Placido Polanco “90 Percent” Retired, Open To Coaching

Placido Polanco didn’t play in the Majors or Minors in 2014, and the 39-year-old infielder tells Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald that he considers himself to be “90 percent” retired at this stage. However, Polanco did say he’s leaving a door open in case the right situation arises. He listed the Tigers, Phillies and Marlins — the final three teams for which he played — as possibilities.

Polanco said he’s satisfied with the body of work he put together in his 16-year career, however he’s also disappointed to not have won a World Series despite coming close on multiple occasions. Polanco speculated that perhaps, in the future, he could achieve that goal as a coach or manager, noting that he’s accumulated a wealth of baseball knowledge. He feels he could help younger Latin American players learn how to handle both good and bad situations and teach discipline to a new generation of players.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Polanco moved to the United States and attended high school in Miami before being selected as a 19th-round pick by the 1994 Cardinals. He debuted with St. Louis in 1998 and soon emerged as a regular in their infield. Over the course of his 16-year career, Polanco appeared with the Cardinals, Tigers, Phillies and Marlins, compiling a very nice .297/.343/.397 batting line. He made two All-Star appearances, won a Gold Glove at both second base and third base, and took home a Silver Slugger with the 2007 Tigers. Polanco earned nearly $52MM in salary over the life of his days as a big leaguer, according to Baseball-Reference.


Dodgers Willing To Pay Half Of Ethier’s Contract In Trade

The Dodgers’ expensive outfield logjam was a well-known issue entering the offseason, and while the team’s new-look front office has already unloaded Matt Kemp in a trade with the Padres, Andre Ethier remains in Los Angeles. Ethier has voiced an openness to a trade so that the he can receive regular at-bats with another club, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is now reporting that the Dodgers are willing to pay as much as half of the $56MM remaining on Ethier’s contract to facilitate a deal.

Ethier, 33 in early April, is entering the third season of a five-year, $85MM extension signed with the club back in 2012. However, his role with the Dodgers has diminished greatly in recent years as his offensive production has tailed off. Ethier has never hit left-handed pitching particularly well, but his production versus southpaws has tailed off even further since 2012, and his numbers against righties declined in 2014 as well.

Last season, Ethier batted .249/.322/.370 overall and a marginally better .253/.325/.385 against opposite-handed pitching. He’s stated in the past the difficulty that he’s had transitioning to a part-time role, and it’s certainly possible that there’s something to that theory after having been an everyday player for much of his career prior to 2014. However, testing that theory out is an expensive proposition — particularly at a stage of the offseason when most potential trade partners have already exhausted their budget.

Nonetheless, a return to form at the plate for Ethier would make him worth that ~$9MM annual value; from 2008-13, Ethier’s OPS+ never dipped below 121. In that time, he batted a healthy .286/.363/471, averaging 20 homers per season in a pitcher-friendly home park. While he’s at an age when many hitters do begin to decline, the thought of him enjoying another few productive seasons is far from outlandish. He’s not likely to contribute a significant amount of defensive value, but a team with a corner outfield need could make some sense, particularly one in the American League.

Heyman notes that the Orioles have had discussions with the Dodgers about Ethier — we last mentioned those talks in early January — and he lists the Blue Jays as a fit on paper (though Toronto’s financial limitations have been an oft-discussed storyline this winter). I’d also point out that the Rangers have done little to address their left field situation this offseason, making them a match on paper as well.

The Dodgers project to enter the season with Carl Crawford, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig in their outfield (assuming Pederson performs well this spring), and they also have Scott Van Slyke and Chris Heisey on the 40-man roster.


2015 Draft Pool Changes By Team

Last week, Baseball America’s John Manuel reported an 8.77 percent increase among draft pool allotments from 2014. That change was highly significant, as the draft pools only rose by a combined 1.7 percent from 2013 to 2014. Thanks to the data provided by BA, we’re able to look and see which clubs will see the largest increase and largest decline from their 2014 pools.

Draft Pool Changes

2015 draft pool gains and losses

As you can see, the D-Backs, who selected 16th overall in 2014 but will have the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, saw the largest increase, adding more than $6MM to their allotment by virtue of their improved draft status. Meanwhile, the Mets, who forfeited their top pick — one of the highest unprotected picks in this year’s draft — in order to sign Michael Cuddyer to a two-year contract, won’t select until No. 53 overall and, as such, have the lowest pool among teams in this year’s draft.

The Astros possess the largest pool of all, which shouldn’t be surprising, considering the fact that they have the No. 2 and No. 5 overall selections based on their failure to sign 2014 No. 1 pick Brady Aiken and their poor record this past season. Houston also acquired a Competitive Balance Round A pick (No. 37 overall) from the Marlins in last summer’s Jarred Cosart trade, which explains in large part why the Marlins’ own draft pool is the most shrunken in all of baseball. Miami dropped from the No. 2 overall slot to the No. 12 overall pick in this year’s draft as well, and they also had a supplemental third-round pick in 2014 for failing to sign 2013 third-rounder Ben DeLuzio, which they of course do not have in 2015. As such, their $7.4MM free-fall isn’t exactly surprising.

In addition to the previously mentioned Mets, other clubs that signed players who rejected qualifying offers all saw decreases in their bonus pools as well. The White Sox (David Robertson and Melky Cabrera) saw a decrease of $4.16MM, the Blue Jays (Russell Martin) dropped by $4MM, the Mariners (Nelson Cruz) fell by $2.58MM, the Nationals (Max Scherzer) lost $1.17MM and the Padres saw a $921K decrease after signing James Shields.

Toronto’s $4MM drop may seem steep since they did receive a comp pick in exchange for Cabrera signing with the White Sox, but the Blue Jays do not pick until 29th overall this season after selecting ninth and 11th in 2014. (Toronto had an extra first-round pick after not signing 2013 first-rounder Phil Bickford.)

Another team whose change is perhaps surprising at first is the Red Sox, who forfeited a pair of picks to sign both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez but saw just a $150K decrease. However, it must also be noted that Boston leaped from 26th overall coming off a World Series to a protected pick — No. 7 overall — after their surprising fall to last place in the AL East. Likewise, the Twins signed Ervin Santana despite a qualifying offer and saw just a $137K drop. Minnesota’s top pick, too, was protected, so the Twins instead forfeited their second-round pick to land Santana. They also picked up a Competitive Balance Round B pick in this year’s Competitive Balance Lottery after not having a Comp Balance pick in 2014.

The only other players to reject qualifying offers last year were Victor Martinez and Francisco Liriano, both of whom re-signed with their previous teams anyhow. As for the rest of the teams to gain picks from qualifying offers, the Rockies ($5.6MM), Orioles ($5.5MM), Yankees ($4.7MM), Braves ($3.8MM), Tigers ($2.2MM), Dodgers ($2MM) and Giants ($1.6MM) each saw increases. The Royals, despite gaining a pick for the loss of Shields, still saw a $1.4MM dip, though that was due to dropping from 17th to 21st in the draft order and also missing out on a Comp Balance pick in this year’s lottery.



Latest On Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton‘s fate is in the hands of an arbitrator, report Bill Shaikin and Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times, after a four-person panel was unable to come to an agreement on the course of treatment after the outfielder’s recent relapse with substance abuse. The panel, made up of a league-appointed doctor, a league-appointed lawyer, an MLBPA-appointed doctor and an MLBPA-appointed lawyer, split their vote down the middle, per the L.A. Time duo. As such, an arbitrator will break the tie.

As MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez wrote earlier today, Hamilton was on the Rays’ 40-man roster for his first violation, so he is considered a multiple offender. (The Times duo notes that it is unclear how many of the “at least six drug tests” failed by Hamilton when with the Rays occurred whilst on the 40-man roster.) A first-time offender could be suspended for 15-25 games, a second-time offender for 25-50, a third-time offender for 50-75 and a fourth-time offender for a full season.

Per DiGiovanna and Shaikin, MLB is deciding whether or not to rule Hamilton as a fourth-time offender. That would mean that Hamilton could miss a whole season and forfeit the entirety of his $25MM salary. However, If Hamilton is ruled to enter a rehabilitation program, he’ll earn his full salary for 30 days and half his salary for the following 30 days, per the Times. That would come out to a bit less than $6.2MM.

Commissioner Rob Manfred would have final say on the length of any suspension for Hamilton. MLBPA executive director Tony Clark told both Gonzalez and the L.A. Times pairing that it is the Union’s “responsibility to protect the player and his rights in the process.” However, Clark voiced far more concern for Hamilton as a person than as a baseball player. “What I hope for is support for Josh. There are always baseball concerns. There are, more importantly, life concerns. We have protocols in place to handle the baseball-related issues. But I’m hopeful that anyone in the baseball family who finds himself in a tough spot gets support as a person beyond baseball.”


Rays, Jim Miller Agree To Minor League Deal

The Rays and right-hander Jim Miller have agreed to a minor league contact with an invitation to Spring Training, MLBTR has learned (Twitter links). Miller’s deal is pending a physical.

The 32-year-old Miller, a former eighth-round pick of the Rockies (2004), has appeared in the Majors in each of the past four seasons. Most of that work came in a 48 2/3 inning stint with the 2012 A’s, when he worked to a 2.59 ERA with 44 strikeouts against 27 walks. In parts of five seasons at the big league level, Miller has a 3.48 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 5.2 BB/9 and a 33.5 percent ground-ball rate. He’s averaged just under 93 mph on his fastball in his 67 1/3 Major League innings and has a solid 3.78 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 429 Triple-A innings. Miller is a client of agent Joshua Kusnick, as can be seen in MLBTR’s Agency Database.


Street, Angels To Exchange Offers Soon

Angels closer Huston Street is expected to swap formal offers with GM Jerry Dipoto in short order, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. The Halos have already held exploratory discussions with the 31-year-old, who, as Gonzalez writes, is one of the rare big league players to take on his own representation. (Street discusses his decision to represent himself within Gonzalez’s article.)

As Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register wrote earlier this week, Street and the Angels have talked over the winter but took a break when pitchers reported to Spring Training. Street’s plainly stated to the media that he feels a new, four-year deal in the $36-46MM range (the respective deals given to Andrew Miller and David Robertson this winter) would be fair. Street is eyeing a deal that would override his 2015 salary, meaning he’s seeking three new years.

Per Fletcher, the Angels are only about $15MM away from the luxury tax threshold, so a new deal for Street will certainly come with financial implications. He’s earning $7MM right now, but a four-year deal in the $40MM range would mean an additional $3MM or so going against the luxury tax barrier, as the luxury tax is calculated based on the average annual value of contracts. Of course, the Angels could have some additional leeway in that area in the event of a suspension of Josh Hamilton.

Gonzalez writes that Street will not let negotiations drag into the regular season unless the two sides are merely hashing out the final details, so it seems likely that we’ll soon know one way or another whether Street will be remaining in Anaheim long-term or testing the waters of the open market next winter.


NL East Notes: Braves, Minor, Peraza, Marlins

ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark recently took a look in at an interesting Braves camp. With so much roster turnover, stars Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman each split the cost of t-shirts with “Hi, my name is” labels to help the new teammates get acquainted. Both Kimbrel and Freeman also emphasized that they had no problems with the team’s offseason shuffling and still believed Atlanta would be competitive. Nevertheless, Kimbrel acknowledges the possibility that circumstances could change. “I made a commitment with the organization that I wanted to be here in Atlanta,” he said. “And them not trading me this offseason shows that they want me here as well. But you know, it is a business, so at any time, that can change. I think, as a player, anyone understands that aspect of the game. … So when moves are made, they may not always be what you like. But it may be what’s best for the team that you’re on at the time.”

Here’s more from the NL East:

  • The Braves have scratched lefty Mike Minor from his first scheduled spring outing because he is experiencing tightness in his left shoulder, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). According to Bowman, this likely means that Minor will not be ready to take a rotation spot to open the year, as the club will look to avoid another season of ongoing shoulder troubles. The 27-year-old, a key component of the team’s turnaround efforts, is earning $5.6MM this year after defeating Atlanta in arbitration. He comes with two additional seasons of control through arbitration.
  • Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez says that he hopes to “convince some people in the front office” to break camp with top prospect Jose Peraza on the roster, as Bowman reports. While his comment was made somewhat in jest, he did note that the coaching staff is split as to whether the speedy 21-year-old is ready for the bigs. Even if he is ready, that may not be enough to sway new president of baseball operations John Hart and top lieutenant John Coppolella. After all, Atlanta has brought in a good number of veteran options to fill out its infield and will surely be loath to sacrifice a year of control given the organization’s current priorities.
  • The Marlins‘ best offer to James Shields was for three years and $50MM with a vesting option, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Miami “badly wanted Shields,” says Heyman, but the failure to land him (or fellow free agent target Francisco Rodriguez) has not dampened the enthusiasm of recently-extended superstar Giancarlo Stanton over the team’s busy offseason.

AL West Notes: Hernandez, Andrus, Crisp, Athletics

Astros righty Roberto Hernandez has finally received his visa an is set to report to spring camp for a physical, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart tweets. Hernandez has a bit of catching up to do if he hopes to make the roster after inking a minor league deal earlier in the offseason.

Here are some notes from the AL West:

  • A rough 2014 season for Elvis Andrus of the Rangers has left some looking askance at his eight-year, $120MM extension, which officially kicks in this season. As the Associated Press reports (via ESPN.com), Andrus says that he is ready for a better campaign after reporting out of shape last year. “This year I took it a thousand times [more] seriously than I did the year before,” he said. “… That was an offseason that I hope never happens again. In spring training I wasn’t ready.” A turnaround from Andrus would go a long way toward restoring the once-promising trajectory of the Rangers, to say nothing of his own. It would also increase his appeal as a trade chip, though Texas no longer has quite the middle infield logjam it once did.
  • Coco Crisp is set to play left field this year for the Athletics, manager Bob Melvin tells reporters including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). That shift, which was occasioned by a desire to protect the team’s investment in Crisp by reducing the toll on his body, will result in Craig Gentry and Sam Fuld platooning in center. In turn, that probably also puts an end to the notion that Oakland could look to acquire a second baseman and move Ben Zobrist to the outfield.
  • While it is hard to deny (and not entirely surprising) that the Athletics got less back for Jeff Samardzija than they gave to acquire him (along with Jason Hammel), the team feels good about the young players that it picked up from the White Sox, MLB.com’s Phil Rogers writes“Look, both of those deals are difficult,” said assistant GM David Forst. “You never like trading a guy like Addison [Russell], but Jeff and Jason filled a particular need for us at that time. Then to turn around and lose Jason and feel like trading Jeff is the best option is never an easy decision to make. Jeff is a guy who has his best years ahead of him still. He’s right at the age you want to get a pitcher. He knows his game. His stuff is without question. It was not an easy decision to make. It was part of the balancing act we are forced to make.”

MLBTR Live Chat

Click here to join this week’s live chat, hosted by MLBTR’s Steve Adams.


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Offseason In Review: Baltimore Orioles

Front office controversy generated more headlines in Baltimore than any of the Orioles’ winter moves, as the team had one of the quieter offseasons of any contending team.  The O’s will rely on some lower-profile transactions and a return to form from injured stars as they look to defend their AL East crown.

Major League Signings

Notable Minor League Signings

Trades And Claims

Extensions

  • None

Notable Losses

Needs Addressed

Several of the Orioles’ most notable offseason moves were completed before October was even finished.  Exercising 2015 options for Wei-Yin Chen and Darren O’Day were virtual no-brainers given how well both men pitched last year, and the O’s kept J.J. Hardy off the free agent market by signing him to a three-year extension before their postseason run was even over.

The outfield and DH spots became major needs for the O’s once Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis signed elsewhere.  The team explored signing or trading for several candidates to fill those spots, ranging from big-name everyday options as Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Marlon Byrd, Michael Morse and Colby Rasmus, to players better suited for a platoon role, i.e. Jonny Gomes or Chris Denorfia.MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles

In the end, the Orioles brought back a familiar face in Delmon Young and acquired an intriguing piece in ex-Pirates outfielder Travis Snider.  Young hit well (.302/.337/.442 over 255 plate appearances) in a part-time role for the O’s last season and he can play either corner outfield spot, though defensive metrics suggest he’s a better fit for a DH spot.  Snider was rated as one of baseball’s top-10 prospects in his days as a Blue Jays minor leaguer, though he never gained a solid foothold in the majors until he posted a .776 OPS over 359 PA for the Pirates last season.  Snider is still just 27 and comes with two years of team control, so a breakout isn’t out of the question, and at worst the O’s should have a solid lefty bat.

Overall, manager Buck Showalter has lots of opportunity to mix and match his lineup when it comes to his corner outfield and DH positions.  He has Snider, David Lough and Alejandro De Aza as left-handed bats and Young and Steve Pearce hitting from the right side.  Pearce is the best bet for regular playing time given his huge 2014 numbers, though the O’s have given themselves some depth should Pearce come back down to earth.

Though Wesley Wright is much more of a lefty specialist than a dominant bullpen southpaw like Andrew Miller, Wright’s signing will help fill the left-handed hole left by Miller in the Orioles’ bullpen.  There was speculation that Wright’s signing could have also been made to account for a possible trade of Brian Matusz, though since no move materialized, Baltimore will go into the year with significant left-handed relief depth in Wright, Matusz, T.J. McFarland and closer Zach Britton.  Before landing Wright, the O’s also looked into acquiring Antonio Bastardo from the Phillies before he was traded to the Pirates.

While Matt Wieters is expected to be recovered from the Tommy John surgery that cost him all but 26 games of the 2014 season, Baltimore added to its catching depth beyond Steve Clevenger and Caleb Joseph by signing J.P. Arencibia and Ryan Lavarnway to minor league deals.  (Michael Ohlman was also in the mix before being dealt to the Cardinals.)  Wieters is an important name to watch; not only will his health be a key factor in the Orioles’ success, but he’s also entering the final year of his contract.  A big year will make Wieters one of the top names in the 2015-16 free agent class, so his future in Baltimore will be one of the team’s major ongoing storylines.

MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected that the Orioles would spend $56.9MM to cover the contracts for their whopping 11-player arbitration class.  The total ended up being $57.515MM, which included winning a hearing against Alejandro De Aza.

Questions Remaining

The general feeling going into the offseason was that of the Orioles’ three biggest free agents, Miller was sure to leave, Cruz was 50-50 and Markakis was leaning towards re-signing.  As it turned out, all three players departed, leaving the O’s with a particular need for lineup reinforcements.

As ESPN’s Jayson Stark recently pointed out, those reinforcements could already be on the roster if Wieters, Manny Machado and Chris Davis are all healthy and productive.  Relying on those three, however, is no sure thing.  Wieters was already in need of a rebound after a sub-par 2013 season, Machado has now undergone two knee surgeries in as many years and it’s hard to know what to expect from Davis, who went from a 53-homer year in 2013 to being barely above replacement level (0.5 fWAR) in a 2014 season plagued by injuries and a suspension for using Adderall.

It remains to be seen if the platooning rotation at LF/RF/DH can work, as a lot rides on whether Pearce, Young and Snider can continue to hit as well as they did in 2014 rather than struggle as they have in previous seasons.  An everyday option like Upton or Byrd would’ve provided more stability, though the Orioles were leery of parting with any significant minor leaguers.  In my opinion, this is where you can second-guess Baltimore’s decision to deal Eduardo Rodriguez for Miller at the trade deadline.  While Miller undoubtedly helped the O’s win the East, a top-60 prospect was a stiff price to pay for two-plus months of a relief pitcher, and Rodriguez could’ve perhaps been better served as trade bait for a bigger roster piece this offseason.

It seemed as if the Orioles were constantly on the verge of a major move this winter, as in addition to being linked to those notable outfielders and Bastardo, there were also rumors of a Chen-for-Howie Kendrick trade with the Angels.  Chen and Bud Norris drew some trade interest, though the Orioles decided to hang onto their starting pitching depth; a wise move in my view given how Ubaldo Jimenez struggled last year.

The biggest development of the Orioles’ offseason (and one that could have ramifications for seasons to come) was the Blue Jays’ pursuit of Dan Duquette to be their new team president and CEO.  After roughly six weeks of speculation and negotiations between the two clubs, talks finally ended with the Jays walking away due to Baltimore’s demand for multiple top prospects as compensation for Duquette’s services.

The relationship between Duquette and the Orioles was thought to be as solid as could be, given the team’s two postseason appearances in Duquette’s three seasons as the executive VP of baseball operations and the fact that Duquette had signed an extension that keeps him with the O’s through the 2018 campaign.  After this winter, however, questions have to be asked about Duquette’s long-term future in Baltimore, especially given how owner Peter Angelos was reportedly very upset about the situation.  For now, it’s a situation to keep an eye on.

Deal Of Note

Since being named to the 2013 All-Star team, Everth Cabrera‘s career has taken a turn for the worse both on and off the field.  Cabrera served a 50-game suspension for PED use, posted only a .572 OPS over 391 PA last season and is facing charges for resisting arrest stemming from a suspected DUI last September.

Given all of these recent troubles, it’s no surprise that the Padres non-tendered Cabrera last December.  That said, if Cabrera can put his troubles behind him, then he could be yet another unheralded Duquette signing that pays big dividends for the Orioles.  Cabrera is controllable through the 2016 season and he still has a minor league option remaining, making his one-year, $2.4MM contract even less of a risk for the team.  He’s seen time all around the diamond during Spring Training camp, so the O’s could employ him as a switch-hitting supersub, or they could focus on him as a backup or even a platoon mate for Jonathan Schoop at second base.

Overview

While some fans and pundits think the Orioles’ quiet offseason will lead to a step back in the AL East, it’s worth noting that Duquette’s three previous offseasons running the Orioles were also not particularly newsworthy on paper.  It was only in hindsight that some of those under-the-radar moves stood out, ranging from claiming O’Day off waivers or getting good contributions from Jason Hammel or Nate McLouth, to the admittedly more notable steal of Cruz’s 40-homer season on only a one-year, $8MM contract.

In those past offseasons, however, Duquette’s strategy was to tinker around an already-solid core of players.  This is the first time Orioles have had to deal with some major losses to that core, as Cruz immediately became a key part of the lineup and Markakis had been a staple for years.  That said, the club still has Adam Jones, Hardy, the returning trio of injured stars, an underrated bullpen led by Britton and a solid starting rotation that could get a boost if Kevin Gausman takes a step forward or if Jimenez gets back on track.

While winning the division by 12 games again may be a stretch, it isn’t hard to see the Orioles in playoff contention again.  The pressure is on, however — with a whopping 12 players set to hit free agency next winter, this may be this roster’s last chance at a pennant before some inevitable reshuffling for 2016.

Photo courtesy of Joy R. Absalon/USA Today Sports Images


Octagon Adds Agents Jay Alou, Brian Mejia, Ulises Cabrera

Octagon Baseball has added a trio of veteran MLB agents with extensive experience in the Dominican Republic, the agency announced. Jay Alou Jr., Brian Mejia, and Ulises Cabrera will join a group led by Alan Nero.

The already-impressive Octagon client list will now feature some notable additional names. Between them, the newly-added agents will bring clients such as Jose Bautista, Ervin Santana, Carlos Martinez, and Yasmany Tomas into the fold. Those players will bolster an international presence that is fronted by Felix Hernandez and also includes Jose Altuve, Victor Martinez, and (most recently) Jung-ho Kang.


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2014-15 Free Agent Market: Overall Spending Declines, AAV Rises

Last year, I compiled a whole lot of data on free agent spending to assess overall spending trends over the 2007-08 to 2013-14 time period. That post was the culmination of a lot of research, and includes plenty of observations about the broader period in question which I will not repeat here.

At the time, the 2013-14 spending season was not quite wrapped up. It was apparent that it would blow the prior years out of the water in most respects, and indeed that proved to be the case. After performing a complete update, the final tab is a shade over $2.043B in overall outlay.

So, how does the current (2014-15) market stack up? Though we may see a few more MLB deals, it seems a reasonable time to assess. I broke out spending by team yesterday, but that only shows us strategic choices across a single market. Now, we’ll look at the market as a whole against prior years.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the total spend has declined for the first time since the 2009-10 period. But as a glance further down the table reveals, that is almost certainly the result of the number of players available (among other factors) than it is some pull-back in spending.

2014-15 FA spending tableAs the graph shows more visually, overall spending rate increases have continued, while the total outlay this season falls in line with a general upward curve.

2014-15 FA spending graph

Here are the annual increases and decreases; as you can see, last year’s market pushed a ton of total money over the prior season, but AAV actually grew more year-over-year this time around.

2014-15 FA spending annual change

We’ll take a closer look at different classes of players (as I did with regard to the broader time period) in a separate post. But for now, take a look at the overall spending numbers isolated for multi-year contracts only. The total commitment per player and years per player both rose for those free agents who were marketable enough to secure pacts of two or more years in duration.

2014-15 FA spending multiyear table


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Minor Moves: Brandon Snyder

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Former first-round pick Brandon Snyder has inked a deal with the Atlantic League’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, the team announced. The 28-year-old has spent parts of four years in the big leagues, never taking more than 69 plate appearances in a season and compiling a .243/.287/.399 slash over 158 lifetime turns at bat. At Triple-A last year with the Red Sox, Snyder put up a .206/.284/.444 line with eight home runs in 141 plate appearances. He spent most of his professional time at first base, though he also appeared at third base in the big leagues.

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Rangers To Return Edgar Olmos To Mariners

The Rangers are reversing the team’s waiver claim on lefty Edgar Olmos in order to return him to the Mariners, Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest reports on Twitter. Olmos was claimed about ten days ago after Seattle designated him for assignment.

Olmos had been shut down upon reporting to camp with a shoulder impingement. That injury situation would appear to be the basis for Texas’s attempt to use this rare procedural mechanism.

The 24-year-old southpaw came to Seattle via a waiver claim from the Marlins. He has minimal big league experience, but had frequently been rated among the top thirty organizational prospects in Miami and dominated left-handed batters last year in the upper minors. In total, over 77 2/3 frames between Double-A and Triple-A last year, Olmos registered a 4.06 EAR with 7.0 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9.


Joel Hanrahan To Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Released By Tigers

8:01am: Detroit has released Hanrahan, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets.

7:35am: Tigers reliever Joel Hanrahan will undergo his second Tommy John procedure after failing to progress in his rehab, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). Hanrahan indicated that he is not yet sure whether he will be able to mount another comeback effort.

The 33-year-old originally had his UCL replaced in May of 2013. He signed with Detroit last year in hopes of returning to the bigs, and re-signed with the club on a minor league deal this season to continue his rehab. He has yet to throw a competitive pitch for the organization.

Hanrahan had looked like a nice bounceback option for a team that has struggled to achieve consistent results from its relief corps, but reports yesterday indicated that he was experiencing problems with his elbow again after already taking additional time to deal with a lack of rehab progress. His most recent consultation appears to have set the course.

During his time with the Pirates over the 2009-12 seasons, Hanrahan was good for 229 1/3 innings of 2.59 ERA ball, logging 10.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 229 1/3 innings. That led to a trade to the Red Sox in advance of 2013, Hanrahan’s final season of arbitration eligibility, but things turned south quickly in Boston as poor results were followed in short order by the season-ending surgery.