Reviewing my free agent predictions

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It’s time to review my free agent predictions from back in November.
For the second year in a row, the free agents who signed early did much better than those who waited to hold out for a better deal. Once again, the market dried up quickly, as a lot of teams have started to realize that it doesn’t make sense to pay $4 million for a player who isn’t much better than someone who will make $1 million or less. While the average salary will likely continue to rise throughout baseball, the median salary may start to go in the other direction. The stars may be worth every penny they get, but the players who sign for $5 million-$10 million per year tend to provide poor returns.
What we’ve seen this offseason is a bunch of guys who expect to get solid two- or three-year deals have to settle for one-year contracts. Unfortunately for the free agents, Astros GM Ed Wade only had so much cash to burn.
Catchers
Bengie Molina
Guess: Mets – two years, $11 million
Result: Giants – one year, $4.5 million
Miguel Olivo
Guess: Astros – one year, $5 million
Result: Rockies – one year, $2.5 million + option
Ramon Hernandez
Guess: Reds – one year, $4 million
Result: Reds – one year, $3 million + vesting option
Yorvit Torrealba
Guess: Giants – one year, $3 million
Result: Padres – one year, $1.25 million + mutual option
Rod Barajas
Guess: Royals – one year, $2.5 million
Result: Unsigned
Ivan Rodriguez
Guess: Rangers – one year, $1.5 million
Result: Nationals – two years, $6 million


First Basemen/Designated Hitters
Adam LaRoche
Guess: Orioles – three years, $21 million
Result: Diamondbacks – one year, $6 million + mutual option
Nick Johnson
Guess: Mariners – two years, $12 million
Result: Yankees – one year, $5.75 million + mutual option
Carlos Delgado
Guess: Giants – one year, $7 million
Result: Unsigned
Russell Branyan
Guess: Mets – one year, $5 million
Result: Unsigned
Hank Blalock
Guess: Diamondbacks – one year, $4.5 million
Result: Unsigned
Jim Thome
Guess: White Sox – one year, $4 million
Result: Twins – one year, $1.5 million
Aubrey Huff
Guess: Braves – one year, $3.5 million
Result: Giants – one year, $3 million
Second Basemen
Orlando Hudson
Guess: Mets – two years, $14 million
Result: Twins – one year, $5 million
Placido Polanco
Guess: Dodgers – two years, $12 million
Result: Phillies – three years, $18 million + mutual option
Felipe Lopez
Guess: Cubs – two years, $11 million
Result: Unsigned
Adam Kennedy
Guess: Diamondbacks – one year, $2 million
Result: Nationals – one year, $1.75 million + option
Third Basemen
Chone Figgins
Guess: Cubs – four years, $48 million
Result: Mariners – four years, $36 million + vesting option
Adrian Beltre
Guess: Phillies – three years, $27 million
Result: Red Sox – one year, $10 million + mutual option
Mark DeRosa
Guess: Cardinals – three years, $18 million
Result: Giants – two years, $12 million
Troy Glaus
Guess: Athletics – one year, $4 million
Result: Braves – one year, $1.75 million + $2.25 million in incentives
Joe Crede
Guess: Twins – one year, $2.5 million
Result: Unsigned
Pedro Feliz
Guess: Astros – one year, $2.5 million
Result: Astros – one year, $4.5 million
Melvin Mora
Guess: Mets – one year, $1 million
Result: Rockies – one year, $1.3 million
Shortstops
Marco Scutaro
Guess: Red Sox – three years, $18 million
Result: Red Sox – two years, $12.5 million + club/player option
Miguel Tejada
Guess: Mariners – one year, $4 million
Result: Orioles – one year, $6 million
Orlando Cabrera
Guess: Reds – one year, $4 million
Result: Reds – one year, $3.02 million + mutual option
Alex Gonzalez
Guess: Blue Jays – one year, $2.5 million
Result: Blue Jays – one year, $2.75 million + option
Khalil Greene
Guess: Pirates – one year, $2 million
Result: Rangers – one year, $500,000 + $1.05 million in incentives
Outfielders
Matt Holliday
Guess: Red Sox – six years, $120 million
Result: Cardinals – seven years, $120 million + option
Jason Bay
Guess: Angels – five years, $75 million
Result: Mets – four years, $66 million + vesting option
Johnny Damon
Guess: Yankees – two years, $22 million
Result: Unsigned
Hideki Matsui
Guess: Yankees – two years, $18 million
Result: Angels – one year, $6 million
Vladimir Guerrero
Guess: Rangers – two years, $18 million
Result: Rangers – one year, $6.5 million + mutual option
Mike Cameron
Guess: Braves – one year, $8 million
Result: Red Sox – two years, $15.5 million
Jermaine Dye
Guess: Giants – one year, $8 million
Result: Unsigned
Marlon Byrd
Guess: White Sox – three years, $20 million
Result: Cubs – three years, $15 million
Rick Ankiel
Guess: Marlins – one year, $4 million
Result: Royals – one year, $3.25 million + mutual option
Coco Crisp
Guess: Padres – one year, $4 million
Result: Athletics – one year, $5.25 million + option
Xavier Nady
Guess: Cardinals – one year, $3 million
Result: Cubs – one year, $3.3 million
Randy Winn
Guess: Mariners – one year, $2.5 million
Result: Yankees – one year, $1.1 million
Starting Pitchers
John Lackey
Guess: Yankees – six years, $102 million
Result: Red Sox – five years, $82.5 million
Aroldis Chapman
Guess: Yankees – six years, $48 million
Result: Reds – six years, $30.25 million
Randy Wolf
Guess: Mariners – three years, $36 million
Result: Brewers – three years, $29.75 million + option
Ben Sheets
Guess: Rangers – two years, $20 million
Result: Athletics – one year, $10 million
Rich Harden
Guess: Orioles – two years, $18 million
Result: Rangers – one year, $7.5 million + mutual option
Jarrod Washburn
Guess: Twins – two years, $17 million
Result: Unsigned
Joel Pineiro
Guess: Brewers – three years, $22.5 million
Result: Angels – two years, $16 million
Andy Pettitte
Guess: Yankees – one year, $10 million
Result: Yankees – one year, $11.75 million
Brad Penny
Guess: Brewers – two years, $16 million
Result: Cardinals – one year, $7.5 million + $1.5 million in incentives
Vicente Padilla
Guess: Dodgers – two years, $15 million
Result: Dodgers – one year, $5.025 million + $1 million in incentives
Jon Garland
Guess: Athletics – one year, $7.5 million
Result: Padres – one year, $5.35 million + mutual option
Doug Davis
Guess: Nationals – two years, $12 million
Result: Brewers – one year, $5.25 million + mutual option
Carl Pavano
Guess: Diamondbacks – one year, $7 million
Result: Accepted arbitration from Twins (one year, $7 million)
Jason Marquis
Guess: Mets – two years, $10 million
Result: Nationals – two years, $15 million
Pedro Martinez
Guess: Marlins – one year, $5 million
Result: Unsigned
Brett Myers
Guess: Rangers – one year, $4 million
Result: Astros – one year, $5.1 million + mutual option
John Smoltz
Guess: Cardinals – one year, $4 million
Result: Unsigned
Erik Bedard
Guess: Red Sox – one year, $4 million
Result: Mariners – one year, $1.5 million + mutual option
Randy Johnson
Guess: Retirement
Result: Retirement
Braden Looper
Guess: Padres – one year, $3.5 million
Result: Unsigned
Justin Duchscherer
Guess: Angels – one year, $2 million
Result: Athletics – one year, $2 million +$3.5 million in incentives
Relief Pitchers
Jose Valverde
Guess: Braves – three years, $30 million
Result: Tigers – two years, $14 million + option
Rafael Soriano
Guess: Rays – two years, $14 million
Result: Accepted arbitration from Braves, traded to Rays (one year, $7.25 million)
Mike Gonzalez
Guess: Astros – three years, $18 million
Result: Orioles – two years, $12 million
Billy Wagner
Guess: Orioles – one year, $7.5 million
Result: Braves – one year, $7 million + vesting option
Fernando Rodney
Guess: Tigers – three years, $15 million
Result: Angels – two years, $11 million
Octavio Dotel
Guess: Mets – two years, $10 million
Result: Pirates – one year, $3.5 million + 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
Takashi Saito
Guess: Diamondbacks – one year, $4 million
Result: Braves – one year, $3.2 million + $2.3 million in incentives
Chan Ho Park
Guess: Phillies – one year, $4 million
Result: Unsigned
J.J. Putz
Guess: Nationals – one year, $2.5 million
Result: White Sox – one year, $3 million + $3.25 million in incentives
Rafael Betancourt
Guess: Rockies – one year, $4 million
Result: Accepted arbitration from Rockies (two years, $7.55 million)
Ryota Igarashi
Guess: Cubs – two years, $6 million
Result: Mets – two years, $3 million
Kevin Gregg
Guess: Nationals – one year, $3.5 million
Result: Blue Jays – one year, $2.75 million + club options
Kiko Calero
Guess: Red Sox – one year, $3 million
Result: Unsigned

Marlins still searching for starting pitching depth

Aaron Harang
AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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The Marlins would like to add “another pitcher or two” before pitchers and catchers report to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. Among starting pitchers available, Kyle Lohse, Aaron Harang, and Alfredo Simon are candidates for the Marlins, but they may hold out for the possibility of inking a major league contract. Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee are other potential candidates, per Frisaro.

This offseason, the Marlins signed Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal and Edwin Jackson for the major league minimum. The back of the rotation, though, is still a question mark as Jarred Cosart, Adam Conley, and Justin Nicolino will compete with Jackson for two spots. David Phelps is dealing with an elbow injury and may or not be ready by Opening Day, but he could function in a swingman capacity as well.

Shocker: Bruce Bochy tabs Madison Bumgarner to start Opening Day

Madison Bumgarner
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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You might want to sit down for this news. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has tabbed ace Madison Bumgarner to start on Opening Day in Milwaukee against the Brewers, CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic reports. Shocking, I know.

The Giants had a busy offseason, adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to the starting rotation, but neither had a shot at getting the Opening Day nod considering what Bumgarner has done for the Giants over the last five seasons.

Since the start of the 2011 season, the 26-year-old lefty compiled a 3.05 ERA with 1,034 strikeouts and 239 walks across 1,050 innings. Among starters who logged at least 800 innings in that span of time, only Clayton Kershaw, Cueto, Zack Greinke, David Price, and Felix Hernandez have posted lower ERAs.  And Bumgarner is the only one among them with a championship ring. In fact, he has three.

Tony Clark is not happy so many players remain unsigned

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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We’re almost halfway through February. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training soon. And yet, there are more than a handful of solid free agents that remain unsigned. Among them: Yovani Gallardo, Ian Desmond, and Dexter Fowler. All three have draft pick compensation tied to them, as each rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from his respective former team. That, undoubtedly, is a reason why they haven’t inked a contract yet.

MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark is unhappy about this reality and expects to discuss potential changes when the next collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. The current CBA expires after the 2016 season. Per the Associated Press, Clark said last week, “I think it’s disappointing when there are as many talented players still without a home. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to be in a world where very talented players are at home for whatever reason they are there. It will likely be a part of the conversation in bargaining.”

Clark also mentioned, among other things, the possibility of a draft lottery, which would take away the incentive for teams to “tank”, or lose on purpose. The Astros and Phillies have notably done this in recent years, finishing with baseball’s worst record and thus netting the #1 overall draft pick.

These are, however, simply two items of many that will be discussed during the upcoming offseason. It will be interesting to see what solutions are eventually put in place.

Michael Pineda hopes to reach 200-inning mark for first time

New York Yankees' Michael Pineda delivers a pitch during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger
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It was reported on Friday that Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for Opening Day as he makes his way back from arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. His health will be crucial to the Yankees’ chances this season, but the same goes for rotation-mate Michael Pineda, who hopes that this is the year he’ll be able to take on the workload of a frontline starter.

Pineda was on pace for a career-high in innings last season, but he landed on the disabled list in late July with a right flexor forearm muscle strain and missed a month. He struggled upon his return and ended up with 160 2/3 innings, so he fell short of his career-high of 171 innings as a rookie with the Mariners way back in 2011. Now going into his age-27 season, Pineda told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that his goal for 2016 is to reach 200 innings for the first time in his career.

“For me, this year, I’m coming here early to be strong and working hard to pitch 200 innings this year,” Pineda said at the club’s Minor League complex. “I want to throw 200 innings this year. This is my goal, and help my team.”

Pineda had a mediocre 4.37 ERA (90 ERA+) last season despite impressive peripherals with 8.7 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9. Among pitchers with at least 160 innings pitched, only Bartolo Colon of the Mets had a lower walk percentage. Pineda managed to increase his ground ball rate to 48.2 percent and also saw an uptick in velocity from 2014, so there’s reason to believe in improvement if he can stay healthy.