It's time to kick off coverage of Season 5 in Cobbfather with the Offseason Free Agency review. All Type A picks, as usual, will be rated on the World B. Free supah-fly 5 star rating scale. In addition, we have some bonus coverage of a few big non type A/type B signings, and we'll run down the Type B signings. Let's get down to business
TYPE A FREE AGENTS
2 years, 14.5 million
Pick lost: 2nd round
LA inked former Memphis outfielder Bo Dalrymple to a 2 year deal this offseason, and the team has the option on the second year. Dalrymple has superb contact hitting abilities, and decent power, splits and batting eye. His major league history has been good, but not great, with a career .268 BA and averaging 20 HR per season. Dalrymple should definitely help LA’s offense that struggled mightily last season, and he has potential to put up better numbers than he has his first 4 seasons. If he struggles, the team can cut him after this season, but it will have made giving up the top pick in the 2nd round a waste.
Final Rating: 3 stars - LA boosted their offense with this signing for sure – whether or not it will be worth losing a high 2nd rounder remains to be seen.
2 years, 6 million
Pick lost: 2nd round
The Tampa Bay Tankers signed former Sacramento 1st baseman Benny Pena, forfeiting their 2nd round pick to do so. Pena has outstanding contact, and an excellent batting eye, but doesn’t have a lot of power. His splits are solid, not great. Pena has enough fielding skill to move out to left field if need be, which is a plus. Pena’s past major league history is highlighted by a good OBP, and very few strikeouts. You’d probably expect better average from someone with such great contact skills, although Sacramento was a pitcher’s park.
Final rating: 2 stars – Pena is a decent bat – but with 1B/LF field types readily available, we’re not sure if it was worth it to give up a 2nd rounder to sign him.
Those were the only two type A free agents signed this offseason, but before we get to the rundown on the type B free agents, there were 2 other non type A/type B signings that set the league a-buzz that warrant coverage.
3 years, 28 million
St. Louis shelled out some serious cash to 36 year-old relief pitcher Richie Burks. Burks has phenomenal splits, and excellent control. His velocity is good, and he has a solid GB/FB ratio. His arsenal feature 4 pitches, 2 which are very good, but he doesn’t have a lights out pitch. Burks has a career 2.00 ERA, and has been used a closer the past 2 seasons, a role which he has excelled at. St. Louis management has hinted he will be used as a closer for them as well, and given his past history, you can’t argue with. But he could also be a long relief type as well, if need be. Age is a slight concern for Burks, as it is with any 36 year old. But he has aged well to this point.
Final rating: 4 stars – when you can get a guy with a career 2.00 ERA in Free Agency without giving up a draft pick, you’ve done well. If he was a bit younger, this would be a 5 star signing.
5 years, 80 million
Dover gave a boatload of cash to sign hurler Bill Osborne, who was part of the Florida squad last season that beat them in the World Series. Osborne has excellent splits and control, and a lights out slider to go with a very nice curveball. He doesn’t throw with much velocity, and does decent at keeping the ball down. Osborne was dominant in his 4 years with Florida, used mostly as a starter. His stamina isn’t ideal for a starter, which would limit him to around 150 innings a season – but they will be a great 150 innings. Osborne is 30 years old, so he should see some decline in the later years of the contract, although Dover has a mutual option for the 5th year if the decline is too great.
Final rating: 4 stars – there’s no questioning Osborne’s talent. The steep contract keeps the rating at 4 stars, along with the fact that he doesn’t have ideal durability for a starter. But if he can put Dover over the top and bring them a World Series title, the 16 mil a season will have been well worth it.
TYPE B FREE AGENT RUNDOWN
Jose Blanco, C, Jackson – Very good hitting catcher who should bolster the lineup
Francisco Jose, RP, Boston – This solid 34 year-old reliever should have a few good years left in the tank
Dom Lazzeri, SP, Boston – already dubbed “The Dominator” by Boston fans, Lazzeri brings some much need aid to a pitching staff that was awful last season.
Shep Stevenson, RP, Dover – very nice reliever who could close if need be.
Rudy Vaughn, LF, Buffalo - .312 career batting and .443 career OBP are tremendous, although doesn’t have much power for a LF.
Miguel Guerrero, OF, New York (NL) – this 33 year old masher looks to still have some good years left in the tank.
Peter Yamamoto, IF, Los Angeles – his skills are starting to fade at 34 years old, nonetheless, he should be able to help what was an anemic Los Angeles offense last year.
That's the rundown on this offseason's free agency period. Looks like a lot of teams improved, but we'll have to wait til the season to see how much. Until next time....