The last of the big-name free agents have now signed with Barry Zito staying in the Bay Area after agreeing to a deal with the Giants. Here's the rundown of the latest moves since my lastroundups and how they could affect the fantasy landscape in 2007.
Barry Zito signs with Giants: The former AL Cy Young winner now becomes a reasonably highly coveted pitcher in NL-only leagues now that he's headed to San Francisco. He's a workhorse to be sure, but his 16 wins in 2006 are the most since his 23 in 2002, plus his WHIP was a career-worst 1.40. Moving to a pitcher-friendly AT&T Park will help his numbers and maybe increase his strikeouts to the 160-170 range, but that Giants lineup leaves a lot to be desired in terms of giving him run support. He'll go for a decent amount, given the lack of other great starting pitching options in the NL.
Daisuke Matsuzaka signs with Red Sox: There's been an overload of information about him since Boston officially added him to the rotation. He's been a star in Japan and many fans saw him pitch brilliantly in the World Baseball Classic, so there's at least a little bit of the known about him. With his array of his pitches, plus a solid offense in front of him, here's thinking Matsuzaka will be a top-flight pitcher who can rack up 15-17 wins with very good ERA and strikeout numbers.
Jeff Suppan signs with Brewers: He does have a 5-0 career record with a 1.76 ERA at Miller Park, but for the most part he's an average pitcher who can win about 10-12 games with an ERA in the 4.50-5 range for a mediocre team. The silly market for pitchers drove his price way up. He's never had more than 128 strikeouts in a season -- and that was in 217 innings (for the Royals in 2000). He's good for a few bucks in NL-only leagues, but like Gil Meche and Ted Lilly, don't let the big "real" contracts affect their "fantasy" values.
Rangers acquire Brandon McCarthy from White Sox: It's an interesting move for both sides, especially considering Chicago traded Freddy Garcia to the Phillies in part to get McCarthy into the rotation. McCarthy has plenty of potential and should be a major part of Texas' rotation, although pitching in that ballpark could affect his numbers a bit. The White Sox did pick up top pitching prospect John Danks in the deal and he could compete for that fifth spot in the rotation along with recently acquired Gavin Floyd.
Shea Hillenbrand signs with Angels: Juan Rivera's broken leg suffered in winter ball compelled the Angels to sign another bat, and they picked up a decent one in Hillenbrand, who hit a career-high 21 homers in 2006 splitting time between the Blue Jays and Giants. While Hillenbrand can hit in the .290-.300 range, he's still not much more than an 18-20 homer guy with about 80 or so RBIs -- OK but not great stats for a first baseman. Get him cheaply and you can be in good shape, but just make sure to deal him around the All-Star break since he's been known to slump in the second half (.299 vs. 272 career averages).
Marcus Giles signs with Padres: I figured this would be his destination after San Diego sent Josh Barfield to the Indians, but didn't realize the Braves would non-tender him. Giles is coming off a down season (.262-11-60) but going to pitcher-friendly Petco doesn't help matters. Still, a chance to play with his brother Brian, who also had a down year (.263-14-83) in 2006, could get his game back in order.
Kei Igawa signs with Yankees: He's not in Daisuke Matsuzaka's class, but the lefty Igawa appears to be a solid starter with decent stuff but prone to the longball. Like Matsuzaka, pitching behind a solid offense will help his win total, although it's unsure of he'll be anything beyond a No. 4 starter in the Bronx. He'll be worth a flyer, especially in AL-only leagues.
Akinori Iwamura signs with Devil Rays: The third major player to be posted this offseason also landed with an AL East team as Tampa Bay seems ready to plug in a former 30-homer hitter in Japan at third base. A starting job appears to be in place for him, as are the expectations of about 20 homers. For now, he'll rank in the middle of the pack or below among AL third basemen. Hopefully he won't suffer the same fate as Shinji Mori, who was in contention for Tampa Bay's closer job before tearing his labrum during spring training and missing the season. One major question now becomes what happens to B.J. Upton, who was shifted to third base late last season.
Red Sox acquire Brendan Donnelly from Angels: With the Angels adding Justin Speier in the offseason, one of the middle men was going to be dealt, and it was the former All-Star Donnelly, who had career-worsts in ERA (3.94) and WHIP (1.34) but went 6-0. Donnelly might be in the Boston closer mix, but he's better off as a middle reliever, where he can earn about seven or eight vulture wins with the way the Red Sox play.