It only seems like every player in baseball signed a contract today.
A whole heaping ton of players avoided the arbitration process today by agreeing to contracts with their current clubs. I wont bore you to tears breaking down names like Boone Logan (1-year, $1.2 million), but I will discuss the deals for some of the bigger names guys who agreed to remain with their teams without having to go through the acrimonious arbitration process.
Chad Billingsley ($6.275 million): In each of the past four years he has won 12 games, only four others have done that, and in each of the past three years he has at least 170 Ks (only 10 others have done that).
Matt Capps ($7.15 million): The Twins wanted to keep a reliever who could close in case that Joe Nathan (Tommy John surgery) isn’t ready to fill the role 100 percent of the time in the early going. They therefore agreed to a deal to keep Capps, who had 42 saves last year. This is a smart baseball move that gives the Twins a terrific fall back option if Nathan isn’t ready, but in terms of real world dollars, it’s a pretty awful move for the Twins. This isn’t the Yankees we are talking about, so the $18.4 million the club has invested in their 8th and 9th inning arms is exorbitant.
John Danks ($6 million): Evolving into one of the best left-handed starters in baseball, Danks made $3.45 million last year. Amongst AL lefties the past two years he is 6th in ERA (3.75), 5th in base runners per nine innings (11.43), fifth in strikeouts (311) and fourth in wins (28).
Jacoby Ellsbury ($2.4 million): After playing only 18 games in 2010 this is a lot of money for Ellsbury. However, if he returns to health, pushes .300 with 90 runs and 50 steals, it will be a massive bargain for the Red Sox.
Matt Garza ($5.95 million): I broke down the Garza and his talents in Hot Stove: December 13, 2010.
J.J. Hardy ($5.85 million): A decent figure for both sides if Hardy is healthy. If he is in fact fully functional, he could hit .270 with 20 homers, and there are only a handful of shortstops who can match that.
Phil Hughes ($2.7): A reasonable sum to be sure if he is indeed a third starter. Hughes won 18 games with a 1.25 WHIP last season, but he was decidedly average in the second half of the year (7-6, 4.90 ERA, 1.34 WHIP).
Kendry Morales ($2.975 million): He could be a top-10 option at first base this season, so don’t forget about the guy who blew his knee out celebrating a walk-off home run in his last game of the 2010 season.
Jonathan Papelbon ($12 million): Yikes. You have to think he will be taking a pay cut next year when he becomes a free agent, but because of the arbitration process the Red Sox were basically forced to pay way to much money for a guy who, it can be argued, is coming off his worst season in five years as the closer. Luckily it’s the Red Sox who seem to have a printing press for bills in the basemen of Fenway.
Martin Prado ($3.1 million): The plan is for him to play left field. His bat is likely miscast for that role – at least in terms of it providing a lot of fantasy value – but for 2011 at least he will still qualify as second and third baseman leaving him with a ton of value. Oh yeah, he also hit .307 in 2009, .307 in 2010 and owns a career average of, you guessed it, .307.
Carlos Quentin ($5.05 million): He might always struggle to repeat his terrific 2008 season (.288-36-100-96 in just 130 games), but he has a nice power bat. If he can stay healthy he could be Adam Dunn Jr. hitting .250 with 30 homers.
Cody Ross ($6.3 million): He made $4 million last season when he had a merely average regular season (.269-14-65-71-9). However, he had big hit after big hit in the postseason (.294-5-10) which basically forced the Giants hand. He isn’t a good bet for anything other than an ordinary .270-20-75 season.
By Ray Flowers