Free Agent News
As predicted by many, the flood of free agents has begun with 79 players filing for free agency on the first possible day (the deadline to file is November 15th). This number is only going to increase as teams and players make decisions on whether to exercise contract options, and teams decide to non-tender players instead of going to arbitration. Some players have already signed. Bobby Abreu accepted a two year deal from the Angel worth at least $19 million. It’s a good move for both sides, especially Abreu, as I expect players to get offered less as the winter continues. It should be a good move for the Angels, as Abreu should have another solid season in 2010 (value: $29). The Braves signed Tim Hudson to a three year deal and are considering moving Tommy Hanson to closer. I think that’s ludicrous as starting pitchers come at a premium and teams generally want their best pitchers pitching as many innings as possible.
The active free agent market has lead to a flurry of early-season trades as teams try to get something before they non-tender players. First to hit was the Jeremy Hermida trade. Boston is hoping that he can fulfill his potential, or at least lessen the blow if they fail to resign Bay. Heremida was worth roughly $8 last season and he may be worth that or a little more now that he is part of the Boston lineup. Another big trade to come down is the Hardy for Gomez trade. Personally I think this was a steal for the Twins as they took advantage of Milwaukee trying to find room for Alcides Escobar. Finally, the Pirates picked up Akinori Iwamura, who will serve as Pittsburgh’s replacement for Freddy Sanchez next season.
Ironically, Hermida, Iwamura, and Hardy are the “offensive versions” of the previous post discussing potential bargain pitchers. Each will be available next season in deep leagues for $8-10 with the chance to post solid returns. Hermida is a classic version of the “ex-prospect.” Considered one of the game’s best prospects three seasons ago, he could be a good pickup in Boston assuming he can find playing time in their crowded outfield. Iwamura is a classic “injured player.” He recovered impressively from a knee injury and should become Pittsburgh’s everyday second baseman, possibly hitting leadoff if Pittsburgh decided to place McCutcheon in the middle of the order. Hardy is the classic “ex-star” (using a very broad interpretation of the word “star”). He posted extremely solid numbers before last season, but having no extreme competition next season, he will get a chance to regain his swing in Minnesota. But upside comes with risk. For example, Hermida could fade into obscurity after losing his job to Josh Reddick, Iwamura could struggle on a bad team, and Hardy could easily have another rough season.