Tag:MLB Free Agents
Posted on: October 30, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 5:57 pm
 

Sabathia, Scutaro and more free agency notes

By Matt Snyder

Sunday morning officially marked the beginning of free agency in Major League Baseball. 148 players filed for free agency, and teams now have exclusivity on retaining their free agents until Thursday at 12:01 a.m. ET. Lots of smallish news broke Sunday with nothing really major, so let's check it all out here in a fun little bullet-pointed post for your perusal.

• The Yankees were expected to offer a contract extension to CC Sabathia this weekend (Jon Heyman) and ESPN New York reports they have done as much -- citing a source who said: "We believe it is a very fair offer, but we haven't heard anything back yet.''

Sabathia is signed through 2015, but he has an opt-out clause in his contract, and he's expected to do exercise it -- per multiple reports and common sense -- in order to get a longer and more lucrative deal.

• The Red Sox announced via press release that they have picked up shortstop Marco Scutaro's option for 2012, which is for $6 million. It's a bit of a birthday present, as he turned 36 Sunday.

More Free Agency
• The Cubs and Aramis Ramirez had a $16 million mutual option. The Cubs elected to exercise it, but Ramirez -- as has been expected for months -- declined it (Chicago Sun Times). So he'll be a free agent, and he's basically the only viable everyday third baseman on the market.

• The Giants have exercised relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt's $5 million option for 2012 (Henry Schulman). You might recall Affeldt's 2011 season ended when he badly sliced open his hand while trying to separate some frozen hamburgers.

• The Giants also agreed to a two-year, $8.5 million contract with fellow left-handed reliever Javier Lopez.

• The Cardinals will exercise Yadier Molina's $7 million option, reports MLB.com's Matthew Leach.

• The Red Sox have not made an offer to Jonathan Papelbon, reports WEEI.com.

• The Brewers have declined their options on relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, making both free agents.

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Posted on: October 29, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Yankees pick up options on Cano, Swisher

Cano

By Evan Brunell


The Yankees have exercised their team options on Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher, the team said in a news release.

Cano's option was a no-brainer. One of the best second basemen in the game, Cano hit .302/.349/.533 in 2011 with 28 home runs. In 2010, he finished third in the MVP voting. He has a team-friendly contract however, and gave the Yankees consecutive club options in 2012 and 2013. Cano will earn $14 million in 2012, with 2013's option valued at $15 million. Agent Scott Boras recently appealed to GM Brian Cashman to renegotiate his deal. Cano recently switched agents to Boras, so Boras will not earn a commission on these club options; he gets a commission for whatever deal he signs, so while there is certainly motivation on his end, Cano, if he was a free agent, would be in line for a lot of money. Instead, the 29-year-old he will hit the free agent market at age 31, and that's a significant difference in contracts.

As for Swisher, word surfaced that the club was considering not picking up his $10.5 million option and pursuing Carlos Beltran in free agency, but it never made sense for New York not to pick up the option. The 30-year-old had a strong year, hitting .250/.374/.449 and would have been worth the money to any team, not just the Yankees. Even if Cashman wants to pursue Beltran, picking up Swisher's option and trading him is the more obvious move rather than straight releasing him.

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Posted on: October 29, 2011 8:01 pm
 

Owner Moreno: Angels payroll to decrease

MorenoBy Evan Brunell

Last season, Arte Moreno was willing to pay top dollar to get the best free agent. He ended up saving a dime by opting to trade for Vernon Wells... except that transaction didn't work out well.

This season, Moreno isn't as willing to flash his wallet, the Orange County Register reports. Moreno admitted that payroll got a bit unwieldy last season as payroll soared to a franchise-high $142 million thanks to Wells and two free-agent signings in Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi. And this year?

“I would say that $130 [million], $140 [million] range we’re pretty comfortable in,” the owner said.

The Angels have $99 million allocated to just nine players next season, so it will be difficult for the club to round out the squad with capable players. Losing Joel Pineiro, Fernando Rodney and Russell Branyan will help, but neither were albatrosses either. They will also shed having to pay Gary Matthews Jr. and Scott Kazmir, which works in their favor even more, but arbitration raises are due to quite a few people, and significant raises could be on the way for Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar in particular. After arbitration, the Angels could be around $120 million, which will leave them bargain-bin shopping for bullpen and rotation help.

This news likely leaves L.A. out in the cold for significant free agents, but things can change quickly.

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Posted on: October 29, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Dempster picks up player option, stays with Cubs

DempsterBy Evan Brunell

Ryan Dempster has officially exercised his player option to stay with the Cubs, CSN Chicago reports.

New GM Theo Epstein will have to allocate $14 million to Dempster, which is way above market value and better than he could have done in the market. The 34-year-old finished 2011 with a 4.80 ERA in 34 starts, way over his 3.85 ERA from a season ago, but the righty did finish with at least 200 innings pitched for the fourth straight season.

Dempster figures to pair with Matt Garza at the top of the rotation in Chicago next year, but who fills out the rotation behind the two is anyone's guess.

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Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:58 am
 

Rangers ace Wilson looks ahead to free agency

Wilson

By Evan Brunell


Now that the Rangers coming up short in the Fall Classic for the second year in a row, the team may be poised to lose its left-handed ace... again.

A year after failing to entice Cliff Lee back to Texas, the Rangers have new ace C.J. Wilson set to hit the market. Wilson, despite posting a 2.94 ERA in 24 starts, isn't considered by many to be an elite, ace pitcher. His performance in the postseason didn't do much to help his prospects, finishing with a 5.79 ERA in 28 innings across five starts and one relief appearance. That could hold back his market, although Wilson hopes not.

"I feel like I pitched pretty well in the World Series and I hope that rinses out the bad taste people had in their mouth from the bad inning I had in Detroit and the bad game I had against Tampa," Wilson told ESPN Dallas, noting how he finished the World Series with a 2.92 ERA over 12 1/3 innings. However, Wilson walked 11 and struck out just nine, so his World Series outings were not exactly impressive. "I feel like I made some good adjustments and got some help from some people to make those adjustments," he added. "The only thing I’m concerned with, personally, is, ‘what can I do to be a better baseball player next year?’"

But before he can play next year, he has to find a team. And Wilson has absolutely zero idea of the process.

"It’s foreign to me. I don’t know how it’s going to work," Wilson said. "I don’t know if someone is going to be like, ‘we’re going to get you your own blimp; no matter how bad traffic is we will blimp your butt to the field.’"

I think it's safe to say that no team will be offering to "blimp [his] butt" to the field, but he should be in line for a lucrative payday, even if he falls short of the $100 million mark that some have projected. If Wilson breaks that barrier, it won't be Texas doing so. The club isn't awash in finances and doesn't believe Wilson can be a front-line ace, which $100 million would demand he be. Wilson wouldn't rule out a return to Texas, crediting the organization for his success.

"The baseball angle here is very strong. Obviously, we’re a good organization. We’ve proven we can win," Wilson said. "We have guys on the team coming back. We have a lot of pieces that I think are complementary to me and vice-versa, so in that regard, that kind of speaks for itself. I like it here in that sense. They’ve treated me with a lot of respect the last two years as a starting pitcher and they’ve given me a chance to improve, given me a chance to solidify my role on the team as well as around the league as a premium starter. I feel like a lot of my success is because of the team that I’ve been playing on."

Wilson didn't seem to intimate he would give Texas a hometown discount, but did make one thing very clear.

"Bottom line is, you play to win as a baseball player," he said. "You want to be putting yourself in a good position or a better position than you were in previously. I have no idea what’s going to happen."

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Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:31 am
 

Important offseason dates in baseball

By Evan Brunell

Baseball is set to begin free agency on 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday, October 30.

Free agency was originally supposed to begin on Saturday, October 29, but baseball pushed it back a day in conjunction with news regarding the latest labor agreement. Below, you can find baseball's most important dates:
  • All options must be exercised or declined by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 31. Whether it is a team, player or mutual option, the decision must be made by Monday.
  • Free agents have four days from filing for free agency in which they can only talk to their current team about a contract. On 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday, Nov. 3, players can talk with and sigh contracts with any team.
  • The last day for a team to offer salary arbitration to Type A or B free agents is midnight ET on Nov. 23. By not offering arbitration, teams would lose the right to draft-pick compensation.
  • Free agents then have two weeks to accept or reject arbitration with a deadline of midnight on Dec. 7.
  • The winter meetings, home to many trades and signings, will commence on Dec. 5 and run the whole week in Dallas, Texas until the 8th.
  • Teams have until 5 p.m. ET to outright a player off the roster in preparation for the Rule 5 draft, which takes place on Dec. 8.
  • Players with less than six years of service time must be tendered contracts by Dec. 12.

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Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:07 am
 

Free-agent position rankings: No OF stars

Carlos Beltran

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos Beltran was the hottest name at the trade deadline and he'll be the top name in free agency. Still, no outfielder will come close to matching Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142 million dollar contract -- the entire crop may not get as much as Crawford and Jayson Werth put together. 

For all free agency moves, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.

Carlos Beltran1. Carlos Beltran:
Even though he'll be 35 early in the 2012 season, the switch-hitting Beltran is the top outfielder available on the market, thanks to a bounce-back (and mostly healthy) year in New York and San Francisco. Although he didn't jumpstart the Giants' offense after his trade tot eh Bay Area, he still produced his fair share, if not more. One player couldn't overcome the Giants' overall lack of offensive production. He hit .323/.369/.551 with seven home runs in 44 games in San Francisco and .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers overall. 
Possible teams: Giants, Yankees, Marlins, Cubs, Braves

Nick Swisher2. Nick Swisher: The Yankees have a $10.25 million option on Swisher, who hit .260/.374/.449 with 23 homers in 2011. The money million won't be an issue for the Yankees, who will most likely pick up the option. There has been a report that New York may exercise the option and try to sign Beltran, then trading Swisher.
Possible teams: Yankees

Michael Cuddyer3. Michael Cuddyer: Cuddyer's versatility could make him a hot commodity. He's primarily played right field, but also played first, second and has played third in the past -- he even pitched a scoreless inning this past season, hitting .284/.346/.459 -- close to his career numbers. He also hit 20 home runs this past season and hit 32 in 2009 before the Twins moved to the spacious Target Field.
Possible teams: Twins, Red Sox, Phillies, Braves, Giants, Angels, Athletics, Cubs, Cardinals, Rockies

Jason Kubel4. Jason Kubel: The 29-year-old enters free agency after playing in just 99 games due to foot problems, it was the first time since 2007 he didn't play at least 140 games, but whoever signs him will be giving that left foot a thorough inspection. Kubel can play either corner spot and give a team some pop -- and if you're into RBI, he did have 103 and 92 in his last two full seasons.
Possible teams: Twins, Red Sox, Cubs, Reds, Indians

Josh Willingham5. Josh Willingham: The right-handed hitting Willigham had career-bests in home run (29) and RBI (98) -- but saw his batting average (.246) and on-base percentage (.332) take a tumble from not only his lofty 2010 numbers, but also his career averages (.262, .361). Willigham is hardly a Gold Glover and there are also concerns about his durability.
Possible teams: Athletics, Reds, White Sox, Twins, Orioles

Coco Crisp6. Coco Crisp: The 31-year-old is the top center fielder available, so that should help his stock. After a hot start, Crisp struggled in 2011, putting up his lowest on-base percentage (.314) since his second season in the majors. He did lead the American League with 49 stolen bases. The A's have had some interest in re-signing Crosp, but the price could be too high. The Giants have said to have interest in him, as well.
Possible teams: Athletics, Giants, Marlins

Grady Sizemore7. Grady Sizemore: The biggest risk/reward of the free agent outfield class -- if he hits free agency. The Indians have a $9 million option on the 29-year-old, who has played just 104 games over the last two seasons because of various injuries. He hasn't played more than 110 games in a season since 2008. When healthy, he's as talented as any player in the game -- but that's a huge if. Either the Indians will gamble and exercise his option or someone else will roll the dice.
Possible teams: Indians, Mariners, Giants, Marlins, Cubs, Reds

David DeJesus8. David DeJesus: DeJesus' first year in Oakland was a serious disappointment, as he saw his average drop .078 and his on-base percentage dropped .061, both to career-lows of .240 and .323, respectively. However, his batting average on balls in play (.271) was 45 points lower than his career mark and his walk rate increased, so it may have just bit a bit of bad luck -- and playing in the Oakland Coliseum. 
Possible teams: Padres, Orioles, Braves, Red Sox, Phillies, Athletics

Andruw Jones9. Andruw Jones: At 34 (he'll be 35 in April), Jones is no longer the elite defensive player he once was, but he put up solid numbers as a platoon player for the Yankees, hitting .247/.356/.495 with 13 home runs in 77 games, but hit .286/.384/.540 against right-handers. He could make a decent addition as a bat off the bench and late-gaem replacement in a corner outfield spot.
Possible teams: Yankees, Braves, Rays, White Sox, Reds

Cody Ross10. Cody Ross: After playing a pivotal role in the Giants' run to the 2010 World Series title and winning the NLCS MVP, Ross struggled in 2011, hitting .240/.325/.405 with 14 home runs. Wherever he lands, Ross will likely have to take a pay cut from the $6.3 million he made in 2010.
Possible teams: Giants, White Sox, Braves, Reds

J.D. Drew11. J.D. Drew: The biggest question is whether Drew will want to play as a 36-year-old platoon or bench player. The days of Drew taking a starting spot seem to be over, as he hit just .222/.315/.302 i 81 games this season. He was close to useless against lefties, hitting just .167/.259/.292 with one homer against left-handers in the final year of his five-year, $70 million deal with the Red Sox.
Possible teams: Rockies, Pirates, retirement

Ryan Ludwick12. Ryan Ludwick: Ludwick has a chance to disappoint his third team in a year -- as the 33-year-old has just not performed since taking off a Cardinals uniform. He started the season hitting .238/.301/.373 with 11 home runs in 101 games for the Padres and .232/.341/.330 with two homers in 38 games for the Pirates. In four years with the Cardinals, Ludwick hit .280/.349/.507.
Possible teams: Pirates, Braves, Reds

Kosuke Fukudome13. Kosuke Fukudome: It's safe to say Fukudome's next contract will be a little smaller than the four-year, $48 million deal he signed with the Cubs before the 2008 season. Fukudome was burdened by high expectations, failing to live up to the contract, hitting .260/.361/.399 in four seasons in MLB. A pretty good on-base guy, Fukudome's best as a leadoff man, which may make him a little more valuable than his numbers suggest.
Possible teams: White Sox, Indians, Reds, Athletics, Japan

Eric Hinske14. Eric Hinske: The Braves have an option on Hinske, and it's just $1.5 million -- so it's likely they'll pick it up. Hinske can play both outfield spots, as well as first base, so he's a useful bench player. However, the Braves are already a little too left-handed heavy and Hinske was dreadful against lefties (.118/.167/.294). 
Possible teams: Braves, Pirates, Mariners

Raul Ibanez15. Raul Ibanez: The Phillies seemed to want to find anyone other than Ibanez to man left field all season, but could never find anyone that was an improvement over the 39-year-old. His average (.245) and OBP (.289) both tumbled this season, but he still hit 20 home runs and drove in 84.
Possible teams: Phillies, Pirates, Mariners, retirement

Jonny Gomes16. Jonny Gomes: Goems projects as a Type B free agent and has publicly said he'd likely accept arbitration if offered. Gomes struggled in 2011, hitting just .209/.325/.389 with the Reds and Nationals, but did see his walk rate increase, although his power too a tumble, hitting just 14 home runs. He's best in a platoon situation, crushing left-handed pitchers to the tune of .311/.407/.456.
Possible teams: Nationals, Braves

Juan Pierre17. Juan Pierre: Pierre stole 41 fewer bases in 2011 than he did in 2010, but he was caught stealing just one fewer time, leading the majors by being caught stealing 17 times. Pierre was once fast, but doesn't seem to be anymore, which means he has very few marketable skills. Well, he did lead the majors with 19 sacrifice bunts.
Possible teams: Giants, Reds, Pirates 

Magglio Ordonez18. Magglio Ordonez: Ordonez re-fractured his right ankle during the ALCS -- the same injury that caused him to consider retirement during the season. Rehabbing that injury could be more than he would like to do at 38, especially coming off of a .255/.303/.331 season. Ordonez did look good in the ALDS victory over the Yankees, but his health just wouldn't hold out. 
Possible teams: Tigers, retirement

Corey Patterson19. Corey Patterson: Somehow, some way, Patterson keeps popping up in the big leagues. He's kind of like a weed. He doesn't do much of anything well, but he's kinda fast. Other than that… yeah. A career .252/.290/.400 hitter, you never think you'll see him again, but ultimately, you do.
Possible teams: Any

Juan Rivera20. Juan Rivera: Rivera's 62 games with the Dodgers after being traded from Toronto showed he may just have a little something left in the tank, hitting .274/.333/.406 with five home runs for Don Mattingly. He's still likely a platoon player, but can play both corner spots and first base. The Dodgers have expressed interest in bringing him back.
Possible teams: Dodgers, Padres, Pirates


Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP

Free-agent overall rankings: Position players | Pitchers

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Free agent third base rankings: Aramis or bust



By Matt Snyder

If your favorite team is looking for a really good run producer to play third base next season and free agency is the route it's taking, there is only one choice. Otherwise, this free agency class is mostly backups or guys who will retire. It's a pretty embarrassing position in terms of how thin it is. How it affects Aramis Ramirez's ability to get a big deal remains to be seen, but it seems like he should have a lot of leverage, no? You need a third baseman? It's Wilson Betemit after me.

List of MLB free agents

1. Aramis Ramirez. He's only 33 and showed he can still swing the bat with authority in 2011, as he hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 homers and 93 RBI. He's also not the butcher many believe he is at third base -- though he's not exactly Adrian Beltre, either. Ramirez is unlikely to have his option picked up by the Cubs, so it seems like he'll have a new home for the first time since 2003, when he landed in Chicago on a July trade. As already stated, if someone wants to sign a good free agent third baseman, the buck stops here.
Potential teams: Marlins, Brewers, Tigers, Rockies, Angels, Orioles (mercifully making Mark Reynolds a DH) ... and the Cubs are still possible

2. Wilson Betemit. He hit .285/.343/.452 with 22 doubles and eight home runs this season in 97 games. He's a decent to slightly above-average hitter who can play several infield positions, but not really an everyday starter. The dearth of good free agent options at third base could very easily land Betemit a starting job, though. I'd just be weary of a multiple-year deal, as he hasn't played in more than 97 games since 2007.
Potential teams: Brewers, Tigers, Rockies, Marlins, Angels

3. Casey Blake. He only hit .252/.342/.371 and had serious neck issues, causing him to contemplate retirement. The Dodgers have declined Blake's option, so he's headed elsewhere. Retirement is possible, but Blake is seeking a one-year deal and probably willing to be a backup.
Potential teams: Yankees, Brewers, Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Marlins, Reds, retirement

4. Eric Chavez. He hit .263 with two homers and 26 RBI in his first non-Oakland season, but he still couldn't avoid an extended trip to the disabled list. According to various reports, Chavez isn't sure if he wants to play again in 2012 or retire. If he decides to play, he'll likely get the Yankees' backup third base job again. If he doesn't, he'll be free from the aggravation of constantly being injured. My guess is he retires and the Yankees grab Blake.
Potential teams: Yankees, retirement

5. Greg Dobbs. Dobbs enjoyed lots of playing time in 2011, gathering the most plate appearances of his career. He hit .275 with 23 doubles and eight homers while showing versatility on defense. He's not a great option to start every day, but a really good player to have off the bench. The Marlins reportedly want him back, but a dry free agency crop might land him a decent contract and starting job elsewhere.
Potential teams: Marlins, Brewers, Rockies, Phillies

6. Kevin Kouzmanoff.
Once a decent prospect with power potential -- he did hit 23 home runs while playing half his games in Petco Park in 2008 -- Kouzmanoff's stock has plummeted. He hit .255 with three homers in 27 games after joining Colorado, and the Rockies reportedly haven't ruled out bringing him back. It's possible he has a good full season in a hitter's park, if he stays there (he'd only previously played extended stretches in pitcher's ballparks).
Potential teams: Rockies, Brewers, Cubs, Marlins, Reds, Tigers

7. Omar Vizquel. The 44 year old just keeps hanging on. Is he trying to get to 3,000 hits? He currently has 2,841, but only collected 42 in 2011. So it doesn't really seem to be happening any time soon. Vizquel might just love the game so much he refuses to go until someone won't sign him. And someone will this offseason. He'll be playing again in 2012, bet on it.
Potential teams: White Sox, after that it's a complete guessing game. Any team looking for a veteran backup infielder would have interest, and that could be anyone.

8. Bill Hall. At age 26, Hall hit 35 homers for the Brewers. At age 31, he finished the season in the minors after hitting just .158/.220/.211 for 16 games with the Giants. He might get a shot with the Yankees if neither Blake nor Chavez are there, or someone could use him as a pinch-hitter off the bench. Regardless, don't expect there to be tons of interest. He hasn't been a good player for five years.
Potential teams: Orioles, Nationals, Yankees, retirement

9. Jorge Cantu. The 29 year old was once a run producer, but Cantu had a dreadful 2011 season, hitting .194/.232/.285 in 155 plate appearances for the Padres. He was decent after signing with the Rockies ... in Triple-A.
Potential teams: Rockies, Marlins, Brewers -- but this would be a desperation move to start him. He's basically going to be a backup or retire.

10. Andy LaRoche. Once a top-20 prospect -- for two straight seasons -- LaRoche's career has been a monumental disappointment. The only season he approached being a decent player was 2009 for the Pirates, but last season LaRoche was designated for assignment by the lackluster A's. So that should tell you where his stock stands. It's possible a team strapped for cash attempts to catch lightning in a bottle, as LaRoche is still only 28.
Potential teams: Reds, Marlins, Brewers, Cubs, Orioles, Mariners, Red Sox, Indians, many more.

11. Alex Cora. Cora's on-field value has dwindled all the way to zero, but he's reportedly a great clubhouse guy and baseball mind. Several reporters, fellow players and coaches have noted in the recent past that Cora will make a great manager someday. Cora has said he wants to keep playing in 2012, but it might behoove him to get a start on his next career quite soon.
Potential teams: Nationals, retirement

Other free agents who could play third: Jamey Carroll, Edwin Encarnacion, Jerry Hairston, Ramon Santiago, Willie Bloomquist, Aaron Miles, Ronny Cedeno, Jack Wilson, Mark DeRosa, Nick Punto, Willie Harris, Craig Counsell, Jose Lopez, Orlando Cabrera

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com