Scott Boras was able to land Prince Fielder a massive contract, but two of his other clients, Ryan Madson and Edwin Jackson, ended up settling for one-year deals well below what they were expecting when the offseason began.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com writes that “there’s a lot of buzz in baseball circles that Madson might be on the verge of shopping for a new agent in the aftermath of a bad negotiating experience this offseason.”
Madson, however, said today that he’s sticking with Boras:
I’m still with Scott and I plan on being with Scott for the foreseeable future. Everything is the same. That’s the way the business part of the game works. You can hear one story from one person and that’s the truth, then a different story from somebody else and that could be true. It’s a group of people making decisions, and you’re not going to pin it down unless you get the whole group together.
Boras claimed that the Phillies did Madson wrong by pulling what he believed was a four-year, $44 million offer made early in the offseason, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insists it never reached the acceptance stage. Philadelphia then signed Jonathan Papelbon for $50 million and Madson settled for a one-year, $8.5 million deal from the Reds.
It’s probably misleading to say that cost him $35 million, because if healthy Madson will be able to land another sizable deal next offseason, but no one could blame him for being disappointed with how things went. And if Boras is going to be lavished with praise for the Fielder signing, the flipside should be true when it comes to Madson and Jackson.
Jim Johnson enjoyed some success out of the Braves’ bullpen this season until a midseason trade to the Dodgers and Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that he has returned to Atlanta on a one-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved.
After an awful 2014 between the Athletics and Tigers, Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Braves last winter and bounced back to the tune of a 2.25 ERA and 33/14 K/BB ratio over 48 innings. He also saved nine games. However, things went south for him after a trade to the Dodgers in Los Angeles, as he put up an ugly 10.13 ERA in 23 appearances. He was left off the team’s roster for the NLDS against the Mets.
It’s unclear what role the Braves have in mind for Johnson, as Arodys Vizcaino finished the season as the closer, but they have made upgrading their bullpen a priority this winter.
This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:
In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.
Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.
That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?
That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.
Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.
After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.
Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.
Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.
It’s a pretty slow offseason so far. We’ve had a couple of minor signings. I guess Jordan Zimmermann is sort of a big deal. But it’s a lot more quiet so far this year than it was this time last year. I suppose there’s no real rhyme nor reason for it. Baseball offseason is long, there is no salary cap and thus there’s no rush to do things too quickly.
So, while we wait, here’s Andrew McCutchen doing his best to kill time until spring training starts: