Hot Stove Report (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday January 2, 2008 2:11PM; Updated: Wednesday January 2, 2008 8:12PM
Best risk for the buck
1) With all the money around the game, putting a paltry $1 million down on a one-time franchise savior is kind of a no-brainer. That's what the Padres did with oft-injured former Cubs pitcher Mark Prior. In baseball, and especially in a spacious park like the Padres play in, that's a low-risk investment.
2) The three-year, $37.5 million that it took Boston to re-sign third basemen Mike Lowell was expensive, but well worth it. He's a perfect fit on that team and in Fenway Park. Last year (21 homers, 120 RBIs, .378 on-base, very good defense), he was worth twice that in Boston's World Series run.
3) If you're going to pay anyone nearly $30 million a year, giving it to A-Rod, the best player in the game, is probably the right way to go.
Worst risk for the buck (pitcher division)
1) Eric Gagne signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Brewers. This for giving up 26 hits in 18 2/3 innings with Boston last season. He had a 6.75 ERA after his trade from Texas. I'm not saying he's as bad as he was with the Sox. I'm saying he's not worth anywhere near this deal.
2) Carlos Silva tied Tom Glavine for fewest strikeouts among those who threw at least 200 innings last year -- and yet Silva scored a four-year, $48 million deal with the Mariners. That, alone, tells you how bad the free-agent market for starters was this winter.
3) The market for mediocre relievers continues to climb, and Scott Linebrink (four years, $19 million with the White Sox) simply rode the wave.
Worst risk for the buck (hitter division)
1) Sure, the Astros needed a second baseman. Or a better one than Chris Burke, anyway. But if Kazuo Matsui is better than Burke -- and, yeah, he probably is -- he's not all that much better. And for three years and $16.5 million? Bring back Craig Biggio.
2) I know it's softened some by the fact that the contract is for only two years -- softened, hell, this signing is absolutely saved by that fact -- but I still wonder about the Dodgers' wisdom of giving Andruw Jones $18.1 million a year. Don't be surprised if his numbers are worse next year, in spacious Dodger Stadium, than they were in Atlanta in '07.
3) It's only two years, and only $13.5 million. But the Phillies are giving that to Geoff Jenkins, a platoon player.
Best winter so far
1) The Yankees have paid a ton of money to a ton of guys -- mostly, their own -- and re-established their position as big winter dogs.
2) With Cabrera now at third, and Edgar Renteria at short (via a trade with the Braves), the Tigers have a lineup to rival the Yankees. It's already better than Boston's.
3) A-Rod. Biggest. Contract. Ever.
Worst winter so far
1) The Mets' most important offseason move was spending $25 million on an old second baseman, Luis Castillo. They had better come up with more than that to compete for the NL East crown.
2) The Brewers lost their closer (Cordero) and a key setup man (Linebrink), then had to overspend to get Gagne and David Riske to plug the holes.
3) Agent Scott Boras made a nice commission off A-Rod, but his reputation took a beating.
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