Just as we expected, the post-Tanaka market for pitchers is moving quickly. Garza landing with the Brewers is a interesting turn of events though. Milwaukee looks like a better team with Garza but it is still really hard to see them competing in the NL Central, so I'm having trouble seeing how he fits into anything that could be described as a plan for the Brewers. The deal also highlights another trend in free agent signings; the increased importance of options. The reason this deal was announced, then denied, then completed with slight variation appears to be a number of wrinkles in the contract that could push the $50 million price tag up to $67 million with options. Between the opt-out options for Tanaka and Kershaw and Garza's incentives, it seems that teams are looking ways to add value to deals outside the bottom line of years and money more and more these days.
Of course, he is. Tanaka is off the market and Garza has reset the pricing model so everything should move quickly for players like Santana and Ubaldo JImenez now. It will be interesting to see how much the compensation pick hurts those two, however.
The Cuban pitcher is the newest international free agent on the market after being cleared by the U.S. government along with his countryman, catcher Yenier Bello. The heavy restrictions now placed on draft bonuses and international amateur signings have created a booming market for international free agents and Despaigne and Bello should benefit from that. Neither player appears to have star potential, but catchers and starting pitchers are always in demand and the lack of other open markets for unsigned players adds to fuel to the fire. After seeing some potential stars get huge deals, these two players should give us an idea of what the market looks like for the middle tier of international talent.
Despite the losing season, there was plenty to like about the work Robin Ventura did in Chicago last year. He appears to have the respect of his players and he is doesn't generate the kind of controversy White Sox former-manager Ozzie Guillen used to. Chicago is trying to rebuild quickly and having Ventura locked in at the helm makes perfect sense for them.
Though he won't create the same kind of market-stopping bidding war that Tanaka did, Korean ace Suk-min Yoon is a free agent worth watching as the winter draws to a close. The success of Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu last year should help Yoon and he looks like a solid MLB-ready arm without draft compensation attached. Those two factors could make him very appealing to teams like the Twins and Cubs, who may not want to sacrifice a draft pick this offseason.
There are few surprises at the top of MLB.com's top 100 list. Byron Buxton of the Twins is ranked the number-one prospect in the game, just ahead of Boston's Xander Bogaerts. Along with number-four Miguel Sano, Buxton promises a bright future for the Twins. Among the other teams that fair well here are the Astros, who have seven top prospects on the list, the Red Sox who have nine, the Cubs with seven and the Pirates with six.
Alex Rodriguez donned a sombero and a guitar to sit in with a mariachi band in Cancun, as reported by bustedcoverage.com. Is there something in this man's brain that keeps him from understanding how ridiculous certain things make him look? Get this guy a CAT scan, someone, please.
As entertaining has it might be to have one of the biggest stars in the game singing cowboy ballads in Spanish, I'm hoping this isn't his plan for the offseason. If there is one way that A-Rod could make the people of New York hate him even more, it would be intruding on their morning commute to sing a spirited version of La cucaracha on the 7 train.
Actually, maybe I would like to see that. It would be better than bucket drummers at least.
Is the current market over valuing international free agents or is it just that a number extremely talented players have all landed at the same time? Or is it both?
Where does Ervin Santana end up signing?
What is your favorite A-Rod suspended-season employment option?
Discuss if you dare!