Bowden’s Latest: Free Agency, Scherzer, Drew, Lobaton

Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio spoke with multiple agents and executives over the weekend and got contradictory takes on the reasons for so many top free agents remaining unsigned (ESPN Insider required and recommended). Agents told Bowden that they (and the MLBPA) feel that the heightened media coverage resulting from social networking has damaged players' market values. Reports from media members about how teams value players and whether or not they've made offers to players could be violations of the CBA, those parties told Bowden. Meanwhile, executives said to Bowden that the market is simply full of players with baggage (draft pick compensation, PED usage, inconsistent performance) and added that agents entered the offseason with unnatural expectations for their clients.

Here are just some of the highlights from a jam-packed column from the former Nationals and Reds GM…

  • Max Scherzer and Jon Lester are the two most likely candidates from next year's crop of free agent starting pitchers to sign an extension, Bowden writes. Despite the fact that Scherzer is a Scott Boras client (Boras prefers his clients to test the open market), Scherzer seems to want to remain loyal to the Tigers. However, Bowden notes that an extension would still need to be somewhere close to Scherzer's market value, which Bowden pegs at a whopping $196MM over seven years.
  • The Red Sox have made a two-year offer to Stephen Drew, one source told Bowden. The value of that reported offer is unclear, as is the date on which it was made.
  • The Nationals have discussed Jose Lobaton trades with the Rays as they look to add a backup catcher for Wilson Ramos. Lobaton figures to be expendable for the Rays, as they project to have a strong defensive tandem of Ryan Hanigan and Jose Molina behind the dish. Shedding Lobaton's $950K salary would seem to be more beneficial to the tight-budgeted Rays than most teams, particularly if they don't have a roster spot for him.
  • The Dodgers are pushing for an infielder over another starting pitcher and hope to have a deal done within the next 48 hours. Los Angeles isn't likely to bid on any of the remaining free agent starters unless they're willing to take a short-term deal, as Dan Haren did to play near his hometown.
  • Kendrys Morales is the most likely free agent to be this year's version of Kyle Lohse, writes Bowden. He notes that the Orioles — who still have about $15MM to spend — and Mariners remain interested in the switch-hitting Scott Boras client. Both are still in on Nelson Cruz as well. MLBTR readers seem to agree with the Morales/Lohse comparison; in the poll I conducted earlier this morning asking which Top 50 free agent would be the next to sign, he drew the fewest votes.
  • The Royals and Indians are both highly unlikely to be able to lure back their respective free agent pitchers, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez. The Blue Jays are a likely landing spot for both pitchers.


8 Responses to Bowden’s Latest: Free Agency, Scherzer, Drew, Lobaton Leave a Reply

  1. Drew M 1 year ago

    No current team that plans on contending next year needs a starting pitcher as bad as the Cardinals needed a shortstop.

    • SocraticGadfly 1 year ago

      “Really” said the teams who do things like pass out four-year contracts to Matt Garza.

      As for teams that “plan to contend”:
      1. Yankees and Tanaka.
      2. Boston has a good rotation.
      3. Detroit has a good rotation, largely locked up.
      4. Cleveland – no money, few trade assets
      4. Angels dumbly passed on Tanaka when they could have made that deal happen without too much cap hit
      5. A’s arguably overpaid for Hudson
      6. Nats traded for Fister
      7. Mets hamstrung by MLB loan, tho that’s now, belatedly, been loosened
      8. Pirates no money
      9. Reds probably could find more
      10. Rockies wanted Cards to do a pitching overpay for Tulo
      11. Zona wanted Tanaka, still looking at options
      12. Giants overpaid for a resign of Lincecum
      13. Dodgers set.

      So, no, there are “plans on contending” teams who have already chased pitchers. Some of them arguably (or inarguably, the Yankees) needed one at least as bad as the Cards needed a SS.

      And, the Cardinals almost won a WS with Kozma, so “need” was arguably relative.

      • Drew M 1 year ago

        They also had Beltran. Now they have Craig (Who is only a good fielder if you compare him to Holliday), Adams (who still needs to prove he can hit big league pitching for a full season), and Taveras (who at this point is still a prospect at this point). Plus a lot of their success was due to their out of this world hitting with RISP, which they are unlikely to repeat at that rate. So they needed to upgrade offensively and like I said before, there were very few SS that could hit on the market and Mozeliak did not want to loose out.

        • SocraticGadfly 1 year ago

          Not arguing with any of the above. Cards had been at least to NLCS three years straight though. And, none of this negates that other teams, as I mentioned above, had serious need for good pitching, some just as serious if not more so than Cards’ need for a SS. I still stand by what I said, and nothing you write here’s gonna change that!

          • Drew M 1 year ago

            none of these pitchers would likely provide the impact on other teams that Peralta would to the Cardinals.

          • SocraticGadfly 1 year ago

            Tanaka to Yankees, which I already mentioned, arguably provides MORE impact. MORE. Cards would win NL Central again this year, in all likelihood, with 2013 lineup. Again, I stand by what I say; you’re not changing my mind. (Although it’s fun to watch you continue to try.)

          • Drew M 1 year ago

            Tanaka wasn’t one of the free agent SP that was having trouble getting a contract.

      • Drew M 1 year ago

        They also had Beltran. Now they have Craig (Who is only a good fielder if you compare him to Holliday), Adams (who still needs to prove he can hit big league pitching for a full season), and Taveras (who at this point is still a prospect at this point). Plus a lot of their success was due to their out of this world hitting with RISP, which they are unlikely to repeat at that rate. So they needed to upgrade offensively and like I said before, there were very few SS that could hit on the market and Mozeliak did not want to loose out.

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