It was on this day in 1974 that the first real "free agent" signing in modern baseball history was made by (who else?) the Yankees when they inked Catfish Hunter to a five-year, $3.75MM deal. Hunter was freed from his previous contract with the A's after an arbitrator ruled that the club has breached the terms of the right-hander's deal, thus paving the way for Hunter to sign with New York. The deal was a record for its time, as Hunter was earning three times as much money as any other Major League player.
Here are some items from around the AL East…
- The Yankees have learned several lessons in 2012 including Alex Rodriguez is less dependable than ever and their fiscal cliff is real, according to LoHud.com's Chad Jennings.
- Right-hander Stolmy Pimentel was part of the trade package the Red Sox sent to the Pirates in the Joel Hanrahan deal. WEEI.com's Alex Speier looks at Pimentel's career arc and wonders if his departure could signal a change in how the Sox value their prospects in terms of their trade value.
- Sergio Santos spent almost all of the 2012 season on the DL but his ability to provide depth at closer will be a major factor in the Blue Jays' playoff drive in 2013, writes Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star. Santos was expected to be the Jays' closer last year but Casey Janssen stepped into the job and performed well, making him the incumbent late-game choice heading into next season. Griffin thinks Santos will be the choice to take over the job if he stays healthy, though I don't see the Jays making a switch unless Janssen struggles. Just a reminder that you can keep track of all the closer news on MLBTR's sister Twitter feed @CloserNews.
- If the Nationals re-sign first baseman Adam LaRoche but miss out on free agent southpaw J.P. Howell, MASNsports.com's Dan Kolko suggests that the Nats and Orioles could match up on a trade. In Kolko's proposed deal, the O's would send one of their several left-handed relief options to Washington as part of a package in exchange for Michael Morse, who would be expendable for the Nats if LaRoche was back in the fold.
- In other AL East news from earlier today, we learned the Rays are in the market for more relief pitching.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.