Stark On Free Agent Starters, Harper, Calero

ESPN's Jayson Stark leads his latest column by explaining why realignment doesn't make sense, and how it'd be shortsighted to make changes based on the Yankees and Red Sox.  On to his hot stove rumblings…

  • One GM's rankings of the five 2011 free agent starters likely to sign multiyear deals: Cliff Lee, Javier Vazquez, Jorge de la Rosa, Aaron Harang, and Ted Lilly.  Health risks and one-year deal types were considered separately.  De La Rosa, who recently turned 29, will be an interesting contract year pitcher to follow.  He makes his season debut Friday afternoon against the Padres.
  • One exec explained that Bryce Harper is not in the same class as guys like Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. were when they were drafted.
  • Why did Kiko Calero find little interest on the free agent market after a strong 2009?  Said one exec: "The medicals are so bad that everybody's wary."
  • An official of a big market club feels that Albert Pujols will ask for Alex Rodriguez money, rather than Joe Mauer/Mark Teixeira dollars.  That exec feels it's obvious the Cardinals will find a way to sign Pujols, even at that price.


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17 Comments on "Stark On Free Agent Starters, Harper, Calero"


iains
5 years 4 months ago

Frankly, I would prefer to eliminate divisions entirely, dump Interleague and set up a balanced schedule. Then take the top 4 teams to move on to the post season.

timmytwoshoezzz
5 years 4 months ago

Is there anyone that thinks Albert Pujols does not deserve A-Rod money? Someone will pay it, even if it’s only for 6 years instead of 10

iains
5 years 4 months ago

Deserve has nothing to do with it… When Arod signed with the Rangers they were bidding against themselves. A player is worth what someone is willing to pay.

bigpat
5 years 4 months ago

I don’t see Harang getting a multi year deal unless he has an excellent season. He hasn’t been as good as he could be the past few years. His stuff doesn’t look bad, but he can’t keep the ball in the park. I don’t know what else he’s doing wrong other than that. It just seems like he always cracks at one point in the game.

I think De La Rosa will be one of the most intriguing starters on the market, as long as the Rockies don’t lock him up. One more good season and I can see a team giving out a 3 year deal for him. Someone like the Mariners, Royals, Mets, DBacks, Pirates, and many other teams who can use a good starter will take a chance because he still has some serious upside.

bjsguess
5 years 4 months ago

The whole Red Sox/Yankee issue is silly. Look, if you want to prevent teams like the Red Sox and Yankees from making it to the post-season every year it’s simple. Institute a cap. While both the Red Sox and Yankees are well run clubs, a cap levels the playing field considerably. Being smart becomes much more important than being rich. Any baked in advantage either club has today is virtually eliminated.

Said it before and I’ll say it again. Institute a ceiling and floor. Something in the $75-120m range. If teams can’t come up with the $75m floor then move or contract. That’s the price of entry into the game (I have a feeling that very few owners simply cannot afford the $75m with revenue sharing). In the end players make the same amount of money – doesn’t hurt them one bit. Teams are now much more competitively balanced and are required to win on brains not revenues from TV contracts and luxury boxes.

No need to talk about switching leagues, breaking up rivalries, adjusting the playoff system, ditching interleague, etc. MLB still spends the same amount of money on contracts as they do today, the only difference being that the talent is distributed amongst the teams differently. Players win, fans win, and real competitive balance is restored.

AnnvilleHammer
5 years 4 months ago

Agree with you 100% on a floor/cap and think that a $75m/$125m set up would be perfect. If a major league team can’t afford to field a team making at least $75m then they really shouldn’t be where they are or shouldn’t exsist altogether.

As for Harper, I’m by no means a baseball scout type of guy, but what Harper is doing as a 17 year old against college players is amazing. I think at this point it’s just execs putting out missinformation hoping to see him fall.

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

Did you read the blog? I agree with what Stark is saying because Harper plays in a weak college division, even if it is wooden bat. And there are questions about his mechanics mostly questions about whether he can catch up to a Major league fastball. I think Boras has played this perfectly. He is making it almost impossible for the Nationals not to draft him.

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

I like the salary base but did you read what Stark said about Harper? It is known that he plays in a weak college conference that produces few drafted players, even if it is wooden bat. There are also mechanical questions about whether he can catch up to a major league fastball. I think Boras has played this situation perfectly and is making it nearly impossible to for the Nationals not to draft him.

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

my bad on double.

AnnvilleHammer
5 years 4 months ago

Just seems to me the biggest knock on Harper is his agent. For every scout saying they have questions is another scout saying he’s basically a can’t miss. This happens every year in the NFL and NBA draft, execs/team scouts will throw out everything they can to drop a players stock hoping it works and some times it does.

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

Yeah but Boras is doing the opposite to inflate him. That is why he is likely in that weak college conference (which is a fact not a scouts opinion), was on SI cover, ect. It is turned to the point where the Nationals not drafting Harper would be as bad as them not drafting Strasburg last year. And I personally take the opinion of scouts over his agent. And I should point out that the scout also says he is definitely projected to be a starting major league catcher. He just doesn’t think he is in the upper echelon with A-rod and Pujols. So as far as deflating his value I don’t think it does much.

5 years 4 months ago

This is plain and simple to explain. These “execs” are trying to move Harper to the later picks so they may have a shot at him. Teams like the Sox eat up picks like this where a guy is going to cost too much, so many teams don’t like to take the risk. This is where the Red Sox have thrived, with many top prospects being drafted late in the first round or early in the second.

As someone who has watched a few of Harper’s games (not saying I’m a scout), I think he’s most definitely a can’t miss. He has strong wrists and very strong arms. Even with his long swing, he will have no trouble catching up to anyone except perhaps Daniel Bard or any pitcher touching 100 (which is what… 3-5?). 92-96, I don’t see him having many, if any problems.

My only concern is behind the dish. If he gets much bigger, teams may choose to default him to first base, which drastically drops his value because its not hard to find first base power numbers. Hes got a great arm (can touch upwards of 90 on the radar gun from the mound) and he’s agile behind the plate for his size. He calls a very strong game for someone of his age and understands his pitching staff. He is also very confident and a very hard worker.

Lets put it this way: If he entered the majors today and took the field for Washington, I have no doubt he’d hit .260-.270 15 HR and 65-75 RBI’s. Not all star numbers, but he is still already as good if not better than most catchers if we are going by that a Mike Napoli, Jason Varitek and AJ are your “average” catchers.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

Harang has been Baker-ized. If I’m a GM, I’d be wary of signing him to anything long term.

VinnyG917
5 years 4 months ago

Kiko Calero had a hard time in the Free Agency market because of his health. That explains why the Mets ended up with him..

Dermick
5 years 4 months ago

Couple things. One I disagree with him saying the Bryce Harper isnt at the same lvl and A-Frod, Ken Griffey Jr. The other thing is that I agree with him about the Cardinals Doing any thing they can to keep Prince Albert a Cardinals for life

Yankees10
5 years 4 months ago

Why wouldnt Pujols ask for Alex Rodriguez money?

Hubbs2
5 years 4 months ago

I really cant see how A-Rod could ever possibly be compared to Pujols. Albert is a top notch defender, polar opposite of A-rod. As much as anybody on this board might hate him, his eye is reminiscent of Bonds, while A-rod swings for stat padding. Without Barry, Pujols has been the best hitter on the league since he saw his first pitch. If my team signed him for 10 at 28 or more a year I would be estatic. I got a feeling he might care little more about team success than Gay-rod though. I could see 7 for 160 with a player option to put it at 8 for 190