Sunday, July 1, 2007

ISBL Offseason

In our first installment of blogging about the ongoings at ISBL, we take a look at this past free agency period and we disect what some GM's were thinking about and we pick the five best signings and the five worst.

Minus Japanese import Toraichirou Shukishi ($ 15,390,000 from the Red Sox), only one player was given a contract more than $10 million dollars, 35-year-old outfielder Jose Navarro was signed to a 3-year deal for $10.5 million a year. The Red Sox are trying to make a statement after losing 99 games last year. The move jumped their payroll from $39,941,257 (24th in the league) to $63,307,671 (good enough for 18th). The Red sox have only one winning season since 2006, something that manager Matt Byrd intends to change.
  • Year Wins Losses
  • 2019 63 99 .389
  • 2018 76 86 .469
  • 2017 79 83 .488
  • 2016 51 111 .315
  • 2015 65 97 .401
  • 2014 61 101 .377
  • 2013 86 76 .531
  • 2012 47 115 .290
  • 2011 57 105 .352
  • 2010 52 110 .321
  • 2009 57 105 .352
  • 2008 70 92 .432
  • 2007 64 98 .395
  • 2006 59 103 .364

The two big signings were similar to last year as import Daisuke "Dice-K" Matsuzaka got the richest contract in ISBL history, signings a 4-year deal worth $32.5 million dollars a year. Last year's other big signing was another Starting Pitcher, Harry Cutler with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He signed a $12.5 million dollar a year deal. Cutler had his best year ever for the D'Backs.

As for this year, the biggest question has to be what does the New York Yankees want with 38-year-old Matt Wheatland? The Yankees signed the veteran to a $4.5 million dollar deal. Do the Yankees actually plan on winning a few more games this year? Or maybe they are just looking to get Wheatland to teach their youngsters a thing or two about pitching. ... And is Los Angeles trying to hoard every single middle reliever there is? The Dodgers signed 7 middle relievers to contracts over 1 million dollars ---- five of them for more than $3 million. Talk about a packrat. Maybe he plans on using a few as trade bait once the season begins or maybe for depth. Either way he is stocked. ... Not sure if anyone else noticed, but Pittsburgh signed 21 free agents over the offseason. However, there biggest contract was only $610,000 to journeyman reliever Joseph Waugh. Almost every single contract was for $300,000 or a tad more. Something strange going on in Pittsburgh. ... The Blue Jays didn't make much of a spalsh in the free agent market, signing two guys, and keeping only one. They signed 37-year-old starting pitcher Sean Burnett to a $4.5 million dollar a year deal. I can't figure out what Burnett's deal is. His stats suck, so I think he was tinkered with to make for a better free agent. No problem there, but a bit worried to see how he will perform. But don't worry, anybody, even Mickey Mouse, could win 20 games for Toronto with that pitching staff and that top ranked offense. ...The Cleveland Indians signed 12 free agents, with their biggest on Right fielder Antoine Conboy. More on Conboy in worst five offseason signings. ... Somebody wake up Seattle and tell them they missed the free agent period. The M's didn't sign one person. Maybe they were okay with their 74-88 season last year? ... Good pickup by the Texas Ranger signing Brian Brauer to a 4-year deal for $4.1 million a year. A bit much for a 36-year-old, but Brauer is a pros pro and has produced for consistenly for the past four years for the Phillies. ... Not sure what it is about finishing 74-88, but the Braves also felt that was a solid finish last year as they also signed zero free agents. ... The defending World Series champion Marlins barely made a splash signing only four guys, but why should they? Most of their team returns, with the expection of pitcher of the century Josh Beckett. ... If I didn't know better, I would say the Cincinnati Reds are trying to lose. After going 65-95 last year, they didn't sign one single free agent. ... In another case of not signing a single free agent, San Francisco didn't either. At 45-117, the Giants could use a few players or two to help them out.

Top 5 signings
1. Dave Knight, Rightfield, 32 yrs, Chicago (N) Cubs

Getting Dave Knight under $10 million dollars is not an easy task. After signing for a then-record $20 million dollar a year extension in 2015 with the Cubs, he was then traded a few months later to the Detriot Tigers. He then made his way to the Texas Rangers. But he has made his way back to the Cubs and his bat will surely help out a offense that struggled in 2019. The cubs ranked 25th in both runs scored (772) and batting average (.252). With Knight in the lineup, the Cubs could have six guys hit for 30 home runs or more.

2. Roger "Rocket" Clemens Jr., Starting Pitcher, 35 yrs, Anaheim Angels
The Angels were putting all they had into signing "Lil' Rocket" and they were victorous. He was signed for a high price, $7 million a year for four years, but that is ISBL. Clemens Jr. will join a great pitching staff as their No. 5 guy and could easily be a No. 1 starter for most teams. However, one look at their ages and you have to wonder how much time they will spend on the DL.

Angels starter pitchers and ages
A. Guzman 28
C. Mazza 33
M. Cambra 33
P. Halvorson 37
R. Clemens Jr. 35

3. Milton Peterson, Rightfield, 31 yrs, Oakland Athletics
For a guy that has never played a full season, this is an interesting pick for No. 3. Peterson was signed for $ 3,180,000 per year for three years. Peterson sports some nice potential and with 162 games under his belt, he just might suprise a few people. Key word, just might. Peterson has average to good speed and average to good defensive skills. He can hit the ball well, but does lack some punch. He is the ideal No. 2 hitter.

4. Tyler Hatchett, Leftfield, 34 yrs, Minnesota Twins
Hatchett is a strange case. In 2017, he hit 31 home runs and drove in 103 runs for the St. Louis Cardinals. He also won the Gold Glove. But he also hit .213 and struck out 142 times. He had almost as many RBIs as he did hits (108 hits to 103 RBIs). That was enough to get him benched as he rode the pine for the Cards as their No. 1 pinch hitter the previous two seasons. The Twins took a chance, signing him to a 2-year contract at $3.5 million a year. I had a hard time putting him in the top 5 singings, but if he can hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 RBIs, I think the Twins will be happy. Regardless that his career batting average is a measly .208.

5. James Flanigan, Designated Hitter, 37 yrs, Baltimore Orioles
Signing the DH, who can also play catcher, 1B and 3B, was a smart move for the Orioles. He has power, and coupled with the O's other big free agent signing, Peter Brain, the two match well with each other. Brain, who signed for $5 million a year is on his fifth team in as many years.

Bottom 5 signings
1. Royce Ring, Reliever, 32 yrs, Los Angeles Dodgers

More than $2 million dollars ($ 2,550,000 to be exact) for a guy who hasn't pitched in the majors in two years ---- and when he did, he had a 9.20 ERA. Wow, that must be a record. Oh, but he is a lefty which somewhat makes up for it. Ring has a career 7.00 ERA in 159 innings pitched, something that wasn't looked at when the contract was offered. He has only two pitches, which he can get over the plate, for the hitters to hit them...far.

2. Allen Leija, Starting Pitcher, 30 yrs, Colorado Rockies
Leija has started all of eight games in his career, but that was good enough for a $2.3 millon dollar a year contract for 3 yeras by the Rockies. In Triple A, where he has spent a lot of time over the past eight years he is great, but in the majors he is 4-5 with a 5.21 ERA in 76 innings pitched. That is a lot of money for a Triple-A All-Star.

3. Christian Paez, Centerfield, 34 yrs, Chicago (N) Cubs
The Cubs signed this one-star outfielder to a $2 million dollar a year contract after he hit just .240 for the Angels last year in 509 at bats. Sure he has speed, but with a .313 on base percentage, what does it matter. He gets out more than two-thirds of the time.

4. Antoine Conboy, Rightfield, 38 yrs, Cleveland Indians
I get it, outfield help is hard to find, but seriously? $3 million dollars for a 1-star outfielder who has no power. He is almost the opposite of Paez, no speed but gets on base plenty. Conboy is a career.282 hitter with a career .365 on base percentage, but he hasn't played full time since 2016. What I don't get is the Indians are set at the outfield postions and DH, so what is Conboy going to be used for, a backup? $3 million is a lot for a backup outfielder with no speed or defense. Well, if it doesn't work out, at least it is only for one year.

5. Ronald Johnson, Reliever, 27 yrs, Charlotte Knights
Sorry Charlotte, but I have to do it. Sure he sports 2.5 stars, but he has only pitched two full seasons and sports a 5.61 career ERA in 98 innings. Not to mention, his pots stink at 4-8-7. But good news, he is only 27 and he was signed for only two years at $3,600,000 per year.

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