This was supposed to be the week things shook out and players like Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez found new homes.
Hasn't happened as of midnight Saturday.
What's going on? Certainly they were held up while the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes was underway. However, so were Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo. Those two did find new homes. One obvious explanation is the qualifying offers they received. With two years of data, we can now see three good pitchers -- Kyle Lohse, Santana, and Jimenez -- who went up to spring training without a contract. The Union can't be happy about this.
What seems to have happened here is everyone underestimated just how valuable the new rules made draft picks. The assumption was that teams willingness to surrender draft picks for talents wouldn't change. The problem is: under the new rules, they're surrendering draft pick AND bonus money. What's particularly ironic here is that the teams who can least afford to lose a draft pick to sign such players are the mid-market teams like the Orioles, the Pirates, and the Rays -- teams the new agreement was nominally supposed to help.
With the new CBA now impacting both the upper echelon of players and the mid-Market teams who thought they would benefit from the new rules, there's at least a chance that both sides will come together to make wholesale changes at the next negotiation session.
Around the league,
- Kyle Farnsworth has found a new team. The former Cub signed a minor league deal with the Mets worth $1 million if he makes the club with another $1.5 million in bonuses. Farnsworth had a terrible year last year for the Rays before being released and rebounding modestly with the Pirates at the end of the season.
- The Diamondbacks extended GM Kevin Towers and Manager Kirk Gibson. This is very good news if you're a scrappy baseball player looking for work.
- Armando Galarraga, best known as the guy who missed a perfect game in Detroit by one terrible call, signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers. He was in both the Reds and the Rockies organizations last year, though he didn't pitch in the majors.
- The Braves extended Freddie Freeman (8 years, $125 million) and Jason Heyward (2 years, $13.3 million). It's yet the latest sign that the new TV money is largely keeping the games best players away from free agency. It sure is nice to have a top 5 rated farm system right about now.
- Former All Star Bryan LaHair has signed a minor league deal with the Indians. LaHair is coming off a .230/.306/.438 season with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in NPB.
- Excellent article by Scott Lindbloom of Beyond the Box Score looking at the relationship between FIP and ERA and tracking the seasons with the biggest differential. He points out that the most dominant seasons in recent history have featured both low ERAs and low FIPs.
- In a bid to steal a march on the Cubs for the #1 overall draft pick, the Marlins signed Carlos Marmol to a major league contract. (That is not a typo.)
- The Mariners added a closer, signing Fernando Rodney to a 2-year $14 million deal. Rodney struggled with the Rays last season, giving up 4.9 BB/9 to go with a solid 11.1 K/9.
- Bronson Arroyo reached a 2-year deal with the Diamondbacks, including a club option for a third year. The Diamondbacks, who were apparently in on Masahiro Tanaka, found a reasonable replacement after losing him to the Yankees. Arroyo has pitched over 200 innings 8 of the last 9 years.
- Francisco K-Rod Rodriguez will return to Milwaukee on a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Rodriguez was traded from the Brewers to the Orioles halfway through last season. This is one of the few examples you can point to of trading a guy away and re-signing him over the off-season.
- Coco Crisp re-upped with the A's, agreeing to a two-year, $22.75 million contract. Crisp had an excellent year with Oakland last season, putting up 22 home runs and a .335 OBP.
- Alex Rodriguez pulled his lawsuits against Bud Selig, MLB, and the MLBPA and will accept his suspension.
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