Free agent predictions review

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With everyone headed home from the meetings and a quiet night likely, it seemed like a good time to revisit some of the predictions from my Free Agency Preview columns. Here’s a list of the 18 signed free agents to receive guesses in those columns:
Ramon Hernandez
Guess: Reds – one year, $4 million
Result: Reds – one year, $3 million
Ivan Rodriguez
Guess: Rangers – one year, $1.5 million
Result: Nationals – two years, $6 million
Others will point to Brandon Lyon, but this is the real mindblower of the offseason to date for me. He’s certainly no better of a bet now than he was last winter, when he went unsigned into March and settled for $1.5 million.
Placido Polanco
Guess: Dodgers – two years, $12 million
Result: Phillies – three years, $18 million
Chone Figgins
Guess: Cubs – four years, $48 million
Result: Mariners – four years, $36 million + vesting option
I was guessing new ownership meant new money, but the Cubs aren’t shaping up as real spenders this winter. I’m still surprised no one stepped up and offered Figgins at least $10 million per year.
Pedro Feliz
Guess: Astros – one year, $2.5 million
Result: Astros – one year, $4.5 million
Marco Scutaro
Guess: Red Sox – three years, $18 million
Result: Red Sox – two years, $12.5 million + mutual option
Alex Gonzalez
Guess: Blue Jays – one year, $2.5 million
Result: Blue Jays – one year, $2.5 million
Randy Wolf
Guess: Mariners – three years, $36 million
Result: Brewers – three years, $29.5 million
The market for Wolf clearly wasn’t what I thought it’d be. If he had been offered arbitration by the Dodgers, he’d probably still be on the market looking for a three-year offer. The Brewers were more inclined to give him one because they didn’t have to surrender a draft pick.
Rich Harden
Guess: Orioles – two years, $18 million
Result: Rangers – one year, $7.5 million + mutual option
The fun thing about this prediction is that the Rangers could only sign Harden after dumping Kevin Millwood’s contract on the Orioles.
Andy Pettitte
Guess: Yankees – one year, $10 million plus incentives
Result: Yankees – one year, $11.75 million
Brad Penny
Guess: Brewers – two years, $16 million
Result: Cardinals – one year, $7.5 million
Carl Pavano
Guess: Diamondbacks – one year, $7 million
Result: Accepted arbitration
Rafael Soriano
Guess: Rays – two years, $14 million
Result: Accepted arbitration
Definitely the better result for the Rays. They’ll have Soriano at around $7 million for one year, and they were able to hold on to their first-round pick.
Billy Wagner
Guess: Orioles – one year, $7.5 million
Result: Braves – one year, $7.5 million + vesting option
LaTroy Hawkins
Guess: Astros – two years, $9 million
Result: Brewers – two years, $7.5 million
Brandon Lyon
Guess: Phillies – two years, $8 million
Result: Astros – three years, $15 million
The Astros could have had Hawkins for $7 million-$8 million over two years. Lyon isn’t deserving of the scorn some are dishing out right now, but Hawkins at his price surely seemed like the more attractive option.
Takashi Saito
Guess: Diamondbacks – one year, $4 million
Result: Braves – one year, $3.2 million plus incentives
Rafael Betancourt
Guess: Rockies – one year, $4 million
Result: Accepted arbitration

Pablo Sandoval had successful shoulder surgery

Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) prepares to hit during baseball spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016.  (Corey Perrine/Naples Daily News via AP)  FORT MYERS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
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Pablo Sandoval underwent successful surgery today to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The Red Sox said afterward that he will be out the remainder of 2016 and that they anticipate him being ready for 2017. That’s the official word, of course, on what many reported last night. But it’s nice that it’s official.

It’s also nice that the surgery was “successful.” Of course it’s always “successful” the day of the surgery. No one has ever released a statement saying “Shlabotnik had knee surgery today. It was an unmitigated disaster. Like, oh my god, you don’t want to know and I can’t even with this.” If there are problems, they’re always revealed later.

Here’s hoping there are no problems for Sandoval.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Tuesday’s action

New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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We’re back to a full slate of games on Tuesday night. The game to watch tonight, especially if you’re a fan of mismatches, is Braves-Mets. The Mets easily handled the Braves on Monday night, winning 4-1. The club blasted three home runs in the first inning off of Mike Foltynewicz, which is nearly as many homers as the Braves have hit all season (five). The Mets went on cruise control from there. Bartolo Colon finished with seven strikeouts over eight shutout innings. Jeurys Familia gave up a run but was able to reach the finish line.

The Braves are now 6-19, a game ahead of the Astros and Twins for the worst record in baseball. It’s not particularly shocking since the Braves have embraced tanking in their final year at Turner Field. How low can they go? The Atlanta record for losses in a season is 106 by the 1988 club. The 1935 Boston Braves went 38-115. The Braves’ current .240 winning percentage would rank as the worst in franchise history — including Atlanta, Boston, and Milwaukee — if the season were to end today.

Tuesday’s pitching match-up features Matt Wisler for the Braves and Matt Harvey for the Mets. The two will square off at 7:10 PM EDT at Citi Field tonight.

The rest of Tuesday’s action…

Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander) @ Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin), 6:10 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Jon Niese), 7:05 PM EDT

New York Yankees (Luis Severino) @ Baltimore Orioles (Chris Tillman), 7:05 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Martin Perez) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Marco Estrada), 7:07 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Patrick Corbin) @ Miami Marlins (Justin Nicolino), 7:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Scott Kazmir) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Moore), 7:10 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Jeff Samardzija) @ Cincinnati Reds (Jon Moscot), 7:10 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Steven Wright) @ Chicago White Sox (Jose Quintana), 8:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Nick Tropeano) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Junior Guerra), 8:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Alex Meyer) @ Houston Astros (Collin McHugh), 8:10 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Aaron Nola) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha), 8:15 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark) @ Kansas City Royals (Chris Young), 8:15 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma) @ Oakland Athletics (Sonny Gray), 10:05 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Eddie Butler) @ San Diego Padres (Andrew Cashner), 10:10 PM EDT

Bryce Harper signs the largest endorsement deal in MLB history

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper pumps his fist as he takes a curtain call after he hit a grand slam during the third  inning of an baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, April 14, 2016, in Washington. This was Harper's 100th home run of his career. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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I figure it’s not that hard to sign the largest endorsement deal in baseball history. In the NBA? Sure. Those deals are insane. But in baseball? Man, we still have major leaguers doing quickie, video taped ads for local car dealerships and sandwich shops and stuff. It would mildly surprise me if I saw a third starter for a .500 team spinning and flipping one of those signs on a street corner near a new apartment complex some day, but I wouldn’t be utterly shocked. It’s just a different set of economics. You can’t really wear baseball shoes out around town. Cleats tend to scuff up the woodwork.

But Bryce Harper is different. He was barely in the league a year before I saw his giant underwear-clad butt in a big glossy ad while walking through the unmentionables department at Macy’s and his Under Armour ads are all over the place. Probably the closest thing we’ve seen to NBA-style shoe exposure in MLB, though it doesn’t quite compare.

It may one day, though: he has reportedly signed a 10-year extension with Under Armour that is believed to be the largest endorsement deal in history for a baseball player. Terms aren’t being disclosed, but they’re claiming that so it’s probably at least plausible.

Baseball players will still never be the kind of product-pushers other athletes are, but Harper is probably the closest thing it’ll get for a while. At the very least he can be the second or third banana in one of those commercials in which stars from various sports do things like shave, drink sports drinks and, I dunno, flex their quads while wearing compression gear. He can be Garfunkel to Steph Curry’s Simon. Or something.

Major League Baseball may cancel the upcoming Puerto Rico series due to Zika concerns

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. Even before the Zika virus reached crisis levels early this year, Brazil had trouble maintaining routine eradication efforts. An Associated Press investigation found that cities and states in Brazil’s northeast ran out of larvicide for several months last year. The Aedes aegypti mosquito are a vector for the spread of Zika virus. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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Last month we wrote about how the Pirates and the Marlins are scheduled to play a series in Puerto Rico at the end of May. And how, due to an outbreak of Zika on the island, Pirates and Marlins players have voiced serious concerns. For, among other reasons, Zika precautions are such that those exposed should not engage in procreative sex for several months due to birth defects concerns and baseball players are at an age when doing stuff like having kids is a pretty important thing.

This afternoon Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reports that, while the official line is that the series will still be played, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation are telling him that it’s on “the brink of cancellation.”

It’s understandable though, as Passan notes, it makes politics — both baseball politics and regular politics — with Puerto Rico kind of uncomfortable. And then there’s the concern that Zika could spread to Florida and is already in other countries, which means that the Pirates-Marlins thing is something of a case of first impression which could set precedents beyond just baseball.

That’s understandable, but it’s also a set of concerns that are above the pay grade of baseball players. Personally, it’s hard to blame them for being wary. And this seems like some reasonable wariness, not hysteria.