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Saturday, December 07, 2019

An honest look at the Pirates’ frugal free-agent history under Bob Nutting – The Athletic

There’s not an owner who would say the way to win a World Series is by building a core with free agents alone. But there’s a big difference between not using free agency as a primary source of talent acquisition and … this:

Free Agency Graph

Since Nutting became the Pirates’ principal owner on Jan. 12, 2007, no team has spent less in free agency than the Pirates.

(A note on the numbers: While there is no official, publicly available list of all free-agent signings, data was pulled from free-agent trackers on ESPN and MLB Trade Rumors to compile as comprehensive a list as possible of free agents who have signed major-league deals since the 2006-07 offseason. This time frame was selected in order to analyze trends under the Pirates’ current ownership. The list excludes incentives, options or contract extensions in the salary totals. It includes over 1,500 signings, the last of which was Zack Wheeler and the Phillies agreeing on a five-year, $118 million deal on Wednesday.)

Jim Furtado Posted: December 07, 2019 at 07:35 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, pay site, pirates

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Hamels To Join Braves on One-Year Deal

Left-hander Cole Hamels signed a one-year, $18 million contract with the Atlanta Braves, the team announced Wednesday.

...

Hamels joins a Braves rotation fronted by Mike Soroka and including Max Fried and Mike Foltynewicz. Two other members of the Braves’ 2019 rotation are free agents—right-hander Julio Teheran, after Atlanta declined his 2020 option, and left-hander Dallas Keuchel.

My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: December 04, 2019 at 02:52 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, free agency

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Bye Bye Birdie for New York Yankees: Bird now a free agent

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s Bye Bye Birdie for the New York Yankees.

First baseman Greg Bird became a free agent Wednesday after he cleared waivers and refused an outright assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Bird, who turned 27 on Nov. 9, debuted on Aug. 13, 2015, and hit .261 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs in 46 games. He missed all of 2016 following surgery that Feb. 2 to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, an injury originally sustained that May with Double-A Trenton.

Bird returned to bat .451 with eight homers in spring training during 2017 but fouled a ball off his right ankle March 30, started the season 6 for 60 and went on the disabled list May 2.

For those wondering, Bring Back Birdie was a notorious disaster of the Broadway stage in the early 1980s.

 

QLE Posted: November 27, 2019 at 10:18 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, greg bird, yankees

Monday, November 25, 2019

MLB free agency: How post-Will Smith bullpen market looks for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO—The best reliever on the market came very close to being a Giant in 2020.

Will Smith told teams that he would sign the one-year qualifying offer and return to San Francisco if they did not come up with better offers, and he came pretty close to holding true to that statement. Ultimately the Atlanta Braves stepped in, giving Smith a three-year deal just before the deadline to accept the qualifying offer.

That move left the Giants with a massive hole in the ninth inning, but the bullpen issues go beyond the closer role.

The Giants had one of the National League’s best bullpens in the first half last season, but Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon and Drew Pomeranz were traded and Trevor Gott and Reyes Moronta got hurt. Of the six Giants who made at least 40 appearances out of the bullpen last year, only Gott and Tony Watson will be on the active roster on Opening Day.

Mind you, given that Will Smith basically came out of nowhere, is there a reason the Giants couldn’t do well just pulling in relievers from out of nowhere?

 

QLE Posted: November 25, 2019 at 04:22 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpens, free agency, giants, relievers are inherently fungible, will smith

Thursday, November 14, 2019

MLB free agency: Top 25 names to watch this offseason

A Cy Young frontrunner, MVP finalist and a pair of World Series MVPs could all be changing uniforms this offseason. Plenty of talent lies beyond that star power in the 2019-2020 crop of free agents.

As baseball’s Hot Stove kicks off, here are the players that teams will covet most.

The 10 players marked with an asterisk have received a qualifying offer of one year and $17.8 million from their 2019 clubs. If one of these players signs a deal with another team for more than $50 million, their former club will receive a compensation draft pick after the first round. A deal signed for less than $50 million will net the player’s former team a pick after the second round.

So, do we agree with this list, and, if so, what exploits should we expect for them in free agency?

 

QLE Posted: November 14, 2019 at 12:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Meanwhile, on the cold, cold Hot Stove . . .

It’s Hot Stove Season baby! You know what that means! Yep: time to watch some teams sign a few relievers to minor league deals and then wait everyone out until February while talking about the need to maintain financial flexibility! FEEL THE BURN.

In more specific news:

John Morosi of MLB Network reports that, based on his conversations with front office folks, either Mookie Betts, Francisco Lindor or Kris Bryant are expected to be traded this winter.

We’ve talked a lot about Betts this winter already, and that seems like madness. Bryant’s career with the Cubs began with business-side acrimony, it’s still simmering, and there is no sense that either side is amenable to a long-term deal before he hits free agency. The Indians have been signaling for some time that they have no interest in keeping Lindor long term.

Open thread, for any thoughts concerning transactions.

QLE Posted: November 12, 2019 at 12:38 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: attendance, francisco lindor, free agency, hot stove, kris bryant, mookie betts

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Giants won’t have any tax concerns as they dive into free agency

SAN FRANCISCO—You almost needed an accounting degree to fully understand all the offseason moves the Giants made two years ago.

The trade for Evan Longoria included nearly $15 million coming back from the Rays. The Pirates covered $2.5 million of Andrew McCutchen’s salary. When Tony Watson walked into the Scottsdale Stadium clubhouse a few days into spring training, he did so on a complicated contract that was structured to keep the Giants under the competitive balance tax line.

The CBT was mentioned often by team officials for a couple of years and was constantly lingering in the background, a penalty that colored many of the organization’s moves. That’s still the case for several teams around baseball—most notably the Red Sox, who might trade superstar Mookie Betts because of payroll concerns—but as the Giants enter Farhan Zaidi’s first full offseason in charge, they at least know they don’t have payroll concerns.

After paying the tax for three consecutive seasons, the Giants dipped just under in 2018 and didn’t come close last year. While exact numbers are not available to the public, the Giants were estimated to have a tax number of about $177 million, according to Cot’s Contracts, putting them well below the $206 million threshold. They’ll open this offseason with even more breathing room.

Mind you, if both the players they made qualifying offers to accept them, that breathing room will go away rather quickly…..

 

QLE Posted: November 09, 2019 at 12:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, giants, luxury tax

Friday, November 08, 2019

A summary of the 2019 SB Nation off-season simulation

Sorry to post my own stuff, but I know there has been interest in this in the past. I prematurely cut off Gerrit Cole negotiations, so that’s why he didn’t get as much as Strasburg. Obviously, a lot of these FA deals are silly pants, but it is still an interesting exercise I think.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 08, 2019 at 08:20 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Ranking Gerrit Cole’s Top Five Landing Spots

There’s no question Gerrit Cole will be the most sought after free agent this winter. He should be the most handsomely paid, too.

Despite a sluggish free agency period last winter that forced many players to settle for below-market deals, the top tier of players still raked in monster deals (with humongous extensions for Mike Trout and Nolan Arenado to boot). It wouldn’t be a surprise to see things play out similarly this offseason, meaning Cole appears on track to surpass David Price’s $217 million deal en route to the most expensive pitcher contract ever.

Who are the favorites to break the bank for Cole and lock up the potential AL Cy Young Award winner? Let’s assess his suitors as free agency gets underway.

So, of these options, which do we see as most likely?

QLE Posted: November 08, 2019 at 12:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, astros, cardinals, dodgers, free agency, padres, phillies, rangers, yankees

Braves Reportedly Prioritizing Madison Bumgarner

Now that the offseason has begun, we’re likely in for several weeks of rumors centering on longtime Giants left-hander and current free agent Madison Bumgarner. Let’s get the ball rolling in earnest: Atlanta has “made Bumgarner a priority and planned to quickly communicate that to the left-hander,” Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports California reports. If Bumgarner doesn’t re-sign with the Giants, the Braves are the front-runners for his services, according to Pavlovic.

For now, Bumgarner has until Nov. 14 to decide whether to accept the $17.8MM qualifying offer the Giants gave him earlier this week. But rejecting it looks like a formality for the 30-year-old Bumgarner, who MLBTR projects will land a four-year, $72MM contract on the open market. Whether the numbers are exact remains to be seen, but Bumgarner’s surely in line for a substantial payday, so the main question is whether San Francisco will be the team that hands it to him.

The Giants are the lone club Bumgarner has known since they selected him 10th overall in the 2007 draft. Although he has since turned into a decorated hurler who has helped the Giants to three championships, there hasn’t been any indication that the team has seriously pursued a contract extension. The Giants did elect against selling off Bumgarner prior to the July 31 trade deadline, but it’s possible they would have gone another way had it not been for an improbable midsummer surge. The team ultimately faded after its torrid July stretch, finishing 77-85, and now it could lose Bumgarner for nothing more than draft-pick compensation if he rejects its QO and heads elsewhere.

Hopefully, a sign that the hot stove may be warmer than it has been….

QLE Posted: November 08, 2019 at 12:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, free agency, hot stove, madison bumgarner

Thursday, November 07, 2019

MLBPA investigation of Anthopoulos shows tension between owners, players

TORONTO – A window into the level of mistrust between players and owners in baseball opened at 5:59 p.m. ET Wednesday, when the Major League Baseball Players Association sent out a statement that threw a Molotov cocktail into the business of the off-season.

The union, executive director Tony Clark said in the release, is launching “an immediate investigation” into comments Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos made to reporters on a conference call earlier this week that “call into question the integrity of the entire free-agent system.”

“The clear description of club co-ordination is egregious,” Clark added.

Serious stuff, which makes you think that Anthopoulos, usually the careful and calculated sort, must have really stepped in it and said something damning.

A consideration of the tensions surrounding free agency at the current time, and how they could lead to all sorts of chaos in two years’ time.

 

QLE Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:27 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex anthopoulos, braves, collusion, free agency, mlbpa

Sunday, November 03, 2019

MLB hot stove: Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg opts out of contract, becomes free agent, per report

As expected, Washington Nationals right-hander and reigning World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg has opted out of his contract, reports MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The Nationals have not yet confirmed the news. Strasburg is walking away from four years and $100 million. Saturday was the deadline to opt out.

Strasburg, 31, threw a National League leading 209 innings during the regular season, and finished with 3.32 ERA and 251 strikeouts. He then threw another 36 1/3 innings with a 1.98 ERA during Washington’s postseason run, including 8 1/3 innings of two-run ball with the season on the line in World Series Game 6.

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year extension worth $175 million in May 2016. The contract included heavy deferrals, as big Nationals contracts often do. Here is what Strasburg is leaving on the table:

2020: $25 million ($10 million deferred until 2027)
2021: $15 million
2022: $15 million
2023: $45 million ($30 million deferred until 2028-30)

 

QLE Posted: November 03, 2019 at 12:08 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, opt-outs, stephen strasburg

Friday, November 01, 2019

Report: MLB proposed deadline for multi-year free agent contracts

The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reports that Major League Baseball made a proposal to the MLB Players Association, suggesting a deadline for multi-year contracts for free agents. The deadline would have been set for the end of the Winter Meetings, which this year will take place December 8-12 in San Diego. Unsurprisingly, the union rejected the proposal.

At face value, MLB’s goal with the proposal would be to speed up the rate at which the bigger free agents sign contracts. Bruce Meyer, hired as the union’s chief negotiator last year, said, “After due consideration, we rejected their proposal as not being in the best interests of players. We asked if MLB was interested in discussing other, more direct and tangible ways of incentivizing early signings and they weren’t at this time.”

MLB suggested the deadline could create a bidding frenzy for free agents. The union didn’t see it that way, instead correctly surmising that teams would wait out the deadline and then make, as Drellich put it, take-it-or-leave-it offers.

As always, my apologies- the quoted source is behind a paywall for me.

 

QLE Posted: November 01, 2019 at 12:29 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, free agency

Yankees Decline 2020 Option On Edwin Encarnacion

Edwin Encarnacion is unlikely to be returning to the Yankees in 2020.

New York acquired Encarnacion from the Mariners in June for a minor league pitcher and some cash. His bat helped the team quite a bit during the regular season, but Encarnacion struggled heavily in the playoffs, especially in the ALCS against the Astros. He seemed completely lost at the plate.

The Yankees announced Thursday that they would not be exercising the club option on Encarnacion’s contract for next season, thus making him a free agent.

This move isn’t too surprising after Encarnacion’s poor showing against Houston. The slugger just couldn’t get his bat going, as he managed just one hit in 18 at-bats in the ALCS. His batting average for the series was a paltry .056.

And now, the hot stove season begins in earnest…..

 

QLE Posted: November 01, 2019 at 12:20 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: edwin encarnacion, free agency, options, yankees

Monday, October 21, 2019

Could Madison Bumgarner’s bad road stats hurt him in MLB free agency?

Madison Bumgarner is entering free agency at a curious time in his career. The longtime Giants ace has built a legendary reputation, but plenty of question marks also surround the 30-year-old.

Bumgarner proved he’s still a workhorse after missing time the previous two seasons with freak injuries. His 34 starts were tied for the MLB lead, and his 207 2/3 innings pitched ranked second in the NL.

But while looking at Bumgarner’s stats from this past season, one thing stands out that could hurt him in free agency and actually help the Giants if they want to bring back the left-hander.

MadBum’s home-road splits were staggering in 2019. He was a completely different pitcher in front of the home crowd at Oracle Park, compared to pitching away from San Francisco.

Mind you, with free agency working as it has lately, will we necessarily be able to tell much of a difference?

 

QLE Posted: October 21, 2019 at 12:30 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, home-road splits, madison bumgarner, statistics

Friday, September 20, 2019

The 5 tiers of this year’s free-agent class

I’d put J.D. Martinez in the second tier.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 20, 2019 at 03:24 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Four Soon-to-Be MLB Free Agents Whose Stock Is Rising

The winter’s free-agency freeze induced a wave of anxiety around baseball, leading to a slew of extensions signed early in the season. Brandon Lowe agreed to a six-year deal in Tampa Bay after just 129 MLB at-bats. Eloy Jimenez signed long-term with the White Sox before he ever set foot in an MLB batter’s box. Many players seem either desperate to shed their rookie deals or terrified of entering free agency. The market’s paralysis can deter even the top talents from leaving their current teams. (See Arenado, Nolan and Trout, Michael.)

There remains a sample of quality free agents in the 2019-20 class, however, even if J.D. Martinez and Stephen Strasburg choose not to opt out of their current deals. Expect multiple nine-figure contracts, and one pitcher who could become the league’s most expensive arm. So which upcoming free agents have helped their cause as we begin to consider the next class?

In case you want to know who won’t get signed this coming winter….

QLE Posted: August 15, 2019 at 05:13 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony rendon, free agency, gerrit cole, josh donaldson, will smith

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Phillies Phile Lawsuit To Prevent Phanatic Phrom Becoming Phree Agent

Biggest mascot case since the Mr. Met - Mrs. Met divorce?

In a federal lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in New York, the Phillies accused Harrison/Erickson Inc., the creators and designers of the Phanatic, of threatening to withdraw from their 1984 agreement to let the Phillies use the mascot “forever.” According to the suit, the designers have “threatened to obtain an injunction against the Phillies’ use of the Phanatic” and “make the Phanatic a free agent,” selling the rights to the furry, green-beaked creature to another sports team if the Phillies do not renegotiate with the mascot’s creators and pay them “millions of dollars.”

The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 03, 2019 at 07:02 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, lawsuits, mascot law, mascots, philly phanatic

 

 

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