’09 Free Agents: Injury Discounts

Last winter we saw many free agents sign at a discount following injury-plagued seasons: Milton Bradley, Randy Wolf, Kerry Wood, Jason Jennings, Matt Clement, Bartolo Colon, and Mark Prior are examples.  Let’s take a look at members of the ’09 free agent class who might be signed at similar discounts.

  • Nomar Garciaparra, IF.  Nomar has been a respectable hitter in 114 plate appearances this year.  He’s dealt with a knee sprain, calf strain, and broken hand while earning $8.5MM.
  • Orlando Hudson, 2B.  Though Hudson will miss almost two months with a broken wrist, not much of a discount is expected.  He should get more than $10MM per year.
  • Rafael Furcal, SS.  Furcal is an interesting case – easily the best available shortstop, but he only managed one torrid month before hitting the DL with a back injury.  He prefers to re-sign with the Dodgers before other teams have a shot at convincing him otherwise.
  • Hank Blalock, 1B/3B.  Blalock will hit the market if the Rangers buy out his $6.2MM option.  He’s had shoulder, hand, wrist, back, and hamstring problems this year.  He had shoulder surgery back in October of ’06.
  • Joe Crede, 3B.  He was off to a decent start, but hasn’t played since July 21st due to back stiffness.  The Boras client had back surgery in June of last year.
  • Rocco Baldelli, OF.  Baldelli’s options were declined, so he’ll be a free agent after the season.  He’s dealing with a mitochondrial disorder.
  • Frank Thomas, DH.  Thomas missed all of June and July with a quad injury, and so far hasn’t rediscovered his May form.  No word on whether he’s mulling retirement.
  • There’s a group of starters who have pitched very little this year: Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Kris Benson, Matt Clement, Jason Jennings, Mark Mulder, Carl Pavano, and Mark Prior.  These eight pitchers were paid a total of $25MM for 62 big league innings.  They’ll all be signing cheaply for ’09.
  • The injured reliever pool includes Eric Gagne, Todd Jones, Joe Borowski, and Tom Gordon.

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