The free agent market always creates some oddities. Consider this 2022 comparison of two right-handed hitters who recently arrived on switched teams, as if they were traded for each other.
Player A: Age 38, 13 hours, 116 OPS+, 532 areas
Player B: Age 35, 16 hours, 117 OPS+, 596 areas
Player A is Justin Turnerwhich I agree with red socks On a one-year, $15 million contract if he chooses, or he opts for a two-year, $21.7 million guarantee if he doesn’t. Player B is JD Martinezwhich I agree with Dodgers on a one-year, $10 million deal.
Turner, represented by VaynerSports’ Greg Jinsky, has performed better than many clubs expected. But how could he have signed a contract that guaranteed him more than twice as much as Martinez, considering they both offer minimal defensive value at this point in their careers?
Martinez’s agent, Scott Boras, made reference to the slug’s relationship with his former Red Sox teammate, Mookie Petsand Dodgers hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc, who helped Martinez revamp his swing after the 2013 season.
“(Dodgers president of baseball operations) Andrew Friedman and Mookie were like college coaches going for a top recruit,” Boras said. JD was fully aware of recent signings and got $6 to $7 million less than he was worth.
“He wanted to win and he wanted (to improve his ability). He felt the Dodgers were the best team to help him achieve those goals. He made them very aware that he had every intention of playing well and looking for his true worth in the seasons ahead.”
raysGuys, it was in Brantley
The day the Rays announced their signing right hand Zack EvelynPresident of Baseball Operations Eric Neander, has all indicated that he is interested in freestyle slugger Michael Brantley.
“I think for us to add one more player, that’s a renegade candidate, or a great candidate, I don’t know how attractive that would be for someone who has more consistency to him, a track record of success,” Neander said.
“Because I think that’s probably what this group needs is someone who shows that and frankly, for the younger players, can build attention and expectations from them.”
As it turned out, the Rays have already been pursuing Brantley, who turns 36 on May 15 and is batting . 296 in 54 post-season games. And so did he blue jayswho also targeted Brantley the last time he was a free agent two years ago.
Brantley returned Astros that winter on a two-year, $32 million deal. This time, he agreed to a one-year contract worth $12 million with incentives of $4 million. Presumably, the Astros are confident that Brantley will pass physically. He had arthroscopic surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder in August and missed the rest of the season.
Where to trade?
Over the past several years, I have been among those complaining that too many teams are rebuilding, which is damaging the competitive integrity of the sport. Well, we can finally report on a measure of progress on this front. Three chiefs of baseball operations in recent days have attributed the sluggishness of the commercial market to the number of clubs avoiding veteran trades against prospects as they try to build competitive rosters.
“This is the biggest dynamic in the game,” said one executive. “We can’t use our prospects to get players. We can with two teams, but it’s not enough. You need enough teams with key players in the league. That definitely sticks things up, for sure.”
The new collective bargaining agreement introduced a draft lottery, but otherwise did not appear to go far enough to foster competition. However, one aspect of the CBA—the expansion of the post-season from 10 to 12 teams—has given clubs more incentive than expected. Two sub-90 groups won, namely Veles And the parentsreached the National League Championship Series.
the redsAnd the hackers And the A’s are the only teams really in the business of rebuilding, according to one executive; the CitizensHe said, they don’t quite act that way. The commercial market is very quiet, not even sailors General Manager Jerry Dipoto, one of the game’s leading dealmakers, can crank up the action in the Winter Meetings. Dipoto said the Mariners made some calls to check out potential games and get feedback from a club, but outside of those teams they seemed to focus on free agents.
The commercial market is likely to accelerate as the number of free agents dwindles. The biggest deal to date was the three-team, nine-man Superb Match Shaun Murphy from the ground up Brave And the William Contreras From the brave to righteousness.
Mateo Orioles on the move?
the OriolesAccording to major league sources, he began receiving inquiries about shortstop George Mathew Almost immediately after Cubs They reached an agreement with Dansby Swanson, the last of the Big Four free agents in the position.
the twinsThe Braves, Red Sox and Dodgers all lost shortstops in the open market. Entering his season aged 28, Mathieu could be a reasonably priced and attractive fit for interested clubs, a player whose value as an athletic defender and stolen base threat should increase. It also offers a league Shift restrictions, bigger rules and starting rules in 2023.
The Orioles liked the idea of pairing right-handed batters, Mateo W Ramon Urreaswith left-handed swiping options, Gunnar Henderson And the Adam Frazier. The added depth in second, short and third will enable them to not only mix and match, but also to get just enough comfort for each player. Then again, the O’s will also have three middle prospects at Triple A, Jordan Westburg, Joey Ortiz and Conor Norby. The team must eventually transfer some hackers.
Mateo, then, seems consumed with the right deal. He ranked among the top five defensemen last season in both runs saved and walkouts above average, and is expected to earn a relatively paltry $1.8 million in his first three years of officiating. The downside: His adjusted runs last season were 19 percent below the league average, though he did lead the American League with 35 stolen bases (on 44 attempts) and 13 home runs.
Latest on Conforto
Some teams considering freestyle quarterback Michael Conforto are concerned about his ability to throw at full strength, citing the surgery he had on his right shoulder last April. If the Conforto requires time at the designated hitter, it may be less attractive to clubs wanting more of a full-time outfielder.
Still, Porras said Conforto tops out at 150 feet, which puts him ahead of players who are just starting to pre-season. the noticeseeking to bat influence in left field, was among the teams interested in, along with mets and the Blue Jays, major league sources said.
Another left-handed batsman option for those clubs: David Peralta, who at 35 is more than 5 1/2 years older than Conforto but remains an above-average hitter with a reputation as a winning player.
In general, the supply of lefties is less plentiful than in the past. Outside Juan SotoPeralta W Andrew Benintende It was the best traded on deadline. An executive speculated that the shortage contributed to the Red Sox awarding a Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida $90 million.
around the century
• Padres General Manager AJ Briller admitted that he received commercial inquiries regarding player Kim Ha-seung and the midfielder Trent Grisham Since the team added the free-agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts. However, Briller doesn’t seem inclined to make a move.
“With the signing of Bogarts, we intend to play together this attitude group,” Briller said. “We love the flexibility and variety it brings to our team.”
• The Rangers, like the Orioles, boast an excess of offside prospects, giving them the ability to trade in for a veteran’s assist at the deadline, if not before.
Ezekiel Doranone of the hackers they got from Yankees In the Joey Gallo trade, he plays a great deal of outfield in the Dominican Winter League. Josh Smithanother player in Gallo’s trade, can evolve into a super-utility type, the Rangers’ version of Chris Taylor.
Also in the system: Second baseman Justin Fusco, 23, 14th pick in the 2020 draft from Mississippi State, and Luis Angel Acuna20 years old, younger brother Ronald Acuña Jr to me MLB.comFoscue and Luisangel Acuña are the team’s No. 5 and No. 7 prospects, respectively.
• Brewers sent outfielder Esteore Ruiz to the A’s so they could get William Contreras from the Braves in a three-team Murphy trade. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them transfer another young player to promotion.
Four of the top five brewers’ top leads are in MLB.com rankings They are external players. Topping the list is Jackson Chorio, an 18-year-old from Venezuela who is almost certainly untouchable. Right behind him is Sal Frelick, the 15th pick in the 2021 draft and another player the Brewers are unlikely to move.
Interested teams may have a better shot at the Brewers’ No. 3 and No. 5 players: Joey Wiemer, a fourth-rounder from the University of Cincinnati in 2020, or Garrett Mitchellthe 20th selection that same year.
Finally, a file diamondbacks They are looking for a left-handed batting player in trade discussions involving left-handed batting position players. They were also in the mix for a free agent who fit their sought-after profile, Brandon Drury.
As always, one phone call can change everything. But trade is not expected before the new year.
(Top photo by JD Martinez: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)