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.
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.
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.