Saturday, April 26, 2008

Season One - Free Agency Review

Season One - Free Agency Review

I am going to go alphabetically through the teams and discuss what each team added via free agency whether it was a free agent they resigned, someone they bought out of arbitration or someone they signed on the open market. I'll also give a rating overall of how I think each teams free agent haul will affects its competitiveness against the rest of the league.

I also might have said a guy was re-signed as a free agent when he was really bought out of arb years, but I did my best.

Also, I am sure I missed some players, I'll add them if someone points them out. Please feel free to argue, discuss in the comments section or on the world chat.


Extension: The Sun Devils boguht out one of their arb eligile players in Malik Spivey . Signed to a 2 year\1.35 million dollar deal, Spivey will be counted on as a spot reliever, but due to his splits, probably not someone you'd trust to a close game in the late innings.

Signings: The Sun Devils signed two veteran pitchers with a lot of miles on their arms. Dick Wright and Harry Bonilla have a combined 25 years of ML experience. Both came rather cheap as well as Wright was signed to a 1 year\1.5 mil deal and Bonilla to a 1 year\595K deal. Both will combine with Spivey to bolster the bullpen.

Impact: Very Mild. Three low key signings to bolster the bullpen helps their teams depth, but probably doesn't scare anyone in the division or league.


Extensions: None

Signings: The Jackets were very business in free agency. They signed four players for their ML squad and here they are in order of when they signed: Carlos Quixote , Benjamin Risley , Dennis Suzuki , Shea Ramsey . Quixote is the first in a line of free agents we'll discuss that probably are overpaid do to the lean free agent market. He is signed to a 2 year, 6.16 mil deal. He looks like he'll be a decent third baseman, but not sure he is worth that money. Risley is signed to a 2 year, 10.36 mil deal and looks to be a solid acquisition. Some scouts view him as a starter, however others feel that his stamina is better suited as a jack of all trades reliever and spot starter. Suzuki signed a long term deal of 4 years for 14.4 million. Scouts are split as although he has some very solid pitches, his splits are decidedly average and his control is just sightly above average. Some scouts feel he is worth the money and others feel he will be an expensive innings eater. Scouts pretty much say the exact same things about Ramsey as they do Suzuki. $12 million is a lot to sink into someone who might just be a glorified innings eater, but obviously Atlanta sees something others might not.

Impact: Mild. A decent amount of money invested, but not sure there are any impact players here.


Extensions: The Longhorns bought out two players of their arb years in Rudy Sinclair and Frank Dong . Sinclair wanted to test the FA market, but couldn't pass up the 3 year, 16.2 million dollar deal Austin offered. He is solid defensively at third and a pretty solid hitter although he is a free swinger and will probably K a lot. Dong is a bit of a risky signing just for the length. He is already 31, yet convinced the Austin GM to sign him to 5 year, 20 mil deal. He is decent makeup so as long as they invest a good amount of training he shouldn't decrease too quickly. A solid catcher with decent defensive ratings, however his real presence will be felt at the plate as he should be an impact bat in the middle of the lineup.

Signings: None

Impact: Mild\Moderate. Mr. Dong (great name) will be a force in the middle of the lineup and a beat to be feared. Austin has to hope that he keeps up for the whole of his contract.


Extensions: Three young arbitration eligible guys all sign multi year deals to stay in Buffalo in Roy Jones , Roger Valentin , and Don McConnell . Jones is the SS of the present and future as Buffalo bought out a couple arbitration years to sign him to a 3 year, 16.2 mil deal. He should be very solid defensively and still bring a decent bat which is always tough to find. Some scouts feel that if Buffalo decided to buy out his arb years, they might have wanted to sign him to a longer deal because now after 3 seasons they'll have to sign him to another major deal as he will still be relatively young and productive. Secondly, Valetin is an absolute beast and someone the Bulls will build their lineup around. He also should never be broke as he is promised 38 million over the next 5 years. Mr. MocConnell is promised 21.6 million over the next 4 years and is a beast of a hitter. However, although he likes to catch he is not very good at it. It will be interesting to see if the Bulls let him catch or place him at first.

Signings: Sonny Sherman is a spot reliever who probably will not be brought in during close games unless it is to face a lefty. He is signed to 3.6 million over the next two seasons which seems a little pricey for a lefty specialist. Pat Suzuki was signed to probably start at second base and will do a decent job there, but probably nothing special. 13.6 million over three years is again a lot of money to spend, but you can't really fault these contracts as its all supply and demand.

Impact: Moderate. The extensions of Valentin and McConnell will solidify the middle of the lineup for several years and will terrorize the NL East.


Extensions: Two extensions for the Cougars in Jared Strickland and Eric Thomson. Strickland appears to be one of the few elite pitchers that didn't opt for free agency. In so doing Charleston looks to have gotten an absolute steal locking him u for 33.2 mil over 4 years. He is only 28 and should dominate the world for the next 10 seasons. There must be something in the water because Thomson is another elite player that the Cougars were able to keep off the market at about the same rice as Strickland. Thomson should hit plenty of homers while laying a solid SS, you can't beat that.

Signings: Skeeter Peterson was the only signing of note and is locked up for the next couple seasons at 2.8 mil per season. He will probably be slotted in to provide protection in the order for Thomson. He should hit a good amount of homers, but thats about it.

Impact: High. Strickland and Thomson are two all stars and both can compete for Cy Young and MVP awards respectively. On top of that, they are both signed to cap friendly deals for how valuable they are.


Extensions: None

Signings: Only one signing, but it was a big one. After oting for free agency, the Heels were able to re-sign Carl Stephenson . Stephenson certainly didn't come cheap as he is signed for 50 mil over the next 5 seasons. However, he is a bonafide ace, although Charlotte will have to hold their breath every time he takes the mound due to a marginal health rating.

Impact: Mild\Moderate - High Risk\High Reward signing for the Heels. If he stays healthy, he can be a Cy Young candidate every season. One or two major injuries and this contract will be an albatross around the Tar Heels neck.

Chicago Blue Demons

Extensions: Three major extensions for the Blue Demons in Patrick Davies , Paul Zhang , and Matthew Lennon . Davies is an interest signing. He is still young at only 26, but is pretty expensive at 14.4 mil over 3 seasons for a middle of the rotation starter primarily because of his average control and righty split. Some scouts believed the Demons would let Zhang walk because of his lack of control, however they decided to give him a chance and locked him up for 5.6 mil for the next two years with 2.8 mil on top of that tin a bonus. Lennon is a fantastic signing at 25 mil over the next 5 years as he will be slotted in at the top of the rotation. He certainly would have gotten more on the market.

Signings: One of the biggest and most expensive signings of the season, the Demons won the D'Angelo Prieto sweepstakes. Signed for 58 mil over the next 4 seasons with an extra 2 mil on top just to sign his name, Prieto will be counted on to anchor the middle of the Demons lineup for a long time. He is one of the, if not THE, premier hitters in the world as of now.

Impact: High. The signings of Lennon and Prieto definitely put them in the high category. Some scouts feel that the other contracts given out to Zhang and Davies should bring their rating down to moderate, but thePrieto and Lennon signings are just too big.

Chicago Illini

Extensions: Only one extension of note and it was a big one in Shane Cyr . One of the few contracts we've come across that escalates as the seasons tick on. However, he is only 28 and should be a very solid pitcher for a long time. Although his ridiculous stamina inflates his overall rating, this is definitely a guy that can be a #2 starter for a long time. He'll earn 36.5 mil over the next 5 seasons.

Signings: None

Impact: Mild\Moderate: Another team to only have one major signing, however pitching is always a premium in HBD and the Illini were able to lock up a young guy who should be a solid addition to the rotation for the next 5 seasons.


Extensions: Julian Berry and Jamie Martin were the two guys the Buckeyes decided to bring back. Berry is a solid reliever who should get some tough outs and also is signed to a cheap contract of 4.4 mil over the next two seasons. Martin is another valuable addition to the team at a cap friendly price. At 7.8 mil over the next three seasons he is a guy the pitching staff in Columbus would love to throw to on a constant basis and while his bat isn't very good, its not a total liability.

Signings: The Buckeyes were one of the busier teams with three more major signings in
Juan Mercedes , Otis Nelson , and Vinny Priest . The Buckeyes targeted guys they thought might be overlooked and made sure they were guys they wouldn't have to bid very much (if any) against other teams. All are signed to cheap contracts. Nelson will be slotted in at the back of the rotation and\or long reliever and the other two will be counted on to itch in the last few innings.

Impact: Mild\Moderate. There isn't any one player that jumps out as a difference maker, but the Buckeyes were able to add a lot of depth and were able to do so with very cap friendly contracts.


Extensions: None

Signings: None

Impact: HUGE! Just kidding. Detroit decided to ignore the free agent market this season.


Extensions: None

Signings: None.

Impact: Two teams in a row that didn't re-sign or sign anyone to major deals. It is well documented on the forums that Fargo tried to go after a couple big ticket players, but was unsuccessful.



Signings: Three major signings for the Gators as it looks by their FA and trade activity of bringing in vets, they are hoping to make an immediate run for the pennant and series. The three guys the Gators brought in are Alfonso Reyes , Vitas Boone , and Rob Jacquez . Reyes was brought in as a defensive specialist at catcher and at the price of 2.25 mil over three seasons is definitely a nice signing. Boone is an absolute beast of a hitter and was very highly sought after and is locked up at 36 mil over the next 4 seasons. He should hit a ton of homeruns, although a lot will probably come on the road as Florida plays in a huge pitchers park. Jacquez is another defensive specialist and will be placed in CF and with him awesome range, hopefully can patrol the cavernous gaps at home.

Impact: Moderate. Three solid signings and Boone should be a perennial all star.


Extensions: None

Signings: None

Impact: None due to standing pat with their roster and improving through trades.

Iowa City


Signings: Iowa City came away with three impact pitchers as they signed Hersh Reynolds , Charles Carlyle , and Jake Hardy . None of them cam cheap as Hardy will be making 41 mil for 5 seasons, Carlyle will make 40 mil for 5 seasons, and Reynolds 13.4 for the next three. Hardy and Carlyle will both be fixtures at the top of the rotation and Reynolds will be employed as a premier stopper\closer.

Impact: High. Three very good pitchers were signed that have to help make Iowa City an early favorite in the NL.


Extensions: None

Signings: The Rebels came away with four new players in Thomas Xavier , Cesar Ordaz , Jaime Riggan , and Paul Aoki . Xavier is the most expensive at a little over 17 mil for 4 seasons and although he might be a tad expensive for his ratings, he should be a solid catcher with above average defensive ratings and an average bat. Almost three million for Ordaz is interesting as he will be a guy the manager will only be able to bring in to face one batter before being taken out. Over the course of a season this should limit him to very few innings pitched in total. Some scouts also think Riggan is not worth the 11+ million he is signed for. Although he does have very good power, his splits are sub par and his defense at third will only be average at best. Scouts are also interested to see how Aoki performs as he also has great power and average splits, but he is always, and I mean always swinging for the fences. Not a bad flyer to take on a guy for one season to see what happens.

Impact: Mild. Although the Rebels signed four players; none of them are impact guys and they mgiht have overpaid for a couple. All four will add depth.

Kansas City

Extensions: The Wildcats locked up both Johan Oquist and Norman Borders before they could hit the market. Oquist is one of the best hitting catchers in the world and at 12 mil over the next three seasons is definitely a bargain. Borders will be making 22 mil over the next 4 seasons and should be one of the most dominant closers in the world during that time. His splits are almost perfect and anyone would kill to have him closing out games.

Signings: None

Impact: High. Quality over quanitity here. One guys is a fearsome hitter who can catch and the other should lock down the last inning of every game he is brought into. Both are signed to very good deals.

Las Vegas

Extensions: None

Signings: Vegas was very busy as they signed five guys that were on the market. They are Jorge Espinosa , Bingo Tracy , Aaron Witt , Lee Henry , and Yuniesky Jacquez . Espinoza is a cheap signing and scouts are split on whether he should be a back of the rotation guy or long reliever. Tracy is another cheap signing, but GM's were shocked he was even signed since his slits are so below average there are not many who think he can contribute. Witt is an interesting signing. His splits are very good and he loves facing righties, but his he doesn't have a lot of power and or contact ratings. It looks like Vegas is already having some buyers remorse with him as he has already cleared waivers. Henry should be a good defensive replacement and can play a solid center field. Jacquez is easily the best signing as he can be a to of the rotation starter, although he'll only be able to go about 6 innings.

Impact: Mild. As noted above, Jacquez is a solid pitcher and his salary is very ca friendly, however we're not sure how the rest of the guys will fit in.

Los Angeles

Extensions: The Bruins re-signed Marvin Rivera to a four year deal worth a little less than 20 mil. Might be a little on the expensive side just because his splits will probably prevent him from being a great closer. He looks to be more of a secondary setup man.

Signings: LA was very busy in the free agent market. They decided early on to trade their expensive vets away for prospects and build for the future so these signings are guys that will help them remain competitive while building for said future. The five guys are Ray Lane , Chris Towers , B.C. Tatis , Bip Serrano , Heinie Judd . Lane and Serrano are decent guys to have in the bullpen and are cheap at under 2 million just for this season. Towers is about the same as Lane except his splits are slightly lower and is signed for two seasons. Judd should be a decent innings eater at the back of the rotation. Tatis is a bit of a controversial signing. He is signed for 7.4 mil each season for the next two seasons. He has unbelievable power and the Bruins hoe that will outweigh his slightly below average splits and eye. There are other instances of this occurring so its an interesting gamble.

Imact: Mild. The Bruins don't plan on contending this season and a lot of the signings are just filler, but they did do a good job in signing guys that will help them stay competitive which is very important.


Extensions: None

Signings: Only one signing for the Cardinals and that is Tommy Jackson . Jackson was signed to be a starter and it will be interesting to see how he does. His pitches are great and control is above average, however his splits are decidedly mediocre. He also throws a lot of ground balls. At a little over 5 million total for the next two seasons, he is a solid signing and they didn't overpay for him.

Impact: Mild. Jackson won't be a guy to tip a division\wild card race in oe direction or another, but will provide solid depth.


Extensions: None

Signings: The Tigers won the Paul Fujiwara sweepstakes and also signed Javier Salinas. Fujiwara is going to be a rich rich man for a long time as he'll be earning a whopping 22.5 mil this season (including bonus) and 66.5 mil over the course of 5 seasons. Fujiwara will be a to of the rotation for a few seasons, however some scouts are worried about his makeup. The Tigers are probably going to have to keep their training budget pretty high just to offset that rating because of the huge investment they have tied up in Fujiwara. Salinas will be a solid reliever nd especially is good at getting out righties.

Impact: High. Fujiwara is one of the top pitchers in the league and the Tigers will be counting on a huge season from him. Its crazy that even if he won 22 games he still would be earning more than a million per win this season.


Extensions: The guys the COmmodores didn't want to let hit the market were Marc Hughes and Otto Cosby . Hughes was actually bought out of his three seasons of arbitration and the Commodores must have thought that he would be asking for very high sums in arbitration since they only locked him up for three seasons. he should be one of the better hitting catchers in the league. Cosby also was bought out of his final year of arbitration and is signed to another three season season deal for 18 million. He should be one of the top hitting players int he league and with his splits and contact rating should hit for very high average.

Signings: Nashville was very active in free agency. They signed Rob Duffy for three mil just for this season and although he struggles sometimes against righties should be a decent starter and\or long reliever. Randall Young is a great signing and will be a fixture at the top of the rotation although with his stamina he will only be able to go 5-6 innings a start. Mike Koch is a decent reliever at a nice price at under 2 mil a season. Ditto for Lawrence Williams although he could also be a spot starter.

Impact: Moderate\High. Hughes, Cosby, and Young are all very good players that should form the core of this Nashville team and the GM did a good job of signign some other guys for needed depth at good prices.

New Orleans

Extensions: None

Signings: The Privateers decided to only sign a couple guys in Bobby King and Enrique Cubillan . King should be a solid end of the gamr reliever with above average splits and he is also signed a pretty good deal at a little under 4 mil per season for 3 seasons. he is only 28 so he has plenty of solid seasons ahead. Scouts are split on hos effective Cubillan can be and if he is worth 11 mil over the next two seasons. He has fantastic control and a couple great pitches, but that is tempered by slightly above average splits and although he has a nice stamina rating, his durability hurts. The Privateers will have to decide on limiting his pitch count so he can pitch every fifth day or letting him pitch to his full stamina and giving him a couple extra days off.

Impact: Mild. Two solid, yet unspectacular signings. Will add deth to an already very good team.

New York

Extensions: The Red Storm bought out the last year of arbitration and signed Wes Crane to 2.25 mil over the next three seasons. His splits and control are awesome, however his stamina and durability ratings will limit him to very few innings pitched and almost undoubtedly only one hitter at a time.

Signings: New York signed three pitchers out of free agency in Davey Diaz , Willie Pascual , and Francisco Delgado . Mr. Diaz was another one of the top pitchers and he certainly struck it rich and will be paid over 50 mil the next four seasons. He should be a top of the line starter and New York hoes he will still be near the top of his game as his contract comes to an end. Pascual ill be a nice addition to the bullpen, however the combination of a sub park second pitch and throwing a lot of fly ball outs has to be a little scary. Delgado should be a good player to close out ball games and well worth the 9 million over the next three seasons.

Impact: High. Diaz alone makes this free agency haul a success, but the additions of Pascual and Delgado certainly help. They should all like pitching in Shea Stadium.


Extensions: None

Signings: Oakland was busy in free agency and made sure to lock up four players. they are Kennie Byrne , Buzz Garcia , Virgil Rodriguez , Sam Belitz . Byrne is a very nice signing as a stop gap pitcher. Although he is 35, he still has some solid skills and at 5.6 million is pricey, but only signed for this season. Depending on how he does Oland can always extend him. Garcia is also a nice signing. 9.2 mil for two seasons and he will be the Cardinal closer. Very good control and splits with a nice stamina for a reliever and he could see a lot of innings. Rodriguez is a ridiculous hitter, but will only be able to play in about half of Oakland's games fully rested. Belitz should be solid defensivly although the 79 glove is below average for a shortstop and his other defensive ratings are higher. he also has some really ncie pop to his bat which is always nice to find in a SS.

Impact: Moderate. Oakland did a great job of finding some nice value while not tying up a lot of their cap for future seasons.


Extensions: None

Signings: Neal Padgett should be a solid starter, although he struggles against lefties at times. At 5.6 mil per season for three seasons, Philly will hope the struggles against lefties are minimized. Ed Donatello looks to be strictly used in long relief and\or mop up duty. Not sure what they plan on doing with Bill Miller . He is now signed for the next three seasons at 2.8 mil per season, but some scouts feel he is more of a 4th outfielder type. Steven Mecir is fantastic value at 3+ million a year. He is unbelievably good at putting his bat on the ball. Mickey Smith should be outstanding defensively and decent at the plate. Although he is 33, Philly only signed him to a one year deal which was smart. Last but not least is another solid player in Dennis Li.

Impact: Moderate\High. Some really nice signings in here. However it looks like they may have one too many outfielders signed just from free agency, let alone who is already on their roster. The Owls will obviously DH them and possibly rotate them all.


Extensions: None

Signings: Only one free agent signing for the Panthers and thats Clint Prokopec . Clint should be a nice back of the rotation type starter at a reasonable price of about 2 mil per season for the next two seasons.

Impact: Mild. Always nice to get a guy like Prokopec cheap, but probably doesn't do much to scare anyone in the division.


Extensions: Scouts are split on whether signing Bill Webb to a 4 year deals for over 10 million was the right move or not. On one hand he has a great arm for a catcher, but his pitch calling skills are only a little above average. His contact skills as a hitter are nice, but everything else is below average. On top of this he is constantly getting hurt.

Signings: Another questionable signing by the Ducks in signing Louis Adkinsson to 3 years and almost 4 mil per season. He has great control and stamina, but he really struggles against righties. The Ducks are hoping he can gain some points in that category. Ivan Nunez also is probably making more than he thought he was going to. He is fast and will play a decent second base, but he has never seen a pitch he doesn't like and will strike out a lot.

Impact: Mild. Seems like a lot of money to throw at guys that are pretty average. But who knows, maybe the Portland GM knows more than the scouts!


Extensions: None

Signings: None

Impact: None. Salem is the third team to stand pat and see where they are in season one without spending a ton of money.


Extensions: None

Signings: Seattle was busy and signed Tanyon Torres , Ignacio Olivares , Nigel Fujiwara , Gus Harris . Torres is yet another example of a guy who was probably signed just to eat innings. He'll either be placed at the end of the rotation or as a long reliever. Investing a little under 5 mil over two seasons is about right. Olivares has been playing baseball forever and still has some skills at the tender age of 36. Seattle was smart to only lock him up for a season and if he plays well they can always extend him. Fujiwara will make a nice chunk of change, 8+ mil for the next two seasons while patrolling the cavernous outfield in Seattle and stealing as many bases as he can. Not sure how effective Harris will be due to his splits, but he is not overly expensive and his control is great to go along with two solid pitches.

Impact: Mild. None of these guys really jump out as team changers, but all fill a role and should help Seattle in season 1.


Extensions: Myron Holbert will be a top of the rotation pitcher for the Cuse for the next 5 seasons. He will be very good although his stamina will limit him to 5-6 innings a start so hopefully the Orange will have some guys to take over for the many leads Holbert will leave them with. First of all, Cap Burroughs has a great first name and secondly should be one of the better short stops in the league. Again its always nice for a good defensive shortstop to have a nice bat.

Signings: Only one free agency signing for the Orange and that is Sandy Niekro . Niekro will be one of those guys I mentioned that will be counted on to close the door on the leads pitchers like Holbert will hopefully leave.

Impact: Moderate\High. Locking up Holbert and Burroughs were smart moves and finding a guy like Niekro to help close the door on leads was also a good idea.


Extensions: None

Signings: None

Impact: None. This is the fourth team to take a pass on free agency.

Extensions: Sam Stone is one of the best players in the league and it was a no brainer to lock him u long term.

Signings: Wichita is a pitchers park and the Jayhawks targeted Christopher Ford who doesn't have the great measurables, but should enjoy pitching in Wichita

Impact: Moderate. Whenever a player like Stone is locked up, its a big news event.

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