Robinson Cano is aiming for one of the biggest contracts in baseball history as a free agent this winter, and it’s safe to say he’ll end up a very, very wealthy man. Still, two pieces of news today haven’t helped his cause at all.
Most will point to Dustin Pedroia’s seemingly under-market seven-year, $100 million extension with the Red Sox as a problem for Cano. Since Pedroia was already under control for 2014 and ’15, the new contract essentially amounts to a six-year extension worth $15 million per year, which is about half as much annually as Cano is going to be gunning for in a few months. Being that Pedroia is a $20 million-$25 million player right now, it seems like quite a bargain.
Personally, I don’t think Pedroia’s deal has any bearing on Cano’s situation. The two are comparable players, but their situations weren’t at all alike. The biggest factor here is that Pedroia was already under control for two more years; the Red Sox had little reason to pay him market value to get a deal done now. And regardless of whether a Pedroia extension could be worked out, the Red Sox weren’t going to be suitors for Cano this winter.
No, the potentially much bigger problem for Cano’s camp is that the Dodgers have reportedly signed Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to a seven-year, $32 million contract, likely to play second base. The Dodgers are, right now, the richest team in baseball and they presented Cano with the most attractive alternative to the Yankees in free agency this winter. Of course, they still might; the Dodgers are so loaded that they could still sign Guerrero and make a huge bid for Cano later. After all, they didn’t let the $42 million Yasiel Puig signing prevent them from taking on Carl Crawford’s contract last year. But their desire for a second baseman will hinge on how Guerrero looks these next two months. Maybe he’ll be impressive enough defensively to warrant a move back to shortstop.
There’s certainly no reason to cry for Cano. Even if he can’t play the Dodgers off the Yankees, he’ll still get $25 million per year. But his hopes of a $200 million deal may hinge on another team stepping up, and typical big spenders like the Red Sox, Rangers, Angels, Tigers and Phillies could all sit this one out.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Diamondbacks spoke with Bryce Dixon, the agent of free agent starter Johnny Cueto. However, Rosenthal notes that Cueto’s price tag is expected to exceed the Diamondbacks’ comfort level.
Cueto, 29, is one of a handful of highly touted starting pitchers in this offseason’s free agent class. He is joined by David Price and Zack Greinke, among others. Jordan Zimmermann inked a deal in the neighborhood of $110 million over five years with the Tigers on Sunday morning, which will serve as a barometer for Cueto.
Cueto finished the 2015 regular season, between the Reds and the Royals, with a 3.44 ERA and a 176/46 K/BB ratio over 212 innings. He made 13 shaky starts with the Royals, but outside of a shellacking in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, pitched well in the post-season. Cueto pitched a complete game in Game 2 of the World Series against the Mets, helping put the Royals up two games to none at the time.
As a result of switching teams during the season, Cueto was not eligible to receive a $15.8 million qualifying offer. This means that Cueto, unlike Zimmermann for example, does not come attached with draft pick compensation.
Nick Cafardo provides this interesting nugget in his Sunday notes column at the Boston Globe …
Hanley Ramirez, 1B-DH, Red Sox — There’s now talk in the front office that Dave Dombrowski is trying to move Ramirez in a deal. The Mariners, Orioles, and Angels seem to be the targets, and all three make sense.
Cafardo notes that “there are huge hurdles to cross” before a trade could happen — like how much of Hanley’s remaining salary the Red Sox would have to eat and what positions the soon-to-be 32-year-old is able to play defensively at this point in his career.
Boston’s higher-ups have asked Ramirez to learn first base and drop 20 pounds this winter. Whatever team is looking to acquire him would probably have to be comfortable with him serving primarily as a designated hitter.
Hanley is owed $68.2 million over the next three seasons and he carries a $22 million vesting option for 2019. He batted just .249/.291/.426 in 105 games this past year.
Ben Zobrist posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 126 games this summer between Oakland and Kansas City while appearing defensively at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.
His steady bat and defensive versatility make him a fit for just about every club in Major League Baseball, and the defending National League champions are among the teams in hot pursuit …
It’s a little odd to see the rebuilding Braves listed there given that Zobrist is 34 years old, but Rosenthal says the interest stems from a “desire for him to serve as [a] model for younger players” as the club prepares to open a new ballpark in 2017. Wasn’t that supposed to be Nick Markakis‘ job?
Zobrist and his agent Alan Nero are believed to be seeking a four-year deal.
Hey, the hot stove is finally generating some real fire …
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a five-year deal worth around $110 million, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
This should have a domino effect on a loaded starting pitching market. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija are just a few of the names still out there.
Zimmermann, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings this past season for the Nationals. He had a 2.66 ERA in 2014 and threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season.
Zimmermann’s free agency is tied to draft pick compensation because he rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Washington, but the Tigers finished with one of the 10-worst win-loss records in 2015 so their first-round pick in 2016 is protected. Detroit will give up its second-round pick instead.