Several reporters have turned their gazes back on the more confounding free-agent market in recent memory, chronicling some of the more incongruous results and providing additional reporting on how it all unfolded. We’ll run through some of the key points here:
- It’s always worth remembering that free agency is a game that features plenty of variability and would never (theoretically) be played the same way twice. Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports on what might have been for some players. Logan Morrison and Greg Holland both asked for more than was being offered and ended up being bypassed when teams checked down to other targets. The Mariners, says Olney, dangled three years to veteran outfielder Jon Jay before they struck a trade for Dee Gordon. (That rather surprising offer could have had quite a domino effect on the outfield and second base markets had it been accepted.) On the other hand, Olney cites Angels sources that reject the notion the club offered Mike Moustakas a $45MM contract, as had been reported. Of course, had any of those situations developed differently, it’s possible we’d just be talking about different players whose markets collapsed.
- As part of his lengthy examination of the brutal winter for free agency, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has an interesting note on one of the few top players yet to have signed. Veteran starter Alex Cobb, he says, was in position to secure a four-year, $48MM offer at one point earlier in the winter (from an unknown team) and “easily” could have landed a three-year guarantee. We’re obviously still waiting to see just what Cobb will ultimately earn, but needless to say, it seems unlikely he’ll reach the levels he might have had previously. In the meantime, several lesser pitchers have gone on to sign fairly solid, multi-year deals, perhaps absorbing some of the demand that might have led to a better payout for Cobb.
- Every period of free agency produces highs and lows, of course, but they seem particularly pronounced this time around with such an array of outcomes. Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Jon Heyman of Fan Rag have each run through the winners and losers on this shocker of a market.
If Lynn only got 1 yr $12 mil then I don’t know how Cobb can expect anything more than that. Next years pitching market is weak. Might as well take a “prove me” deal and hope for a good year to cash in on next year. As a phillies fan I’d gladly give him that deal.
Keuchel, Verlander, possibly Kershaw, Gio Gonzalez, and Pomeranz
My bad, Verlander is not a free agent
Lynn will be back out there. Some second tier guys in Richards, Corbin, Ryu, Tomlin. Then some vets that teams may take a chance on over an injury prone Cobb with Waino, Shields, Kazmir, Estrada, Happ, McCarthy. Iwakuma, Eovaldi… Not sure why people are saying that next years market is weak. After Darvish and Arrieta it’s not like this years was a powerhouse. Joulys Chacin was ranked as the #6 SP available by some sites….
Waino will never play for anyone except the Cards
He sucks now anyways. Nobody else would want him.
I was going to say Verlander not a FA.
Odds that CK opts out before an LAD extension are 1-10,000
After seeing this off-season unfold, Kershaw should think twice about opting out. Granted he is one of the hands down best SPs in the game, but who is realistically gonna pay him more than he’d get in his existing contract?
I think it’s not even a issue. I think LAD will extend him again after the season and their is no reason to think otherwise. This is not about money to CK as people think. This not the same thing a ZG who was after money and security. CK is set already it just a matter of finishing in a LAD uniform which both LA and CK both really want at this point unless LA insults him with an extension offer which they won’t.
A lot of teams will pay CK more as long as he’s healthy.
Kershaw is to pitching what Mike Trout is to position players – a once in a generation talent.
I would love it if he were on the Phillies.
This market doesn’t effect the top tier guys, they get paid. It is the middle tier, which was the majority of this current FA class, which are finding depressed markets.
I would put this years salary on that bet with those odds.
Kershaw having 1 good postseason might help his opt out interest
David Price has an opt out after this season. But honestly, given what we saw in the last few months, I’d be hard pressed to want to opt out of his current deal if I were him even if he has a Cy Young award winning season.
You clearly passed the serenity stage, because now it is insanity.
I’m somewhat of a Cobb fan but I think he’s more than overplayed his market. He had 4/48 and 3/42 with his track record and face palmed them both? A team will probably expect Cobb to take well under what Lynn got to give up a pick for a year barring some major injuries in ST. Late spring signings often don’t pan out well when they fall behind so he isn’t doing himself any favors. Seems to be his worst own enemy of late….
Cobb had a 3 year 42 million dollar offer on the table from the Cubs and he turned it down. They moved on and immediately (and mistakenly) signed Tyler Chatwood. The issue was the years, Cobb wanted 4 years at 62 million. Cobb made some serious life altering choices this past off season.
I read that the Brewers wouldn’t be interested unless Cobb came at a bargain. How much lower do you need to go Stearns?
They obviously have faith in Suter and are intrigued by how Miley has looked in Spring. (I know, Spring doesn’t mean much but he has looked like a different pitcher and his stuff looks pretty darn good). Then they also still have high hopes for Woodruff and Burnes may be ready before long. If they don’t feel that Cobb is the piece to put them over the top than why spend the money on him?
Suter is not a big league pitcher. He’s sneaking by every outing giving up lasers all over the park fortunately to be right at guys. Woodruff and burnes are also not big league ready. And won’t be. They need a full year at AAA. Maybe two for burnes. The guy has been facing 19-21 year old prospects and never faced an experienced major league hitter. Woodruff has hardly faced solid competition. Miley is the best shot because he has the experience.
In 22 appearances, including 14 starts last year he pitched to a 3.42 ERA and 3.75 FIP with an ERA+ of 129 and 64 Ks to only 22 BB. The stuff is not impressive, the peripherals don’t always look great, but every stop he makes he gets the job done. I think you have to at least give him the shot.
You probably didn’t think Jamie Moyer was a big league pitcher either.
Probably in the $8-$10M range.
The Brewers aren’t getting Cobb. Brewer fans are starting to worry. Let’s be honest here. Stearns big mistake was Blowing 80 million on Cain when they had 4 OF already and a waste. That will come back on the Brewers this year. Not hating being realistic. I believe he’s strapped now and out of spending money. TBH. I was reading about the Brewers from a sports sorce how the rotation is in dire need with no number 1 or 2. They should have got JA no matter what you think of him then it is another game. Look at your #3 just think he lines up with Darvish. Your 4 with Quint and who knows who lines up with our #5 Chatwood. That should be a major worry. Yelich or not. Remember Yelich was flanked by Ozuna and Stranton 2 players 10x better than your outfield and you see what Miami was. You think that’s a 20 game difference. Let’s be real here. But on the bright side there’s always Lacky for 1 year 3 million.
Real Brewer fans aren’t worried about anything. We realize that the real window for this team is 2019-21. People who wanted them to throw money at one of the SPs, Neil Walker, Lucroy, etc are not looking at the big picture. And they are not out of spending money. Attanasio has said that they still have room (it’s his money, not Stearns’), but why spend money just for the sake of spending? They are still behind the Nats, Dodgers, and Cubs in the NL and an aging Arrieta or injury prone Cobb was not making up that difference.
And what’s with the remark about a 20 game difference? They were 1 game out of a Wild Card last year, so why would they need to make up a 20 game difference?
You may rationalize things now that the Brewers window is 2019… but please look at the ages of the Cubs regulars before relying too much on that fantasy.
Not to mention Davies trying to get by throwing 88 won’t last much longer. Once hitters realize he can’t beat them with a fastball all they have to do is sit back on the offspeed he throws 40% of the time. Brewers and stearns are failing. They had their chance last year and screwed up by leading the league in bullpen losses. The division will never again be as bad as it was last season.
So major league hitters took more than two full seasons to “figure out” Davies? Get out of here with that. He obviously has the stuff to be a big league 3. Which is what most people projected him as coming through the minors. You don’t have to throw hard to be a serviceable MLB starter by the way.
MichaelW: I’m pretty sure Darvish is their #1, Q is their #2 Hendricks then Lester. You do realize Lester is in his mid 30’s and declined drastically last year right? Arrieta is also worth no where near 25M per season. The Phillies are paying him for 3 years and they won’t be competitive for those years. There’s no question that the Brewers need a starter and I hate seeing brewers fans saying well this year isn’t our window. Let me ask you this…when else have the brewers been able to afford FA arms? I’ll wait….we clearly can’t develop arms either or we would’ve had some pan out more than Nelson for 25 starts. Cobb now is actually in the brewers pay range and to not give the guy 3/35M even doesn’t make much sense.
When have the Brewers been able to add FA arms? Suppan, Garza, Lohse…. Why should they overpay another pitcher in Cobb? And your claim that they can’t develop arms is ridiculous considering that they have an almost completely different farm system, front of house, multiple level pitching coaches, etc in the last 4 years. Give the current regime a chance to develop some before making that claim. They have plans for the young guys and I’m sure eventually want to move Hader back to the rotation once he harnesses his slider and develops his change up a bit. Unless they see Cobb as a real significant improvement there is no reason to throw 3/35 at him (which I’m not sure he would take anyway) and tie that money up now. They are also going to have guys hitting arbitration/extensions in 2-3 years and having $12 mil tied up in a guy that hasn’t been able to pitch more than 170 innings a year is not a wise way to spend that money.
How low is Cobb willing to go? It may not be as low as you think. Others lowering their price does not guarantee he has lowered his.
So glad the Ms chose to acquire Dee G to fill CF over John Jay. So far Gordon has yet to make a fielding error during ST. He’s also the Mariners ST HR leader with 3!! Haha. I understand Dee will have to learn how to play the OF in each ballpark but one could argue that he will not face a tougher challenge than the blinding sun and “high skies” of Cactus League games.
if we are talking about who is more equipped to play outfield for the Mariners this season, then yes
Making fielding errors in CF is relatively uncommon, so a sample size of a handful of games with 0 errors in CF isn’t anything to write home about.
Good example, wild card game between Toronto and Texas in 2016. Key play of the game was a line drive to deep center that Ian Desmond couldn’t make a play on that turned a scoreless game into a huge Toronto inning. It wasn’t an error, but a more experienced center fielder would have made that play.
Ya, errors don’t really show you a lot. Guys with no range could also have zero errors.
Brian Downing once held the record for consecutive games in the OF w/o an error. Of course, he had the range of an ottoman, but he caught what he got to.
Yeah, errors are not a great stat to assess how he’s playing CF. Bad routes, slow jumps on the ball, pulling up on sinking liners and playing them on a hop instead of going for them…. Those are all issues that players converting to the OF seem to have at first and wouldn’t show up in the error column.
Dude look at Schwarber in LF cause it’s just a few games in Spring Training.
Cobb will realize he is half of a cy young player
So a $12.5m deal then? lol
He’s turned that much or more down…
So then half of Max Scherzer, which would be something like 4 years, $105M
Half the years and half the AAV
If a Cy Young guy is 8 for 30
Then the assumption would be 4 for 15 (4/60)
Contract length is more a function of player age and injury history than it is a function of talent/skill. Giving 8/30 to a 32 yr old ace is about as boneheaded as that monster contract the angels gave to pujols.
I have to wonder whether Cobb really turned down 4/48.
If so, one has to ask WTF he and his agent were thinking.
The agents and players seem to really have misread the supply/demand equation as well as not understanding how teams are now viewing value.
I afmit I didn’t see it coming at first, but it’s been pretty obvious for a couple of months that this was not a normal market.
He turned that down. He also turned down the Cubs 3 year offer also. He’s looking for 4/72 – 4/68 numbers
How do you know? You don’t ! It’s all just speculation . Like most of the stuff that’s written on here.
It’s not speculation at all. I know cause I read. I follow other things besides on line rumors here. Even talked about it on the mlb chat today. Some off follow other things unlike troll Card fans pipe dreaming about BS and trolling the board
You do realize that things you read can be speculation.
Cobb and his agent were thinking the same thing that Boras and every other agent and player thought. They all thought that the teams would all still get into bidding wars and overpay for the talent this is on the market. Teams decided to start going with younger and cheaper and look to go after higher priced talent only if the younger guys did not pan out. Agents of course cry collusion. Teams are saying they are just using better business models. Younger guys have paid off for several teams the last several years, ie Cubs, Astros, Dodgers, Yankees, so teams are looking to try their own younger guys to see if they can do the same thing.
Also this was a trade market. Most teams didn’t want to spend money if they didn’t have to. The first 2 months were mostly all trades.
True. The Yankees were the biggest “spenders” of the offseason when they took on the Stanton contract.
They can gauge the likelihood that a bidding war will emerge based on the nimber of bids that teams are sending them.
Boras has also made several critical comments of analytics and not on individual player personality evaluation.
As though he hasn’t realized the guys running baseball or something.
A lot of guys are special. But nobody wants a 3B that only hits homers and is average defensively. That only hit home runs in a spiked environment, and that was the first time in his career.
Who also costs picks, signing bonus money, and a huge class is a year away with a cba that has a called system that penalizes teams for spending too much.
The agents are at fault for misreading the market, and the union is at fault for negotiating such a bad deal in favor for player amenities.
A’s should try to grab Cobb on a 1 year deal.
I’ll think it take 2 with an opt out after 1
Maybe 2/24 12/10
Makes a lot of sense. A big part of the reason Cobb is even still unsigned is that teams don’t feel they’ve seen enough of what he’s capable of. Put in a solid season in OAK (a la Scott Kazmir), opt out and re-enter the market with a better resume. Or A’s can flip him in July.
If the price is right. The A’s don’t have a lot of financial flexibility at the moment, and a starting pitcher isn’t integral to our plan right now. It’s about getting our young pitchers out there and seeing what they’ve got and then assessing where our plan going into our competitive window changes based on that.
Can someone tell me who made the bigger mistake?
1) Cobb Rejected 3/42 or 4/48 with his checkered injury history (179.1IP is career-high) and he rejected a one-year $17.4MM QO.
2) Greg Holland Rejected $15 million player option, then rejected $17.4MM Qualifying offer, and finally rejected 3/52 which the Rockies then offered Wade Davis (Which Davis wisely accepted) Holland crumbled in 2nd half (6.38 ERA) and is 32 years old, should’ve jumped at any multi-year offers.
Depend who signs first. On sports chat Holland only real options left are the angels or philly maybe O’s. Cobb angels, Phil’s, Brewers or Os
The Cards could sign either one easily, but they won’t ! They are going with the younger guys as of now!
No cares about the Cards. Cards are going with what they have cause MO a cheap @$$ that has Card fans brainwashed while spending their money on new wheels for his Fararri. Cards will trash again this year. But believe believe. Psssf
I would do 4 and 45 if he’s desperate lol. C’mon Phillies. Get the 1, 2, and 3 set.
Re: Passan’s story in the above link: while it is interesting and worth reading, he totally misses the real issue here; the real issue that the players union should be interested in (as well as Boras) is the inequalities in revenue sharing in major league baseball. The fact that the Dodgers, the Yankees, and the Red Sox have so much money that they can sign lucrative contracts with players that they have no need or little need for just to make sure that their division rivals don’t get them…as well as the hundreds of millions of dollars in useless, dead weight contracts that these highly profitable teams are able to easily carry on their books should be an indication to everyone that the current formula for television revenue sharing is unjust. The Logan Morrisons and the Lance Lynns are the ones I feel bad about, because I do believe that baseball players who are good at their craft and not cocky in bargaining should be well paid for their craft. There needs to be a real salary cap or a redistribution of big market tv revenue to smaller market teams (and possibly both). Some may cry “socialism” when I say that, but I’m actually not one; just someone tired of funding huge baseball stadiums with my tax dollars and then handing over a weeks paycheck just for admission and a hot dog because of my small market team having to overcharge to pay for middling-to-better talent. Or, handing over tax money just to watch them under spend everyone for sketchy, low talent.