The New York Mets hand out their biggest deal since Johan Santana in a 7 year, $122M package for David Wright and the Pirates sign Russell Martin to a 2 year, $17M deal. We even get the addition of the non-tenders to the free agent pool. Otherwise the news in the NL is mostly about pitching, and so is my focus on 2013 this week. Let’s get it!
Discretely quiet pitching value for 2013 from the NL:
It is always so much harder to predict the blossoming of a young pitcher compared to hitters. The guys at the plate almost always seem to have indicators leading up to a breakout season, but many young pitchers either vex us year after year (Edwin Jackson) or come out of nowhere (Kris Medlen). Either way, I have these guys on my list for 2013 for potential value picks that will likely get overlooked or forgotten about:
- James MacDonald, SP, PIT – MacDonald had second steady year in a row, picked up 25% more wins, lowered his WHIP too. I'm not saying he is a SP3 or higher type guy, but he is close to getting there. With a young team in PIT that is getting better and better, veterans in AJ Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez the in the top two spots of the rotation and a solid closer in Harahan, he should have a shot at improving his win total and K total if he can lower his home run rate. Definitely worth a shot in most leagues and a for sure pick in NL only leagues.
- Mike Fiers, SP, MIL – In his first season in the big leagues Fiers got 22 starts and posted a 135K:36BB ratio and was a great source of production down the stretch. On a young team with a not so deep rotation he is likely in a great position to nab the third spot in the rotation for the Brewers in 2013 and should easily be able to get up to 160-170 IP, which will translate into something like 10 wins, 170K:50BB, 3.75 ERA and 1.20 WHIP which is hard to beat for a likely late round pick.
- Sergio Romo, RP, SF – After his performance in the World Series the Giants all of a sudden had a closer issue…keep the hot hand in Romo after showing he can produce in the role, or keep the really weird Brian Wilson after Tommy John, knowing he needs a year to right after getting healthy? Obviously the Giants did the easy and correct thing and let Wilson go keeping Romo. He will most likely be forgotten about in the first closer rush, maybe the second too even, if so he will be gold.
Some Other News from the NL:
The Braves traded starter Tommy Hanson to the Angels in return for reliever Jordan Walden. Hanson, who is 26, put up a record of 13-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 31 starts for the Braves in 2012. He is now arbitration eligible for the first time this year too. Walden, a hard-throwing right-hander, who successfully closed for the Angels during the 2011 season, periodically struggled with his command in 2012 posting a 3.46 ERA in 45 appearances in 2012. He had 48 strikeouts in 39 innings.
Also, the recent signing of Ryan Madson in LAA sort of made Walden expendable. I think the Braves lose here in giving up a solid young starter in Hanson and I think the Angels just grabbed their insurance if Zack Greinke leaves as they can run Hanson through his ARB years and sign him to a longer deal if he continues to produce.
As mentioned above the Mets gave David Wright a 7-year extension worth $122M, so with the last year of his current deal added into the revised contract it makes it worth $138M over 8 years. This would now be the biggest deal in Mets history, $500k ahead of Johan’s deal in 2008. With only two guys signed past 2013 and Johan’s deal coming off the books after next season, the Mets will finally be in a good spot financially. It’s a shame that they are still horrible, but at least they will have the chance to improve in signing talent in the coming years. Either way it is money well spent in my humble opinion. Wright had a horrible year in 2011 but came back to close to his standard production in 2012 at age 29 with one year left on his deal for $16M. Paying him for 8 more years now should end up being a .300-85-20-90-20 season pretty well every year for the first five years anyway.
Russell Martin signed a 2 year deal with the Pirates worth $17M, and no one really cares in the fantasy world for some reason.
Right after the ink hit the paper when B.J. Upton signed for five years with the Atlanta Braves, attention spun around again to focus on the younger brother Justin. It's been a long, strange few years for Justin in Arizona. Clearly there are days general manager Kevin Towers wakes up and sees Upton is a young, multi-talented player under team control for three more years. There will also be days where Towers sees Upton as a new shortstop and maybe some new young pitching. Already, speculation has brought Justin to Atlanta to form a two-thirds Upton outfield which would be something to see!
Rants and Ramblings:
Among the more established players who became free agents this past week after being non-tendered are first baseman Mark Reynolds (Orioles), and starting pitchers John Lannan (Nationals) and Mike Pelfrey (Mets). The Beard, Giants right-hander Brian Wilson, was also non-tendered.
Specifically in the National League, the Cubs let Ian Stewart, Jaye Chapman and Zach Putnam hit free agency. Also on the market now are Jair Jurrjens and Peter Moylan (Braves); Manny Parra (Brewers); Wil Nieves (D-backs); Pelfrey, Manny Acosta and Andres Torres (Mets); Juan Oramas (Padres); and Jeff Karstens (Pirates). The Phillies are expected to non-tender Nate Schierholtz.
The Cubs went to the Far East to sign a reliever to try to help out their atrocious bullpen. Reportedly signing Japanese free agent pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year, $9.5 million contract to likely close games. His numbers from Japan in 12 seasons are brutally dominant, but I don’t expect him to jump into the major leagues and put up Mo type numbers. He should still be a decent closer option once the first 2 closer runs are done, but after losing 101 games in 2012 there just won’t be too many save opportunities to go after. At least it’ll be safer than riding the Carlos Marmol express late in games. In the end, it’s the Cubs, so who cares, right?
Catch me on Twitter @CanuckHoppy
More from Jeff:
- Hoppy's Senior Circuit Review - Start Thinking About Value
- Hoppy's Senior Circuit Review - Oh Canada!