Predicting MLB Trade Rumors’ Top 50 Free Agents

Yankees shut out of Gold Glove awards
What Went Right (And Wrong): Farm System

We’re bumping this up top overnight because it quickly got buried by the Andrew Brackman news this afternoon. Enjoy.

Earlier today professional good guy Tim Dierkes, owner of MLB Trade Rumors, engaged in his annual practice of predicting where the top 50 free agents will land. He even setup up a contest, which could turn into loads of fun. I encourage everyone to give it a try. It’ll be at least as fun as ottoneu’s Pick Six.

Much as I enjoy Tim’s work, I found myself disagreeing with many of his free agent picks, particularly the ones towards the top of the list. Instead of entering his contest, I thought it would be worthwhile to print his list with my own predictions. There are a lot of tough choices here, and there’s no way I’ll get more than half of these right. But given team needs needs, resources, and inclinations, here how I think the free agent market shakes out.

1. Albert Pujols – Cardinals. They signed Matt Holliday for seven years and $120 million. It’s hard to do that and then, two winters later, let the best player in baseball walk.

2. Prince Fielder – Brewers. Tim has him going to the Mariners, which could be funny for Yankees fans. He’d probably DH at first — which is one reason I don’t think he’d sign there — but he could loom as Justin Smoak’s replacement. And then we could think back to the Cliff Lee trade and giggle a bit. But ultimately I think the Brewers will lay out and keep their killer three-four combo in tact.

3. Jose Reyes – Tigers. Tim picked the Brewers, but I can’t see them letting Fielder walk and signing Reyes, even if Reyes will probably get a little less money. There are a few other options here, but there are issues. The Dodgers could fit, but their financial situation is unknown. Ditto the Mets, who I’d put as the No. 2 suitor. The Giants had a record payroll in 2011, missed the playoffs, and have about $90 million committed to 2012 (counting Lincecum) with plenty of spots to fill. The Nationals could jump in, I suppose. The Red Sox would probably be the favorites had they not signed Carl Crawford last off-season. The Cardinals are going to be at a huge payroll level after Pujols. That leaves the Tigers. They cut payroll by almost $20 million from 2010 to 2011, and made the playoffs. They could make the outlay for Reyes and really shore up their offense.

4. C.J. Wilson – Cubs. Chances are Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer aren’t planning a big run in 2012, but they do need pitching in the long term. Their starters were in the bottom third of the league, and they do have a few openings. They surely plan to contend in 2013, and any contract Wilson signs will keep him around through at least 2015, and probably 2016.

5. Yu Darvish – Yankees. The Yankees have the resources, and he would probably represent a better deal for them than Wilson. I laid out the case for Darvish and stand by it.

6. Edwin Jackson – Nationals. If they miss out on Wilson, I fully expect them to beat other teams’ offers for Jackson.

7. Jimmy Rollins – Phillies. They don’t have the cash to sign Reyes, and they’re not starting the season with Wilson Valdez at shortstop if they can help it. The Giants might be interested if they don’t sign Reyes, but I really see the Giants going with a lower cost option.

8. Aramis Ramirez – Brewers. They claim poverty often, but after a deep playoff run I can see the Brewers again making a run in 2012, especially if they bring back Fielder. They definitely have an opening at third, and I don’t see Ramirez getting a ludicrous contract this winter. The wild card here is Tim’s pick, the Orioles. But will a new GM make the same kind of mistakes that old regimes made? No, I think the Orioles will try a different approach this winter and avoid a potential mistake in Ramirez. There’s another wild card here, too, but I view it as far less likely.

9. Carlos Beltran – Giants. Their offense was putrid in 2011, and they could use a full season of Beltran in right field. They’ll have an opening for him, too, so it’s a perfect fit.

10. Jonathan Papelbon – Red Sox. It’s hard to see him leaving, especially given other teams’ financial situations. I don’t see a team like the Reds laying out that much for a closer.

11. Michael Cuddyer – Twins. I expect this to play out for a while, with Cuddyer holding out for more than the market will bear. Once his price comes down I see him returning to Minnesota.

12. Mark Buehrle – White Sox. He seems like a finicky guy, bent on pitching in St. Louis or Chicago. With the Cardinals eating up most of their payroll in Pujols, it’s doubtful they bring him in there. I can see the White Sox bringing him back and trading John Danks.

13. David Ortiz – Red Sox. Here’s the aforementioned Aramis Ramirez wild card. Might it make sense for the Sox to bring in Ramirez, let Ortiz walk, and use the oft-injured Kevin Youkilis as their DH? I might see it. But I think they can keep both Youkilis and Ortiz at their current positions and finding a right-handed bat in right field. That’s certainly the path of least resistance, and I think it will benefit the Sox the most — especially because their best prospect, 3B Will Middlebrooks, could be ready sometime next year.

14. Ryan Madson – Phillies. They need a closer, and they’re familiar with Madson. He’ll be cheaper than Papelbon, so I think they stick with the devil they know.

15. Hiroki Kuroda – Dodgers. This is the easiest pick, since he’s shown no inclination to pitch elsewhere.

16. Carlos Pena – Indians. I thought about the Rays for him, but I think he’ll still price himself out of their range. The Indians clearly have something up their sleeves, and I think they’ll want someone more reliable than Matt LaPorta at first base. If the Indians aren’t in on him, it could come down to lesser teams. Tim picked the Pirates. I think the Rays might step in if that’s the case.

17. Francisco Rodriguez – Rangers. Losing Wilson will open up another spot in the rotation, which Neftali Feliz could fill. That opens the closer spot, and Rodriguez seems like a fit.

18. Roy Oswalt – Diamondbacks. They have only $28 million on the books for 2012, with only a few arbitration decisions. That leaves them with some spots to fill, but they could still easily fit Oswalt in the payroll. In fact, don’t be surprised to see them jump in on one of the higher-rated free agents. Plus, Oswalt has professed his desire to remain in the NL.

19. Javy Vazquez – Marlins. He’s talked about retirement, but I can see him hooking on with the Fish for one more season, to open their new stadium.

20. Heath Bell – Padres. He’s basically tied the Padres’ hands with his statements.

21. Coco Crisp – Giants. I agree with Tim here. I think he could replace Andres Torres in center. He’d also add some D, which could be necessary with the possibility of Aubrey Huff in LF.

22. Hisashi Iwakuma – Reds. They need pitching, and I can see them jumping on Iwakuma rather than one of the higher priced free agents. The Diamondbacks could be players here, too.

23. Kelly Johnson – Blue Jays. They have an opening at second and I think he’d fit nicely into their lineup. He also handles lefties well, which will come in handy against the AL East powerhouses such as CC Sabathia, Jon Lester, and David Price.

24. Josh Willingham – Red Sox. He could be a nice right-handed complement to their lefty-heavy lineup. He could also see a nice numbers boost from bouncing balls off of, and hitting them over, the monster in left.

25. Paul Maholm – Royals. They’re looking for pitching and won’t find much on the free agent market. It’s a very Royals move.

26. Grady Sizemore – A’s. They have three outfielders coming off the books in Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, and Willingham. They could add this high-risk, high-reward option.

27. Bartolo Colon – Rockies. They lost their ace and brought in some young guys who could contribute. Colon would add some depth, though he’s not a great insurance option.

28. Erik Bedard – Mariners. He seems comfortable there, as he continually re-signed even as he spent many injured years not pitching for them. I see little reason to predict he’ll sign anywhere else.

29. David DeJesus – Dodgers. They’ve needed help in left for a while, and this could provide some insurance in case Jerry Sands doesn’t develop.

30. Jason Kubel – Reds. That buys them a little outfield help and another lefty with some power.

31. Ramon Hernandez – Twins. They want to keep Mauer there, obviously, but if he gets injured and they have to move him I imagine they want someone better than Drew Butera.

WARNING: It’s going to get pithy from here on out.

32. Jeff Francis – Royals. Just because they need pitching and they did an OK job for them.

33. Chris Capuano – Mets. They can always use pitching, and Capuano did a fine job for them, all considered.

34. Tsuyoshi Wada – No Idea. I know nothing about the guy, and won’t speculate. Tim picked the Orioles. That could work.

35. Clint Barmes – Twins. If there’s a middle infield worse than the Twins, it’s the Astros. But they know they’re a few years out and probably have little need for Barmes right now.

36. Casey Kotchman – Pirates. Someone’s going to overpay him, and the Pirates have some payroll and an opening at first. Short-term is the way there, since they might have to move Pedro Alvarez in the long term.

37. Freddy Garcia – Yankees. I think they offer arb, and I think he accepts — and I don’t think either side cares that much.

38. Aaron Hill – Diamondbacks. It was a short-term win-win trade for the Diamondbacks and the Blue Jays. I can see them keeping their respective returns.

39. Johnny Damon – No Clue. Johnny’s time as a full-time player might be up. If he’s going part-time it’s anyone’s guess where he signs.

40. Aaron Harang – Mets. Consider him this year’s Chris Young, but with lower injury risk.

41. Jamey Carroll – Twins. Keep betting on lower-tier middle infielders to sign with the Twins and you’ll eventually get a hit.

42. Rafael Furcal – Cardinals. Since he likely won’t come at a high price, given his injury issues, the Cardinals could get him on a team-friendly deal. It’s risky for them, but he’s the best of the low-priced players.

43. Juan Pierre – Reds. Another agreement with Tim. I think that they could use him as a fourth outfielder who gets some semblance of regular at-bats.

44. Frank Francisco – Mariners. If David Aardsma is gone for good they could use a closer, or at least a setup man. I doubt Francisco comes with a high price tag.

45. Jason Marquis – Mariners. I can see them building up his value early in the year and dishing him at the deadline.

46. Joel Pineiro – Phillies. He could add some depth to their top-heavy rotation. Potential high reward, especially in a hitters’ park.

47. Jonathan Broxton – Mets. Agree with Tim here. Broxton would help solve a few of the Mets bullpen issues, and likely won’t come with a high price tag.

48. Joe Nathan – Twins. I think he’ll be back. It’s just a matter of the price.

49. Kerry Wood – Cubs. This is another easy choice, given his professed desire to stay with the Cubs or retire.

50. Bruce Chen – Pirates. They’ll have rotation openings, and they could see him taking Maholm’s place.

Yankees shut out of Gold Glove awards
What Went Right (And Wrong): Farm System
  • Robert

    I was going to do this, but then I found out you have to have Facebook to sign up. No thanks!

    • Pat D

      What is this “Facebook” of which you speak?

      Did I see a movie about that? I remember the closing song being The Beatles’ “Baby You’re a Rich Man.”

  • Guns of the Navarone

    Yeah, Fielder to the Mariners and then Reyes to the Brewers seems very odd to me. I like your predictions Mike.

    • Jesse


    • Joe Pawlikowski

      Not Mike.

      • Guns of the Navarone

        You people all look the same to me.

  • Monteroisdinero

    And at # 51:

    Hip Hip Jorge!

    To the Rays.

    • BK2ATL

      Better yet, retired.

      • Mykey

        It’s the MLB/Retirement half-way home.

      • Ted Nelson

        Still hits RHP and most pitchers are still RH, so I don’t see why he has to retire if he’d like to keep playing.

        • Urban

          Quite true. No reason for him to retire if he still has the desire to play. He showed he can still hit from the leftside, and a team can do a lot worse than have a lefty DH who can also play some first while backing up at catcher.

          I think most Yankee fans want him to retire so he’s only a Yankee from cradle to grave, but I suspect Jorge will play again.

          While I doubt he’s thinking of this, there’s a good reason to stick around. If he can make it to 300 career HRs, it will boost his borderline HOF case, and being a HOFer is worth a lot of money.

          • Ted Nelson

            Who knows, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 300 HRs was at least one factor he’s considering.

  • UYF1950

    Joe, I would like to propose a scenario for Aramis Ramirez. What about the Red Sox. Signing Ramirez solves several problem for them. First, it allows them to move Youkilis off 3rd base where there are obvious concerns about him being able to be an every day 3rd man and primarily become the Sox DH. The the Sox could let Ortiz walk and save whatever money they would have otherwise spent to keep him. Minimizing the overall cost of Ramirez. Third, Youkilis can still get some defensive play by periodically subbing for either Ramirez or Gonzalez in the field. He can play either position and the Sox lose very little defensively when he is in the game. Just wondering what everyones thoughts might be.

    • Joe Pawlikowski

      I mean, that’s almost exactly what I wrote in the Ortiz section.

      • UYF1950

        Sorry, guess I shouldn’t have stopped reading the players list after the first page. Maybe we can chalk it up to great minds think alike.

        • Michael Mark Cutler

          then maybe u guys can get a room and talk red sox while you make out.

          • Mykey

            That’s impossible. You know how hard it is to say “Youkilis” or “Saltalamachia” with someone else’s tongue in your mouth?

            • Cris Pengiucci

              I laughed.

  • BK2ATL

    I think Reyes winds up in Florida, playing SS and Ozzie moving Hanley over to 3B. They want to make a big splash in their new stadium. With Reyes, Hanley, LoMo, Stanton, Josh Johnson and crew, they might be fun to watch and tough to beat.

    How about Beltran switching agents from Scott Boras to Dan Lozano today??? Might be easier to deal with for a reasonable deal now. Not sure if we’re biting, just more intriguing on how that plays out.

  • Jesse

    Sounds like Reyes isn’t going to Detroit!/freeptigers/statuses/131446004837920768

  • UYF1950

    The way I figure it accounting for all the contract players the options picked up by the Yankees and estimating the arbitration awards for players like Hughes, Martin, etc…and the estimated salaries for pre-arbitration players like Montero, Nunez, Nova, Noesi, etc… the Yankees should have about $20 to $25M left to sign any remaining FA players to fill out the 25 man or 40 man roster and still be withing the payroll guidelines of the last 2 years. That amount if used in total should have their payroll at about $210M +/-.

    So if they want they should have enough money to sign another “quality” pitcher, Darvish or otherwise.

  • Holy Ghost

    From FanGraphs:
    “Last week, Tim Dierkes of polled five agents and a team executive on their expectations of Darvish’s cost, and they came in with an average of a $45 million posting fee followed by a “five or six year contract in the $72-$75 million range.”

    I’m not here to say that those sources are incorrect, but I will say this – any team willing to pay that much money to acquire Yu Darvish is kind of crazy.”

    • Ted Nelson

      How much time have you spent scouting Yu Darvish?

      • Holy Ghost

        He has a high upside but he can’t be expected to be as good as Lincicum or King Felix. Paying 100 mil to get him sets those ridiculous expectations…

        • Ted Nelson

          He can be expected to be as good as you want. I haven’t scouted him or studied the NPB, so I have no idea.

          Not using lottery picks on German basketball players would be a good rule 99.99% of the time. You’d miss out on Dirk Nowitski if that was your rule. If you had to have a stead-fast rule I’d not take the Germans and lose out on Dirk to avoid dozens of blunders, but there’s no need for a stead-fast rule. You have to try to identify the Dirk’s. I have no idea if Yu is a Dirk. I’m assuming you don’t either, though, which is why I ask how much scouting you’ve done.

          • Holy Ghost

            The issue with Darvish isn’t his upside. It’s obivous that he’s talented and has the potential to do well in the MLB.

            The issue is how much its going to cost to bring him to the MLB next year rather than wait a few years until he can become a free agent. 100 million might be too much even for the Yankees

            • Ted Nelson

              If you wait and another team doesn’t, you might never have a chance to see him as a free agent until after his prime.

              • Ted Nelson

                And I’m not saying that he’s worth $X, just that if their front office says he’s worth $X they should offer $X (between posting and contract, discounting for posting fee not being luxury taxed and no draft compensation maybe) and see if they get him. That might be $100+ mill, or it might be $30 mill. I have no idea.

    • Urban

      That would mean an approximately $120 million investment on a man who has never thrown a pitch in MLB. That’s rougly the same investment they’re putting in CC Sabathia over the next five years.

      I don’t see the Yankees going that high, but I’ve been wrong about these things before.

  • Tom T

    Erik Bedard was once again productive when he pitched. Is 100 innings of quality starting pitching really not more appealing than 180 innings of below average pitching from Maholm?

    Once again, he shouldn’t get more than a one year deal.

    • Rey22

      Have him bubble wrapped the whole year, unleash him in September, and hope he stays in one piece for the playoffs.

    • Ted Nelson

      Depends what kind of depth you have. If Sergio Mitre is filling in the other 80-120 innings I might take Maholm, whereas if you’re one of the very few teams with really good depth (and the Yankees just might be) then Bedard might be preferable.

      I would also point out that 2011 was the first time Bedard broke 100 IP since 2007. In 2010 he had 0 IP. No guarantee at all he gives you 100 IP.

  • UYF1950

    On comment about the Damon note in the article. Where ever Damon winds up you can count on him saying “that’s where he’s always wanted to play”. Take it to the bank.

  • Mike HC

    My guess, almost completely out of my ass, is that the Orioles get in the free agent mix this year. They offered Tex a monster deal (I know he was a hometown boy though), so my free agent prediction is Fielder to the Orioles, and also a second tier starter, maybe Edwin Jackson, to the Orioles as well.

    I think the Cubs are going to re sign Aramis Ramirez.

  • Dino Velvet

    But the president of the Giant was just fired for spending too much money.

    Hard to see how they will sign Beltran in that internal climate.

  • Dave

    “Agree with Tim here. Broxton would help solve a few of the Mets bullpen issues, and likely won’t come with a high price tag.”

    At this point in his career, Broxton causes more bullpen problems than solves them.

  • Carl LaFong

    I’d trade Swisher and AJ for a young starting right-handed pitcher & I’d sign Josh Willingham to platoon in rightfield w/Chris Dickerson. If Eric Bedard is healthy, I’d look into acquiring him, but only if he wants to pitch in NY.

    Arod should have a bounce back year next year, but if any team such as the Angels or White Sox really want him, I’d do that in a second for starting pitching & young prospects (6 years $150 Million might be doable for either of these teams looking for a right-handed hitting third baseman). I’d let Nunez & Laird battle it out for starting 3b next year & the winner gets most of the time there w/Eric Chavez spelling them. If Nunex wins it, I’d have Ramiro Pena my backup infielder.

    Montero should start year as d/h and backup first baseman & third string catcher behind Martin & Cervelli. Romine starts year in AAA & the club can evaluate how that all works out by June.

    Play ball!

    • Brian S.

      A-Rod has the least moveable contract in baseball.

    • Jonathan trade Brunett we’d have to eat about $10MM of his salary. And any team that would want Swisher for just one year wouldn’t be giving up any pitching that matters. And signing Willingham who is an awful fielder to a multi year pretty expensive deal and have him get about 1/4 of the RF ABs since he’s a right handed hitter while a AAAA player gets the rest?

      And the White Sox are looking to dump salary, not add the worst contract in baseball…good lord man…was that all a joke?

    • Jim Is Bored

      Boy is it lucky you aren’t in cashman’s place.

      Who in the world, not just the MLB, who in the world would trade a young starting rhp for AJ, no matter who else you include, and how much money you toss in?

      Bedard has repeatedly shied away from wanting to play in NY, I don’t think his results would be affected but his personality would get destroyed in the media here.

      As Brian said, A-Rod ain’t going anywhere.

      Laird has no place on our starting roster, and Nunez only marginally so.

      About all I agree with you is that Pena can be a backup IF, and Montero should absolutely be starting next year in some capacity.

    • Soriano Is A Liar

      Wow, maybe that would work if you were playing MLB The Show against Tony Reagins.

    • Clint Holzner

      What does that even mean? You’d trade AJ and Swisher for a young starting pitcher? That’s great man, so would everyone else. The problem is who the hell would trade a young starting pitched (one of the quality the Yankees are looking for) for 2 years and 33 million worth of AJ Burnett at 1 year 10.5 million worth of Nick Swisher. Not that Swish isn’t a desirable player. But why would anyone do that? Put yourself in another team’s shoes, would you trade one of your young starters for that? The answer is absolutely not.

    • Urban

      You’re fired! : -)

  • Brian S.

    “Best prospect Will Middlebrooks.” He had the exact same year that Brandon Laid had in in 2010. I mean the EXACT same year.

    • mbonzo

      But Middlebrook is such a better fielder, rocking that low .900 fld%

    • Jesse

      Minor League statistics don’t tell the whole story though, but I get your point.

      • Brian S.

        Yeah I asked some scout in a live chat about this and he said: “The difference is that Middlebrooks is ripped. Like I mean he is chiseled. I would totally divorce my wife so I could fuck him.”

        • Jesse

          Woah, TMI. lol

        • Foghorn Leghorn

          That’s beyond baseball…

    • Soriano Is A Liar

      Well technically Middlebrooks is one of their best prospects. It just goes to show you that their farm system isn’t as strong as people (sox fans) think, they have like zero pitching depth.

  • Brian S.

    How do you figure the Red Sox have enough money to sign Ortiz, Papelbon, and Willingham? They’ll be around 155 million after arbitration. Are they all of a sudden going to have a 190 million dollar payroll?

    • Brian S.

      Although I agree with pretty much everything else you said.

      • mbonzo

        They were at about $170m this year, I think.

        • Brian S.

          Yup. And that’s where I think they will end up next season.

          • mbonzo

            $101(current payroll)+ $12m(Papelbon)+ $21m (Gonzalez)+ $4m (EllsburyArb)+ $2m (SaltyArb)+ $1m (AcevesArb)+ $2m (BuchholzArb)+ $1m (BardArb)+ $1m (LowrieArb)+ $2m (OtherArb) + $8m (Willingham). Thats $155m right there. Add Ortiz for another $12.5m and we’re working with just about the same payroll.

            • Jesse

              But that also doesn’t include two starting pitchers they need. As of now all they have is Beckett, Lester, and Buchholz. With the way their starting pitching folded at the end of the year, I’m sure they won’t get two guys making league minimum.

              • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

                The way I see it, they’ll have to let either Ortiz or Papelbon go to sign EJax (who will probably get the same kind of salary as Ortiz.) I don’t see them going after Wilson or Darvish after all the disasters they’ve had in the clubhouse and their overall terrible success with FA’s. (about that: I wonder if it’a a Theo thing, and it will continue with the Cubs, if it’s just shitty luck, or a Boston thing) So they can keep Ortiz and Papelbon, and look at guys like Doubront, Wakefield, and Weiland, or let one go and go after a legit #2-#3.

                • Jesse

                  Originally I had Wilson going to Boston just for the fact they could be desperate. But because they’ve whiffed on a number of Free Agents they may hold off.

                  I bet they’ll go trade for someone. It makes the most sense. Who that is I have no idea. But like you said, they probably won’t get Wilson or Darvish. That leaves them with EJax, who I think the Nats will overpay for. That leaves them with Oswalt who is a back injury away of retiring (possibly), Kuroda (who is staying in LA or retiring), Colon, and Bedard who have injury question marks. Then there’s guys like Francis, Maholm, Chen, etc who I just don’t see as fits.

                  To be honest I see their rotation looking like this:

                  1. Beckett
                  2. Lester
                  3. Buchholz
                  4. Trade
                  5. Doubront or Weiland

                  I think Wakefield is done, and I don’t know what the hell they’ll do with Dice-K by the time he comes back mid-season or whatever.

                  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

                    I can easily see Wakefield giving it another shot on an incentive-laden contract. And then he’ll suck and they will have to go through the process of DFAing/releasing a franchise player. Aceves is also a potential starter, but I think he will suffer from “2011 Phil Hughes Syndrome” next year. As for Dice-K, I don’t think he’s supposed to be back until mid-August, so what I think they’ll do is “Igawa” him in the bullpen. I mean, if they’re in mid-August and Dice-K would be an actual UPGRADE to their rotation, I’d have to think that they will have fallen out of the race.

                    • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

                      Another point on Wakefield: he said after his last start of the season “the fans deserve to watch me pursue 192” (the all time Red Sox wins record)

                    • Jesse

                      That’s true. But that doesn’t mean the Red Sox would take him back. Even if Wakefield comes back and will be the number 4 who will be the number 5? Doubront? Weiland? Aceves? But he could hit a wall, plus I think his best value is in the bullpen as a swing man type guy. I just don’t see Boston having Wakefield and Doubront/Weiland/potentially injured Aceves in the back end after the mess they went through in Decemeber.

                    • UYF1950

                      Boy would any combination of Wakefield, Doubront, Weiland or Aceves to fill out the #4 and 5 spots in the rotation be a receipt for disaster for the Sox. Especially in light of Buchholz inability to stay healthy the past few year. I would not want to be the new GM who went into the 2012 season with that. In light of the starting rotations 2011 September collapse.

            • Brian S.

              Ellsbury is NOT making 4 mil in arbitration. He is going to make wayyyyyy more than that.

              • UYF1950

                Absolutely count on close to $8M minimum. The ONLY way the Sox get away with less is if Ellsbury is stupid enough to let them sign him to a 4 or 5 year deal now buying out 2 or 3 years of FA and he settles for a little more security early on and gives up payroll in exchange. I can’t see that happening. If he holds out until he is a free agent and has anywhere near the same years as this past year, doesn’t even have to be quite as good he’s looking at Crawford type money come the 2014 season from some team if not the Sox.

                • Ted Nelson

                  It’s a huge question mark whether Ellsbury will ever have another season like 2011, so I don’t think it would necessarily be dumb to sign now.

            • Brian S.

              And Buchholz isn’t going under arb he’s under contract already for 3.7 mil. Lowrie and Bard will make more than 1 mil. Morales, McDonald, Aviles, Albers will make more under arbitration. Willingham won’t sign for 8 mil a year. Sorry, it doesn’t work.

              • mbonzo

                All those numbers are arbitration raises, add them to the player’s current salary. I don’t see Willingham signing for anything in double digits.

            • UYF1950

              mbonzo, take it to the bank if Boston resigns Papelbon and Ortiz and with estimating arbitration awards and pre-arbitration increase and them having to sign replacements for Dice K and Lackey (because they can’t go into the 2012 season with #4 and 5 with what’s on their roster) the Sox payroll come the start of the 2012 season is clearly in the area of $180M plus. That’s without doing any extra ordinary signings like Beltran or CJ Wilson.

              • Ted Nelson

                Because you say so, huh? mbonzo actually did the math, which is a much more convincing argument than “because I say so.” If you disagree with the math, show your own math.

                • UYF1950

                  Ted Nelson, if it will make you happy here it is:
                  Committed Salaries:
                  $130M +/- for(Crawford, Gonzalez, Beckett, Lackey, Dice K, Lester, Buchholz, Youkilis, Pedroia, Scutaro, Jenks, Iglesias.
                  $25M Estimate for resigning Papelbon and Ortiz a conservative estimate in my opinion for the 2 players for 1 year.
                  $10M Estimate for 2 new starters to replace Lackey and Dice K for the 2012 season a conservative number in my estimate.
                  $8M Estimate for Arbitration award for Ellsbury
                  $5M Estimate for Rest of Arbitration and Pre-Arbitration players such as: Aceves, Salty, Bard and Reddick.
                  THAT TOTAL COMES TO JUST ABOUT $178M.

                  And that does NOT include finishing off the last few spots vacated by: Wheeler, Wakefield and V-Teck. Which when those players are replaced even if with in house “prospects” at league minimums would bring the total to OVER $180M

                  Ted, hopefully that clarifies your curiosity how I arrived at my number from my earlier post.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    This is why I asked you to show your work. No need for the attitude. You factually wrong on the already in place contracts. +/- 130 mill is actually under 120 mill.

                    Why you’d be such a cocky dick when you are misrepresenting publicly available data? I have no idea.


                    • UYF1950

                      First i believe it was you who was being cocky with the comment “Because you say so, huh? mbonzo actually did the math, which is a much more convincing argument than because I say so.” In your reference to my earliest comment.

                      Second if you want to check my figures for the committed salaries I posted go to:

                      BTW, before you tell posters to go to a certain web site and post that site as you did you should make sure the information is there. The trouble with your site is they don’t show figures for Buchholz who has a $3.5M coming to him in 2012 they don’t show the 7 year/$154M contract Gonzalez signed at all and if you will allow me that comes to $22M per year on average. It also does not show the Sox just exercising Scutaro’s $6M 2012 option.

                      Whether you like it or not putting aside the sarcasm on both our sides my numbers are pretty darn close to the actual 2012 anticipated payroll for the Sox.

                      Before you accuse me of misrepresenting any information you might first find out where I got the information from. Those players I mentioned come to exactly $126.6M

                    • Ted Nelson

                      How was I being cocky? I was telling you that mbonzo’s argument was more convincing than your “because I say so” argument.

                      Cots absolutely does list Buchholz salary, and I did include that in my figure.

                      It also shows AGone at $21 mill. Did you even go to the site?

                      I didn’t include Scutaro, which is why I got closer to $120 million.

                      When you are talking about a $10 million difference, $3.3 million is a fairly sizable difference. 1/3 of the difference between you and mbonzo’s estimates. The rest of your estimates are pure speculation. You don’t know what the arb raises will be and you don’t know what their intentions are with Papelbon, Ortiz, or their #4 and 5 starters. Dice-K could easily be back in June. 12 month recovery from TJS is fairly common. They might choose an Aceves/Wakefield or minor league contract guy for one spot to keep it open for Dice-K.

                    • UYF1950

                      Ted, yes I did and I just did again and the site you listed above does NOT show any numbers for the 3 players I mentioned. I just checked again. And it does not show numbers for those 3 players for 2012. It shows FA for Gonzalez for 2012, It shows ARB for Buchholz for 2012 and for Scutaro it shows $1.5M that’s the buyout if the Sox had not exercised the $6M option. You’re wrong.

                    • UYF1950

                      Ted this is exactly when the web sit Cot’s shows for 2012 payrolls for the players previously mentioned that you linked earlier.
                      Contracts: According to Cot’s For the Red Sox for 2012:
                      Gonzalez No Salary Reflected show FA
                      Crawford $ 20.357
                      Lackey $ 15.950
                      Beckett $ 17.0
                      Dice K $ 10.330
                      Youkilis $ 12.250
                      Lester $ 7.630
                      Buchholz No Salary Reflected-Arb
                      Pedroia $ 8.250
                      Scutaro, No Salary Reflected only shows $1.5M buyout had Sox not exercised option
                      Jenks $ 6.0
                      Inglesias $ 2.060

                      Total: $ 98.827 (without any figures for Gonzalez/Buchholz and Scutaro)

                    • Ted Nelson

                      You are factually wrong. It does show those figures. You are not looking in the same place I am. I went player by player to arrive at my total.

                      Clay Buchholz rhp
                      1 year/$0.555M (2011)
                      4 years/$29.945M (2012-15), plus 2016-17 club options
                      4 years/$29.945M (2012-15), plus 2016-17 club options
                      signed extension with Boston 4/11/11
                      $1M signing bonus
                      12:$3.5M, 13:$5.5M, 14:$7.7M, 15:$12M, 16:$13M club option ($0.245M buyout), 17:$13.5M club option ($0.5M buyout)

                      Adrian Gonzalez 1b
                      4 years/$9.5M (2007-10), plus 2011 club option
                      7 years/$154M (2012-18)
                      7 years/$154M (2012-18)
                      signed extension with Boston 4/15/11
                      $6M signing bonus
                      12-16: $21M annually, 17-18:$21.5M annually
                      partial no-trade clause

                      Marco Scutaro ss
                      2 years/$12.5M (2010-11), plus 2012 options
                      2 years/$12.5M (2010-11), plus 2012 options
                      signed by Boston as a free agent 12/4/09
                      $1M signing bonus
                      10:$5M, 11:$5M, 12:$6M club option/$3M player option ($1.5M buyout)

                    • Ted Nelson

                      This is really silly. The point is not about what one website does or does not show. The point is what their payroll will be. Again, 126.7 is not 130. When you’re talking about 10 million difference, 3.3 million is a big deal.

                    • UYF1950

                      Ted, believe what you want. I’m done discussing this. I’ve laid out what Cot’s shows for each of the players without Gonzalez, Buchholz and Scutaro. If you add add your last numbers from your latest comment to those number you get right around $130M +/-

                      …$98.827 for 8 players previously noted
                      …$21.0 using your number for Gonzalez
                      …$ 3.5 for Buchholz using your number
                      …$ 6.0 for Scutaro using your number

                      Total: $129.327

                      Believe what you want. I’m done with this. I’ve posted and given you all of the sites that have 2012 salary information.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Cots is a well respected source for salary information. That you don’t know about it or how to read English doesn’t make a difference.

                    • UYF1950

                      Ted, I won’t bother responding to the last sentence in your most recent comment in hopes that we can keep this civil. But I will comment about Cot’s. I don’t disagree with you about Cot’s. BTW, I am very familiar with it. That’s exactly the reason why I posted a comment just one or 2 posts about your most recent comment. That showed the exact salaries for all the players except Gonzalez, Buchholz and Scurato according to Cot’s. And after I added those 3 players that you supplied from your own checking of Cot’s (as you said) the TOTAL salaries for 2012 for the players mentioned as you can see from my previous posts came to $129.327M not significantly off the $130M +/- number my original comment stated. As I also mentioned showed those very same players with a combined 2012 salary of $126.7M. BTW, baseball-reference is a highly respected site as well.

                      Now we can argue about this forever, but aren’t you the one who said this was silly. All I can do is invite anyone or everyone to go to either Cot’s site or Baseball-Reference and check out their payroll numbers for the 12 players in question for the upcoming 2012 season. There maybe slight differences between each site perhaps it’s the way each calculates the payrolls as to how signing bonus, etc… are figured. But the fact remains the 2 sites in total are relatively close and both are close to the $130M I previously estimated.

                      Now I stand by one of my very first comments stating I believed the Sox payroll would hit $180M +/- in 2012 based yes on certain assumptions they can be found above in one of my earliest posts. I firmly believe the only assumption I made that can effect my $180M prediction negatively is if the Sox don’t go out and get 2 pitchers to replace Lackey and Dice K. I guess we will have to wait and see about that.

                      Now I’m willing to drop the issue and forget the sarcasm and move on. The balls in your court, no pun intended.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      You are ignoring most of my comments, and it’s getting old. I have addressed several of these issues already.

                      Dice-K should be back pretty early next season. I don’t think they’ll get an expensive replacement for the #5 spot for a few months.

                      Papelbon is going to be quite expensive, so they certainly might let him walk if someone blows him out of the water. Given that Soriano had to take a set-up role to get paid last off-season and there are several other closers on the market, I don’t see anyone blowing him away.

                      B-R and Cots have the same numbers. Only difference is Iglesias, who got a $8.25 mill deal with $6 mill of that as a signing bonus. Cots doesn’t list his annual salary, B-R just breaks the total into 4 years. I don’t know how it works for the luxury tax, but the Red Sox already paid that money, so $0.56 seems like the correct number to me.

                      I have repeated myself a bunch of times now: $125.2-126.7 is not close to $130 million when we’re talking about a $10 million difference. mbonzo claimed $170, you forcefully disagreed and said $180 million. $3.3 million is 1/3 of $10 million. Not a small matter.

                      Here are the #s from Cots:

                      Beckett: 15.75
                      Lackey: 15.25
                      Crawford: 19.5
                      Youk: 12
                      Dice-K: 10
                      AGon: 21
                      Jenks: 6
                      Lester: 7.625
                      Pedroia: 8
                      Buchholz: 3.5
                      Scutaro: 6
                      Iglesias: 0.56

                      That totals $125.2 million. Not 130. Not 129. Am I missing anyone?

                      Again, when you’re squabbling over $10 you can’t then say “well $3.3-5 isn’t important.” That’s fully 1/3 to 1/2 the total you’re disagreeing over.

                    • UYF1950

                      Ted, whatever. Like I said earlier anyone interested can go directly to the sites and check out the 2012 payrolls for the 12 players in question. I’m confident in all the numbers I’ve previously quoted for both the 12 players mentioned and the estimated Sox payroll in total for 2012.

                      BTW, for luxury tax purposes signing bonuses are pro-rated over the course of the players contract. I found the following on the web. Technically the Luxury Tax is know as the “Competitive Balance Tax” I believe. This is what I found and I quote:
                      “Average Annual Value – The total income to be paid to a player over the course of a contract (including base salary, signing bonuses, earned activity level bonuses, earned award bonuses and player benefits) divided by the number of years remaining in the contract.”

                    • mcgatman

                      Wow talk about willful misrepresentation.

                      Let me take the numbers Ted posted that he claimed from COTS that show current Boston 2012 obligations are below 130M.
                      These numbers are actually from the salary page of BBRef and they only show the actual 2012 salary of the players who also got signing bonuses. The prorated amount of that bonus is also part of 2012 salary and counts against the luxury tax threshold.
                      Beckett: 15.75 wrong actual COTS # 17M
                      Lackey: 15.25 wrong actual COTS # 15.95M
                      Crawford: 19.5 wrong actual COTS # 20.36M
                      Youk: 12 wrong actual COTS # 12.25M
                      Dice-K: 10 wrong actual COTS # 10.33M
                      AGon: 21 wrong actual COTS # 21.86M
                      Jenks: 6
                      Lester: 7.625
                      Pedroia: 8 wrong actual COTS # 8.25M
                      Buchholz: 3.5
                      Scutaro: 6
                      Iglesias: 0.56 wrong actual COTS # 2.06 M

                      So when we add it all up we get 2012 obligations for the Red Sox of 131M.

                      So set and match to UYF1950

                      I could care less about this but I do find it hilarious how zealously Boston fans defend the myth of the Small Market Sawx Who Do Things The Right Way as opposed to the Evil Empire Yanks.

  • Rich in NJ

    I’m pro-Darvish.

  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    I don’t think Prince will return to Milwaukee. I think he ends up on the South Side of Chicago.

    • mbonzo

      Pssshh I’ve got the North Side, here begins our rivalry.

      • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

        That’s what I meant…I should have said the Cubs :(

        • Jimmy

          You might be thinking of Leroy Brown.

    • YankeesJunkie

      I could see him either going to the Cubs or even the Blue Jays, but whoever gets him probably won’t have much more than a fat Giambi DH in three years.

      • Ted Nelson

        What’s wrong with a healthy Giambi? Guy has a career wOBA of almost .400.

  • Kiko Jones

    Johnny Damon goes to KC and finishes his career where he started. He wants to go into Cooperstown—if he makes it, of course—as a Royal, so..

    • Kosmo

      Damon loves self-promotion. Damon would have to outplay Butler for DH. I don´t see that happening. Damon sees the writing on the wall, he can´t play the field so he´s strictly a AL DH. His choices are practically nil. So what AL team wants an aging power lacking DH ?

      • Ted Nelson

        I think you over estimate the supply of talent. Damon is still a decent DH, especially considering he played home games in arguably the worst hitters’ park in baseball last season. For the Indians, Mariners, A’s… any bat is a good thing.

  • Hardy

    I can’t see Wilson to the Cubs. You correctly pointed out that they likely “aren’t planning a big run in 2012”. That means they are in a perfect positiion to wait for next offseason. I don’t see them signing Wilson instead whose best season of the contract will likely be 2012.

    • Kosmo

      Agreed. Wilson doesn´t want to sign with a team that´s 3-5 years from contending. Wilson stays with Texas or possibly signs with Detroit.

    • Joe Pawlikowski

      This was easily my least favorite pick in hindsight.

  • Kosmo

    The Dodgers seem like a good fit for Aramis Ramirez. They desperately need power and someone to bat behind Kemp. I don´t think the Cubs want to tie up Ramirez long term with an expensive contract with Josh Vitters probably less than a year away.

  • Kosmo

    Jose Reyes signs with either the Braves or Giants.

  • nycsportzfan

    I think the Yanks are gonna Sign Darvish and trade for Danks personally.. Which is what i’m guessing you think as well, as u got only Darvish going to the Yanks, and we probably could use 2starters..

    I think the Giants should try and Sing Rollins and Beltran, but Rollins as u say, probably stays in Philly.. The Giants need to open up there wallets, with that pitching staff, they could have a strangle hold on the NL WEST if they went hard after 2bats, one being beltran, and say Prince? Rollins? or maybe Furcal?

    I tell ya what, a sleeper Starter i woulden’t mind on a 1/2yr deal is Bruce Chen… I think he’s gonna be better this coming season then Freddy is, and Chen is a lefty.. Just a last ditch effort to get a somewhat quality pitcher if it comes to that..

    • Kosmo

      Rollins to the Giants I just don´t see. If the Giants sign Beltran to a 2 year with an option yr, sign Reyes and Crisp then you have

    • Ted Nelson

      My guess is that Danks will take at least Montero or Banuelos to headline a package. Guy is a stud. Kenny Williams is a wildcard, but I don’t see him being so dumb as to give away a young ace.

      I don’t know if the Giants can count on Beltran to save their offense. 2011 was his first healthy season in a long while.

      • j

        Danks may be a stud, but he is on a one year contract. No way I’d give up a top prospect.

        • Ted Nelson

          I wouldn’t either. That’s why I don’t think he’ll be traded, unless he agrees to an extension. Why are the White Sox giving him away without a good return?

  • Kosmo

    It looks like the Dodgers signing Juan Rivera is seemingly a done deal and with Sands ,DeJesus would be a expensive luxury.
    i thought the Pirates were interested in bringing Derrick Lee back to play 1B so Kotchman`s destiny probably lies elsewhere. Back to the Rays ?
    I think NY wants Darvish and are willing to spend.

  • UYF1950

    I agree with Kosmo about the Yankees and Darvish. Having said that worse case is the Yankees are in the best position to make sure no other team can sign him. All they have to do is offer a amount for the posting fee that they are sure with get them negotiating rights then offer a contract that Darvish might not be willing to accept. They get their posting money back and Darvish goes back to Japan for another year. Granted this scenario is not likely but it is still out there as a possibility. I do think the Yankees will make a “reasonable” offer to sign him when and if the time comes.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    Having CC signed really takes a lot of pressure of the Yanks to do something drastic.

    on Ellsbury…there ain’t now way he’s signing a long term deal with the Sox. he’s gone as soon as he can be. He’s a loner in that clubhouse and his only friend is Lowrie who sucks.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    I know it’s a bit OT but just in case somebody wants to see Darvish’s start against the Lions from last week:

    • Jose M. Vazquez..

      Thanks for the tip. I watched up to the 6th inning and Yu looks absolutely dominant. I think he could be a no.2 for the Yankees. Of course major league hitters are much better than most of the guys we saw in these games, but still, I believe he can make it in a big way in MLB.

  • New York Howard

    Most obvious match-Texas and a first baseman–Fielder

  • Holy Ghost

    I think Bedard might be a good low risk/high reward pickup for the Yanks if he stays healthy.

    • Jose M. Vazquez..

      I said the same thing last Dec. By the time I said it he had been signed by Seattle and that was not known by me. Also there are rumors that he does not like big cities.

  • cranky

    Aramis Ramirez will sign with the Angels.
    It’s one of those rare occasions when organizational stupidity (failure to sign Adrian Beltre) gets the opportunity for redemption.

  • Al Kaline

    I doubt the Tigers will sign Reyes, especially with their payroll tied up and pretty high and along arbitration players. Tiger GM Dave Dombrowski has already ruled out Reyes. If the Tigers were to sign anyone from the Top 10 it would be Aramis Ramirez, to play 3rd. Otherwise, the Tigers are more likely to trade Rick Porcello for a second baseman and then sign an Eric Bedard, Paul Maholm, Jeff Francis or a Bruce Chen to fill that spot with another open rotation spot going to a prospect like Jacob Turner or one of the lefties they have in the minors.