Assigning new homes for 7 of the remaining MLB free agents
With Jon Lester off the market, everything else is about to fall into place. We saved you time and assigned remaining free agents to their new teams.
Jon Lester wasn’t trying to be a jerk by holding everything up; that’s just how it worked out. The Max Scherzer rumors were scattered, at best. Within this sentence, you will read the words “James Shields” for the first time in a month. There are big, fancy pitchers who are about to get paid millions and millions and millions and millions, and there are cheaper, outlet-store pitchers who will sign for just millions and millions and millions. But they all had to wait for Lester to set the market.
Lester’s with the Cubs for six years at $155 million now, though. That means the dominoes are about to create an avalanche of snowballs, and the rest of the market is about to get nutty. We’ve spent the offseason predicting where free agents will go, and most of those predictions were wrong. Fun! But wrong. So instead of predicting, this time we’re just going to assign teams to some of the players remaining on the market. We need to clear out some of the riff raff.
Note: These assignments are binding. The paperwork involved in a reversal wouldn’t be worth your time.
The Giants missed out on Lester before they could make their final offer. They have the taste of expensive ace dripping down their feral chin, now. They’re too far gone. They’ve already convinced ownership of the hard part: That this time it’s totally going to work out, even though 97 percent of all long-term deals to pitchers in their 30s become horrible, regrettable disasters that strains a team’s finances for years.
Once you have that out of the way, it shouldn’t be hard to convince someone that Scherzer is just as good, if not better, for just a touch more money. What’s $50 million more these days, anyway?
The Dodgers aren’t too keen on another nine-figure mega deal to a starting pitcher, not with Zack Greinke likely to opt out of his contract next year. So they’ll settle for a measly sorta-mega deal that barely cracks nine figures. The Dodgers are keen for a fourth starter, so they’ll sign the ace for whom another team traded their top prospect.
They tried to do the cheap, responsible thing with Dan Haren last year, and it was a total bust. They’ll need to get a little less responsible if they’re going to make it in the obnoxious bully business.
He fits the park and the team’s needs better than any of the other players on the market fit with anyone. The Mariners have already lost their first-round pick for Nelson Cruz, and the only team with possible interest that doesn’t have to give up a first-rounder would be the Blue Jays, who have spent the last month accumulating outfielders.
I feel like I’m wearing Rowdy Roddy Piper glasses from They Live!, and I’m the only person who can see how average Santana really is. You see it, right? His career ERA+ is 99. His ERA+ last year was 92, worse than 76 different starting pitchers. He was worse than Scott Feldman, whom the Astros would gladly trade. Santana is also 32, and he’s had an oddly inconsistent career.
No one wants to give up a pick for that. No one wants to give up four or five years. The Braves still like him, though. He can go there on a shorter deal and stop scaring the rest of us.
The Astros are trying to claw back into AL West relevance, and they should have enough prospects to field a compelling team soon. Get the steady starter and hope for more. For all of the #4 starter talk, it’s not like there was a bidding war for Hisashi Iwakuma three years ago. Deception and command are the paper to the overwhelming fastball’s rock. I guess that means “knowing how to win” is the scissors? I don’t know, I’m still working this all out.
Also, there’s a chance that Maeda isn’t even posted this year. That matters less now, considering he’s been irrevocably assigned to the Astros.
Because I have no idea what in the heck they’re doing, either. I just know that spending a lot of money in an offseason of beloved-player-jettisoning seems like the obvious next step in this weird, busy offseason for the A’s. Plus, Headley’s a pretty good player, don’t forget, and he could allow the A’s to play Brett Lawrie at second base.
Assignment: Red Sox
The Red Sox will also trade for Cole Hamels and Mat Latos (straight up for Yoenis Cespedes!) in this scenario, easing some of the pressure on McCarthy. The Red Sox will still have 17 extra outfielders, but they’ll have them do some filing around the office.
Now that we’ve found homes for these eight players, we’ve cleared a path for the rest of the offseason to progress smoothly and without interruption, which means we can hang back, relax, and calmly keep tabs on the rest of the free agents. Like …
Man, the only thing worse than the offseason is waiting in purgatory for the next season. Rumor season is silly and awful. The dead zone after all the big free agents sign is much, much worse. I’m hereby releasing these players from their assignments, making them free agents again.
Scatter, friends. Scatter and make more rumors. This hot stove can heat our weary bones yet.