Welcome in! Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time in reading about everything that happened in the last week around the MLB. The news comes out every Wednesday for now until we get into spring training, and we may need to increase as we get into the spring. I recently had my "Why I Love Baseball" piece published with Authenticity Mags if you missed it. You can check that out here. Also, I will be publishing my future and present series, which was a huge hit last season, and my top fantasy baseball targets at each position. Today we are going to cover all the free-agent signings, rumors, and notes. To check out last week's news, click here. There was so much free-agent news happening.
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Free Agent Signings:
-5 years, $115mil, $20mil in 2021, $23.87mil the next four seasons is the deal the JT Realmuto signed with the Phillies to stay with the club. No opt-outs, no options.
--The Blue Jays, Nationals, and Braves were also in on Realmuto.
-The SS market got going the evening of 1/26 when Marcus Semien agreed to a 1yr $18mil deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Semien is only one year removed from a 3rd place finish in the MVP vote in 2019. The mix of Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Vlad Jr., and Semien gives manager Montoya plenty of options. The plan as it appears is to slot Semien in at 2B, Bichette at SS, Biggio at 3B depending on how Vlad shows.
-FA SS Freddy Galvis signed a 1yr deal with the Baltimore Orioles. Last season with the Red's Glavis slashed .220/.308/.404 with 7HR. The switch-hitting SS will give the Orioles a top-10 player defensively at the position.
-The Twins also signed a Free agent shortstop, SS Andrelton Simmons, to a 1yr $10.5mil deal. The 4x Gold Glover winner owns a career .269/.317/.379. The move gives manager Rocco Baldelli some extra roster flexibility, with Jorge Polanco moving to 2B and Luis Arraez becoming an INF utility man.
-Giants and INF Tommy La Stella, the deal is expected to be a 3yr pact. The trade from the Angels to the A's ended the year with a .281/.370/.449 slash in 228PA. La Stella fills the need for a lefty bat and a top of the order option.
-The Cleveland Indians re-signed 2B Cesar Hernandez to a 1yr $5mil deal. Hernandez turned in a reliable .283/.355/.408 slash with 3HR and an AL-best 20 doubles while playing in 58 of the 60 games during last year's shortened season.
-The Red Sox Cheif Baseball office Chaim Bloom just gave out his richest deal since taking over the last off-season. The club signed UTL Enrique "Kike" Hernandez to a 2yr $14mil pact. He owns a career .240/.312/.425 slash with 68HR in 1874PA.
-The spending didn't stop at Kike as the Red Sox signed SP Garret Richards to a 1yr $10mil deal. In 2020 coming off Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss all of 2019. He posted a 4.03ERA, 21.6K% over 51.1IP. Richards shows a metric-driven signing in the 99th percentile with his curveball and 97th percentile on his fastball spin rates.
-The Washington Nationals continue to make moves that help them re-tool as they have signed LHP Brad Hand to a 1yr $10.5mil guaranteed deal. Hand, now 30yo, has been one of the best relievers in all of baseball the last five seasons, but over the last two seasons, he has a 2.78ERA over 107IP with 34.8%K-7.9%BB rates over that span. Hand instantly helps the Nationals pen that ranked 23rd in ERA in 2020.
-Mr. National Ryan Zimmerman is signing what we can assume his last MLB contract. He is re-signing for one last go-around with the Washington Nationals. With Zimmerman back, he will platoon with Bell at 1B against LHP, with who he owns a career .311/.390/.527 compared to Bell's .232/.315/.410 slash against LHP. If the MLB and MLBPA agree on the universal DH in 2021, Zimmerman could get some extra At-Bats.
-FA UTL Jurikson Profar has agreed to re-sign with the SD Padres on a 3yr pact worth $21mil with an opt-out clause after each of the first two seasons. The former #1 prospect in baseball holds a career .238/.318/.397 slash, but over the last 3+ weeks of the 2020 season, he hit .278/.343/.428 slash.
-The Marlins finally added another RP in RHP Anthony Bass. The club signed the righty to 2yr pact with a club option for 2023. Over the last three seasons, he owns a 3.44ERA in 89IP. Bass produces a lot of ground balls with his 95MPH sinker. He produced grounders at a 62.3% clip in 2020, which was the 4th highest in the MLB.
-FA OF/DH Michael Brantley has signed a 3yr deal with the Toronto Blue Jays...Kidding, as he is re-signing with the Houston Astros on a two-year $32mil guarantee. The deal is the same that Brantley signed with the Astros after leaving Cleveland. In 824PA over the last two seasons with the Astros, he slashed .309/.370/.497 with 27HR.
-The Astros made the long-awaiting signing of C Jason Castro to a 2yr deal with $7mil guaranteed 2021 with $2mil available in incentives. Castro will be an excellent defensive and pitch framing platoon option with Martin Maldonado. In his career against LHP, he owns a .242/.328/.421 slash and an 11.7% BB rate over that last four seasons.
-The Twins signed 38yo LHP JA Happ to a 1yr $8mil contract. In his 1741.1IP, he owns a 3.98ERA and a 20.9%K to 8.4% walk rate in that time—great signing for the Twins. Happ will make an excellent inning eater behind Maeda, Berrios, and Pineda, barring Jake Odorizzi's re-signing.
-The Tigers splash this week came in C Wilson Ramos to a 1yr $2mil deal. Ramos returns to the AL for the first time since 2010, when he began his career with the Twins. Ramos slashed .239/.297/.387 in 155PA during the 2020 campaign. Ramos coming in should buy more time for Jake Rogers to develop. Ramos will also be the vet in the catcher's room with Grayson Greiner, Dustin Garneau, Eric Haase, and the above mentioned Rogers.
-The Chicago Cubs signed C Austin Romine to a 1yr $1.5mil guarantee. Romine will serve as an experienced option behind starter Willson Contreras and replace Victor Caratini. In 1251PA, he owns a .239/.278/.361 slash in that span.
-I don't usually put the MiLB signings into the news as those are all saved for yearly previews, but an exception will be made for the Panda. Pablo Sandoval signed a MiLB deal with the Atlanta Braves to pay him $1mil if he makes the roster. Sandoval is hoping to show he can still produce going into year 14 and still produce similar to 2019's .268/.313/.507, 14HR over 296PA.
-The list of players joining either KBO/NPB now sits around 60, further adding LHP Matt Dermody
Free Agent Rumors:
-The Trevor Bauer signing could come soon as most teams around the MLB see the LA Angels and NY Mets as the top landing spots. The Mets, as of 1/26, have put forth a formal offer weeks ago that hasn't made Bauer sign yet.
--The Dodgers, however, have contacted Bauers camp.
Free Agents Notes:
- FA 2B Kolten Wong has seen his market come fully into shape with the middle infielders flying off the board. The Tigers, Mariners, Rays, Cubs, Phillies, and Cardinals are the teams who have had preliminary conversations with Wong.
- SP Masahiro Tanaka and the Rakuten Eagles of the NPB are in "late stages of negotiations," which could mean Tanaka's time in the MLB could be over.
-With the free cap space with the Ottavino trade, the Yankees could be working on a 1yr, cheap deal to bring back OF Brett Gardner.
-FA RHRP Brad Hand should be making a decision soon, possibly this weekend.
-FA OF/DH Marcell Ozuna has drawn interest from the Dodgers, Brewers, Yankees, and Red Sox.
-A total of 24 teams attended the showcase for RHP Anibal Sanchez and RHP Julio Teheran on 1/19.
-The Giants are looking into OF Jackie Bradley Jr and Eddie Rosario to fill their need in the OF and for a lefty bat.
- The Mets, Marlins, Twins could all also be in on JBJ.
-The Twins have expressed interest in re-signing UTL Marwin Gonzalez as the two-sides have stayed in touch.
--The Twins also increased the value of their 1yr offer to DH Nelson Cruz.
-The Tigers have also shown interest in UTL Marwin Gonzalez as well as 1B Mitch Moreland.
-The Dodgers still have Justin Turner atop their Free-Agent list
--The Blue Jays, Brewers, and one other team are in the running for Turner.
-The Astros look to be pumping the brakes after signing OF Michael Brantley, C Jason Castro, RP's Ryne Stanek, and Pedro Baez.
Thank you guys for being with me today. I hope you enjoyed the blog today. Please stay tuned through the winter; we have more Around the Horn, Yearly Reviews, Ball Boy Talk, and of course, the Podcast. Don't forget to share with a friend and until next time Ball boys & girls.
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