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Monday, January 15, 2007

2006 Free Agent Recap

What a crazy offseason its been. I haven't seen this much money thrown at mid-level talent since our first (and last) trip to Beavers. In any case, here's a recap of our top 10 free agents and where they ended up



Tent Time

Actual Team

Carlos LeeRangers




Analysis: Lee should be good for a couple years with that short porch in left, but I don't want to be paying him $16 mil/yr from age 33 on.

The Lee signing was a large part of Houston's schizophrenic off season. They were willing to give Lee $100 to buoy their struggling offense, but wouldn't give the money-grubbing Pettitte an extra $2 million, which might cripple their rotation if Clemens follows Pettitte out door.

Alfonso SorianoOrioles




Analysis: The Cubs offense should be much improved, Soriano got a shitload of money and well, that's pretty much all to say. I'd put the over/under on the Cubs dumping this contract at 3 yrs.

My co-blogger says the Cubs offense should be much improved. Not sure this will have as much to do with Soriano as a full season of Derrek Lee. The Cubs biggest offensive weakness last year was an OBP of .319. To address that, they signed Soriano, who's career OBP is .325. I'm sure the Cubs will want to dump this contract, but probably will not be able to.

Barry ZitoMets




Analysis: "There's a sucker born every minute." Nuff said.

Somebody please explain to us here at Real Baseball Blog why Brian Sabean has a reputation as a good GM. I just don't see it. His teams won a lot of games in the late 90's and early 2000's but that was all a function of Bonds. Sabean had a player put together the best 4 year run in baseball history, and he couldn't compliment his roster enough to get the team to the World Series more than once, and that once was entirely on Bonds' back. When Sabean is fired at the end of the 2007 season, he'll have left a terrible mess behind for someone smarter than him to have to clean up.

Aramis RamirezCubs




Analysis: One of the few contracts which wasn't extremely overvalued (the emphasis on extremely). Should benefit from a much improved Cubs offense.

Again, I don't see how any possible improvement in the Cubs offense benefits him. Soriano, as a leadoff hitter does not provide a lot of RBI opportunities for those behind him. If you take out his homers, Soriano's OBP is .307, so I don't think Lee and Ramirez are going to see a lot more runners on base in '07 than they did in '06 (when Lee was healthy). This was, however, a good deal for the shockingly unthrifty Cubs, as Ramirez is actually a good defender, and though a little streaky, has been very consistent for the Cubs, posting an OPS over .910 each of the last 3 years.

Jason SchmidtCardinals




Analysis: Didn't see this one coming, but Schmidt should continue to flourish in the pitcher-friendly NL West.

Great signing for Dodgers, who steal the Ace of the Giants (probably forcing them to throw money at Zito like a 21 year old virgin at a a Canadian strip club with his college tennis team) and lock him up for a high yearly salary but for few years, something the Dodgers did last year with Furcal. It makes sense for Schmidt who might not have more than 3 years of effectiveness left in the tank. Makes you wonder if GM Ned Colletti was even in the room when the Juan Pierre contract was signed. (Side note: Do you think that maybe the Dodgers fired Paul DePodesta a year too early? How do you think he felt, watching the Dodgers head into the playoffs lead by Nomar, Drew, Kent, Penny and Lowe - all Podesta aquisitions.)

Barry BondsTigers


Giants (?)


Analysis: Something Brian Sabean never learned from Economics 101: Extremely low demand for a good generally leads to a decrease in price.

I don't understand what, if any leverage Bonds had to negotiate a deal for this much money. But he's supposedly working out real hard this off season. Whatever that means.

Mark MulderBraves

Red Sox



Analysis: The Cardinals welcomed Mulder back for a discount which could turn quite expensive if he can meet certain performance goals, 35 GS/yr for 2007-2008, (which it looks like he will NOT meet since he isn't scheduled to start pitching until May/June). Totally agree with this move instead of giving some league average pitcher (Marquis, Meche, Weaver, Suppan) $7-10 mil/yr for 4+ yrs.

This seems like a good deal for the usually inelligent Cardinals. Mulder really fell off a cliff last year and I'm hoping he can bounce back from surgery as so many players do not.

Jeff SuppanYankees




Analysis: I don't know if Suppan's agent was asleep at the switch or what, but how a guy who has similar numbers to Gil Meche and pitched well in the playoffs (for the 2nd straight year) gets less money and fewer years is completely unexplainable.

Good signing for the Brewers. After awhile, I almost stop even looking at the money these mediocre contact pitchers are getting. I've read a lot from Keith Law about how Suppan will be hurt by the lack of defensive skills behind him in Milwaukee, and while that may be so, the Brewers needed to do something like this to at least remind the fans that they still exist. Sheets (when healthy), Capuano and Suppan are a solid 1-2-3 in a mediocre division.

Nomar GarciaparraAngels




Analysis: Nomar stays in his comfort zone and should have another decent year, although now he is the big bat in that LA lineup which should worry Dodger fans.

Will anybody on the Dodgers homer in 2007? This team will need 5 hits just to score 2 runs in an inning. But at least they'll be fast. And not injury prone. (Sarcasm, people. Sarcasm) I love Nomar, but he has got to fully rebound from all of his injuries and go back to the mashing monster he was in Boston if the Dodgers want to win this division.

Vincente PadillaAstros




Analysis: Padilla pitched decently in Texas last year. I'd put the odds he's able to duplicate that for the next 3 season at about 30%. But at least Tom Hicks is only on the hook for 3 years instead of 5 yrs as with prior signings.

A bad contract for most teams, but for Hicks, it's almost decent with its short commitment in terms of years. I was half expecting this deal to be for about 9 years with a few player options. (I still, before I die, want to know what went on at the negotiating table between Boras and Hicks in 2000. Seriously, how did Boras convince Hicks to pay Arod $250 million when he knew the 3 biggest maret teams - Yankees, Mets, Red Sox - were out of it. How did he do that? And after that, how does Hicks ever do business with him again? Some things I guess I'll never understand. Like the clitorous. Where the hell is that damn thing anyway?)


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