King Felix’s extension is obviously the biggest news in advance of today’s deadline for signing arbitration eligible players, and we’ll update that story with the details of the deal as they become available. We’ve also already filled you in on Dan Uggla, Jody Gerut and Shaun Marcum.
In the meantime, here’s a rundown of some of the more minor arbitration-avoidance signings that have been coming pretty fast and furious in the past 24 hours:
- Ryan Spilborghs, Rockies, $3.25 million with $1.15 million in incentives;
- Chad Gaudin and Boone Logan, Yankees, $2.95 million and $590,000, respectively. Their real payment, however, is going to come in the form of a lot of free beers for telling hilariously off color Derek Jeter stories no one has heard before;
- C.J. Wilson, Rangers, $3.1 million. Wilson is on the Twitter, you know. According to a tweet last night, he’s not going to use his new dough to by a car, though, because he’s “already rollin hard on a Vespa.”
- Chad Durbin, Phillies, $2.125 million;
- Jared Burton, Reds, no details on the money, so I assume they’re paying him in Gold Star Chili coupons and boxes of JTM burgers;
- Chad Qualls and Aaron Heilman, Diamondbacks, $4.185 million and $2.15 million, respectively. Pfun Pfact: if you took the money Heilman will make providing slightly above average relief pitching for the Dbacks and put it in a San Jose redevelopment municipal bond, you’d realize $129,000 in income this year!
- Anibal Sanchez and Renyel Pinto, Marlins, $1.25 million and $1.075 million, respectively. I had these guys as Mariners earlier, if that tells you how much mental energy I’m spending following this stuff.
- Tony Pena, White Sox, $1.2 million. No, he’s not the converted shortstop Pena.
We’ll do our best to update this list as the day goes on, but really, it’s a crazy day for these kinds of signings, so lay off if we miss some random 23-25th roster spot fodder, OK?
The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.
K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.
So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.
I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.
Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.
All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?
Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.
Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.
Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.