Archive for November, 2012

Business has begun to pickup since the last entry into the CHEAP SEATS MLB free agent gauge, with multiple contenders re-upping with a few of their lingering formality returns. The New York Yankees have begun to put their foot into the mix, as if that’s a surprise this time of the year. But so far, they’ve only brought back guys that would never consider anywhere else, in Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. They actually lost out on their incumbent catcher in Russell Martin, who inked the first Bizarro World deal of the winter, jumping from the Bronx to Pittsburgh via his own free will (some please check the last time that happened).

The first major team swap also came down, with BJ Upton taking his talents to Atlanta. Otherwise, the calm is still in play and all of the biggest names are still attached to big rumors as opposed to big dollars so far. In this second entry, we’ll take a look at the rumors and list a few of the hottest contenders for each player’s services that are dwelling so far. As usual, the bold players have deals, and will be featured in the next Cut The Check entry on Monday for analysis on the deal.


Yankees handled their exclusive business first in resigning Rivera and Pettitte for 2013 deals.

Yankees handled their exclusive business first in resigning Rivera and Pettitte for 2013 deals.

  1. Zack Grienke (RHP): Dodgers, Angels, Rangers, Orioles, Red Sox
  2. Josh Hamilton (OF): Rangers, Braves, Brewers, Orioles, Mariners, Red Sox
  3. Michael Bourn (CF): Reds, Phillies, Giants
  4. BJ Upton (CF)—Signed w/ Atlanta Braves: 5 yrs/$75 Million
  5. Anibal Sanchez (RHP): Dodgers, Red Sox
  6. Nick Swisher (RF/1B): Red Sox, Rangers, Orioles, Phillies, Giants
  7. Adam LaRoche (1B): Red Sox, Rangers
  8. Kyle Lohse (RHP): Dodgers, Angels, Brewers, Blue Jays, Orioles
  9. Dan Haren (RHP): Padres
  10. Rafael Soriano (RHR): Tigers
  11. Mike Napoli (C/1B): Red Sox, Mariners, Yankees
  12. Edwin Jackson (RHP): Angels, Brewers, Royals, Orioles
  13. Mariano Rivera (RHR) –Resigned w/ New York Yankees: 1 yr/$10 Million
  14. Kevin Youkilis (3B/1B): Dodgers, White Sox, Indians
  15. Stephen Drew (SS): Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees
  16. Angel Pagan (OF): Giants, Phillies, Reds
  17. AJ Pierzynski (C): White Sox, Yankees
  18. Ryan Dempster (RHP): Brewers, Angels, Red Sox
  19. Cody Ross (LF/RF): Red Sox, Yankees
  20. Ryan Ludwick (LF/RF): Reds, Red Sox, Yankees
  21. Joakim Soria (RHR): Yankees, Reds, Brewers,
  22. Marco Scutaro (2B): Giants, Phillies
  23. Shane Victorino (LF/CF): Reds, Indians, Yankees, Rangers, Giants, Rays, Red Sox
  24. Brandon McCarthy (RHP): Twins
  25. Andy Pettitte (LHP)—Resigned w/ New York Yankees: 1 yr/$12 Million
  26. Russell Martin (C) –Signed w/ Pittsburgh Pirates: 2 yrs/$17 Million
  27. Carlos Zambrano (RHP):
  28. Ichiro (CF): Yankees
  29. Sean Burnett (LHR): Cardinals
  30. Kelly Johnson (2B):
  31. Scott Hairston (CF):
  32. Brett Myers (RHP): Twins, Indians, Angels, Padres, Brewers
  33. Mike Adams (RHP): Angels, Red Sox, Phillies, Rangers, White Sox
  34. Kyle Farnsworth (RHR): Tigers
  35. Lance Berkman (1B/DH): Astros, Phillies, Rays, Red Sox
  36. Shaun Marcum (RHP):
  37. Luke Scott (1B/DH):
  38. Delmon Young (LF/DH):
  39. Colin Ballester (RHP):
  40. Casey Kotchman (1B):
  41. Randy Choate (LHR):
  42. Carl Pavano (RHP):
  43. Francisco Liriano (LHP):
  44. Andruw Jones (OF):
  45. Eric Chavez (3B):
  46. Matt Capps (RHR):
  47. Jeff Keppinger (SS/2B): D’Backs, Yankees, Cardinals
  48. Nate McLouth (CF): Orioles
  49. Joe Saunders (LHP):
  50. Joe Blanton (RHP):
  51. James Loney (1B):
  52. Francisco Rodriguez (RHR):
  53. Ryan Theriot (2B/SS):
  54. Dallas Braden (LHP):
  55. Casey McGehee (3B):
  56. Scott Feldman (RHP):
  57. Derek Lowe (RHP):
  58. Jason Bartlett (SS): Cardinals
  59. Carlos Lee (1B):
  60. Jose Valverde (RHR):

On Deck: Ty Wigginton, Yuniesky Betancourt, Aubrey Huff, Juan Carlos Oviedo, Jason Bay


Off The Board

8. Hiroki Kuroda (RHP), New York Yankees: 1 yr/$15 million

13. Torii Hunter (RF), Detroit Tigers: 2 yrs/$13 million

21. Melky Cabrera (LF), Toronto Blue Jays: 2 yrs/$16 million

28. Jeremy Guthrie (RHP), Kansas City Royals: 3 yrs/$25 million

29. Hisashi Iwakuma (RHP), Seattle Mariners: 2 yrs/$14 million

31. Jonathan Broxton (RHP), Cincinnati Reds: 3 yrs/$21 million

32. Jeremy Affeldt (LHP), San Francisco Giants: 3 yrs/$18 million

36. Ryan Madson (RHP), Los Angeles Angels: 3 yrs/$3.25 million

46. Scott Baker (RHP), Chicago Cubs: 1 yr/$5 million

53. Jonny Gomes (LF), Boston Red Sox: 2 yrs/$10 million


For more on the quickly developing MLB offseason, in real time, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan. Also, head over to The Cheap Seats at The Sports Fan Journal as well for my column entries.

With the winter meetings looming, the early stage free agent market is picking up. Based on the first CSP Free Agent Rankings, here are the complete ripples in the lake so far, which will create the new free agent rankings tomorrow. Business is picking up, and it won’t be too long until the Top 5 gets thrown into the mix (BJ Upton is rumored to be off the market by the end of the week).

But for now, lets get started with all of the signings thus far, including the first Top 10 guy off the board. Original rank is next to signed player breakdown, new rankings will be updated next to players below.

Kuroda’s returned to the Yankees in short order, and received more (while still taking less) than anticipated.

8. Hiroki Kuroda-Pitcher: Resigned with New York Yankees, 1 year/$15 million

Kuroda returns the Bronx for another one year deal, which will net him a five million dollar raise. He was the most consistent starter in the rotation last season, and projects to be the #2 behind CC Sabathia. It is rumored that he turned down more total money to return to the Yankees.

The main losers in this deal are the Dodgers, that could have used his return to round out a top heavy rotation, as well as the Angels are rebuilding a rotation that is down three starters from the end of 2012.

13. Torii Hunter-Right Fielder: Signed with Detroit Tigers, 2 years/$16 million

The longtime Angel became a man out of place in Anaheim, as an aging vet in crowded outfield. But after hitting .313 a year ago, there was still plenty of use for him for a one-step away club such as the Tigers. The main losers in this pursuit would be the Yankees, who have an opening in right, but don’t have long-term money to deal.

21. Melky Cabrera-Left Fielder: Signed with Toronto Blue Jays, 2 years/$16 million

Before PED violations caused his year to come crashing down, it was looking like he would get this type of money per season. But now he lands in Canada as pretty good complimentary signing, which adds to the feast that’s been the Blue Jay offseason.

28. Jeremy Guthrie-Pitcher: Resigned with Kansas City Royals, 3 years/$25 million

The Royals are focused on rebuilding their rotation this winter, and this deal solidifies the middle of it. Guthrie pitched great down the stretch, and this deal will lock him in as the 3 or 4 for the next few summers. Now the focus for a legit #1 to join him and Ervin Santana is on full speed.

29. Hisashi Iwakuma-Pitcher: Resigned with Seattle Mariners, 2 years/$14 million

Iwakuma was a part of the surprisingly strong, not just Felix based, rotation this year. Yet another strong Japanese signing for the M’s, he’ll come back to ensure the game’s best last place club is still a problem for the West next year.

31. Jonathan Broxton-Pitcher: Resigned with Cincinnati Reds, 3 years/$21 million

Broxton returns to be the third head of Cincy’s late inning monster with Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall. Reds goal seemed to be to keep as many of their attached relievers on hand, and Broxton’s deal certainly was an aggressive move to do so.

32. Jeremy Affeldt-Pitcher: Resigned with San Francisco Giants, 3 years/$18 million

Affeldt was the class of the available lefty reliever market, and he cashed in on that status, as well as a strong October to net $6 million per year to stay in the Bay, despite never looking elsewhere. There’s no shortage of clubs in the left-handed reliever market, but the Cardinals, Dodgers and Tigers miss out the most here.

Madson was technically a Red for a year, but never threw a pitch. Now he’ll make his comeback from the West Coast.

36. Ryan Madson-Pitcher: Signed with Los Angeles Angels, terms undisclosed currently

The Angels bullpen was a huge reason why they became the most underwhelming team in baseball last summer. Madson, despite returning from surgery that kept him from throwing a pitch in 2012, will almost certainly step in as the closer from day one. The Reds, whom he was slated to be closer for, take the lose here and lose flexibility in moving Aroldis Chapman to the rotation possibly.

46. Scott Baker-Pitcher: Signed with Chicago Cubs, 1 year/$5 million

In a heavily incentive based deal, due to his two years of arm woes, Baker will provide a solid veteran arm for a club that needs them. He’ll be the new Paul Maholm in the Chi, who could be heavily pursued if he shows many of the things that made him the Twins’ ace just 2 years ago.

53. Jonny Gomes-Left Fielder: Signed with the Boston Red Sox, 2 years/$10 million

A high character, professional hitter with some pop, he’s needed in several ways in Boston. He’ll be a solid rotation guy in outfield, which can also provide some needed positive personality in the clubhouse.

60. Juan Pierre-Left Fielder: Signed with the Miami Marlins, 1 year/$1.6 million

Adds a veteran presence and consistent lead off threat to the striped Marlins lineup. He’ll be a needed speed element to a club that dealt it’s top two stolen base threats in Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonafacio.


In the next update, the updated full ranking of the now Top 50 2012 free agents will be showcased, with a heat check on the rumor mill on where they could be headed or at least who’s kicking the tires. Until then, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan for moves in motion.

Money is the motive in the winter for Major League Baseball. It’s all that’s discussed and the only thing matters. The price of a player is more important than his actual talent in many cases, and the market is set based on this perceived value. But before any individual figure can be counted, knowing what’s in place already is the key.

To understand where the St. Louis Cardinals are headed, understand where they are already. Below are the full salary figures in place for the club today, as free agency has gotten underway. In 2012, the team’s total payroll was roughly $111,858,500, which stood as the 9th highest in the MLB. This was the highest annual payroll the team has ever paid out, and a $2 million dollar increase from the year before.

The two major subtractions from the 2012 roster are Kyle Lohse ($12.1M) & Lance Berkman ($12M), both of whom will not be back with the team, for financial reasons. While that removes $24 million from the previous year total, there are rising costs that will eat that difference. Yadier Molina’s new $76 million contract will begin to pay out this season, with an increase of $7 million annually. In addition, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Rafeal Furcal will see a total increase of $8 million total to their respective deals. Add in raises in arbitration deals, and the Cardinals overall payroll range has changed much, despite taking two big money deals off the board.

Take note of the deals that are also expiring after the 2013 season, which will open up a considerable amount of payroll and roster room. Some most likely would not be renewed (such as Beltran, Furcal and potentially Carpenter), but in the case of Wainwright, there will be a significant rise in a new deal, that could rival the Matt Holliday annual figure.

But that’s all speculative, and below are the facts. Here is a breakdown of the Cardinals’ current payroll on MLB level contracts, and a bit of a read out of what the potential roster both looks like and could manage to add, within reason.


Molina’s new contract kicks in this year, making him the second highest paid player on the roster behind Matt Holliday.

Current Non-Arbitration Roster Salaries

Matt Holliday: $17 million (3 years, with $51M remaining + 1 option of $17M for ‘17)

Yadier Molina: $14 million (4 years, with $58 million remaining + 1 option of $15M for ’18)

Carlos Beltran: $13 million (Final season)

Adam Wainwright: $12 million (Final season)

Chris Carpenter: $12.5 million (Final Season)

Jake Westbrook: $8.75 millon (+1 option of $9.5M for ’14)

Rafael Furcal: $7.5 million (Final Season)

Jaime Garcia: $5.75 million (2 years, $17M remaining + 2 options of $11.5 & $12M for ’15 & ’16)

Skip Schumaker: $1.5 millon (Final Season)

COMMITTED 2013 PAYROLL: $92 Million


Arbitration Cases (Estimates via

Jason Motte: $4.7 million (Arbitration 2, free agent in 2015)

Edward Mujica: $3.2 million (Arbitration 3, free agent in 2014)

David Freese: $2.6 million (Arbitration 1, free agent in 2016)

Mitchell Boggs: $1.3 million (Arbitration 1, free agent in 2016)

Marc Rzepczynski: $900,000 (Arbitration 1, free agent in 2016)



Motte stands to get a nearly $3 million raise in his second arbitration year after tying for the NL lead in saves.


Pre-Arbitration Players (Players on MLB minimum deals)

Jon Jay: $504,000 (under team control until 2017)

Fernando Salas: $498,000 (under team control until 2017)

Allen Craig: $495,000 (under team control until 2017)

Daniel Descalso: $495,000 (under team control until 2017)

Lance Lynn: $482,000 (under team control until 2018)

Tony Cruz: $481,000 (under team control until 2018)

Matt Carpenter: $480,000 (under team control until 2018)

Shane Robinson: $480,000 (under team control until 2018)



Players Due on Minor League Minimums on the 40 man roster is due at $67,300 per year. Only active if promoted to the MLB and subject to promotion to prorated 25 man roster date. Players that would be due this would be players with less than a full year of MLB service time. None of these contract figures are assessed in the team total, due to them not being set on the 2013 roster yet, and still having minor league options. This includes players such as Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Adron Chambers.

TOTAL 2013 PAYROLL (Pre-Arbitration Estimate) CURRENTLY: $108.61 million (22 players)



For more on the daily dealings of the Cardinals, and basically anything of substance I can pull from the cruel baseball-less winter, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.

It’s the first of two valley’s for the year-round MLB follower, the second of which being in late January to early February. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to follow still, and this is the ripest part of the offseason for rumoring. While a few deals have been inked, the massive ones are yet to hit the air yet, and in the next few weeks, there will be a lot bread served up to a lot temporarily homeless premier ballplayers.

In the spirit of this, it’s time to drop the definitive free agent ranking, The CHEAP SEATS’ version, of course. No complex explanation needed; these are the 75 best free agents as I see it. Based on a mixture of talent, 2012 effort, positional availability in this year’s market and projection for the future.

Greinke leads the field for this winter as a young, in his prime pitcher. A combo that commands top dollar in any year, but especially this one.

In this first listing, the full class of unrestricted free agents headed into the 2013 are listed. In the next entry, I’ll breakdown what each signing means for the acquiring club, how it came to be and the domino effect, if any, for the teams that missed out on  him. But in this first entry, the full list without update. And here you have it….


  1. Zack Greinke (RHP):
  2. Josh Hamilton (LF):
  3. Michael Bourn (CF):
  4. BJ Upton (CF):
  5. Anibal Sanchez (RHP):
  6. Nick Swisher (RF/1B):
  7. Adam LaRoche (1B):
  8. Hiroki Kuroda (RHP): Signed w/ Yankees – 1yr/$15 Mil
  9. Kyle Lohse (RHP):
  10. Dan Haren (RHP):
  11. Rafael Soriano (RHR):
  12. Mike Napoli (C/1B):
  13. Torii Hunter  (RF): Signed w/ Tigers – 2 yrs/$16 Mil
  14. Edwin Jackson
  15. Mariano Rivera (RHR):
  16. Kevin Youkilis (3B/1B):
  17. Stephen Drew (SS):
  18. Angel Pagan (CF):
  19. AJ Pierzynski (C):
  20. Ryan Dempster (RHP):
  21. Melky Cabrera (LF): Signed w/ Blue Jays – 2yrs/$16 Mil
  22. Cody Ross (OF):
  23. Ryan Ludwick (LF/RF):
  24. Joakim Soria (RHR):
  25. Marco Scutaro (2B):
  26. Shane Victorino (LF/CF):
  27. Brandon McCarthy (RHP):
  28. Jeremy Guthrie (RHP): Resigned w/ Royals – 3 yrs/$25 Mil
  29. Hisashi Iwakuma (RHP): Resigned w/ Mariners – 2yrs/$14 Mil
  30. Andy Pettitte (LHP):
  31. Jonathan Broxton (RHR):
  32. Jeremy Affeldt (LHR):  Resigned w/ Giants – 3 yrs/$18 Mil
  33. Russell Martin (C):
  34. Carlos Zambrano (RHP):
  35. Ichiro (LF/RF):
  36. Ryan Madson (RHR):
  37. Sean Burnett (LHR):
  38. Kelly Johnson (2B):
  39. Scott Hairston (CF):
  40. Brett Myers (RHR):
  41. Shaun Marcum (RHP):
  42. Lance Berkman (1B/DH):
  43. Luke Scott (1B/DH):
  44. Delmon Young (LF/DH):
  45. Collin Balester (RHP):
  46. Scott Baker (RHP): Signed w/ Cubs – 1 yr/$5 Mil
  47. Casey Kotchman (1B):
  48. Randy Choate (LHR):
  49. Carl Pavano (RHP):
  50. Francisco Liriano (LHP):
  51. Andruw Jones (OF):
  52. Eric Chavez (3B):
  53. Jonny Gomes (LF): Signed w/ Red Sox: 2 yrs/$10 Mil
  54. Matt Capps (RHR):
  55. Mike Adams (RHR):
  56. Jeff Keppinger (SS/2B):
  57. Nate McLouth (CF):
  58. Joe Saunders (LHP):
  59. Joe Blanton (RHP):
  60. Juan Pierre (LF): Signed w/ Marlins – 1 yr/$1.6 Mil
  61. James Loney (1B):
  62. Francisco Rodriguez (RHR):
  63. Ryan Theriot (2B/SS):
  64. Dallas Braden (LHP):
  65. Casey McGehee (3B):
  66. Ty Wigginton (1B/3B):
  67. Yuniesky Betancourt (SS/2B):
  68. Derek Lowe (RHP):
  69. Scott Feldman (RHP):
  70. Aubrey Huff (1B/OF):
  71. Jose Valverde (RHR):
  72. Carlos Lee (1B):
  73. Jason Bartlett (SS):
  74. Juan Carlos Oviedo (RHR):
  75. Jason Bay (LF):


In the next entry, I’ll take a look at the already signed and feature the first update to the rankings. Until then, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan for instant analysis of free agent ball in motion.

It’s the part of the year where it’s Mozeliak’s season. Here’s what he has to work with and around.


I’ve been on vacation; I tend to do that after each baseball season for a few weeks. But the Hot Stove is heating up, so it’s time to pull together where things stand, starting with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals don’t project as a team that will be overly active this winter. There’s a few spots they need to improve, and a few deals that could be struck, but all in all, don’t expect to hear their name around much of the big business on the market. It will be the anti-winter of 2011, thankfully.

But here’s the outline of how the club breaks down around the club below, and I’ll go into more details as the weeks move along. There’s not a lot of openings for addition, without subtraction, which is a nice way of saying they are far more prone to trades than signings, for both logistical and roster space reasons. But take in what you will here, and each part will be broken down soon.

Here are your 2013 (kinda) St. Louis Cardinals….at the end of 2012:


The Long Term Deals: Yadier Molina, Rafael Furcal, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, Eduardo Mujica, Skip Schumaker

The Ups or Downs (Youngster with Minor League): Matt Carpenter, Pete Kozma, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Joe Kelly, Matt Adams, Adron Chambers, Shane Robinson, Tony Cruz, Bryan Anderson, Ryan Jackson, Victor Marte, Maikel Cleto, Brandon Dickson, Barret Browning, Sam Freeman, Eduardo Sanchez.

2013 Free Agents: Kyle Lohse, Lance Berkman, Kyle McClellan, Scott Linebrink

2014 Free Agents: Adam Wainwright, Carlos Beltran, Chris Carpenter, Rafeal Furcal, Skip Schumaker,

Arbitration Guy (slotted raises): Allen Craig (pre arb), Jason Motte (2), David Freese (1), Jon Jay (pre arb), Mitchell Boggs (1), Lance Lynn (pre arb), Fernando Salas (pre arb), Marc Rzepczynski (1), Daniel Descalso (pre arb)

Minor Leaguers on the Rise (no MLB trips yet): Kolten Wong (2B), Oscar Tavares (OF), Jordan Swagerty (Reliever), Michael Wacha (righty starter), Carlos Martinez (righty starter), Greg Garcia (2B/SS), Mike O’Neill (OF)

Three Biggest Issues: Shortstop, Left-handed reliever, Backup outfield bat

What/Who to watch For in Free Agency: Stephen Drew (SS), Sean Burnett (lefty reliever), Randy Choate (lefty reliever), Aubrey Huff (1B/OF),

Roster Issues to Watch: Jaime Garcia’s shoulder, Rafael Furcal’s elbow, Matt Carpenter’s development at second base, Skip Schumaker’s status with team, the Miller/Lynn/Rosenthal/Kelly push for the rotation.


For more on the roster and rumors of the winter as they develop, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan