142 players became free agents last night

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Under a recent agreement, players no longer need to file for free agency. Rather, free agency-eligible players automatically became free agents as soon as the World Series ended.  The MLBPA wasted absolutely no time last night telling us who those players are, issuing a press release while the Giants were still jumping around on the field (see the list of all the players below).  There will be others who join the list, of course, as arbitration-eligible players are non-tendered and stuff like that happens.

Teams have only a five-day exclusive negotiating period, down from the 15 days of years past, so there won’t be much time to breathe before the hot stove news starts up hot and heavy.  Lucky for you none of us here at HBT have lives, so we’ll be on the news and rumors like white on rice.  Make sure to keep an HBT window up at all times between now and, oh, February, because we’ll have the latest stuff up faster than just about anyone.

Here are the free agent-eligibles. Some of them — like Bronson Arroyo, for example — have options and may be off the list soon. Most of them, however, will be coming to a new team near you in the next several months.

Troy Glaus 1B Braves
Eric Hinske OF Braves
Derrek Lee 1B Braves
Kris Benson P Diamondbacks
Mike Hampton P Diamondbacks
Aaron Heilman P Diamondbacks
Rodrigo Lopez P Diamondbacks
Brandon Webb P Diamondbacks
Cesar Izturis SS Orioles
Julio Lugo 2B Orioles
Kevin Millwood P Orioles
Corey Patterson OF Orioles
Koji Uehara P Orioles
Ty Wigginton 1B Orioles
Mike Lowell 1B Red Sox
Victor Martinez C Red Sox
Jason Varitek C Red Sox
Xavier Nady OF Cubs
Willie Bloomquist OF Reds
Miguel Cairo 3B Reds
Jim Edmonds OF Reds
Michael Lincoln P Reds
Arthur Rhodes P Reds
Ramon Hernandez C Reds
Russ Springer P Reds
Joe Beimel P Rockies
Jorge de la Rosa P Rockies
Octavio Dotel P Rockies
Jason Giambi 1B Rockies
Melvin Mora 3B Rockies
Jay Payton OF Rockies
Freddy Garcia P White Sox
Andruw Jones OF White Sox
Paul Konerko 1B White Sox
Mark Kotsay DH White Sox
A.J. Pierzynski C White Sox
J.J. Putz P White Sox
Omar Vizquel 3B White Sox
Jeremy Bonderman P Tigers
Johnny Damon DH Tigers
Gerald Laird C Tigers
Magglio Ordonez OF Tigers
Bobby Seay P Tigers
Will Ohman P Marlins
Jorge Sosa P Marlins
Chad Tracy 3B Marlins
Geoff Blum SS Astros
Brian Moehler P Astros
Bruce Chen P Royals
Hideki Matsui DH Angels
Scot Shields P Angels
Brad Ausmus C Dodgers
Rod Barajas C Dodgers
Jay Gibbons OF Dodgers
Reed Johnson OF Dodgers
Hiroki Kuroda P Dodgers
Vicente Padilla P Dodgers
Manny Ramirez OF White Sox
Jeff Weaver P Dodgers
David Bush P Brewers
Chris Capuano P Brewers
Craig Counsell SS Brewers
Jesse Crain P Twins
Randy Flores P Twins
Brian Fuentes P Twins
Matt Guerrier P Twins
Orlando Hudson 2B Twins
Ron Mahay P Twins
Carl Pavano P Twins
Nick Punto 3B Twins
Jon Rauch P Twins
Jim Thome DH Twins
Henry Blanco C Mets
Elmer Dessens P Mets
Kelvim Escobar P Mets
Pedro Feliciano P Mets
Fernando Tatis 1B Mets
Lance Berkman 1B Yankees
Derek Jeter SS Yankees
Nick Johnson 1B Yankees
Austin Kearns OF Yankees
Chad Moeller C Yankees
Andy Pettitte P Yankees
Mariano Rivera P Yankees
Marcus Thames OF Yankees
Javier Vazquez P Yankees
Kerry Wood P Yankees
Justin Duchscherer P Athletics
Ben Sheets P Athletics
Jose Contreras P Phillies
Chad Durbin P Phillies
J.C. Romero P Phillies
Mike Sweeney DH Phillies
Jayson Werth OF Phillies
Chan Ho Park P Pirates
David Eckstein 2B Padres
Jerry Hairston Jr. SS Padres
Matt Stairs OF Padres
Miguel Tejada 3B Padres
Yorvit Torrealba C Padres
Kevin Correia P Padres
Josh Bard C Mariners
Chris Woodward SS Mariners
Jamey Wright P Mariners
Pat Burrell OF Giants
Jose Guillen DH Giants
Aubrey Huff 1B Giants
Guillermo Mota P Giants
Juan Uribe SS Giants
Pedro Feliz 3B Cardinals
Jason LaRue C Cardinals
Mike MacDougal P Cardinals
Aaron Miles 2B Cardinals
Brad Penny P Cardinals
Dennys Reyes P Cardinals
Jeff Suppan P Cardinals
Jake Westbrook P Cardinals
Randy Winn OF Cardinals
Rocco Baldelli OF Rays
Grant Balfour P Rays
Joaquin Benoit P Rays
Randy Choate P Rays
Carl Crawford OF Rays
Brad Hawpe OF Rays
Gabe Kapler OF Rays
Carlos Pena 1B Rays
Chad Qualls P Rays
Rafael Soriano P Rays
Jorge Cantu 3B Rangers
Frank Francisco P Rangers
Cristian Guzman 2B Rangers
Cliff Lee P Rangers
Bengie Molina C Rangers
Matt Treanor C Rangers
John Buck C Blue Jays
Scott Downs P Blue Jays
Jason Frasor P Blue Jays
Lyle Overbay 1B Blue Jays
Miguel Batista P Nationals
Adam Dunn 1B Nationals
Willie Harris OF Nationals
Kevin Mench OF Nationals
Rick Ankiel OF Braves
Kyle Farnsworth P Braves
Alex Gonzalez SS Braves
Omar Infante 2B Braves
Adam LaRoche 1B Diamondbacks
Mark Hendrickson P Orioles
Adrian Beltre 3B Red Sox
Bill Hall OF Red Sox
Felipe Lopez 3B Red Sox
David Ortiz DH Red Sox
Aramis Ramirez 3B Cubs
Bronson Arroyo RHP Reds
Orlando Cabrera SS Reds
Aaron Harang P Reds
Jeff Francis P Rockies
Miguel Olivo C Rockies
Jhonny Peralta 3B Tigers
Scott Podsednik OF Dodgers
Doug Davis P Brewers
Trevor Hoffman P Brewers
Gregg Zaun C Brewers
Jose Reyes SS Mets
Eric Chavez DH Athletics
Coco Crisp OF Athletics
Mark Ellis 2B Athletics
Jon Garland P Padres
Chris Young P Padres
Erik Bedard P Mariners
Russell Branyan 1B Mariners
Edgar Renteria SS Giants
Dan Wheeler P Rays
Vladimir Guerrero DH Rangers
Kevin Gregg P Blue Jays
Adam Kennedy 2B Nationals

Derek Jeter: no longer the media’s darling

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There was a time, not too long ago, where the baseball press practically gave Derek Jeter awards for providing them no information whatsoever. As a player, he turned not answering questions into an art form. To the point where, eventually, the press just stopped asking him substantive questions almost entirely.

Unlike a lot of players who shut out the media, Jeter did it rather politely, so he did not get that passive aggressive treatment — or, occasionally, the aggressive-aggressive treatment — the press often gives uncommunicative players. To the contrary. He was positively lauded for his lack of communication. Lionized, even.

Take this column from Jeff Peralman at CNN.com from 2014, under the headline “Derek Jeter: Baseball’s Humble Hero”:

Throughout the first 18 seasons of his career, Jeter has often been labeled “dull” by the media. His answers to questions are unimaginative and full of cliché baseball nothingness blather. In hindsight, however, such lameness is almost to be admired. We live in an era where too many athletes feel as if they need to draw attention to themselves — for confidence, for commercials. If you’re not tweeting trash talk, you’re texting trash talk. Or making bold promises. Or demanding money or respect . . . he’s a guy who merely wanted to be a guy.

How about this from the New York Times around the time of his retirement:

Jeter’s ability to maintain a posture of sustained inscrutability — or, if you must, dignified comportment — has extended especially to the spoken word . . . he has played his best defense in front of his locker: catching every controversial question thrown to him and tossing it aside as if it were a scuffed ball unsuitable for play.

In a major league career that dates to the Clinton administration’s first term — he is the only Yankees shortstop a generation of fans has known — inquiring reporters have gathered around Jeter in the clubhouse thousands of times. He has maintained eye contact, answered nearly every question posed to him — and said nothing. This is not a complaint, but rather an expression of awe; of admiration, even. His batting average and fielding percentage aside, this kid from Kalamazoo, Mich., entered the New York meat grinder two decades ago and came out the other end looking as sharp as Joe DiMaggio’s suit.

This opinion of Jeter was pervasive throughout his career, but especially pronounced at its end of it. Jeter was deified by the press for saying nothing to the press. Praised for making the media’s job harder by the media itself. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

Times, however, have changed.

Some minor grumbling about Jeter’s non-answers to media questions began soon after he took over as Marlins co-owner. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote a column about it all back in October, saying Jeter’s “Crash Davis Rules of Media Relations don’t apply anymore.” Not too many people echoed that at the time, probably because it came in the wake of a pretty boring introductory press conference and the stakes were pretty low. I did wonder at the time, though, if the media was waiting to turn on Jeter once he actually started making moves in his new role.

I think we can now say the answer to that is yes.

In the wake of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, a lot of baseball writers had a lot of questions for Derek Jeter. Jeter, however, decided that he didn’t even need to show up here at the Winter Meetings to answer them, despite the fact that he lives just a couple of hours away.

On Monday morning Buster Olney of ESPN made conspicuous note of it:

Later in the day Jeter deigned to talk to the media via a conference call. As usual, he said mostly nothing, but unlike 1997, 2007 or 2014 (a) he got testy about it; and (b) the press made a note of it:

They likewise noted when he passed the buck to someone below him on the org chart:

Last night I think a dam broke, and I don’t think Jeter will ever be able to sweet non-talk his way out criticism again. It all happened at a football game:

To sum up:

  • Jeter is now bad for not talking to the press;
  • Jeter is not lauded for his composure anymore; and
  • Jeter is being called out as a poor leader who does not face the music.

What a difference a few years and a change of role makes.

All of which, one would think, would make me at least a little happy. I mean, I’ll totally own up to rolling my eyes at the kid glove treatment Jeter got back when he played. About how his attributes, however great, were elevated even above their actual greatness and how his faults were, perversely, spun into attributes. You’d expect that, in light of that, I’d be sorta pleased that the tables have turned.

I’m not happy, though. Indeed, I have something approaching sympathy for Captian Jeets.

Why? Because, while I’d like to see him face the press, defend his moves as owner and explain his vision to Marlins fans everywhere, I know that he cannot. I know that he has no good answers to any of the questions he might be asked because the real answer to all of them is “hey, we need to make money for the ownership group and everything flows from that” and that’s not an answer he’s prepared to give.

Have some sympathy for Derek Jeter. He’s really in a tough, tough spot. Even if he put himself into it.