Free Agent Hot Starts

Last year's free agent hot starts included Derek Lowe, Juan Cruz, and Braden Looper, so clearly we shouldn't draw conclusions on one month of the season.  Still, let's take a look at free agents off to solid starts in 2010.  It'll be interesting to look back at the end of the season and see what holds up.

  • Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks: Johnson has a .286/.393/.743 line and leads the NL with eight home runs.  We named him one of the ten best free agent signings of the offseason, and he's under team control for 2011.
  • Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers: He's at .368/.424/.513, and he even played a game in right field.
  • Marlon Byrd, Cubs: He sports a .333/.352/.548 line, plus yesterday's no-look catch.
  • Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays: He's shown more power than expected with five home runs and a .582 SLG so far.
  • Johnny Damon, Tigers: He doesn't have a home run yet, but a .430 OBP will work.
  • Scott Podsednik, Royals: He's also homerless, but has a .429 OBP on the young season.
  • Bengie Molina, Giants: Like Podsednik, he's racking up hits and it's keeping his OBP over .400.
  • Andruw Jones, White Sox: Jones has six home runs in just 61 plate appearances.  He's logged 90 innings in the outfield, too.  He's only had 51 plate appearances, but Austin Kearns deserves a nod too.
  • Miguel Olivo, Rockies: His .314/.357/.647 makes him hard to sit, and the Rockies had enough faith to demote Chris Iannetta.
  • Ivan Rodriguez, Nationals: Pudge's .400/.422/.517 start makes his much-maligned contract easier to stomach for now.
  • Livan Hernandez, Nationals: Despite a 2.9 K/9, Livan has allowed three runs in 31 innings.
  • Brad Penny, Cardinals: He's allowed only three earned runs, three walks, and zero home runs in 28.6 innings.  His newfound 53% groundball rate is promising.
  • Andy Pettitte, Yankees: He's still rolling at age 37 with four runs allowed in 28 innings.
  • Justin Duchscherer, Athletics: He missed all of '09 but has a 1.82 ERA early on in 2010.
  • Jon Garland, Padres: Like Duchscherer, the peripherals don't quite match up, but Garland has a 2.57 ERA in his first five starts.
  • Randy Wolf, Joel Pineiro, and Colby Lewis have also gotten the job done so far.
  • Matt Capps, Nationals: The Nats have created opportunities, and Capps has taken advantage by saving all ten.  The Nationals can retain him for 2011 as an arbitration-eligible player.  Plenty of other relievers are having early success, including Rafael Soriano, Kevin Gregg, and Jose Valverde.

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39 Responses to Free Agent Hot Starts Leave a Reply

  1. East Coast Bias 5 years ago

    This looks like my fantasy baseball team =/

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      people were laughing at me when i took penny as my 4th pitcher. now their begging for trades. i love it.

  2. bjsguess 5 years ago

    No love for Rodney? His 2nd inning of the season he gave up 4 runs. After that …

    10 IP / 1 Hit / 4 BBs / 8 Ks / 0.00 ERA / 5 for 5 Save Opp / 186 OPS against … yeah – you read that right – 186 OPS against.

    I know it won’t continue but please let us celebrate him before he totally implodes.

  3. Dylan 5 years ago


    • This guy slammed the Polanco signing as the worst of the off-season, so I wouldn’t expect him to eat crow. Maybe PP got one year too many, but it was still a good signing.

      • Polanco needs to have a good year to earn that ridiculous contract he received.

        • Off to a good start no? Unlike a certain LF in Queens….

          • If you think I’m some sort of delusional Mets fan, you’re trying to bark up the wrong tree. When it comes to my Mets, I’m about as pessimistic/realistic and self-deprecating as it comes.

            In regards to Bay, I didn’t like the signing at the time, don’t like it now, and won’t like it anytime in the future.

          • Way to give the guy a chance, geez….

          • I hope I’m wrong, but it wasn’t a good signing. And not only was it a bad signing, but Omar spent, apparently, all his off-season money on him.

            Unless Bay could also be a #2 starting pitcher, I don’t see how he was a worthy investment.

          • Taskmaster75 5 years ago

            If Felipe Lopez and Joe Mather can do it…….


          • I do not think you are a “delusional Met fan”. I am a Phillie fan, who is not very happy with what Ryan Howard’s contract will look like 5 years from now, and also criticize my team where it is called for.
            Tell you what, can we agree that Oliver Perez’s and Raul Ibanez’s contracts are looking like albatross for us both?

      • Dylan 5 years ago

        Okay, but this thread was based on who had a hot start, and he definitely did. I know 3 years was too many for him anyway, but this was purely based on production which he has clearly done.

      • Polanco didn’t place in any of the leaderboards I looked at, simple as that. Nothing to do with my opinion on his contract.

  4. thelaser69 5 years ago

    You could probably add Edmonds to the list. He’s been a nice surprise, especially as a minor league deal. In 17 games he’s hitting .298/.394/.474. I didn’t think he’d be playing as much as he is.

    • I would have loved to have seen Edmonds in a Mets uniform instead of “Sarge.”

    • jwsox 5 years ago

      edmunds will for sure be on a “come back player of the year so far” list if tim does one soon…him and andruw jones both

  5. Molina’s OBP is totally sustainable.

  6. Red33 5 years ago

    Thanks for the “token” Pineiro mention who has already proved to be a better signing then Lackey. And no mention of Matsui?????

    • 0bsessions 5 years ago

      Proved he’s a better signing three weeks into their respective contracts? With both of their respective career numbers?

      Oh yeah, that statement doesn’t have ANY potential for blowing up in your face or anything. Lackey has had one, count them, ONE bad start this season against a team that is currently sporting the best record in the MLB. He managed to shut down the Yanks and the Twins (Two of the strongest offenses in the MLB right now, one of whom roughed up Pineiro just the other day). Pineiro’s off to a good start, but there’s way too much baseball left to play to make a statement like that.

      • I agree, there is a long season ahead for Pineiro.

      • Red33 5 years ago

        Yes, I agree it is way to early to completely judge the better over all signing, but the topic was “Free Agent Hot Starts” and Pineiro is off to a better one.

        Pineiro: 2-2 3.42ERA, 26.1 innings, 15 K’s, 1HR
        Lackey: 2-1 5.09ERA, 23 innings, 11 K’s, 2HR

        So a bad start to the team with the best record counts different in the standings then one to a average team? haha!

    • yes, why no love for Matsui’s .274/.354/.488 4HR?

  7. Red33 5 years ago

    Fernando Rodney???

  8. scottandwtb 5 years ago

    I’m pretty glad Kelly Johnson’s on my fantasy teams.

  9. RichMahogany 5 years ago

    Remarkable how many of these guys looked like terrible or at least questionable signings. Of course they will likely turn out that way in the end.

  10. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    how sad is it that pineiro, who everyone was mocking as being a dumb signing, is outperforming john lackey who got about 70million more dollars than him.

    • nhsox 5 years ago

      The Pinero situation is also interesting because the Cards essentially opted for Penny instead. Both have pitched well in the early going. I was was skeptical of how Pinero would fare in the AL without Dave Duncan and was uncertain as to why the Cardinals would take a risk on Penny. I thought that it was an indication that they did not expect a bidding price for Pinero to be worth the return.

      • Ferrariman 5 years ago

        ” the pineiro situation is intersting because the cards essentially opted for penny instead”

        not quite. the cards front office basically assumed that pineiro would be into some big money and they already have 60% of their rotation locked up for multiple years. they wanted flexibility and got penny on a 1-year deal. if they new that pineiro would only get a 2/16 deal, im sure they would have offered.

  11. jonathanroman24 5 years ago

    piniero is a bum and he will get smacked back to reality in a coule months

    lackey has been alright and hell get only better from here in out

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      yeah, its hard for lackey to get worse right now. and if by bum, you mean having to face the yankees twice already in 2 of his 4 starts and still maintaining a sub-4 era out of the gate, than give me an entire rotation of “bums”

    • Red33 5 years ago

      HAHA! Yeah, just like the last 2 seasons when he was on the DL for almost 1/4 of the season? Now that Lackey is a BoSux and still struggling, he’s nails right?

  12. Yankees10 5 years ago

    That Marlon Byrd catch was insanse

    • jwsox 5 years ago

      that catch was one of the best i have ever seen right up there with “the catch” by dewayne wise alst year during buehrles perfect game. “The Catch” was not as cool but considering it saved the perfect game it gets a slight edge…But Byrds play and Buehrles play earlier this season are two of the best plays of the year so far and will be by years end

  13. Dave Duncan turning a strikeout pitcher without the ability to strike guys out into a good groundball pitcher?

    That’s totally new and hasn’t been done before.

  14. furrski 5 years ago

    How about Austin Kearns? He is the Indians’ whole offense right now.

  15. Oliver86 5 years ago

    That Brett Myers hasn’t been too shabby.

  16. Trious 5 years ago

    Both Ivan and Livan are doing quite well but it is obvious that they are simply starting strong….eventually they will fade

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