January 23, 2014

With Tanaka gone, what about other free agent pieces? And #Cardinals contracts?

Jonah Keri takes a flier on how the rest of the MLB free agent jam might break out now that the Yankees have signed Masahiro Tanaka. I agree with about two-thirds of it.

David Price will be traded to somebody during the season. The Rays have seen Clayton Kershaw's, now Tanaka's contracts; they know that, if he has a good year, he's going to get $20M that final arbitration year, if not more. I can see Arizona as a possible landing spot, yes. However, other teams could push themselves in the mix, too. Boston wouldn't be a total surprise, nor would the Dodgers.

On the fly balls and Ubaldo Jimenez, hmm, yeah, he might not be a bad fit in Anaheim, and yes, it is a bit at least on the pitcher friendly side. 3/$45 could be "fair" on both sides.

I am less certain than Keri about future landing spots on either Kendrys Morales or Nelson Cruz. The Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler trade let the Tigers upgrade their D, and this would be a definite step backward for a declining asset. Where Cruz does go, I'm not sure. But, Detroit doesn't dazzle. He, like Boston shortstop Stephen Drew, could wind up settling on a one-year pillow back with the home club.

And, per Keri's analysis, I could see Morales there, but just barely. You hesitate to offer a longer-term deal, but, with the comp picks, short-term deals aren't good either, anymore. If I'm the Rangers, I'd prefer to cut a one-year deal with Cruz, I think.

If I'm the Rangers? I see them chasing Bronson Arroyo before going after Morales. No, he's not Tanaka, but he's a cheap "filler" without a tender offer from the Reds, so the Rangers don't lose a draft pick.

Interesting possible on the Rays, on Ervin Santana. Wouldn't be a bad deal if the price is right.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Mariners make a run at any of the pitchers on the list.

I also expect sidebar fallout in, say, 2016. The Cards will start looking at their young guns and seeing about Allen Craig type contracts on one or two of them -- buying up not just arb years but, say, 1 or 2 free agent years. So, somebody in the mix of Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha could get some nice extensions in 2016; maybe Trevor Rosenthal in 2017.

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