Earlier last week, I was going to question Toronto's management when they decided to sign Scott Podsednik despite having his younger, higher potential replacement in Rajai Davis already on the team. That all went out the window when the Blue Jays did something far more destructive the next day: they gave $64 million to Jose Bautista for the next 4 years ($78 million if you want to include the team option in 2016 which I guarantee will NEVER be exercised).
The Jays didn't get the anticipated value from the enormous contracts they gave to outfielders Alex Rios and Vernon Wells despite longer track records than Bautista, and now after digging out of those holes, they are handing a one-year wonder a 5-year deal in which they will likely overpay him in every season going forward. I don't get it. Kudos to Bautista for having an ungodly year last season, but those 54 home runs were preceded by a grand total of 59 home runs in over 2,000 plate appearances!
I wish Jose all the luck in the world, but when a player has celebrated his 30th birthday and has had exactly ONE season of any worth, how can you reward that with a deal worth more than what players like Adam Dunn just signed for? Color me confused.
I read this in the Sporting News Today digital edition and found it worth noting in regards to new Yankee Freddy Garcia: "18 quality starts last season; same as Cliff Lee". The Yankees might not have landed the prized free agent pitcher they were hoping for, but it looks like they found a much better value in the back end of the rotation. Knowing New York, if there's money in the budget to be spent, you can be sure that it will be used to land additional players. Not signing Cliff Lee could accidentally result in the Yankees acquiring some better long term depth and give the franchise a little bit better chance at stability.
Of course, the Yankees are concerned with winning titles today and spending whatever it costs, so any value plays for the long run will always be accidental as long as a Steinbrenner is in charge.
Camps are opening left and right in Arizona and Florida, which means it's time to get your baseball fix on! Most of the baseball world is focused on Albert Pujols and his deadline for contract negotiation expiring today, which means if he's true to his word, he will not talk about an extension now and will simply play out this season and explore the free agent market at the end of the year. Pujols reportedly wanted $300 million over 10 years.
While Pujols is entitled to get as much as the market will bear, I'm not so sure the market is there despite his immense talent. The Yankees and Red Sox are already set at first base for years to come with Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez, so the number of teams who can and are willing to spend $300 million is... none? The Cubs don't have that kind of money anymore, Texas has been known to spend in the past but got burned too many times on long deals and a little thing called bankruptcy is coming into play, so that only leaves the Mets, and I'm not sure $300 million on one guy over the age of 30 is the answer to New York's problems.
Giving the lack of free spending teams, don't be surprised when St. Louis and Pujols work something out later this season even though Albert promised he wouldn't.
The Texas Rangers and Josh Hamilton avoided arbitration by agreeing to a very reasonable 2-year deal worth $24 million, but the big story in Texas is Michael Young's request to be traded now that there are no infield spots left for him to play with Adrian Beltre's arrival. I'm not sure why Texas didn't try to re-sign Guerrero only to sign Beltre and force Young into the DH spot. Young is a solid, above average hitter for a 2B or SS or possibly 3B, but at the DH spot, his type of production could have been bought a lot cheaper than getting Beltre and making the switch.
Think Young will be gone by spring training? Think again. Michael's got 3 years left on his contract at an average of $16 million per year - that's $4 million per year MORE than Hamilton just signed.
Ever wonder if Tim Raines is worthy of the Hall of Fame? Despite not having that MVP-type feel, it's hard to argue against those who believe Raines is Hall-worthy. There's no denying that Raines was one of the best leadoff hitters in the past 50 years, but is that enough to enshrine him? Most voters didn't think so, but I believe he is deserving, and so do these people: