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Monday, July 11, 2011

Free Agency Analysis

What a week. Here are the top contracts for SP's.

1. Jeff Woods, 5 yrs $91 million

2. Luis Azocar, 5 years $80 million

3. Bill Elster, 5 yrs $79 million

4. Richard Aoki, 5 yrs $54 million

5. Otto Podsednik, 5 yrs $30 million

And here are the top ones for position players

1. Zach Page 5 yrs, $103 million

2. Rafael Soriano 5 yrs, $100 million

3. Clinton Clifton 4 yrs, $62 million

4. Keith Roosevelt 5 yrs, $60 million

5. Bingo O'Donnell 5 yrs, $30 million

These are all very good players, but some signings are better than others. The ones I like, in order - Clifton, Elster, O'Donnell. However, these were not the only good moves. Here are some more:

Victor Pichardo 4 yrs, $20 million

Bob Blum 3 yrs, $22 million

Carl Peterman 3 yrs, $15 million

Daniel Reitsma 3 yrs, $15 million

In the end, it's a very subjective and incomplete list. Subjective because I value qualities others may not, and incomplete becuase some of the best moves are yet to happen. This is the time when the best teams get tremendous value as salary demands plummet. With that said, here are my top off-season movers and why I like what they did -

1. Dover

SHOTGUN signed 7 guys this offseason - 2 SP's, 3 RP's, and a LF, RF, and SS. All three position players should start, with Bingo O'Donnell a major upgrade. On the pitching side, Otto Podsednik was good value in a very expensive SP market. Henry Green should replace Peterman as his Closer.

2. Memphis

It is hard to ignore the major moves of bencap. He signed a future HOF'r in Clifton, a solid top of the rotation guy in Azocar, and a nice bullpen piece in Acosta. Did he spend too much? Yes, but his budget is huge so who cares? He had a strategy and executed it.

3. San Antonio

While others were going nuts on the 79+ rated SP's, teacherjt quitely signed three solid 2,3,4 SP's in Junior Lopez, Jonathan Eiland, and Wilkin Santana. Maddie's really likes Lopez. Well done.

Finally, if I may, I will describe my Free Agent odyssey. Every year, the day before Free Agency begins, I plug the top 150 players and the top 150 pitchers into Maddie's Team Management. While not perfect, Maddie's helps me make sense of the enormous volume of guys on the market. It gives me an overall rating, an offensive rating, and a defensive rating for players, and a pitching rating for pitchers. It also allows for me to sort quicker than the free agency page. Most of all, it allows for me to track when players salaries drop, which indicates that a player has no offers on the table.

I was set for the season on the pitching side, but needed a catcher, 1B, and LF. I had budgeted enough money for a run at one of the top guys, and I quickly targeted Page and Roosevelt. Both of these guys are plus hitters, and I could have made myself much better defensively with their addition. I first offered Roosevelt, and led for much of the time. I think that once one of the top SP's signed, Salem moved on to him and I couldn't compete. At that point, I offered Page and quickly realized that I didn't have the firepower.

So I went to Plan B. Maddie's really liked two guys that were not being pursued by anyone - Aurelio Alvarez and Max Marin. I offered their demands and they both accepted.

Then, I went back to my board and watched. I had my eye on 4 players: Victor Pichardo, Ramiro Colon, Clayton Mullin, and a pleyer that is still a FA and won't be named - in that order. I lost out on Pichardo because I didn't give him another year, and in hindsight I would have signed him for the same contract that he ended up signing with Montreal. I offered Colon and Mullin once Pichardo signed and they immediately accepted. Mullin will start at Catcher and Colon will start vs. lefties and backup 2B, 1B, DH, LF, and RF. Plus, I took him from division rival Boston.

If I could do it all over, I would have not signed Alvarez and Marin so early. One good strategy is to set your targets before FA starts and not check in until Day 3. This keeps you fron overspending. If I had done this, I would have likely signed Pichardo, Mullin, and Bingo O'Donnell, a player that had no interest despite being an MVP candidate (I remember voting with him on the list at least twice). Interestingly, his demands didn't drop until recently, which is unusual.

So there you have it. There are still some very good deals out there for those sitting on the sidelines.

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