It’s probably a good time to pay a visit to the bargain basement section of the free agent store that’s still open for business 24/7. Because while all of the big splashes have been made and the big fish reeled in, there’s still time to grab some decent talent while not having to break the bank to get it done. You might need to be a little creative with these players by softly playing a refrain similar to…….”I don’t mean to bust your bubble …………but maybe there’s a reason why you are still out here……..so let’s see if we can get together on something we’ll both be happy with”………..
Front row center we have Mark Beuhrle, Dexter Fowler, Marlon Byrd, Doug Fister, and Ian Desmond. If the price is right, is there a General Manager who would not want any of them on their roster? So how might deals with these and others shape up and what would be your sales pitch to ownership to make it happen……and before we begin let’s remember the possibility of proposing an opt out after the first year of a short term deal………..managements newest lure in reeling them in……..
Mark Beuhrle is the American League’s version of Bartolo Colon. He’s not an imposing physical specimen, but he’s durable and gives you innings. Like Colon, he’ll give up a lot of hits but he won’t walk anybody. It’s surprising he has yet to be signed. He made $20 million last year and there is no way he’ll command anywhere near that now. But at the age of 36 with 214 wins under his belt, his last contract (probably) could be a two year deal heavy on the first year with an opt out at the end of the 2016 season. Best Fit: The New York Yankees – no matter what they say they have the money along with a injury prone staff.
It’s been a good long time since Doug Fister had a bad year. The trouble is he’s never had a great year either so he tends to be one of those forgotten players who flies under the radar. Which is exactly why someone needs to sign him and do it fast. The fact that he’s coming off a disappointing season makes him even more attractive because he appears to have that all important “I’ll show you ” attitude on the mound. He’s only 31 so a three year deal should not be out of the question. Best Fit: The Baltimore Orioles : There’s no sense having Chris Davis, Manny Machado, and Adam Jones if you have no pitching……
It seems like Austin Jackson has been around forever. Maybe because he’s bounced around a bit so far in his career, but he’s still a young talent at the age of 27. The fact that he began his career with the Yankees probably didn’t help either as they tend to magnify players in their farm system. So maybe it’s time for everyone, including Jackson himself, to realize that he is not the second coming of Mickey Mantle and that it’s time to settle down and just be Austin Jackson – a speedy and reliable center fielder with some pop in his bat and who can also be disruptive on the bases. Best Fit: The Atlanta Braves. They aren’t going anywhere this year so it could be a confidence rebuilding year for Jackson as well as a bridge to their new ballpark in 2017.
That’s my short list Tier One players of the remaining free agents. David Freese , Ian Desmond, and Dexter Fowler fall a notch below only because they may be asking more money than their baseball cards say they are worth. Similarly, Yovani Gallardo who turned in a pretty good year for the Rangers raises a red flag suggesting that there may be something going on with this guy that no one is talking about. Other notables on the list are Tim Lincecum (he could be a steal if he’s finally ready to grow up), Howie Kendrick (it’s gotta be that first name Howie??), and Mat Latos who everyone seemingly has given up on.
A full list of all free agents (including the ones already signed) and the main source of information for this post is provided here by ESPN. No doubt, some of these signings may be delayed a bit while teams assemble in Spring Training and get a better feel of what they have – but Fister, Beaurle, and Jackson should be no brainers for a quick and “smart” signing…….