FREE AGENT FRENZY: The Hot Stove Continues

Posted: December 3, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

After yesterday’s post there was a lot of afternoon action around the league and more than a few signings took place, including several of the my top 10 available free agents. A few teams brought back a few established stars, while one big bat switched both teams and leagues. Here’s a quick update on those moves, in addition to a few players that became complete free agents after not being offer arbitration from their previous club.

The Tigers started off the offseason making same big waves with the Victor Martinez signing, and now the spotlight is back on the AL Central with the White Sox making several moves to make a push to close the gap on the Twins and make a push to move to the top of the division. With both a big new addition and bringing back a mainstay yesterday, they are the most aggressive team in the market right now outside of the usual Yankee moving and shaking. Here’s how both the South Side of the Chi and the Bronx spent their recent time and money.

NEW MOVES

6. Adam Dunn-1B/DH: Signed-CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 4 yrs/$56 million

The Sox had been in pursuit of Dunn since the trade deadline, and now they grab him without giving up anything except a draft pick. This is a great signing because it boosts a rather bland DH spot for the Chi Sox, and gives a potential replacement at first base if they fail to bring Paul Konerko back. This gives them a legit high impact bat that is both one of the most durable players and most consistent power bats in the game. For as big of a win as this is for Chicago, it is that big of a loss for the Nationals, who fail to get anything in return for their one the best players. Not exactly the type of management that helps rebuilding franchises help their foundation.

The Sox add one of the most consistent power threats in the game in Dunn, who has surpassed 38 home runs seven consecutive years.

9. Mariano Rivera-RHP: Re-signed-NEW YORK YANKEES: 2yrs/$30 million

While there never seemed to be a real threat to Rivera leaving the Bronx, apparently this deal gained some quick momentum when a few other teams made some legit offers to the greatest closer of all-time, rumored to be the LA Angels and, more critically, the Boston Red Sox. In the end, Mo returns for his 16th year in pinstripes with what is most likely his last contract and Championship push.

17. A.J. Pierzynski-C: Re-signed-CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 2 yrs/$8 million

While he had offers from a few different clubs while some catcher needs, as a few of those spots closed up in Boston and with the Dodgers among others, it became more and more apparent he end up back in Chicago. This steadies what could have been another potential radical change to the Sox structure and sets them up with both a catcher familiar with their staff and an attitude that boosts Ozzie Guillen’s style of play.

Other Recent Business and Chatter

A few notable players hit the free agent market last night after not being extended arbitration to return to their clubs. Chief among these players are Bobby Jenks and Russell Martin, formerly of the White Sox and Dodgers respectively. Both add value to the free agent market, but more so for Jenks, who becomes the best closer available after Rafeal Soriano. He is good enough to alter the value of Soriano on the market, as he will come at a cheaper rate. The Diamondbacks, Brewers, Reds and Braves could have some interest in him for the ninth inning role, while the Cardinals and Rockies could be interested in him as setup man.

 

Jenks addition to the market adds a second legit closer, who could shake up the previously uncontested saves market for Rafeal Soriano

For Russell Martin the market will be a bit different. A few years ago he was a regular at All-Star games and one of the game’s most athletic catchers, but a series of injuries slowed him down and even ended his 2009 in August. While many of the starting catching positions being filled currently, Martin may be looking at a rotation gig with whoever he signs with. His upside still has several suitors interested in him, including a return to the Dodgers, albeit at much lower price tag. The Yankees, Rangers, Marlins, Blue Jays and Pirates could have some usage for him as well.

Others that have entered the market now are Edwin Encarnacion from the Athletics, David Eckstein from the Padres. Their releases are more interesting for what it could mean for their former employers intentions for the future. With Encarnacion moved out, the A’s could be setting themselves up for a big push at Adrian Beltre, which could mean a huge offer being sent his way, despite the fact he has stated he would like to return to Boston. Oakland could be about to make him an offer he can’t refuse.

As far as the Padres go after moving Eckstein out the mix, this could make room for a serious push for Jason Bartlett from Tampa Bay to fill in at shortstop. They have been one of the most consistent club in the pursuit of him and this opens up a middle infield spot to make the move a reality. It could also bring a move for Orlando Hudson into the picture.

As for the Derek Jeter situation, the Yankees have made a concession in their showdown with their local icon, and have said that they are willing to add more money to the deal, but not more years. This seems to be a pointless gesture, because more years would still be offered if Jeter decides he wants to play past the age of 39, which is how old the shortstop would be at the end of the current 3 year offer on the table.

Give him four, or even five years and make him “a Yankee for life” (as if there is any doubt about that), front load the contract to concede to him now and move on so this situation doesn’t re-emerge again.

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