Posts Tagged ‘Hot Stove’

Jhonny Peralta

It was not a jaw dropping off-season in particular for any National League team this season. While their American League counterparts went to war on the free agent battlefield, the NL clubs played it slower, instead choosing in many cases to make the subtle move over the splashy one. As a result, headed into spring it does not appear that this year’s races will be much different than the one’s that just concluded last September.

However, that would a complete error in judgement to assume, because the tortoise is just as adept as the hare in many cases. There flat out were not many teams that needed to have huge offseasons to get much better. The majority of the senior circuit is made up of balanced, well adjusted rosters that have what they need to succeed in place already, it is just about being consistent on a day to day basis. The elite competitors, it is about either eliminating their few blaring weaknesses or setting up their future to stay intact. For the middle tier, the name of the game was making the smart move to get in firing range of the upper class, because as last year showed, the race is never over until it is completely over. And for the few bottom rung teams, it is about honoring the process of the rebuild, and not falling straight on their face trying to get the job done too quick.

With the exceptions of a few clubs, each team achieved these measures by the standards of what was expected coming into the winter. And while a good winter far from guarantees anything much more than good sentiment headed into Opening Day, it does give a read on intent and where a team is looking to land. And in the air tight 2014 NL, every advantage helps out.

Here’s how the 15 NL clubs made out (to date) headed into the new year…

1.) St. Louis Cardinals: A few years ago, if one was to say the Cardinals are going to lose Chris Carpenter, David Freese, Rafael Furcal and Carlos Beltran all in one offseason, it would seem asinine to think they had a successful winter in any way. However, not only did all of those things happen—they were actually encouraged.

They did not have many needs to fill, but they addressed all of them and did so both aggressively and concisely. By moving the out of place Freese to Anaheim, they received the rangy Peter Bourjos to man centerfield and improve a limited defensive outfield. Adding Jhonny Peralta at shortstop may be the single-largest upgrade any team makes from 2013 to ’14 offensively, as he replaces Pete Kozma who was rated the worst offensive regular in either league last season. Considering these are the National League Champions, this was the ultimate “final touch” effort made good on.
2.) Washington Nationals: The steal of the offseason may be the Nats grab on Doug Fister, who was moved out as part of the Tigers payroll restructuring effort, and only at the cost of reliever Ian Krol and utility man Steve Lombardozzi. The addition of Nate McLouth gives the Nats the deepest outfield group in the NL, quietly even more than the Dodgers.
3.) Philadelphia Phillies: They stuck to their usual method of pulling in veterans with big contracts, but they also addressed many of their most frustrating gaps as well, by bringing in Marlon Byrd to be an offsetting right handed bat and AJ Burnett to be the needed middle of the rotation arm that had been lacking the previous two years with the downturn of the now retired Roy Halladay.
Carlos Ruiz was retained as well and the gamble taken on young Cuban power throwing righty Miguel Gonzalez could be the move that pulls them back up with the likes of Atlanta and Washington if all goes as right as it possibly can.
4.) San Francisco Giants: They continued their ways of retaining their own guys over making massive splashes in the free agent market by giving substantial extensions to Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum, as well as retaining Javier Lopez and Ryan Vogelsong. However, they still made room to add Michael Morse and Tim Hudson to round out a roster that is only one underachieving summer removed from a World Series title.
5.) Arizona Diamondbacks: They wanted to make a big splash by landing the likes of a Masahiro Tanaka to pull their rotation to the next level, but they still made out well via a series of smaller moves. They mortgaged a few of their top prospects to land Mark Trumbo and Addison Reed, but both should play a solid part in pushing them completely into the postseason competitive mix.

The Braves committed $228 million to four of its best in-home grown talents, with the bulk sum going to its All-Star first baseman Freeman

The Braves committed $228 million to four of its best in-home grown talents, with the bulk sum going to its All-Star first baseman Freeman

6.) Atlanta Braves: They added nothing from outside of the organization, but in the last few weeks made it an offseason could help to define the future course of the franchise, securing Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran and Jason Heyward through their arbitration years. Sometimes, less is more, especially down the road.
7.) Milwaukee Brewers: For the second straight year, they played the slow hand on the free agent pitching market and came out with a nice deck. They addressed one of their prime needs in landing Matt Garza to solidify a rotation that was nearly constantly in flux a year ago. It remains to be seen however if Mark Reynolds can add the type of power they need to replace the departed Corey Hart at first.
8.) Los Angeles Dodgers: The big move of the offseason was the Clayton Kershaw extension, which was clearly the top priority for the team, but otherwise it was a winter based on potential in LA. IF Juan Uribe and Alexander Guerrero pan out, it was a successful winter, just like IF Brian Wilson and Chris Perez can find their vintage form over the course of a full season they made may have constructed a powerful bullpen group. To be continued all around.
9.) New York Mets: They had a one foot in, one foot out type of winter. On one hand, they made a headline signing in Curtis Granderson, but then were tentative in pursuing Stephen Drew, who would be an instant improvement on their entire roster. Bartolo Colon is good bookmark for their young rotation while Matt Harvey rehabs in 2014 however.
10.) Miami Marlins: It is always hard to read what the Marlin’s intentions truly are, but by all accounts, it looks like they don’t want to be a blantantly terrible as they were a year ago. Jarrod Saltalammachia, Rafael Furcal, Garrett Jones and Jeff Baker are all solid veteran adds that should make the team relatively more competitive—or at least enough to show Giancarlo Stanton they are “trying”…for now.
11.) San Diego Padres: Questionable winter for the Pads, trading one of their best arms in Luke Gregorson for a platoon outfielder in Seth Smith, only to in turn spend major money on essentially the same type of pitcher in Joaquin Benoit to pitch the eighth. Josh Johnson is a coin flip signing, that if he stays healthy is great, but that rarely happens.
12.) Colorado Rockies: It was a hurricane of a winter in Colorado, but it is still uncertain if all the bluster made a difference. They added Justin Morneau and Brett Anderson, two of the most undependable, upside reputation carrying assets in baseball, to boost their lineup and staff respectively. All while dealing one of their most consistent sure bets, Dexter Fowler, for little in return. It feels like Colorado just ran really, really fast on the treadmill this winter.
13.) Pittsburgh Pirates: Tough to say they took a step back, but without a doubt it feels like they should have done more, especially after being one of the most aggressive teams in the game at the trade deadline last season. In the end, they lose A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd, Justin Morneau and Garrett Jones, and only add in return a resigned Clint Barmes. Hard to say that’s a quality winter for a team that is firmly on the edge of breaking through—or topping off.
14.) Chicago Cubs: The deliberate rebuild continues, and they used the winter to patch up their rotation with the additions of Jason Hammel and Jason McDonald, while truly improving their bullpen with Jose Veras and Wesley Wright. But it feels like it is time for Theo and company to make a legit move add some credibility to the only team that is clearly on the outside looking in in the NL Central.
15.) Cincinnati Reds: I’m not sure what the goal was here, unless it was to just write off 2013 as a mulligan and go at it again. At any rate, the losses of Shin-Soo Choo, Bronson Arroyo and Ryan Hanigan resonate much louder than the additions of Skip Schumaker and Brayan Pena. Perhaps the full-on investment in Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips was a much heavier cross to carry than they even realized, because they seem frozen from a personnel movement standpoint—and will soon owe Homer Bailey an answer on his future as well.

The AL grades will come down later in the week (because the picture is still painting itself over there), but until follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan. For more content, head to The Sports Fan Journal and I70 Baseball.

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tanakaweb12s-1-web

The great drama of the last few months has been when, where and who would land Masahiro Tanaka. The Japanese pitcher, who’s reputation has taken on an urban legend like feel, stood among the most widely courted players of recent memory, with list of who wouldn’t have interest coming in at much shorter count than who actually would.

In the end, the Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox and Diamondbacks all emerged as the top courters for the talented young righty, and with the game’s biggest spenders in the pool, how high the waves could go to secure his services seemed unlimited. However, this morning it became clear that the long-standing desire of the New York Yankees to cap their offseason by adding the top arm available had come true. The Steinbrenners and GM Brian Cashman closed the deal with one of the wealthiest contracts in club history to lock down his services, and in the course, round out an offseason rebuilding spree that will see the club spend $491 million dollars by all of its contracts have run its course.

The after effects of the deal will do more than just effect the outcome of the Yankees offseason; it will also end the holding pattern for the rest of the top starting pitching class of the year. Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana have all sat deathly still this winter while teams have positioned themselves for a shot at Tanaka. And now with him off the market, it shouldn’t take long for them to begin to stir up interest as the club’s that missed out decide whether they still need to add a starter, or if the pursuit of Tanaka was simply spending for the exception.

Yet, while the matter of his destination is settled, now there is the matter of looking ahead at what it all means: for the Yankees, for Tanaka and for the parties that missed the boat as well.

(Rankings are from the initial Top 75 Free Agent list—abridged ranking for Tanaka once he was officially available rose to #4.)

12. Masahiro Tanaka—Starting Pitcher—25 Years Old—2013 Team: Rakuten Golden Eagles

Signed: New York Yankees—Seven Years, $155 million

For all of their revamping of their everyday lineup, the Yankee front five remained painfully thin. They felt that Tanaka was the best option to address that issue, and paid him in a fashion that reflects it. His deal is the second largest free agent contract in club history, after CC Sabathia’s 2009 pact. The deal makes him the the fifth highest paid pitcher in baseball after Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Sabathia and Felix Hernandez. Counting the $20 million dollar posting fee required, the team will sink $175 million into an arm that has never thrown an MLB inning.

By and large, they are paying for potential, name value and proven reputation. In seven seasons in the Japanese Pacific League, starting when he was 18, Tanaka won 73% of his 175 starts, and left his home nation hot on the heels of a mind-blowing 2013 where his record stood at 24-0, with a 1.27 ERA across 212 innings, striking out 183 and surrendering only 6 home runs.

Tanaka’s style is an aggressive mix of mid-90’s fastball, which he offsets with a breakneck splitter. To get a perspective on his approach/”stuff”, he is the middle ground between Yu Darvish‘s velocity and Hisashi Iwamura’s splitter. Unlike his Pacific League predecessor and current AL strikeout king Darvish, he does not profile to run up huge numbers in the K column. He only had one season where he eclipsed 200 strikeouts in Japan, which can be a worry point in issuing such a massive contract to player that hasn’t been completely overwhelming with his fastball against a lower level of competition.

However, the high point about Tanaka is that in theory, he could strikeout more as he continues to develop a more diverse off speed offering. At his relatively young age, he is carrying a high amount of experienced professional innings (1,315, including 53 complete games), which can be a point of concern from a durability standpoint, but also shows he is ready to compete while adapting to MLB hitters and working with Yankee pitching instruction.

His role on the team is currently to be an axis in the middle of the rotation, but to eventually succeed Hiroki Kuroda as the team’s #2—as soon as next year.

For the teams that missed out, the Dodgers obviously stand to be effected the least. The addition of Tanaka was more or less a power play to round out a superstar rotation over a needed pickup. With a selection of Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett as their fifth starter, they will be fine. The Diamondbacks needed to get a top gun for their rotation, but they are solid as is. It is a tougher loss for the White Sox and Cubs, who both are in the middle of rebuilding efforts and having young, top flight potential arms is the quickest road to respectability.

As for the team, the Yankees made a necessary statement in signing Tanaka, one that says they are bent on returning the postseason, are not afraid to put the money up to do against the seemingly irresistible Dodger bankroll to succeed. It is a major risk, and the type that could be crippling going ahead if his clearly dynamic tools don’t translate into the expected elite level of results. However, if he provides nothing more than a regularly competitive, plus level arm in the vein of a Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke type, the Yankees can count themselves as the winners of the winter of 2013 down the road—if not immediately.

 

For more on this deal and the reaction to it, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.

Choo_Cincy

Late December is usually a slow period in the MLB winter, and this year mostly has been no exception. Bullpens have been filled out, lineups made complete and the table has been set for the grand finale that is the January that sets the stage for the spring behind it. The major exception this December has been the wait for the top remaining hitter to declare, as well as the foreign property that is Masahiro Tanaka to have his future decided….which ultimately leads to determining the future of more than half of the MLB clubs remaining dollars.

While Tanaka’s availability is finally eminent, there is one team that will likely not be in that pursuit – the Texas Rangers. But only because they made the major move that they have been needing to make to bring it all back together for over a year now. Ironically enough, via the addition of an intriguing player that does just a bit of everything well…

Here’s more on that move, as well as the remaining recent moves from the free agent pool….

3. Shin-Soo Choo-Outfielder-31 Years Old-2013 Team: Cincinnati Reds

Signed: Texas Rangers—7 years, $130 million

The Rangers and Choo went back and forth for over a month on him landing there, which especially took off after Jacoby Ellsbury filled a similar vacancy in New York. Yet, it came to be clear that Arlington is where Choo wanted to land the most, and it looks to be a mutually beneficial marriage looking ahead.

The Rangers lineup rebuild will benefit from the versatile Choo, who’s balanced offering of talents (a 162-game average spread of .289/.389/.465, along with 20 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 37 doubles for his career) makes him equally useful batting anywhere  between 1-3. Andrus can stay at leadoff or drop to the 2 spot, or Choo can return to the third hole, allowing Prince Fielder to stay at cleanup and have Adrian Beltre hit fifth, which is best for him. Overall, the Rangers final signing made every part of the team better, which is a rarity, but is why it was worth $130 million.

29. Joaquin Benoit-Relief Pitcher-36 Years Old-2013 Team: Detroit Tigers

Signed: San Diego Padres—2 years, $15.5 million

Bullpen depth has long been the strength of the Padres, but after dealing setup man Luke Gregorson that strength took a hit and necessitated adding Benoit. He spent the last few years as a varied arm in the backend of the Detroit pen, and over the past four years, he’s averaged better than nine strikeouts per nine innings.

42. Chris Perez-Relief Pitcher-28 Years Old-2013 Team: Cleveland Indians

Signed: Los Angeles Dodgers—1 year, $2.3 million

Perez’s career took a spin last year due to the marijuana case that befell him, and the side effects carried over to the field. On the heels of that season that saw him lose his closer role and post career highs (or lows), he’ll head to LA as a part of their ensemble of hard throwing closer-types in a demo season for another run at landing a closer job next winter.

43. Raul Ibanez-Designated Hitter-42 Years Old-2013 Team: Seattle Mariners

Signed: Los Angeles Angels—1 year, $2.75 million

After moving out Mark Trumbo, the Angels needed to replace his power potential in the lineup and Ibanez fits the bill. A quick rental bat that has continued to show he’s got some powder left in his cannon: he tied Ted Williams for the most home runs in a season, post-40th birthday.

51. Scott Downs-Relief Pitcher-38 Years Old-2013 Teams: Los Angeles Angels/Atlanta Braves

Signed: Chicago White Sox—1 year, $4 million

The Sox added a much needed left-handed presence to their bullpen mix, and caught a decent break with Downs. He struggled some once switching the National League, but overall finished with his fourth career season with an ERA under 2.00 during his American League run in Anaheim.

63. Jose Veras-Relief Pitcher-33 Years Old-2013 Teams: Houston Astros/Detroit Tigers

Signed: Chicago Cubs—1 year, $4 million

The Cubs picked up the former Astros closer-by-default to take the first swing at the role for them to start the year off. Pedro Strop will be in the mix as well, but Veras (21 of 25 saves converted, .199 averaged against) has the edge coming in.

For more on the winter’s work to prep the MLB summer, follow me in real-time on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.

Matt_Garza

The outside looking in can seem the furthest away the closer you are. And while it is impossible to build a team around just one addition, acquiring the right finishing touch can make all of the difference in the world from one year to the next. For the teams that finished either within firing range of a division title (or should have), the Winter Meetings provide a chance to go the extra mile towards winning the race.

But what’s left to do that with? Free agents have been flying off the shelf quicker than at any point in recent history. And while Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury and Joe Nathan are all gone does not mean that the opportunity to make an instant upgrade to what’s returning is. The slight move can be the right move, and here are a few options that a few competitors that finished on the brink of a title could make to close the ranks that eluded them last summer…

Washington Nationals—Omar Infante: For the Nats, it is about adding both depth and rounding out their lineup to secure it is in place for an immediate run. As they showed, in the last month of the season, they are capable of turning it on and playing as well as any team in the NL, but were caught too thin and injured to do so far too often. Infante represents an upgrade at one of their few questionable positions, and also provides depth all throughout the infield and in the outfield if needed.

Pittsburgh Pirates—Kendrys Morales: The general feel is that Morales will need to have the DH spot open to play from, but for the Pirates who have lost Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd and Garrett Jones, adding the type of power bat that he represents in-between Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez upgrades them put them on par with the Cardinal club they are chasing. The price may be high, but the value would be worth it, and with Morales likely to last a while due to the draft pick compensation tied to him, they likely could get him at much more friendly rate within a month or so.

Arizona Diamondbacks—Jesse Crain/J.P. Howell: Shin-Soo Choo is the best fit for the club, but a bidding war with the Rangers could be looming for his services, which Arizona would surely loose. Instead, reallocating those resources towards two premier bullpen arms would both save money and support their emerging staff. The duo of Crain and Howell would give the Diamondbacks a very formidable late inning group to match the late-game units in LA and San Francisco.

Tampa Bay Rays—Corey Hart: They’ve said that they do not have interest in the rehabbing former Brewer, but revisiting him would be a smart move. He provides a power option to support Evan Longoria and Wil Myers in the heart of the order and can play both first base and right field, which gives Joe Maddon the type of lineup flexibility he loves to deploy. What’s more, he won’t be overly expensive due to injury concerns, so he fits right into the pocket where the Rays like to stay—the shallow part.

Cleveland Indians—Grant Balfour: The secret strength of the Indians last year was a deep bullpen, but with Chris Perez, Joe Smith and Matt Albers all departed, that stash is depleted. Balfour has been through the trials of the postseason the previous two seasons, and would provide a much needed (yet very ironic) calming presence to the Indians as they look to get over the hump and keep up with the Tigers.

Los Angeles Angels—Matt Garza: While the A’s and Rangers have been busy, the Angels have been waiting to find the right way to make an impact add to their starting pitching. Yesterday’s trade brought some young talent to the mix, but this is a team in need of a stragetic impact add. During the past two winters, they have only achieved half of that equation,  but bringing Garza aboard would give them one of the best #3 pitchers in baseball (finally back in the role that he made his name in with the Rays behind James Shields and David Price) and would give them a much needed boost in the match up department from the mound behind Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. He won’t make an 18-game difference by himself, but at this point, the Angels have to either keep adding or blow it up…and option B isn’t in play.

For more on the free agent market (and where these guys likely do end up), follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan

USATSI_7270471_114803983_lowres

The MLB Winter Meetings are in full swing in Orlando as this is written and as you read it. And the moves are coming in quick, and the rumors are spreading like oxygen. There’s not much hype to bring, only what the rumor mill is spinning. And with that, here is the buzz on the streets from Florida as the sun is getting set this today.

  • While the free agent game is developing, the trade market has been the pot that every one is waiting to boil over on the stove. David Price is the hottest name, and the Mariners, Rangers and Dodgers are stated as being the hottest in pursuit of his services. The price in return for him is a wealth of young prospects, of the vein that the Rays build their team around, and the availability of Taijan Walker could either make or break the entire scene around him.
  • The Dodgers have reportedly had discussions about the availability of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier as well.
  • Justin Masterson is reportedly being floated by the Indians, as he entering the last year of his contract.
  • As of last night, the Rangers and Shin-Soo Choo were engaged in talks that were moving in positive direction. The Diamondbacks also are showing interest, but are exploring a trade to acquire Mark Trumbo as well to amplify their corner outfield production.
  • The Orioles have said they will not pursue any of the high priced arms on the market, but are not opposed to giving out a multi-year contract for an arm.
  • The Brewers, who were stated as having interest in Logan Morrison, are instead working towards resigning Corey Hart
  • The relief pitcher market is starting to shake out, as teams with a ninth inning need are beginning to show themselves more clearly. The Cubs, Rockies, Indians, Astros, Orioles and potentially Yankees are all in the mix.
  • Bronson Arroyo has been one the most discussed names in the last few weeks, and is nearing a decision. His balance of carrying a short-term contract, along with no Draft Pick compensation makes him a perfect ad for both big and small market clubs looking to boost their rotation.

Here is the final rankings board of the winter of the free agent market. From here on out, I’ll continue to do ‘Cut The Check’ updates on signings and outcomes, but this is about as deep of a relevant board that remains. Here is where the kids in left in the pool stand:

  1. Shin-Soo Choo-RF: Rangers, Mariners, Tigers, Diamondbacks
  2. Matt Garza-RHP: Yankees, Twins, Angels,
  3. Ubaldo Jimenez-RHP: Yankees, Angels, Astros
  4. Nelson Cruz-RF/DH: Rangers, Mariners, Orioles, Royals
  5. Ervin Santana-RHP: Angels, Yankees, Astros
  6. Masahiro Tanaka-RHP: Yankees, Dodgers, Japan
  7. Stephen Drew-SS: Red Sox, Dodgers, Mets
  8. Grant Balfour-RHP: Indians, Yankees, Rockies, Tigers, Rays
  9. Kendrys Morales-1B: Mariners, Indians, Mets
  10. Fernando Rodney-RHP: Indians, Rays, Cubs
  11. Omar Infante-2B: Yankees, Royals
  12. Joaquin Benoit-RHP: Mariners, Phillies, Tigers, Orioles
  13. A.J. Burnett-RHP: Pirates, Orioles
  14. Bronson Arroyo-RHP: Angels, Pirates, Twins, Giants, Phillies
  15. Bartolo Colon-RHP: Marlins, Angels, Mets
  16. Jesse Crain-RHP: Rockies, Cubs
  17. Corey Hart-1B/RF: Brewers, Mariners, Mets, Pirates
  18. James Loney-1B: Rays, Rockies, Pirates
  19. Michael Morse-OF: Giants
  20. Chris Perez-RHP: Astros, Athletics, Mets
  21. Raul Ibanez-DH: Yankees, Orioles
  22. John Axford-RHP: Cubs, Orioles
  23. Boone Logan-LHP: Nationals, Yankees
  24. Gavin Floyd-RHP: Twins, Orioles
  25. Jason Kubel-OF/DH:
  26. Scott Downs-LHP: Nationals
  27. J.P. Howell-LHP: Nationals
  28. Scott Baker-RHP: Cubs
  29. Jose Veras-RHP: Rockies
  30. Garrett Jones-1B: Signed w/ Marlins (2 yrs, $7.25 million)
  31. Paul Maholm-LHP:
  32. Jason Hammel-RHP: Giants
  33. Juan Uribe-3B: Dodgers
  34. Chris Capuano-LHP: Twins
  35. Joba Chamberlain-RHP: Royals, Braves, Giants, Astros
  36. Francisco Rodriguez-RHP:
  37. Mark Ellis-2B: Orioles, Rays
  38. Eric O’Flaherty-LHP: Nationals, Dodgers, Phillies
  39. John Buck-C: Nationals
  40. Rajai Davis-OF: Twins, Orioles, Tigers

 

For what’s cookin’ on the stove in real-time, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros

Baseball does not usually get much credit for moving very quickly. However this winter has been the equivalent of a Rickey Henderson wind sprint, as the movements around the game have come quick, early and often out of nowhere.

Last week provided a flurry of action on the 2014 season that saw the landscape of both leagues, but most intensely the American half, change tremendously. The New York Yankees both provided (and were victims of) major additions and loss, in making Jacoby Ellsbury the third highest paid outfielder ever, but also watching the Seattle Mariners go to a place they would not for their incumbent top star, Robinson Cano. What the impact is on the field in Seattle is yet to be seen, as is how much more New York is willing to do in order to reassure the potency of their team, but either way it goes, no less than everything changed in regards to the way the baseball winter was expected to play in just under 72 hours….and a week early.

Instead of being the base of operations for change, this week’s MLB Winter Meetings will see the finishing touches be put the majority of the major additions for the winter. Will the pitching scene finally start to clear up? And what will be the continued domino effects of the Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran deals? Whatever it is, the baseball windmill has began spinning, and isn’t showing signs of slowing up soon.

But as for what has been established thus far, here is the most recent effects and aftershocks of the newest deals handed out for these now former free agents. (All rankings are their original ranks on the full Top 75 Free Agent rankings)

1. Robinson Cano-Second Baseman-30 years old-2013 Team: New York Yankees

Signed: Seattle Mariners—10 years, $240 million

The Mariners made the splash of the offseason so far over the course of 24 hours, by luring Cano away from the spotlight of New York and into their now full-on rebuilding spree. The deal makes him the third-highest paid player paid player in baseball, and also instantly makes him the axis of a Mariner team that was not too long ago an afterthought on the competition scene.

For the Mariners, it was an opportunistic signing that provides a major starting point towards a push towards the postseason, however one man cannot change the entire course of a franchise, and it is still unlikely that they are in a position to overcome the Oakland and Texas teams that are far more complete staffs. It is an all-in deal, that looks good in the moment, but will be a failure of mass proportions if they cannot add more around him, due to his price tag. In New York, despite their rampant additions to their team, they will feel the loss of their best overall player, and most potent run producer. Yet, they still most likely make out better without another albatross of a contract to work around in years to come.

6. Carlos Beltran-Right Fielder-37 years old-2013 Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Signed: New York Yankees—3 years, $45 million

He’s become baseball’s equivalent of the ace bandage; after joining the Cardinals to be a replacement impact bat in the middle of the Cardinal lineup two years ago, he will go on to do the same thing for the post-Cano Yankees now. Due to the evolving St. Louis lineup, there was no more room for Beltran, and he will now play an important role as part-time outfielder/designated hitter in the Yankees’ quest to retake the AL East. Beltran was the most courted part of the free agent market, and now the Red Sox, Mariners, Rangers, Red Sox, Tigers, Indians and Royals, among others, all either will or have looked in different directions.

9. Mike Napoli-First Baseman-32 years old-2013 Team: Boston Red Sox

Resigned: Red Sox—2 years, $32 million

The complex year of Mike Napoli finally comes to an end where he wanted it to all along. After seeing the extra years on his original contract voided shortly after he signed it due to a hip injury, Napoli gets them back and at a larger sum to stay where he wanted. The Red Sox return the top power hitting infielder available to their mix for the next two years and return an invaluable part of their everyday balance.

14. Curtis Granderson-Left Fielder-33 years old-2013 Team: New York Yankees

Signed: New York Mets—4 years, $60 million

The Yankees addition of Jacoby Ellsbury and pursuit of Carlos Beltran made Granderson the odd man out, and the crosstown Mets pounced on the opportunity. They made a slightly out of character commitment to acquire the outfielder, due to their rebuilding financial situation, however the purpose and value are clear. Granderson provides an impact support bat behind David Wright and makes their competitive push over the next two years in a better place.

16. Hiroki Kuroda-Starting Pitcher-39 years old-2013 Team: New York Yankees

Resigned: Yankees—1 year, $16 million

Kuroda was either coming back to the Yankees or going all the way back to Japan for the next season. His decision to stay in the Bronx allows the Yankees most consistent pitcher over the past two years to remain at the heart of a rotation that is desperately in need of an upgrade. Keeping his consistency (a 3.31 ERA over 65 starts in two years) is essential to having the flexibility to add either a top notch free agent arm, or a lower cost/high value pair of contributors underneath him and CC Sabathia.

30. Brian Wilson-Relief Pitcher-32 years old-2013 Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Resigned: Dodgers—1 year, $10 million

He went to the open market to find a job as a closer again, but instead took a high dollar deal to return to LA as a setup man. This gives him a chance to show his stuff to teams that could have had interest in him this season, but needed to see more than the 19.2 innings he pitched in 2013, albeit at a high level (0.42 ERA, 21 strikeouts to 4 walks).

31. Edward Mujica-Relief Pitcher-30 years old-2013 Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Signed: Boston Red Sox—2 years, $9.5 million

Mujica had an up and down year in 2013. After making the All-Star team after taking over the closer role in St. Louis, he lost his touch down the stretch and was relegated to extra part during their October run. He’ll switch World Series dugouts to return to his more familiar late inning role as a bridge/set up man to Koji Uehara, and is a very good value pickup for the Red Legs.

35. Nate McLouth-Outfielder-32 years old-2013 Team: Baltimore Orioles

Signed: Washington Nationals—2 years, $10.75 million

The Nationals offseason plan seems to be to add depth and round out a roster that was high on talent, but low on substance a year ago. McLouth is the perfect addition for that effort; a multi-tooled outfielder that can run, play every outfield position and provide an instant injury replacement if injury woes revisit the DC frontline outfield again.

54. Scott Feldman-Starting Pitcher-31 years old-2013 Teams: Chicago Cubs/Baltimore Orioles

Signed: Houston Astros—3 years, $30 million

This is probably the clearest case of an overpay to just get something, anything, of experienced substance into the Houston rotation. Feldman is a solid pitcher, but more along the lines of a bottom half of the rotation fourth-fifth starter. Instead, he’ll get a deal that rivals that of Dan Haren and Kyle Lohse to lead the Astros starters, despite only having two seasons in his career where he has topped 10 victories.

61. Rafael Furcal-Shortstop-36 years old-2013 Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Signed: Miami Marlins—1 year, $3 million

Furcal missed the end of 2012 and all of 2013 due to an elbow injury that necessitated Tommy John surgery. However, after showing in late season workouts he would likely be capable of returning to the field, the Marlins picked him up to be a much needed veteran presence. He is slated to play second base, which is a much easier and less varied throw for his maligned elbow.

For more on moves made in the moment, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.

Cano didn't flinch once the Mariners presented a figure in his expected ballpark, and now is the among the richest ballplayers ever.

Cano didn’t flinch once the Mariners presented a figure in his expected ballpark, and now is the among the richest ballplayers ever.

Business picked up to the highest levels it can over the last few days, and this morning it hit a pinnacle. The season’s top prized shocked the world by spurning the New York Yankees and taking his talents to the furthest imaginable outpost from the bright lights of the Bronx, the Seattle Mariners. Last night, Cano and company visited the M’s, who proposed the first real and tangible counter offer the Yankees’ original offer to their incumbent superstar, and after some back and forth negotiations, he leveraged the best possible deal that he could imagine, an air tight career spanning deal covering 10 years and returning a reported $240 million over the life of it.

This deal changes the landscape of the free agent season, as the top guy always does, and puts a few new scenarios into motion. Lets take a look around the league at those dominoes, as well as what else is rounding into place…

  • The Mariners deal with Cano, which equals the epic sum that Albert Pujols netted in December 2011, reportedly will not take them out of the mix for further acquisitions.  The club is still interested in Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz and Shin-Soo Choo among other free agents, and is also interested in pursuing David Price as well.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers could be a candidate to get involved in the first base market
  • Major League Baseball and the Nippon Professional Baseball league reached an agreement on the posting fee to negotiate with Japanese league members of $20 million. This potentially allows for pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to enter into the free agent scene for MLB teams to bid on soon, which could also finally start the market moving for the other top rated US free agent starters as well.
  • After moving on from a few of their free agents from a year ago, the Red Sox have been engaged in returning Stephen Drew and Mike Napoli, while still eyeing an extension for Jon Lester
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski stated he does not anticipate the team making another high-profile signing this offseason, after agreeing to terms with Joe Nathan on Wednesday.
  • St. Louis Cardinals GM John Mozeliak saw his closer for much of the previous season, Edward Mujica, sign with the Red Sox yesterday, and also did not tender a contract to John Axford either, but stated that the depth of young arms on his current roster makes it unlikely the team will add anything else to its bullpen.
  • Early in the week, it was reported that Carlos Beltran had a pending offer in hand that covered three years, but since that has been refuted and his still available.
  • First Baseman James Loney is seeking  a reported three year deal that would be worth a total of $25-$30 million total. This would be a much larger deal than the one that Justin Morneau received from the Rockies earlier this week.

With those points and tips out of the way, here’s where the current free agent landmark sits, with recent signing highlighted with terms. An updated ‘Cut The Check’ signing recap will follow this weekend covering those deals and what they mean for both the new and previous club.

  1. Robinson Cano-2B: Signed w/ Mariners (10 yrs, $240 million)
  2. Shin-Soo Choo-RF: Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, Mariners
  3. Matt Garza-RHP: Yankees, Twins, Angels, Orioles, Nationals
  4. Carlos Beltran-RF/DH: Yankees, Royals, Red Sox, Rangers, Mariners, Indians, Reds
  5. Ubaldo Jimenez-RHP: Yankees, Nationals, Angels
  6. Nelson Cruz-RF/DH: Rangers, Mets, Mariners, A’s, Orioles
  7. Mike Napoli-1B: Red Sox, Rockies, Marlins, Mariners
  8. Ervin Santana-RHP: Angels, Yankees, Twins, Royals
  9. Masahiro Tanaka-RHP: Yankees, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Japan
  10. Stephen Drew-SS: Dodgers, Nationals, Mets, Yankees, Red Sox
  11. Curtis Granderson-LF: Signed w/ Mets (4 yrs, $60 million)
  12. Hiroki Kuroda-RHP: Resigned w/ Yankees (1 yr, $16 million)
  13. Grant Balfour-RHP: Yankees, Rockies, Tigers, Rays
  14. Kendrys Morales-1B: Mariners, White Sox, Indians, Mets
  15. Fernando Rodney-RHP: Indians, Rays, Cubs
  16. Omar Infante-2B: Yankees, Cubs
  17. Joaquin Benoit-RHP: Phillies, Tigers
  18. Brian Wilson-RHP: Resigned w/ Dodgers (1 yr, $10 million)
  19. Edward Mujica-RHP: Signed w/ Red Sox (2 yrs, $9.5 million)
  20. AJ Burnett-RHP: Pirates
  21. Nate McLouth-LF: Orioles, Yankees
  22. Bronson Arroyo-RHP: Angels, Twins, Giants, Phillies
  23. Bartolo Colon-RHP: Marlins, Angels
  24. Jesse Crain-RHP: Red Sox, Rockies, Cubs
  25. Corey Hart-1B/RF: Brewers, Mets, Pirates
  26. James Loney-1B: Rays, Rockies, Pirates
  27. Chris Perez-RHP: Astros, Athletics, Tigers
  28. Raul Ibanez-DH: Yankees
  29. John Axford-RHP (New, non-tendered): Orioles
  30. Boone Logan-LHP: Yankees
  31. Gavin Floyd-RHP: Twins, Orioles
  32. Jason Kubel-OF/DH:
  33. Michael Morse-OF:
  34. Scott Downs-LHP:
  35. Matt Albers-RHP:
  36. Scott Feldman-RHP: Orioles
  37. J.P. Howell-LHP:
  38. Rafael Furcal-SS: Signed w/ Marlins (1 yr, $3 million)
  39. Scott Baker-RHP: Cubs,
  40. Jose Veras-RHP:
  41. Garrett Jones-OF (new, non-tendered):
  42. Jason Hammel-RHP: Giants
  43. Kevin Gregg-RHP:
  44. Juan Uribe-3B: Dodgers
  45. Chris Capuano-LHP: Twins
  46. Paul Konerko-1B: White Sox, Retirement
  47. Barry Zito-LHP:
  48. Joba Chamberlain-RHP: Royals, Braves, Giants, Astros
  49. Francisco Rodriguez-RHP:
  50. Mark Ellis-2B: Orioles