File this under not-so-deep thoughts, but for the past couple of days a lot of people have been asking how much money Albert Pujols has made himself on the free agent market due to his big World Series. And I can’t help but wonder why it changes anything.
As Jon Heyman writes today, there are a bunch of reasons why money — while important — won’t be the only thing on Pujols’ mind as he starts negotiating with teams in November. Unlike a lot of big free agents there’s legacy and stature at stake and there’s also the fact that, unlike a lot of other free agents, Pujols would do better sticking where he is if wanting to play for a winner is his objective. St. Louis wins a lot. Heyman’s source notes that it’s gonna take more than a few million more on the offer sheet for a team to seem that much more attractive to Pujols than his current situation.
Is there a team out there willing to go several million per year higher than St. Louis? Sure, it’s possible. But it will take that and not just topping the Cardinals by a little bit that will alter Pujols’ plans. And I don’t think that Pujols’ bigtime World Series is going to make him several million more dollars a year valuable to anyone. We know what he’s capable of by now.
I tend to think differently about C.J. Wilson, who starts Game 5 tonight. Unlike Pujols he has no legacy. Unlike Pujols, his place in the market is much less certain. People have told me I’m misreading this, but I do think that if Wilson lays an egg tonight — a night which will likely be his last appearance before free agency — that it will affect his market.
He’s had a bad postseason. He’s showing people that just because he’s a team’s number one starter doesn’t mean that he’s an ace. Are you telling me that the Yankees, for example, aren’t wondering if Wilson doesn’t have “A.J. Burnett Sequel” written all over him? That he won’t instantly come under serious scrutiny by the New York press as the Mr. Anti-October?
One game — or a couple of games — doesn’t make a difference if you’re Albert Pujols. I can’t help but think that a couple of games are making a difference for C.J. Wilson. Is that nuts?
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.