Monday, April 21, 2014

Season 15 All Star Break Free Agent Grades

The All-Star Break is upon us in Rickey World, and here is a look back at what appear to be the biggest Free Agency signings, both winners and losers.

Noteable Type A Free Agents

1.  J.P. Hutch - 28 yrs. old - Starting Pitcher,  New York Mud Sharks, 5 years $110,000,000
13-2   3.15 era  23 starts  3 complete games  162 2/3 innings pitched
.238 oav.  .298 obp. .357 slg.  1.23 whip
Free Agent Signee Grade at All Star Break: A
Hutch was the most coveted free agent this past offseason which led to a maximum contract with the New York Mud Sharks.  So far Hutch's performance has been stellar in anchoring an already strong pitching staff for the club that has the best record in Rickey World at 64-27.  Team owner nfet hopes that Hutch is the final piece of the puzzle for a team that has averaged 105 wins the past 5 seasons to get over the top and finally win the Rickey World Series.

2. Kevin Cheung - 32 yrs. old - Staring Pitcher, Salem Sativa, 5 years $110,000,000
12-4  3.13 era  20 starts  2 complete games  144 innings pitched
.236 oav.  .287 obp.  .354 slg.  1.10 whip
Free Agent Signee Grade at All Star Break: A
Cheung was 1B to Hutch's 1A as far as available free agents went this past offseason.  Like Hutch he got paid with a maximum contract. And also like Hutch his performance this season has also been stellar, in fact he has performed slightly better than Hutch.  Like Hutch, Cheung anchors a strong pitching staff in Salem, but unlike Hutch Cheung's outlook on playing in the postseason is less likely.  Salem plays in the the extremely strong NL West, by far the most competitive division in Rickey.  With Cheung's efforts Salem is winning games at a higher % rate this season with a 51-40 record at the break, unfortunately in the West that means 6 Games Behind and 4th place in the division.  

3. Ed Garland - 28 yrs. old - Closer,  St. Louis Buschwackers,  5 years $72,000,000
2-5  4.55 era  31 appearances  18 saves  5 blown saves  31 2/3 innings pitched
.254 oav.  .293 obp.  .397 slg.  1.23 whip
Free Agent Signee Grade at All Star Break: D+
Garland was also much sought after in free agency and ended up signing with St. Louis with an escalating contract that pays him 72 million over the next 5 years.  Management in St. Louis quickly realized that they had perhaps made a mistake by spending so much on Garland when his performance early this season has been less than stellar.  Garland was dangled by St. Louis on the trading block but there was no interest in the closer, especially for the vast amount of money that Garland's contract is due.  Fortuneately St. Louis appears to be taking a small step forward this season in winning %, but I am sure management wishes that they could have invested the money they spent on Garland differently in retrospect. 

4. Ray Hernandez - 33 yrs. old - DH/LF,  Florida Illegal Immigrants,  5 years $71,600,000
.224 avg.  19 hr   46 rbi - 41 r - .295obp - .459 slg. - .754 ops.
76 games  294ab - 30bb - 67so  - 8sb - 3cs
Free Agent Signee Grade at All Star Break: D
Hernandez signed the biggest contract in the offseason by a non pitcher, but the deal is a real head scratcher so far because Florida is almost exclusively using him at DH.  It really makes no sense to spend over $71million on a player that is gonna be your DH who has throughout his career shown an aptitude of struggling to make contact.  Hernandez is simply a home run hitter that also runs extremely well, but he is 33 years old and his power is on the decline.  While he has already amassed 432 career homeruns of which 19 were hit at the All Star Break,  he is a career .260 hitter who strikes out more than twice as much as he walks.  It looks like that Florida bought themselves a lemon with this free agent signing.

5. Geraldo Zorilla - 31 yrs. old -  Starting Pitcher,  Montgomery Biscuits,  5 years $66,000,000
9-4  3.74 era  19 starts   98 2/3 innings pitched
.218 oav.  .283 obp.  .374slg.
Free Agent Signee Grade at All Star Break: B+
Zorilla signed a nice deal with the Montgomery Biscuits in the offseason, the third largest of any free agent Starting Pitcher behind the megadeals for Hutch and Cheung.  Zorilla has established himself as the anchor of Montgomery's staff and has put up some very strong numbers.  Zorilla is not the workhorse that Hutch and Cheung are and has pitched quite a few less innings.  I would give Zorilla a higher grade but I feel that he is a little overpaid for a pitcher that only gives you 5 1/3 innings per start.

Noteable Type B Free Agent Signings

1.  Nate Bechler - 35 yrs. old - 3B,  Nashville Moon Pies traded to Chicago Choking Goats
3 years $15,000,000
Nashville - .244  4 hr  9 rbi - 7 r - .298 obp. - .430 slg. - .728 ops.
Chicago  - .351 12 hr  43rbi - 53r - .427obp. - .554 slg. - .981 ops.
Totals     - .325 16 hr  52rbi - 60r - .397obp. - .524 slg. - 921 ops.
91 games  357 ab - 43bb -  65so - 8sb 1cs - 21 2B
Free Agent Signee Grade at All Star Break: A+
Bechler at 35 still runs and hits well.  He also can still play on the corners in the infield or outfield.  Originally signed by Nashville early returns looked like this Free Agent signing was going to be a bust.  Then he was included in a  mega multiplayer deal with Chicago in which six players changed addresses.  The biggest name in the deal was Midre Castilllo who is a supestar in his own right.  Since coming to Chicago the 35 yr. old Bechler is playing like he found the fountain of youth and has been flat out raking the ball.  He has been by far the most productive player on the goats this season and it appears that hs is actually being underpaid at a mere $5,000,000 per season.

2. Alex Kim - 34 yrs. old - Starting Pitcher,  Norfolk N'Way,  2 yrs. $8,400,000
9-4   2.41 era  19 starts  112 innings pitched
.226 oav.  .271 obp.  .321slg.  1.06 whip
Free Agent Signee Grade at All Star Break: A+
Kim at age 34 is argueably having the best season of his career for Norfolk.   With Michael Klaus starting to decline Norfolk desperately needed help in the starting roatation to try and remain a contender.  After spending $15.6 million on a 3 year contract for Garland Hidalgo Norfolk was able to lock down Kim to a 2 year deal for a mere $4.2 million per season.  Unsure if Kim was going to a starter or long reliever Norfolk gave Kim a chance in the rotation and he quickly established himself as the most reliable option in the roatation.  Kim has also shown better stamina that he was projected to have averaging nearly 6 innings per start.  Kim is 2nd on the team in wins trailing Jim Buckner who leads the league with 12 wins.  Kim is has a NL best 2.41 era and is also the best in the NL with a 1.06 whip.   His performance so far this season earned a spot on the National League All-Star team.  Kim has helped Norfolk scrap their way into a tie for 1st place in the NL East with rival Durham with a record of  51-40 at the All Star Break.

3. Armando Rosario - 32 yrs. old - Starting Pitcher,  Scottsdale Tiny Dancers,  4 yrs. $23,200,000
9-2  3.62 era  19 starts  102 innings pitched
.253 oav.  .334 obp.  .409 slg.  1.42 whip
Free Agent Signee Grade at All Star Break: B
Rosario is a very solid Free Agent Signing for this past off season.  His performance so far this season has put him near the top of the rotation on the best team in the National League at the All Star Break.  Rosario has a stellar record so far this season at 9-2, however he is also the beneficiary of getting outstanding run support from the best offense in the National League.  Rosario's weakness is his knack for giving up extar base hits with a .409 slg. by batters that face him, hardly the slg. vs. of an ace starter.   But there is no denying the fact that Rosario is a quality pitcher who is having a fine season and he is a key player in Scottsdale's success so far this season helping them to the NL best record of 57-34.

4. Patrick Holmes - 34 yrs. old - Starting Pitcher,  Monterrey Cartel,  1 yr.  $3,005,000
7-4  3.06 era   17 starts  106 innings pitched
.226 oav.   .324 obp.  .383 slg.  1.34 whip
Free Agent Signee Grade at All Star Break: B+
Patrick Holmes has proven himself to be a bargain at a mere $3 million this season.  Holmes is the best starting option on a team that has struggled to win games this season.  At 38-53 Monterrey is struggling for respectability, and Holmes efforts should be much appreciated and rewarded with a contact extension.  If not then it is a certainty that Holmes will get a lot more attention this coming offseason than he did in the last one.

5. Max Aguilar - 32 yrs. old - 3B, Durham Spitoons, 4 yr. $16,800,000
.288 avg.  14 hr  43 rbi - 57 r - .358 obp. - .473 slg. - .831 ops.
80 games  319 ab - 32bb - 70 so - 20sb 5cs - 15 2B
Free Agent Signee Grade at All Star Break: B+
Aguilar is a quailty 3B who can hit, run, and field well.  Signed this past offeason by Durham he has thrived so far this season batting 2nd ahead of superstar RF Freddy Lawrence.  Aguilar has made some spectacular plays in the field and has helped put a lot of runs on the scoreboard with his bat and legs.  A very solid pickup for Durham who hopes to win the NL East for the second season in a row.