Monday, November 28, 2011

Name dropping

I've been wondering why there has been so little interest in the big-name free agents this off-season. After all, there are some seriously big names in the pool. Albert Pujols is arguably the greatest right-handed hitter of all time, and he's hardly managed a sniff. Prince Fielder, all of 27, is every bit as good as fellow first basemen Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira and Adrián González, all who have signed mega-deals in the last few years. I suppose that might just be the problem. The big spenders have already got their 3-position locked up. The Phils have Howard until at least 2016 ($25M/yr), same for the Yanks and Teixeira ($22.5M/yr), and the Sawx have González until 2018 ($21.5M/yr). The three clubs who toss around the most money are not interested. I imagine Pujols will wind up back in St. Louis. The Dodgers were supposedly interested in Fielder, but that organization is in a mess and it seems unlikely they can think about another long-term deal until the ownership question is settled. Jimmy Rollins and José Reyes are some other big names who can't seem to generate excitement. I wonder if the poor market will continue. The new CBA is in place, and the Winter Meetings are just around the corner, so perhaps things will pick up. If not, a guy like Carlos Beltrán could be had for much less (money and years) than most expected at the end of the season. That might make the Giants pursue him a little more seriously. I get the feeling--and I certainly hope--that they are lukewarm on him until the Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum negotiations are completed. The Freak may not bother and simply let the arbitration process decide things, but I expect Cain and the Giants will work something out. In the meantime, I'm content to watch. And I'm happy that we know we will have five more years of uninterrupted baseball.



Zo said...

I think there is plenty of interest in Fielder and Pujols, I read that the Nats are interested in Fielder, and the Cardinals will match any offer for Pujols (or perhaps, any offer yet made). These are the high profile guys, so their agents want to draw the process out and create as much drama as possible. If solid offers are presented, you won't see a response until the last minute. If a counteroffer is presented, same thing. The agents are rounding up bidders right now. Beltran is interesting - as many of the middling middle infielders have been snapped up, and the superstars are being showcased to bid up interest, Beltran seems to be somewhere in between, probably waiting for the superstars to set the market.

nomisnala said...

The only thing keeping Beltran's potential salary down, is his age. And yet, outside of injuries, the giants have done well with some of their older free agent signings, ie; Bonds, on a later contract, Moises Alou, and that pesky little 39 year old shortstop we signed and went on to win a gold glove. Some younger free agents have not performed so nicely, ie; Rowand, Zito! I would be happy to have Beltran for 3 years at some salary perhaps under a total of 51 million, perhaps with an option for a 4th year. Modern athletes, barring major injuries, can often stay productive into their late 30's.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yeah, it seems the market is heating up. I suppose there was a little bit of caution when a lot of middle infielders and relievers got fairly large salaries early in the process. Hell, Pujols could command $30M/yr! And Fielder is certainly worth as Howard. The Cubs are supposedly in the hunt, and they've got money to burn. The Nats gave Jayson Werth a ridiculous contract, I wonder if they are willing to take on another one.

I like Beltrán, but $17M/yr does not seem feasible to me. (He made about $20M last year.) Cain has to get at least that much in an extension (he's signed for 2012 at $15M), and with Lincecum, Romo, Vogelsong, Sandoval, Ramirez, Casilla, and Schierholtz all arb-eligible, I don't see the team making that kind of commitment. Zito is still owed $46M through 2014, and Rowand is still getting paid ($13.6M) for 2012. The Giants have plenty of money, but they will have some sort of internal payroll cap. With $80+M already accounted for, I figure they will have $50M or so to play with, and the Freak will get at least 1/3 of that. They'd have to give another 1/3 to Beltrán.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Nice story in the Chron about Bill Bordley. I remember him very well. All of us were convinced he was going to be a star. I was still at Cal and I remember following the Bears, the Pac-10, and the CWS. USC, AZ, and ASU were powerhouse teams. A lot of talent during those years. Terry Francona was the MVP of the 1980 CWS in which Cal lost in the semis. We used to go to Evans Diamond after I left school to watch games. I remember seeing Mark McGwire when he was a Trojan in the early 80s.