As Saturday turned to Sunday last night, MLB’s free agency period officially kicked off.
It’s hot stove season and we’ll be digging up and dissecting rumors all winter long here on Hardball Talk.
In the meantime, HBT’s own Matthew Pouliot has ranked this offseason’s Top 111 Free Agents. A refresher:
And here’s the Top 10 with Rangers ace Cliff Lee leading the pack. He turned in a gorgeous 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 28 starts this season, striking out 185 batters in 212.1 innings and walking only 18. The Yankees are almost certain to try for him and Texas will try desperately to keep him. The Red Sox may get involved, too.
Carl Crawford is another impressive name on the free agent market this winter. He has speed, a great defensive glove, a fantastic swing built to make contact and even a little pop. The 29-year-old finished with a .307/.356/.495 batting line and 19 home runs over 154 games this year and is expected to draw interest from the Red Sox, Angels and other big spenders.
The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.
Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.
Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.