Say what you want about Nelson Cruz, but he’s certainly confident:
Once again he has qualifying offer compensation attached. He’s coming off a great season, yes, but he’s a year older and in this day and age players in their mid 30s tend not to set new plateaus of performance. They may peak a bit, but doesn’t 2014 look like a peak year for him?
Still, the Orioles want him and are willing to go multiple years. Good luck to him if he think he can do better.
This sort of makes it sound like Chad Billingsley murdered someone. I’m sorry, allegedly murdered someone. And the Dbacks are the police. Which makes no sense because they fired Captain Towers and Sgt. Gibson back in September. But anyway, I do hope we talk about free agents as criminal suspects more often in the future. Instead of signings we get “apprehensions” and things like that. Hey, we’ve been “kicking the tires” for years. At least this makes them more human.
Anyway, Billingsley is probably on the Dbacks’ radar primarily because the Dbacks GM, Dave Stewart, was his agent until just before he became the Dbacks’ GM. Which makes this all an inside job, see?
Sorry. I can’t stop with this. Here’s Billingsley’s rap sheet for 2014: two starts at Rancho Cucamonga in the California League and flexor tendon surgery in June. He’s supposed to be ready for spring training, but he hasn’t committed any acts of major league baseball since 2013, and has been out of the game in a serious way since 2012. He’s probably hoping, though, that he can come back for one last big score. Because that always works.
Newest Met Michael Cuddyer met the press a few moments ago. And he revealed that he didn’t have any intention of testing the free agent market at large:
So he effectively set a 5pm-yesterday deadline on his adventures in the free agent market. The Mets or no one else. Which makes sense, because I don’t feel like there was a big market for a draft-pick-encumbered Michael Cuddyer. The Mets wanted him and got him, but not many other teams would’ve done that.
Which isn’t to hit the Mets too hard here. I know a lot of people are, but really, I can’t get too worked up about them signing him. Yes, the pick is worth a lot and yes Cuddyer is a question mark as far as his health goes. But given how baseball has worked in the past few years — given that teams like the Royals and Mariners and any number of other sub-90 win teams are in contention or actually make the playoffs — it’s not crazy for the Mets to take a gamble. Cuddyer, if healthy, can improve them. Their pitching staff can carry them a long way if things break right over the course of the season. It makes some baseball sense.
Yes, the Mets could regret this. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Astros have checked in on free agent Hanley Ramirez
I know they’re the 2017 World Series champs and everything, but I have to think that (a) the Astros aren’t yet willing to spend big for a free agent like this; and (b) Ramirez may be looking for more of a win-now situation. Also worth noting that Houston has a lot of prospects who would be blocked if Ramirez was on the team.
Of course, no one really though Robinson Cano would go to the Mariners until he did last year, so who knows?
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Padres posted the top bid for Korean left-hander Kwang-Hyun Kim.
Unlike with Japan, the posting for Korean players is still of the blind-posting, top bidder wins variety as opposed to a situation where the player can negotiate with teams. That means, if Kim’s Korean team doesn’t pull him back, he’ll belong to the Padres. The bid was $2 million and the team was seeking $10 million, so there’s no certainty Kim will play in the U.S.
As for his pitching: the 26-year-old posted a 3.33 ERA and 139/81 K/BB ratio over 167 and two-thirds innings in the KBO in 2014. He is though of as a back-end starter in the U.S.