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

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.