Bruce Chen and the Royals have some kind of love affair. Chen was rewarded for solid work with the Royals the last few years when he was given a 2-year deal for $9 million (there are also performance based incentives that could total a million dollars for the lefty). Chen has gone 24-15 for the Royals the past two years, an impressive record given that club’s issues, but his 3.96 ERA and 1.34 WHIP the past two years just aren’t that exciting. Toss in a poor 5.94 K/9 ratio, and another poor mark in the K/BB column (1.82), and I’m not remotely as excited about Chen as the Royals appear to be.
Freddy Garcia will make $4 million on his one year deal with the Yankees (there’s like another million in incentives in there as well). It’s a solid deal for both sides but just not something that should get you excited (Garcia is the right-handed version of Chen actually). Garcia won 12 games with a 3.62 ERA in 2011, and he could repeat those numbers in 2012, but his K/9 has been under 6.00 each of the past three years and there is just nothing, not a single thing, that points to any upside.
The Giants are going to lose two outfielders who played key roles in the teams’ World Championship run a couple of years ago (neither player was offered arbitration). Pat Burrell is likely going to have to retire because of ongoing foot woes. If he is done he’ll retire with a career OBP of .361, 292 homers and 976 RBIs. That’s a solid career to be sure, but for a guy who was drafted first overall in 1998, perhaps his career was slightly disappointing? Cody Ross was injured in 2011 and limited to 405 at-bats, and his productivity when on the field was less than inspiring as he hit 14 homers with 52 RBI, 54 runs scored and a mere .730 OPS. Someone might give him a chance to start, but he’s best served as a strong fourth outfielder.
According to reports, David Ortiz could get up to $16 million if he goes to arbitration with the Red Sox. He wants at least a two year deal so he’s unlikely to accept arbitration, but $16 million for one year? I know Ortiz had a great year hitting .309 with 29 homers, 96 RBI and an OPS of .952, but he’s 36 years old and lost his glove years ago. I wouldn’t pay him that much.
Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes will get theirs, but it’s not surprising that the market for both is slowly developing since both want huge money deals. Bank on this though. All those rumors about the Marlins signing all the big ticket free agents, such as these two, is sheer poppycock. I think it’s all a shell game to make the fans think they’re trying harder than they really are down in Florida.
Carlos Pena was offered arbitration by the Cubs but he really wants to sign a multi-year deal. Pena owns a career .239 batting average, and the last three years he hasn’t hit even .228 a single time. He does keep pounding the ball though. The last five years Pena has hit at least 28 homers with 80 RBI each season. Can’t argue with that though his pathetic average will cause that check to be smaller than he had hoped for.
Dan Wheeler was offered arbitration from the Red Sox. Wheeler posted a 4.38 ERA, but as usual, his performance was pretty darn solid. Wheeler walked only eight batters all year leading to a 1.46 BB/9 mark that led to a superb 4.88 K/BB ratio, the second time in two years that he’s posted a mark over 4.75. He’s nowhere near elite, but he’s one valuable bullpen arm.
By Ray Flowers