Thursday, February 8, 2018

Who needs what before spring training starts

Yesterday the MLB and Tony Clark who's the executive director of the MLBPA made a statement involving the amount of free agents who are still unsigned.
Here's what Tony Clark of the MLBPA had to say:
“Pitchers and catchers will report to camps in Florida and Arizona in one week. A record number of talented free agents remain unemployed in an industry where revenues and franchise values are at record highs.
Spring training has always been associated with hope for a new season. This year a significant number of teams are engaged in a race to the bottom. This conduct is a fundamental breach of the trust between a team and its fans and threatens the very integrity of our game.”
Here's what the MLB responded with:
"Our clubs are committed to putting a winning product on the field for their fans," the statement read. "Owners own teams for one reason: they want to win. In baseball, it has always been true that clubs go through cyclical, multiyear strategies directed at winning.
"It is common at this point in the calendar to have large numbers of free agents unsigned. What is uncommon is to have some of the best free agents sitting unsigned even though they have substantial offers, some in nine figures. It is the responsibility of players' agents to value their clients in a constantly changing free agent market based on factors such as positional demand, advanced analytics and the impact of the new Basic Agreement. To lay responsibility on the Clubs for the failure of some agents to accurately assess the market is unfair, unwarranted and inflammatory."
The question is is Tony Clark right or is the MLB right?
Well lets take a look at what team needs are right now are the amount of free agents still left in the market are:

Teams who can use a first baseman:
Kansas City Royals
Colorado Rockies

Who's out there:
Pedro Alverez
Chris Carter
Lucas Duda
Eric Hosmer
Adam Lind
Logan Morrison
Michael Morse
Mike Napoli
Efren Navarro
Mark Reynolds
Danny Valencia
David Washington

That's 2 teams who need a first baseman and 12 first basemen left on the market.

Team who can use a second baseman:
None

Who's out there:
Arismendy Alcantara
Gordon Beckham
Christian Colon
Ryan Flaherty
Ryan Goins
Grant Green
Eduardo Nunez
Cliff Pennington
Jace Peterson
Brandon Phillips
Chase Utley
Neil Walker

Again 12 unsigned second basemen yet looking at depth charts from each team I couldn't find anyone who needed a second basemen

Teams who can use a shortstop:
Phillies

Who's out there:
Mike Aviles
Erick Aybar
Stephan Drew
Nick Franklin
J.J. Hardy

That's 5 unsigned free agents at shortstop and only one team that can use a shortstop

Teams who can use a third baseman:
New York Yankees

Who's out there:
Andres Blanco
Yunel Escobar
Mike Moustakes
Trevor Plouffe
Yadiel Rivera

That's five unsigned third basemen with only one team who can use a third baseman.

Teams who can use a catcher:
None

Who's out there:
AJ Ellis
Ryan Hanigan
Bryan Holaday
AJ Jimenez
Erik Kratz
Jose Lobaton
Jonathan Lucroy
Miguel Montero
Alberto Rosario
Carlos Ruis
Geovany Soto
Chris Stewart

You have 12 unsigned catchers and I couldn't find a team that needed a catcher.

On the infield alone I noticed that there are 46 unsigned free agents and found only 4 holes as a league that can be filled among the infield positions.

Teams who can use an outfielder:
Texas Rangers
Kansas City Royals
Atlanta Braves
Miami Marlins

Who's out there:
Jose Bautista
Emillio Bonifacio
Peter Bourjos
Melky Cabrera
Stephan Cardullo
Rusney Castillo
Darrell Cecilliani
Tyler Collins
Rajai Davis
Alejandro De Aza
Jarrod Dyson
Andre Eithier
Pedro Florimon
Craig Gentry
Carlos Gomez
Carlos Gonzalez
Franklin Gutierrez
Jon Jaso
Jon Jay
J.D. Martinez
Cameron Maybin
Daniel Nava
Alex Presley
Ryan Raburn
Colby Rasmus
Ben Revere
Shane Robinson
Michael Saunders
Seth Smith
Ichiro Suzuki
Jasyon Werth 
Chris Young

I counted 32 free agent outfielders and only 4 teams need an outfielder

On offense alone that's 78 total free agents still unsigned and only 8 spots need filled

Now lets look at pitching
Teams that can use a starting pitcher:
None

Who's out there
Brett Anderson
Jake Arrieta
Bronson Arroyo
Clay Buchholz
Trevor Cahill
Andrew Cashner
Alejandro Chacin
Jesse Chavez
Alex Cobb
Yu Darvish
R.A. Dickey
Scott Feldman
Jaime Garcia
Matt Garza
A.J. Griffin
Jeremy Hellickson
Edwin Jackson
Ubaldo Jimminez
John Lackey
Wade LeBlanc
Francisco Liriano
Lance Lynn
Wade Miley
Rickey Nolasco
Mike Pelfrey
Tyler Phill
Anibal Sanchez
Hector Santiago
Chris Tillman
Jason Vargas

30 starting pitchers still on the market and not one team has a hole in their rotation.

Teams that need a reliever:
None

Who's out there:
Fernando Abad
Andrew Bailey
Matt Belisle
Joaquin Benoit
Joe Blanton
Blaine Boyer
Craig Breslow
Fabio Castillo
Simon Castro
Xavier Cedeno
Tyler Clippard
Tyler Cloyd
William Cuevas
Jorge De La Rosa
Jake Esch
Seth Frankoff
Dillon Gee
Jason Grilli
Deolis Guerra
Greg Holland
Casey Lawrence
Dustin McGowan
Deck McGwire
Jason Motte
Peter Moylan
Bud Norris
Seung Hwan Oh
Oliver Perez
Glen Perkins
Jake Petricka
Zach Putnam
Sergio Romo
Bruce Rondon
Trevor Rosenthal
Robbie Ross Jr.
Dan Runzler
Luis Santos
Shae Simmons
Chris Smith
Josh Smith
Drew Storen
Huston Street
Albert Suarez
Jesen Therrien
Ashur Tolliver
Carlos Torres
Koji Uehara
Tony Watson

I counted 48 relief pitchers still on the market and I couldn't find a hole according to every team's depth chart on mlb.com

That's a total of 156 free agents still unsigned and only 8 spots available that I found.

When the off season began I saw one team that didn't have any free agents hitting the market and now that we're less than a week before pitchers and catchers report I noticed that there was one team that didn't sign anyone during the off season and as I looked at the depth charts I couldn't find any holes on their depth chart so you tell me that you're in the wrong when you don't need to bring in anyone new. 

Let's take a look at a couple teams who are supposedly on the list of teams racing to the bottom for a number one pick and what they did this off season:
Tampa Bay Rays:
Traded 3B Evan Longoria for OF Denard Span, INF Christian Arroyo, RHP Stephen Woods and LHP Matt Krook
Their third baseman is Matt Duffy who's a .281 career hitter.  Seems to me that Tampa Bay upgraded and got rid of what looks like a bad contract.

Pittsburgh Pirates:
The Pirates traded Andrew McCutchen and Garrit Cole so lets take a look at their outfield and starting rotation.
Last year McCutchen hit for .279 and had 28 home runs.  Gregory Polanco hit for .251 and had 11 home runs, Starling Marte hit for .275 and had 7 home runs, and Adam Frazier hit for .276 and had 6 home runs.
Now lets look at the Pirates rotation and compare their numbers to Garrit Cole.  Last year Garrit Cole went 12-12, posted an 4.26 ERA, had 196 strike outs, a whip of 1.25, and pitched 203 innings.  Jameson Taillon who is the projected number one starter went 8-7, posted a 4.44 ERA, pitched 133.2 innings, had 125 strike outs, and had a WHIP of 1.48.  Ivan Nova went 11-14, posted a 4.14 ERA, threw 187 innings, had 131 strike outs, and had a WHIP of 1.28.  Joe Musgrove went 7-8, posted a 4.77 ERA, had 2 saves, had 98 strike outs, pitched 108 innings, and had a 1.33 WHIP.  Chad Kuhl went 8-11, posted a 4.35 ERA, had 142 strike outs, had a WHIP of 1.47, and pitched 157.1 innings.  Trevor Williams went 7-9, posted and ERA of 4.07, had 107 strike outs, had a WHIP of 1.31, and pitched 150.1 innings.  Looking at the projected rotation and looking at what's at the outfield it looks like Pittsburgh didn't get rid of much compared to what they have entering the season based on last year's numbers.

Miami Marlins:
The Miami Marlins traded Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, and Giancarlo Stanton.  The Marlins also had a new ownership group take over the team.  Let's examine the contracts of the 4 outfielders and I'll tell you why the trades were either good or bad for the team.  Dee Gordon's contract has 3 years at $10 million per year left on his contract with a 4th year team option, Last year Dee Gordon hit .308, had 2 home runs, and 60 stolen bases.  I thought trading Gordon was a good move by the Marlins considering that his replacement Magneuris Sierra had 20 stolen bases, a .270 batting average, and 1 homerun while playing in the Cardinal's farm system.  I like this move because you have a guy who's only going to be making $555,000 compared for the next six seasons compared to $10 million per year that Dee Gordon will be making.  Marcell Ozuna has 1 year left on his contract and is owed $9 million.  Last year he his for .312, had 37 home runs, and had 124 RBI's.  His replacement is Lewis Brinson who will be making $555,000 for the next 7 years.  In his time spent with in the MLB Brinson hit for .106, had 2 home runs, 3 RBI's, and had 1 stolen base.  In the minors Brinson had a .331 batting average, 13 home runs, and 48 RBI's.  Christian Yelich has 4 years left on his contract and a 5th year team option left on his contract and his contract is valued at $7 million per year.  Last year Yelich hit 18 home runs, had a batting average of .282, stole 16 bases, and had 81 RBI's.  Garrett Cooper made his debut with the Yankees last year.  He's set to make the league minimum this year which is $555,000.  He had 43 at bats and hit .326 and had no home runs.  While in the minors last year Cooper had 18 home runs, 84 RBI's, and had a .359 batting average.  Granted, I'm not expecting the numbers that Yelich, Ozuna, Gordon, and Stanton put up last year but these 4 contracts that the Marlins had coming into the off seasons were contracts that Miami was forced to move considering that they just couldn't afford to keep these players.  I like who Miami brought in.  They're cheap, they're young talent, and they're controllable for Miami for the foreseeable future.   

Now, the question of the day is did the three teams above set themselves up to "tank" or did they make good moves?  What they did is they got ride of bad contracts and replaced these players with value in the long run.  You're looking at the future of baseball on these teams.  Another question is do we have a large amount of free agents remaining on the market because teams are tanking?  My answer is no.  We have a large amount of talented free agents left on the market because of the lack of holes to be filled.  Also, the moves that the three teams made doesn't seem to be tanking moves it looks like we have teams who are getting rid of bad contracts and replacing them with players who've had very good minor league careers.