ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick presents his always-enjoyable annual poll of baseball GMs and other executives today. Among the leading opinions: Jon Lester provides better value than Max Scherzer, Giancarlo Stanton’s contract situation will remain unresolved, and the Cubs will sign Russell Martin. Crasnick asks eight questions in all, and some are not clear-cut, such as whether Cole Hamels or Starlin Castro is more likely to be traded. On top of that, here’s some free agent reading…
- First, stop what you’re doing and bookmark MLBTR’s free agent tracker and list.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs has his free agent landmines, which is always a good read. Cameron was spot-on last year. My slight disagreement would be with Edinson Volquez. I agree that paying him based on a 3.04 ERA would be folly, but he’s not a bad buy on a two-year deal if his reduced walk rate from 2014 can be sustained. Marry that with his strikeout rate from 2010-12, his propensity for groundballs, and his solid fastball velocity, and you’ve got an interesting, healthy 31-year-old pitcher.
- ESPN’s Jim Bowden predicts contracts for his top 50 free agents. I’ll take the over on Bowden’s predictions for Lester, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Andrew Miller, Chase Headley, Brandon McCarthy, and Jake Peavy.
- Manny Ramirez is playing in the Dominican Republic and is “not ready to give up the dream” of returning to MLB, agent Barry Praver tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Ramirez, 42, last appeared in the Majors in 2011 when he had 17 plate appearances with the Rays and chose to semi-retire rather than serve a 100-game PED suspension. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports talked to the former slugger in March. Manny went on to hit .222/.273/.375 in 77 Triple-A plate appearances for the Cubs’ affiliate this year.