Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Get of the kitchen

The MLB hot stove has caught fire this past week with a slew of free agent signings and rumors gaining steam.

These can be separated into a couple different categories.

  • Category 1: Old-Timers

    This group has had long and illustrious careers, but now are just shadows of their old selves. They are able to get short deals, ranging from 1 to 3 years, depending on how old they are. A lot of their value comes from experience now instead of talent, but teams konw that they can still count on them in tight situation.

    Headliners this year: Curt Schilling, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Luis Gonzalez, Mariano Rivera, Tim Wakefield, possibly Jorge Posada

  • Category 2: Up and Coming Studs

    These players are young guns not quite approaching the prime of their careers, and though they may not have yet reached all-star status, they hold their own. Deals in this category are wont to be longer and incentive-laden, in an effort to lock up the star for his best years. However, this may backfire for the team if the player does not develop as planned.

    Headliners this year: None

  • Category 3: Glue guys

    These players will not be the feature player on your team (unless you have a bad team), but you'd be lost without them. They are typically your 3rd starter, bat in the 2nd or 6th in the line-up and provide energy and livelihood in the dugout. Fan favorites are often of this type, as fans recognize the contribution they add to the team. For a hitter, look for them to stay with their current team typically, who will probably value them higher than other teams, unless they receive an offer they cant refuse (Trot Nixon). For a pitcher, look for them to be overvalued by other teams, in hopes that they can make a star out of an average joe (Gil Meche, Ted Lilly).

    Headliners (Can you call them that?) this year: Carlos Silva, Jason Jennings, Yorvit Torrealba, Kaz Matsui, Freddy Garcia, Jon Lieber, Kyle Lohse, Aaron Rowand (Jeez Phillies), Jeff Weaver, Josh Fogg.

    Category 4: Stars on the rise

    These players have already reached star status, and seem to be still improving. They are entering or just reached the prime of their careers and the numbers they are currently producing don't seem to have any end in sight. This is their opportunity to get the biggest contract of ther lives, and with good agent (or a bad market) they will seal it, whether or not they deserve it (Adrian Beltre).

    Headliners this year: Torii Hunter

  • Category 5: Falling stars

    For some reason or another, these former stars are not producing like they used to. It's not a product of old age, but rather possibly a poor work ethic, being out of shape, or possibly just being figured out by the opposition. They aren't going to command the annual salary they think they deserve, so they try to secure a short deal with incentives and then try to regain their composure and nab a big deal once that is done. Or they can net a longer deal of average value, if they don't think they can return to form, or have no drive to.

    Headliners this year: Andruw Jones, Bartolo Colon, Kerry Wood?

    Category 6: A-Rod

    Alex Rodriguez has established himself as the best talent in the game. He may never have won the big one, nor does he show leadership, but what he does is flat out play. Does this mean that he deserves the 12-year, 350 million dollar contract that Scott Boras is asking for? In short, by all means no. The longer answer is that in twelve years, A-Rod will be 44 years old. Batters have historically seen a steep drop off after the age of 36. So many things can happen in 12 years, by that time Justin Upton will be almost out of his prime. What makes anyone believe that A-Rod will still be the best player in the game when he is 40 and Justin Upton is 28, Delmon Young is 30, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Reyes are 32, David Wright is 33, etc. Do I think he will get it? Scott Boras drives a hard bargain.

    Did I leave out your favorite player? Have any idea where I should put Mike Lowell? Comment about it