Archive for the ‘Trades And Signings’ Category

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees

Brett Gardner‘s success at the big league level is something of a mystery. A mystery that is equal parts utility and scarcity. A triumph of selection bias, really.

Players like Gardner tend to slip through the cracks, more often than not. Lacking the big time power profile of a prototypical outfield prospect, players who go about their business in the style of the Yankees newly minted millionaire put a lot of pressure on notoriously unreliable measures.

The Yankees are no fools. They understand how important a player like Brett Gardner is to their success and so they rewarded their left fielder with a four-year, $53 million contract extension.

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MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics

The path leading Nelson Cruz to the Baltimore Orioles was both long and winding. It took a series of very strange circumstances to arrive at this conclusions, with the slugger inking a one-year contract worth a mere $8 million, as reported by Enrique Rojas.

Mere is, of course, relative. But considering the $14MM qualifying offer Cruz received, and promptly turned down, from the Texas Rangers, it seems like Cruz misread the market.

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MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves

Is there such a thing as a reverse sticker shock? When first reading the Braves signing of Andrelton Simmons to a seven-year, $58 million contract extension, the immediate reaction is one of disbelief — in a good way?

Simmons? That guy? The best defensive shortstop in baseball by a not-insignificant margin for a mere $8MM AAV? Where do I sign?? What a deal, another master stroke by the Braves as they solidify their core before the gulf in spending power between gets too great.

Comparing Simmons’ deal to the eight-year, $120 million contract extension the Rangers inked with Elvis Andrus doesn’t help this perception. It’s a steal for ATL!

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds-Workout

Homer Bailey is not responsible for your expectations. Homer Bailey did not put his own name at the top of every prospect list for what feels like a decade. Homer Bailey isn’t responsible for your baggage.

Homer Bailey can only be the guy he is, a 28-year old pitcher who just got paid. Paid a lot. Paid what he’s worth, if we’re being fair. Six years and $105 million, with a mutual option for a seventh year at $25 million ($5MM buyout) signed one year before he could hit free agency.

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MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Mets

There has been a lot written in this space about Ubaldo Jimenez in the past few months. About his value as a durable starter, about his turnaround after an ugly 2012, and his upside as a big league starter.

For every sentence written about Ubaldo, by all rights there should be a comparable sentence written about Ervin Santana. Because almost all the above statements regarding Ubaldo Jimenez hold true for Ervin Santana.

But, somehow, it doesn’t quite feel the same for Santana. Yes, he was great in 2013. He added a new pitch and rediscovered the form that made him a 5 WAR pitcher in 2008 and a three win guy in both 2010 and 2011. So where’s the love? Does Ervin Santana deserve the same type of deal as Ubaldo Jimenez?

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MLB: Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians

Which Ubaldo Jimenez is for real? Is the guy who pitched well below replacement level for the better part of a year for real? Is the guy who nearly walked away with the National League Cy Young award in the first half of 2009 for real?

Is the guy who nearly lost his roster spot for the 2013 Indians for real? Is that guy, the guy who had his spot in the rotation skipped as the team looked to integrate Danny Salazar into their mix, is that who the Baltimore Orioles just signed for a reported four years and $50 million?

Or did they sign the guy who dug down and learned to live at 93 mph, instead of the 97 mph of his youth? The guy who learned that pitching inside is okay even if your fastball ain’t what it used to be, that getting ahead works wonders when your stuff is still pretty good. That guy? Because that guy was downright nasty in his final 13 starts of the year. He struck out 100 batters against just 27 walks in 84 innings. He allowed just three home runs and posted a 1.84 ERA.

If that guy’s real, the Orioles got a bargain. They got a number two style-starter at Ricky Nolasco prices. That’s nice work if you can get it.

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MLB: NLDS-Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Atlanta Braves are no longer a big market club. They don’t operate as they once did, bringing in expensive talents like Gary Sheffield and paying top dollar for talent. Their TV deal lags desperately behind most in terms of revenue, meaning they need to behave more nimbly than the big spending Phillies.

Which is why you sign a player with less than two years of service time to a six-year contract extension. Julio Tehran, like Madison Bumgarner before him, signs a long term deal before he completes his second full season in the big leagues.

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