Hot Stove Update: 29 Days Till Spring Training
With the first of February approaching free agents players still without a team for the 2010 baseball season may have to take less money. This is the time of the offseason where the clubs have the upper hand in negotiating. A player would rather settle for a couple less million dollars to than to play in the minor leagues for thousands.
Tim Lincecum is not a free agent but should be making free agent money when he goes to arbitration. He is asking for $13 million while the Giants are offering $8 million. Lincecum will receive a huge raise either way after earning $405,000 in 2008 and $650,000 in 2009.
With only 29 days left before pitchers and catchers report on Feb.18 it is crunch time for pitchers and catchers to be signed. There are very few proven free agent starters available who can step in and help a team right now. I know Ben Sheets is supposed to be healthy again but I can’t see a team paying him the kind of money he wants considering his injury history.
Any team signing him to a contract for more than $3 or $4 million for the 2010 season is bound for disappointment and any team signing him to a longterm contract is in for even more disappointment. He has never won more than 13 games in a season. He has been one of the most overpaid starters in baseball so until he proves he can stay healthy for a full season he doesn’t deserve a longterm contract.
Jon Garland, Pedro Martinez, Joel Pineiro, Vicente Padilla and Erik Bedard top the list of free agent starters who should be signed by the start of spring training.
Hot Stove News
Felix Hernandez has agreed with the Mariners on a five year contract in the neighborhood of $78 million. Hernandez had a great season in 2009 with a 19-5 record. However he has had a losing record in three of his five seasons with the Mariners. He is 33-12 in his two winning seasons of 2007 and 2009. However he is 25-29 in his three non-winning seasons.
Hernandez has lowered his ERA in each of his last three seasons but a five year contract for this much money may be going overboard. It is difficult to justify paying a pitcher $15.6 million a season based on one season.
Benjie Molina in an unusual move rejected the Mets offer of $5 million for the 2010 season and took a half million less to re-sign with the Giants. If he can have another season like he had in 2009 the Giants offense should be greatly improved.
With the return of Molina and the addition of Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa the Giants should score more runs in 2010. Huff and DeRosa are capable of hitting a combined 40 or 45 home runs if they play everyday in 2010. Aaron Rowand hit 27 home runs in 2007 with the Phillies but has hit only 28 home runs combined in the last two seasons with the Giants so needs to step up his power production.
If Pablo Sandoval can come close to his 2009 production the Giants will surely be better in 2010. Sandoval’s weight could be an issue at 246 pounds already at the age of 23 but he did finish second in the NL in doubles with 44 with Albert Pujols leading the league with 45. In addition he stole five bases in five attempts. He may not be able to play third base in a few years if his weight remains the same since it has to affect his range.
Carl Pavano agreed with the Twins on a one year contract for $7 million. He posted a 14-12 record in 2009 but had an era of 5.10. He had only started in a total of 26 games in the last four years before starting 33 games in 2009.