This week’s questions and discussion…
1) What is the biggest factor causing the slow pace of free agency this winter?
Joe: Teams just don’t want to spend a lot of money on free agents that just are not that good as at first glance they may seem to be. In my opinion, a lot of this year’s free agent market has lot of question marks about their ability. Whether it is because of age, a history of injuries, having a career year or two in a row (aka short sample size), I think teams just want to be cautious with their money when committing their millions for a significant amount of years. There is never a sure thing in life and in sports a player’s career can go south in a very short period of time and I think teams just want to wait things out and see if they can get some of the current free agent class at a relative bargain.
And, of course, there is the 2018 free agent class on the horizon.
Steve: I think that they are trying to come up with the best deals that would most benefit this season, they don’t want to overpay for some of these players. Arrieta is probably asking for too many years, Darvish’s struggles in the post season may be a eye turner for some teams, and guys like Hosmer, Moustakas, and Cain are wild-cards. You could have a legit superstar, but at the same time you may have a bust. These guys will get signed, but I think teams are being cautious and some think by holding out, they may lower the asking price.
2) How much do you think teams are prioritizing next year’s free-agent class over spending this offseason?
Joe: I think this a very significant reason why some teams are not going all in on this year’s free agent class. Just to name a few… (An asterisk denotes player with opt-out clause; age in parentheses): Bryce Harper (26), Manny Machado (26),Clayton Kershaw (31)*, David Price* (33), Craig Kimbrel (30), Charlie Blackmon (32), Andrew Miller (33) and Daniel Murphy.
Compare these players to the players available this year. Which would you rather have signed to a contract for long term; for big bucks?
Steve: I wanted to say this in the previous question, but held back because of this question. It has to be in the back of their minds. They don’t want to spend too much on guys this year that may or may not produce for you in the long term, but you have a Bryce Harper in the cards next year, and that has teams really being careful on what they are doing right now. Yeah, it is playing a toll on the minds of owners and General Managers.
3) J.D. Martinez and the Red Sox seem like a perfect fit. Why hasn’t a deal happened yet, or will it?
Joe: In my answer to the first question I mentioned players who had a short sample size and that this might be scaring some teams off from committing big money to these players for a lot of years. I think Martinez fits into this cubbyhole.
In his seven year career he has two years where he has hit more than 35 HRs… 2015 when he hit 38 and 2017 when he hit 45. He has only played more than 123 games once…. 2015. And, he will be 31 in august.
I think the Red Sox are thinking which Martinez will be getting if we sign him… the 2015/2017 version or the guy who played all those other years? Plus how many years do we want to be on the hook for?
If Martinez is looking for the rumored 7-year, $210 million deal forget it he will not get that from any team.
I also don’t think the Sox are that desperate to sign someone like Martinez this year when they can get someone much better next year.
Steve: The Sox would benefit from JD Martinez, but his asking price may be too high. Up until last season, he was really just an average player, who seemingly turned into a superstar. Will he keep that up, or will he go back to being just average? I think the team that would take the chance on him would be Atlanta. They have the money, and they could use a guy like him to help bolster their chances at competing for the playoffs.
4) Which team still most needs to make a splash this hot stove season? Why?
They have lost some pitching to free agency this year and have yet to sign anyone to fill the holes.
Steve: The Cubs need pitching and need it badly. They already lost out on the Wade Davis sweepstakes, and they are likely to lose out on Arrieta as well. I think the Cubs need a quality pitcher, whether that is trading for a Chris Archer, re-signing Arietta, or taking Yu Darvish, they need to make a play, and they need to get some bullpen help, especially in the closer role. Edwards Jr is not ready, Rondon has had the role before, but isn’t going to win you a title. Cubs as of now are a division champion, but would struggle in the playoffs like they did last year.
5) Will we see another blockbuster trade this month, or are teams finally turning their attention to free agency? Either way… why?
The Cubs either need to sign some one like Yu Darvish or go out and trade for someone like Chris Archer or Gerrit Cole.
If, there will be a big blockbuster trade to come this Hot Stove season, I think it will be the Cubs making a deal for Archer or Cole.
There is also a lot of noise about the Yankees and the Astros being interested in Cole and that the Yanks are still kicking the tires on a deal for Manny Machado. So stay tuned, I think there is at least one big deal still to happen before it is all said and done for this year’s Hot Stove.
If, there is going to be a huge trade it will be with the Cubs and Chris Archer. He would be a huge asset to Chicago, and the Rays could get some quality guys, maybe an Addison Russell, a Jose Baez, or even an Albert Almora Jr. I’m not saying this will happen, but if there is a trade that will go down involving an All Star, this is it.
On this date in 2000…
Former Red Sox and White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk and the Big Red Machine’s first baseman Tony Perez are elected to the Hall of Fame.
Fisk is selected in his second year of eligibility, and the Perez who is from Cuba, makes it on his ninth try.
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