Here’s an up-to-date list of how the top 111 free agents have fared to date. Note that the list below doesn’t include Yu Darvish or Yoenis Cespedes, two of the remaining gems available to major league teams.
1. Albert Pujols (Cardinals): Angels – 10 years, $254 million
2. Prince Fielder (Brewers)
3. Jose Reyes (Mets): Marlins – 6 years, $106 million
4. C.J. Wilson (Rangers): Angels – 5 years, $77.5 million
5. Jimmy Rollins (Phillies)
6. Jonathan Papelbon (Red Sox): Phillies – 4 years, $50 million
7. Mark Buehrle (White Sox): Marlins – 4 years, $58 million
8. Carlos Beltran (Giants)
9. Edwin Jackson (Cardinals)
10. Aramis Ramirez (Cubs)
11. David Ortiz (Red Sox): Red Sox – accepted arbitration
12. Heath Bell (Padres): Marlins – 3 years, $27 million
13. Michael Cuddyer (Twins)
14. Ryan Madson (Phillies)
15. Hiroki Kuroda (Dodgers)
16. Francisco Rodriguez (Brewers): Brewers – accepted arbitration
17. Josh Willingham (Athletics)
18. Roy Oswalt (Phillies)
19. Jason Kubel (Twins)
20. Javier Vazquez (Marlins)
21. Paul Maholm (Pirates)
22. Kelly Johnson (Blue Jays): Blue Jays – accepted arbitration
23. Hisashi Iwakuma (Japan)
24. Francisco Cordero (Reds)
25. Grady Sizemore (Indians): Indians – 1 year, $5 million
26. Erik Bedard (Red Sox): Pirates – 1 year, $4.5 million
27. Carlos Pena (Cubs)
28. Tsuyoshi Wada (Japan)
29. Coco Crisp (Athletics)
30. Casey Kotchman (Rays)
31. David DeJesus (Athletics): Cubs – 2 years, $10 million
32. Rafael Furcal (Cardinals)
33. Derrek Lee (Pirates)
34. Joel Pineiro (Angels)
35. Clint Barmes (Astros): Pirates – 2 years, $10.5 million
36. Jason Marquis (D-backs)
37. Aaron Hill (D-backs): D-backs – 2 years, $11 million
38. Johnny Damon (Rays)
39. Bruce Chen (Royals): Royals – 2 years, $9 million
40. Joe Nathan (Twins): Rangers – 2 years, $14.75 million
41. Bartolo Colon (Yankees)
42. Vladimir Guerrero (Orioles)
43. Cody Ross (Giants)
44. Aaron Harang (Padres): Dodgers – 2 years, $12 million
45. Jonathan Broxton (Dodgers): Royals – 1 year, $4.5 million
46. Ryan Ludwick (Pirates)
47. Matt Capps (Twins): Twins – 1 year, $4.75 million
48. Ramon Hernandez (Reds): Rockies – 2 years, $6.4 million
49. Mark Ellis (Rockies): Dodgers – 2 years, $8.75 million
50. Freddy Garcia (Yankees): Yankees – 1 year, $4 million
51. Wilson Betemit (Tigers)
52. Darren Oliver (Rangers)
53. Frank Francisco (Blue Jays): Mets – 2 years, $12 million
54. Juan Rivera (Dodgers): Dodgers – 1 year, $4.5 million
55. Chris Capuano (Mets): Dodgers – 2 years, $10 million
56. Hideki Matsui (Athletics)
57. Brad Lidge (Phillies)
58. J.D. Drew (Red Sox)
59. Ramon Santiago (Tigers): Tigers – 2 years, $4 million
60. Juan Pierre (White Sox)
61. Chien-Ming Wang (Nationals): Nationals – 1 year, $4 million
62. Alex Gonzalez (Braves): Brewers
63. Ryan Doumit (Pirates): Twins – 1 year, $3 million
64. Jim Thome (Indians): Phillies – 1 year, $1.25 million
65. Kerry Wood (Cubs)
66. Rich Harden (Athletics)
67. Casey Blake (Dodgers)
68. Octavio Dotel (Cardinals): Tigers – 1 year, $3.5 million
69. Magglio Ordonez (Tigers)
70. Jon Garland (Dodgers)
71. Yuniesky Betancourt (Brewers)
72. Kosuke Fukudome (Indians)
73. Jamey Carroll (Dodgers): Twins – 2 years, $6.75 million
74. Brad Penny (Tigers)
75. LaTroy Hawkins (Brewers): Angels – 1 year, $3 million
76. Rod Barajas (Dodgers): Pirates – 1 year, $4 million
77. Chad Qualls (Padres)
78. Jeff Francis (Royals)
79. Raul Ibanez (Phillies)
80. Jon Rauch (Blue Jays): Mets – 1 year, $3.5 million
81. Chris Snyder (Pirates)
82. Jonny Gomes (Nationals)
83. Takashi Saito (Brewers)
84. Jorge Posada (Yankees)
85. Mike Gonzalez (Rangers)
86. Laynce Nix (Nationals): Phillies – 2 years, $2.5 million
87. Nate McLouth (Braves): Pirates – 1 year, $1.5 million
88. Livan Hernandez (Nationals)
89. Michael Wuertz (Athletics)
90. Jason Varitek (Red Sox)
91. Jerry Hairston Jr. (Brewers): Dodgers – 2 years, $6 million
92. Andruw Jones (Yankees)
93. Fernando Rodney (Angels)
94. Jason Isringhausen (Mets)
95. Willie Bloomquist (D-backs): D-backs – 2 years, $3.8 million
96. Scott Hairston (Mets)
97. Kevin Millwood (Rockies)
98. Todd Coffey (Nationals)
99. Kelly Shoppach (Rays)
100. Ben Sheets (N/A)
101. Ronny Cedeno (Pirates)
102. Lyle Overbay (D-backs): D-backs – 1 year, $1 million
103. Juan Cruz (Rays)
104. Aaron Cook (Rockies)
105. Reed Johnson (Cubs)
106. Guillermo Mota (Giants)
107. Ivan Rodriguez (Nationals)
108. Zach Duke (D-backs)
109. Dan Wheeler (Red Sox)
110. Mark DeRosa (Giants)
111. Chris Young (Mets)
One of the more amusing things to spin out of the Super Bowl were Peyton Manning’s little Budweiser endorsements in his postgame interviews. It was hilarious, really, to see him shoehorn in references to going and cracking a crisp cool Budweiser multiple times. It was more hilarious when a Budweiser representative tweeted that Manning was not paid to do that. Of course, Manning owns an interest in alcohol distributorships so talking about The King of Beers was in his best financial interest all the same.
After that happened people asked whether or not Manning would face discipline about this from the NFL, as players are not allowed to endorse alcoholic beverages. This seemed crazy to me. I had no idea that they were actually banned from doing so. Then I realized that, huh, I can’t for the life of me remember seeing beer commercials with active athletes, so I guess maybe it’s not so crazy. Ken Rosenthal later tweeted that Major League Baseball has a similar ban in place. No alcohol endorsements for ballplayers.
I mean, I can fully anticipate why the leagues would say athletes can’t do it. Think of the children! Role models! Messages about fitness! All that jazz. I suspect a more significant reason is that the leagues and their partners — mostly Anheuser-Busch/InBev — would prefer not to allow high-profile athletes to shill for a competitor. How bad would it look for Alex Rodriguez to do spots for Arrogant Bastard Ale when there are Budweiser signs hanging in 81% of the league’s ballparks? Actually, such ads would look WONDERFUL, but you know what I mean here.
That aside, it does strike me as crazy hypocritical that the leagues can rake in as much as they do from these companies while prohibiting players from getting in on the action. If it is kids they’re worried about, how can they deny that they endorse beer to children every bit as effectively and possibly more so than any one athlete can by virtue of putting it alongside the brands that are the NFL and MLB? Personally I don’t put much stock in a think-of-the-children argument when it comes to beer — it’s everywhere already and everyone does a good job of pushing the “drink responsibly” message — but if those are the leagues’ terms, they probably need to ask themselves how much of a distinction any one athlete and the entire league endorsing this stuff really is.
That aside, sports and beer — often sponsored by active players — have a long, long history together:
And the picture at the top of this post certainly shows us that Major League Baseball has no issues whatsoever in having its players endorse Budweiser in a practical sense.
Why can’t they get paid for doing it?
Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.
Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.
As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.
This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.