Free agent predictions review

Leave a comment

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

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getty Images
10 Comments

The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
9 Comments

The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.