I don’t just sit and pontificate about free agent or trade destinations very often, but it’s a slow day, so here goes:
- I predict that the Yankees are going to get Cliff Lee, with Lee selecting the seven-year deal off that “menu” of offers the Yankees are reported to have given him;
- I predict that he will be the highest paid free agent pitcher of all time;
- I predict that when it’s all said and done, word will leak that the Rangers offers — for all of the pomp and circumstance, visits to Arkansas and billionaires on parade — were decidedly light.
- I predict that the inevitable conclusion of all of this will be that, in reality, Cliff Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker got Brian Cashman to bid against himself in a panicky fashion.
- I predict that, for the first couple of years anyway, no one in Yankeeland will really care because Lee will do pretty well.
- I predict that, in three or four years, Lee will regress or break down and become a good but by-no-means elite lefty starter.
- I predict that, when that happens, people will look back at this winter and wonder why everyone was so hot for Cliff Lee.
None of that is based on any inside information. Just my suspicion of how it’s all going to play out based on a few minutes away from the computer, thinking big picture thoughts while flying home last night. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But I think I’m right.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.
Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.
For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.