Monday, September 9, 2013

Season 21 Offseason Free Agency Recap

The Offseason free agency period is over, it was a pretty weak class overall, with one star and the rest were pretty much supporting cast members.  Let's see who added talent as we recap our top 10 free agent signings of the offseason!

1. Lyle Wallace, 32, SP
Signed with Los Angeles - 5 years, $110 million
Previous Team: Houston

Analysis: Wallace was far and away the best free agent in this class.  He's a #1 SP with great ratings across the board, and outstanding durability and stamina.  A little bit surprised he signed with Los Angeles, who had the best pitching staff by far last season, and now undoubtedly will be the favorite to do so again this season.  Seems like they had money to spend, and just went best available instead of need, as there really wasn't an offensive player worth a max contract.  Still, Wallace could be a Cy Young contender with his new team, so it should work out for them.

2. Paul Hewson, 30, 3B
Signed with Boston - 5 years, $65.9 million
Previous Team: Syracuse

Analysis: Hewson is a nice power bat who is also an excellent fielder, which is probably his biggest asset.  His splits and batting eye are average and his contact rate is mediocre to subpar.  Still, he should launch some homers in Boston and play decent in the field.  He's a couple of years younger than Mantalban, which gives him the slight edge in the rankings, but Mantalban may be better for this year.  Coincidentally, Hewson will replace Mantalban in the Boston lineup, whom left to St. Louis in Free Agency.

3. Max Mantalban, 32, 3B
Signed with St. Louis - 4 years, $42 million
Previous Team: Boston

Analysis:  Mantalban is an excellent 3B in the field, and has a nice bat with good power. Definitely above average hitter for 3B.  An excellent acquisition by St. Louis in a relatively weak free agent class, and he should help improve what was already a pretty solid offense.

4. Terry James, 32, SS
Signed with Honolulu - 2 years, $12.5 million
Previous Team: Philadelphia

Analysis:  James is a legitimate shortstop, maybe not a gold glove winning SS, but he can still hold his own. He actually has a decent bat too, probably in the upper tier of shortstops hitting wise. A 2 year deal is perfect for James, as he may not be able to play SS past 2 more seasons, and that is his primary appeal.  At any other position, his bat is only decent compared to other players, maybe even slightly subpar. 

5. Chris Kile, 31, 1B/LF
Signed with Kansas City - 5 years, $27.6 million
Previous Team: Rochester

Analysis:  Kile tore his hamstring towards the end of last season, which reduced some of his range and speed, but he will be able to play by the end of spring training.  He still is a very good baserunner, and can play 1B and LF reasonably will, and might even be able to play RF in a pinch.  His main asset is he is an excellent power bat with a good batting eye, who excels vs. right handed pitching.  He improves a Kansas City offense that was already very good last season. 

6. Felix Wheat, 34, RP
Signed with Colorado - 4 years, $48 million
Previous Team: Pittsburgh

Analysis: Wheat is an elite reliever, capable of putting forth 110+ quality innings per season, if not more.  Of course there's a slight concern with the ballpark, and slight rise in ERA may occur, but he actually had a brief stint in Colorado in Season 18, and he did just fine.  A nice add that should help the league's worst pitching staff last season. 

7. Tomas Batista, 34, RP
Signed with Durham - 3 years, $16.8 million
Previous Team: Colorado

Analysis: Batista goes from one hitters pick to another, as he was picked up by Durham this offseason.  He keeps the ball down and pitched well for Colorado the past few season, so he should be fine in Durham.  It will be interesting to see how Durham uses him, it appears he's capable of pitching a few more innings than he has in recent seasons, given his stamina.  A nice signing for Durham indeed. 

8. Dave Munson, 31, P
Signed with Austin - 3 years, $21.1 million
Previous Team: Syracuse

Analysis:  Munson has excellent control and velocity and keeps the ball down.  He also has two very good pitches to boot.  His splits are mediocre, but not an overwhelming weakness.  He's been used as a relief pitcher the past several seasons in Syracuse, but we think he could be a serviceable #4 starter somewhere still.  What his role with his new team is, he should be a fairly solid acquisition. 

9. Johnny Saunders, 32, LF
Signed with Philadelphia - 3 years, $10.5 million
Previous Team: Buffalo

Analysis: Saunders main asset is his power, that goes along with decent enough contact and a pretty good batting eye.  His splits are a bit mediocre, but not a huge issue.  He has an excellent glove for a 1B or LF, but doesn't really have other tools that would allow him to play another position.  His ratings have been declining a tad over the past few seasons, but he should still be a solid player, and considering there really isn't all that much offense talent in this class, is a nice add. 

10. Julian Navarro, 32, RF
Signed with Dover - 2 years, $11 million
Previous Team: Colorado Springs

Analysis:  Navarro is a nice power bat, with decent contact and splits, and mediocre batting eye.  He can play 1B and LF for sure, and would be somewhat serviceable in RF.   How exactly he'll fit into what was one of the most potent offenses in Cobbfather already isn't quite known, but it's still a nice add nonetheless, and he should contribute, no matter what his role turns out to be. 

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