 to $75 million doesn’t seem outrageous. He’ll be 31 years old next season, and with Ben Zobrist as only other reasonable alternative to Murphy, there could very well be a bidding war for the second baseman’s services.

JEe (Jason) Posted: October 26, 2015 at 08:07 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: contract, daniel murphy, free agency, mets

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pursuing free-agent starters more complicated than some believe for Cubs - Chicago Tribune

“Free-agent pitching is a necessary evil at times, and it’s only evil because it’s inherently risky,” Epstein said Thursday at Wrigley Field. “It’s necessary because you can make such an impact with your starting staff right away. We did it last year. We’re glad we did. We’ll take a hard look at all the free agent starters, and we’ll have to balance our short-term interests, our long-term interests, our financial picture, and our roster and payroll strategy.

“I won’t rule anything out. I won’t rule anything in, except to say whether it’s through trade or free agency, we would like to add at least one quality starting pitcher this winter.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 23, 2015 at 09:30 AM | 83 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, free agency

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Boston Red Sox Will Pursue Jordan Zimmermann

Is this report just wishful thinking by the writer?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 22, 2015 at 11:46 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, jordan zimmermann, red sox

Friday, October 16, 2015

Astros weigh options with free-agents-to-be - Ultimate Astros

Winning can be expensive.

A half hour after the Astros’ season ended Wednesday, reliever Tony Sipp, who pitched in every postseason game, said he hadn’t considered that when he walked out of the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium, he might not wear an Astros uniform again.

A 32-year-old lefty, Sipp wasn’t playing dumb. Just like outfielder Colby Rasmus and starter Scott Kazmir and veteran relievers Chad Qualls and Joe Thatcher, Sipp knew he was on his way to becoming a free agent at the end of this season.

In Sipp’s case and in almost every case, the free-market experience has been something to look forward to. He’s made seven-figure salaries the last two seasons, including $2.4 million this past season in his last year of arbitration eligibility. But with a career-best 1.99 ERA in the regular season — plus 5 1/3 innings of one-hit ball in the playoffs — he’s in for the first great payday of his career.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 16, 2015 at 10:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, free agency

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Qualifying Offer Value Set At .8MM - MLB Trade Rumors

That’s a nice chunk of change.

The 2015-16 free agent season’s qualifying offer value has been set at $15.8MM, according to a tweet from Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal. That represents an increase, of course, but the rise isn’t nearly as great as it has been in the past.

The QO system used a $13.3MM number in its first year, which increased to $14.1MM and then to $15.3MM last fall. The qualifying offer value is determined by averaging the 125 contracts leaguewide that have the highest average annual values.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2015 at 09:19 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: business, free agency, free agent compensation

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Biggest offseason questions |

Dan O’Dowd asks some tough questions.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 17, 2015 at 02:05 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dodgers, free agency, giants, mariners, mets, orioles, white sox

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Yoenis Cespedes is no one-man show, but with his flair for the bright lights, his amazing 2015 run and his ability to make everyone better, there is just something about the guy | FOX Sports

The latest Robothal.

Meanwhile, the next decision on Cespedes—the free-agent decision—will carry the biggest stakes yet.

One rival exec said he initially believed that Cespedes would command $80 million, but now believes that the outfielder’s contract will exceed $130 million.

A long, expensive deal could prove a mistake, considering that Cespedes turns 30 on Oct. 18. Then again, there is something about him, isn’t there?

Ask the 2014 Athletics. Ask the 2015 Mets.



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