Baseball Notebook

Daily Baseball Blog

38 Days Till Spring Training

Mark Hampton was smiling on his 1992 Bowman Rookie card and he is still smiling 18 years later after adding $59 million to his bank account while winning eight games for the Braves in his last four Braves seasons and has earned $124 million during his career.

It is only 38 days till pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Arizona and Florida on February 18. Time is running out on free agent pitchers who still haven’t made deals for the 2010 baseball season. These pitchers may not be on a major league roster on opening day:

There are many free agent pitchers who may be at the end of the line and will either have to retire or try to sign up with a Triple A baseball team for a lot less money.

Brandon Backe is a prime example of a pitcher who will not be marketable after starting 31 games in 2008 but has started 14 games since  the 2005 season. He has 45 saves in four years while a healthy starter would have 140 starts in that time. He pitched only 13 innings and allowed 15 runs, 21 hits and five home runs. He made $1.55 million last year but didn’t win a game.

Bartolo Colon was 21-8 for the Angels in 2005 but since then has posted a 14-21 record. His 153-103 lifetime record is impressive but with him celebrating his 37th birthday in May he may have pitched in his last major league game.

Adam Eaton has earned over $25 million during his career yet has never won more than 11 games in the season and has posted an ERA over 5.00 during the last four seasons. He has started in 201 of his 209 major league games yet has started more than 30 games twice in his ten year career. Walking eight batters in eight innings for the Rockies last season show Eaton may be watching games on television in 2010.

Mark Prior is surprisingly on the list of free agent pitchers despite not pitching in the majors or minors since 2006. He won’t be 30 till next September but with him pitching only 61 innings four years ago it would be a major surprise for a major league team to sign him. He could live the rest of his life on the $12.8 million he earned if he saved his money.

Mike Hampton took a pay cut of almost $14 million to pitch for the Astros last season and wasn’t even worth that much with a 7-10 record and 5.30 ERA. He parlayed his  22-4 season for the Astros in 1999 into a longterm contract and he has earned $124.55 million during his career.

He has started only 46 games since 2004 due to injuries and missed the entire 2006 and 2007 seasons and started only 13 games for the Braves in 2008.

Hampton totaled only eight wins in his last four seasons with the Braves and made over $59 million for those eight wins.


There are other starters like Livan Hernandez, Kris Benson, Shawn Estes, Josh Fogg, Eric Milton, Jason Schmidt and Tom Glavine who will be 44 in March who are not likely to be signed but Hernandez seems to resurface every season despite having only two winning seasons since 2003. He played for nine major league teams in 14 seasons.

The six remaining Type B free agent starters include Jon Garland, Joel Pineiro, Braden Looper, Erik Bedard, Doug Davis and Vicente Padilla. Most of these six starters should be signed in the next two or three weeks so they can make their plans for spring training.


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