This may be one of the few off seasons in which we will not be hearing about how the Yankees gave someone an awful contract where they overpaid absurdly. It is also the first time in recent history that a non-contender cashed in on top talents on the market. In this update I will take a look at some of the best and worst deals of this offseason. Lets take a look…
Great Deal #1: Jim Thome to the Minnesota Twins is by far the best deal of this offseason. The Twins were able to bring Thome back for another year for a mere 3 million dollars. Thome had a great year for Minnesota in 2010 and was a huge part of their success in the limited time he played(108 games and 340 plate appearances.) Regardless of not playing a full slate of games, Thome was good for 3.5 wins above replacement, 25 home runs and a 1.039 OPS. These are tremendous numbers for a 39 year old player out of his prime. Maybe we can not expect 2011 to be as big as 2010 was for Jimmy Boy but if he comes anything close he will certainly be a bargain at 3 million dollars. I projected him at 2.62 WAR in 2011 which values you him at 13.1 million dollars. Awesome deal for Minny-soda.
Great Deal #2: Manny Rameriz to the Tampa Bay Rays for two million dollars may not be the deal Manny was looking for but it is definitely a great one for Tampa. Although, Manny may have looked like he was done last year and displayed next to no power he is still good for an on base percentage over .400 year in and year out. He will add some much needed pop to the Rays after losing Carlos Pena to free agency and ultimately the Chicago Cubs. We can’t expect Mannywood to blast 40 dingers or hit .320 anymore but even a slight bounce back will bring his WAR numbers above last year’s 1.5(he is projected at 2.16, which equates to a 10.8 million dollar value) and bring enough value to his team where we will believe he made a reasonable difference this year and consider his contract to be a great success from Tampa Bay’s perspective.
Bad Deal #1: Hiroki Kuroda, who was re-signed by the LA Dodgers for $12,000,000, is coming off the best year of his short big league career. I project Kuroda to be valued around 8.6 million dollars this upcoming season or 1.72 wins above replacement. Of all free agents signed this off season this one has the biggest discretion in monetary value according to my projections. This is a low risk contract given the fact that it is only a single year but it is simply too much money for an average pitcher especially given this year’s market. Pitchers like Carl Pavano and Jake Westbrook, who are arguably better than Kuroda both got 8.25 million this offseason, which is a significant chunk of change less than the 36 year old Japanese pitcher received.
Bad Deal #2: Jorge de la Rosa was re-signed to a 3 year deal worth over $30,000,000 by the Colorado Rockies. This simply was an overpayment by the Rox. De la Rosa has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, has never had an ERA under 4.22 and pitches in one of the biggest hitter’s parks in the majors. Although, the 30 year old Mexican pitcher appears to be getting better each year he again spent a long stint on the disabled list last season. In my opinion, he needs to prove he can stay healthy and that he can produce at a higher level than a mid-4 ERA pitcher. It is a bit crazy that he will be making millions of dollars more than the Rockies bonafide ace Ubaldo Jimenez.
There are two other contracts that could have made that list have been discussed in Warning Track Power earlier in the week. The first being Adam Dunn’s signing with the Chicago White Sox. Without Dunn’s awful defense bringing his WAR value down any longer since he will be the ChiSox primary DH, he will be well worth the money he signed for. The other contract being Jayson Werth’s signing with the Washington Nationals. Werth may be worth the money for a few years but the fact that it is for 7 years is completely absurd. The Nationals will be regretting this down the road.
Pitchers and Catchers report tomorrow ladies and gentleman. Stay tuned for updates throughout spring training including team by team previews, fantasy updates, predictions for the 2011 season, and a brand new photo countdown to opening day…