142 players became free agents last night

12 Comments

Under a recent agreement, players no longer need to file for free agency. Rather, free agency-eligible players automatically became free agents as soon as the World Series ended.  The MLBPA wasted absolutely no time last night telling us who those players are, issuing a press release while the Giants were still jumping around on the field (see the list of all the players below).  There will be others who join the list, of course, as arbitration-eligible players are non-tendered and stuff like that happens.

Teams have only a five-day exclusive negotiating period, down from the 15 days of years past, so there won’t be much time to breathe before the hot stove news starts up hot and heavy.  Lucky for you none of us here at HBT have lives, so we’ll be on the news and rumors like white on rice.  Make sure to keep an HBT window up at all times between now and, oh, February, because we’ll have the latest stuff up faster than just about anyone.

Here are the free agent-eligibles. Some of them — like Bronson Arroyo, for example — have options and may be off the list soon. Most of them, however, will be coming to a new team near you in the next several months.

Troy Glaus 1B Braves
Eric Hinske OF Braves
Derrek Lee 1B Braves
Kris Benson P Diamondbacks
Mike Hampton P Diamondbacks
Aaron Heilman P Diamondbacks
Rodrigo Lopez P Diamondbacks
Brandon Webb P Diamondbacks
Cesar Izturis SS Orioles
Julio Lugo 2B Orioles
Kevin Millwood P Orioles
Corey Patterson OF Orioles
Koji Uehara P Orioles
Ty Wigginton 1B Orioles
Mike Lowell 1B Red Sox
Victor Martinez C Red Sox
Jason Varitek C Red Sox
Xavier Nady OF Cubs
Willie Bloomquist OF Reds
Miguel Cairo 3B Reds
Jim Edmonds OF Reds
Michael Lincoln P Reds
Arthur Rhodes P Reds
Ramon Hernandez C Reds
Russ Springer P Reds
Joe Beimel P Rockies
Jorge de la Rosa P Rockies
Octavio Dotel P Rockies
Jason Giambi 1B Rockies
Melvin Mora 3B Rockies
Jay Payton OF Rockies
Freddy Garcia P White Sox
Andruw Jones OF White Sox
Paul Konerko 1B White Sox
Mark Kotsay DH White Sox
A.J. Pierzynski C White Sox
J.J. Putz P White Sox
Omar Vizquel 3B White Sox
Jeremy Bonderman P Tigers
Johnny Damon DH Tigers
Gerald Laird C Tigers
Magglio Ordonez OF Tigers
Bobby Seay P Tigers
Will Ohman P Marlins
Jorge Sosa P Marlins
Chad Tracy 3B Marlins
Geoff Blum SS Astros
Brian Moehler P Astros
Bruce Chen P Royals
Hideki Matsui DH Angels
Scot Shields P Angels
Brad Ausmus C Dodgers
Rod Barajas C Dodgers
Jay Gibbons OF Dodgers
Reed Johnson OF Dodgers
Hiroki Kuroda P Dodgers
Vicente Padilla P Dodgers
Manny Ramirez OF White Sox
Jeff Weaver P Dodgers
David Bush P Brewers
Chris Capuano P Brewers
Craig Counsell SS Brewers
Jesse Crain P Twins
Randy Flores P Twins
Brian Fuentes P Twins
Matt Guerrier P Twins
Orlando Hudson 2B Twins
Ron Mahay P Twins
Carl Pavano P Twins
Nick Punto 3B Twins
Jon Rauch P Twins
Jim Thome DH Twins
Henry Blanco C Mets
Elmer Dessens P Mets
Kelvim Escobar P Mets
Pedro Feliciano P Mets
Fernando Tatis 1B Mets
Lance Berkman 1B Yankees
Derek Jeter SS Yankees
Nick Johnson 1B Yankees
Austin Kearns OF Yankees
Chad Moeller C Yankees
Andy Pettitte P Yankees
Mariano Rivera P Yankees
Marcus Thames OF Yankees
Javier Vazquez P Yankees
Kerry Wood P Yankees
Justin Duchscherer P Athletics
Ben Sheets P Athletics
Jose Contreras P Phillies
Chad Durbin P Phillies
J.C. Romero P Phillies
Mike Sweeney DH Phillies
Jayson Werth OF Phillies
Chan Ho Park P Pirates
David Eckstein 2B Padres
Jerry Hairston Jr. SS Padres
Matt Stairs OF Padres
Miguel Tejada 3B Padres
Yorvit Torrealba C Padres
Kevin Correia P Padres
Josh Bard C Mariners
Chris Woodward SS Mariners
Jamey Wright P Mariners
Pat Burrell OF Giants
Jose Guillen DH Giants
Aubrey Huff 1B Giants
Guillermo Mota P Giants
Juan Uribe SS Giants
Pedro Feliz 3B Cardinals
Jason LaRue C Cardinals
Mike MacDougal P Cardinals
Aaron Miles 2B Cardinals
Brad Penny P Cardinals
Dennys Reyes P Cardinals
Jeff Suppan P Cardinals
Jake Westbrook P Cardinals
Randy Winn OF Cardinals
Rocco Baldelli OF Rays
Grant Balfour P Rays
Joaquin Benoit P Rays
Randy Choate P Rays
Carl Crawford OF Rays
Brad Hawpe OF Rays
Gabe Kapler OF Rays
Carlos Pena 1B Rays
Chad Qualls P Rays
Rafael Soriano P Rays
Jorge Cantu 3B Rangers
Frank Francisco P Rangers
Cristian Guzman 2B Rangers
Cliff Lee P Rangers
Bengie Molina C Rangers
Matt Treanor C Rangers
John Buck C Blue Jays
Scott Downs P Blue Jays
Jason Frasor P Blue Jays
Lyle Overbay 1B Blue Jays
Miguel Batista P Nationals
Adam Dunn 1B Nationals
Willie Harris OF Nationals
Kevin Mench OF Nationals
Rick Ankiel OF Braves
Kyle Farnsworth P Braves
Alex Gonzalez SS Braves
Omar Infante 2B Braves
Adam LaRoche 1B Diamondbacks
Mark Hendrickson P Orioles
Adrian Beltre 3B Red Sox
Bill Hall OF Red Sox
Felipe Lopez 3B Red Sox
David Ortiz DH Red Sox
Aramis Ramirez 3B Cubs
Bronson Arroyo RHP Reds
Orlando Cabrera SS Reds
Aaron Harang P Reds
Jeff Francis P Rockies
Miguel Olivo C Rockies
Jhonny Peralta 3B Tigers
Scott Podsednik OF Dodgers
Doug Davis P Brewers
Trevor Hoffman P Brewers
Gregg Zaun C Brewers
Jose Reyes SS Mets
Eric Chavez DH Athletics
Coco Crisp OF Athletics
Mark Ellis 2B Athletics
Jon Garland P Padres
Chris Young P Padres
Erik Bedard P Mariners
Russell Branyan 1B Mariners
Edgar Renteria SS Giants
Dan Wheeler P Rays
Vladimir Guerrero DH Rangers
Kevin Gregg P Blue Jays
Adam Kennedy 2B Nationals

The Braves are not just a baseball team. They’re a real estate company too.

Getty Images
Leave a comment

I’ve taken the Braves to task quite a bit in this space lately. This post and then, later, this post got a lot of attention, both from Braves fans who agree and nod their head and those who disagree and think I’m an overly cynical bad fan or whatever.

I don’t think I’m a bad fan or that I’m cynical. I just look at the facts on the ground and draw conclusions from them. The overarching fact that seems to matter here — separate and apart from any individual move or non-move the Braves front office makes — is that the Braves, as an organization, have interests other than winning baseball games and those interests, in turn, cannot help but impact the Braves’ approach to winning baseball games.

Interests like real estate. As the Cobb Business Journal reported yesterday, the Braves are involved in a complex bond transaction, the details of which bore me, but the upshot of which is that the Braves are building office towers:

The Development Authority of Cobb County signed off on a necessary step for the Braves to get the loan on Tuesday . . . Jonathan Smith, deputy general counsel for the Braves, said at Tuesday’s meeting that the project will span about four acres owned by the Braves. About half the land is being leased by Thyssenkrupp for the R&D tower, which the German conglomerate will own.

The other half will house the office building, which the Braves are building and will own, according to Smith. Half the office building is being leased to Thyssenkrupp, Smith said, and the other half is being leased to other companies, though no tenants have been announced yet.

This is all part of the Battery complex which surrounds SunTrust Park and in which the Braves — through a vehicle called Braves Development Company — have a substantial interest. When you appreciate the magnitude of that development and the sort of revenue the Braves are realizing from it now and will realize in the future, it’s hard not to conclude that the Braves did not get SunTrust Park built for them simply or even primarily to become a more competitive baseball team. They got it built for them so that they can become a real estate development company that happens to have a baseball team as one of its many components.

And don’t think that that the relationship between the development and the ball club is some weak and attenuated thing. Check out the Braves’ org chart, as set forth on MLB.com, with my highlight added:

Whatever the legal relationship is between Braves Development Company and the baseball team, both entities answer to Terry McGuirk, apparently on equal footing based on the titles of the people who run them. As such, when McGuirk says, as he did last week, that he “couldn’t be more optimistic” about the Atlanta Braves, it makes one wonder if he means the baseball team or the overall venture, only one part of which is concerned with baseball. Indeed, one of his answers to the question about why all the increased revenues aren’t being plowed into the team was “it costs a lot to build this edifice.” That answer was likely more literal than most people understood.

Sure, the Braves want to win — I truly believe them when they say they want to — but achieving that desire is far less critical to the Braves, financially speaking, than it would be if they did not have office towers to build, own and lease out with favorable tax treatment and other governmental assistance. The hit from missing the playoffs, for example, is a drop in the bucket compared to what it might’ve been back when they played in Turner Field or Fulton County Stadium. At the same time, money that is realized by the Braves, their real estate ventures, or both, can be used in any number of ways. Maybe the baseball team is the priority sometimes. Maybe it’s not.

Observing that does not make one cynical. The Braves are a baseball team with real estate interests. Or maybe they’re a real estate company with baseball interests. The proper way to characterize that depends on a lot of stuff about their financials and their priorities the Braves are likely unwilling to share with us, but it’s a simple fact that they have priorities that have little if anything to do with baseball. It’s fair game, then, to question the organization’s priorities when scrutinizing the baseball decisions they make.