Remaining Free Agent Speculation and Signings (Trades, too)

Petagine in a Bottle

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It may be musical chairs, but total spending on FA's is also way down this year from last year for reasons that aren't clear yet.
Several big market teams that typically spend, including the Sox, Jays, Yankees, Braves, Mets, etc have been really inactive this offseason. I’d say that was unexpected and likely a big factor.
 

moondog80

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The prediction at MLB TradeRumors was 2 Years, $22 million. FanGraphs was at 2/20. Bleacher Report had 3/33. John Heyman and two unnamed experts (HA!) listed 2/20, 2/24, 2/30.
It's pretty obvious there's a time variable in the market, at least for this year, and it's impacting both pitchers and hitters. Maybe next year guys are more likely to take the best deal out there in mid-November.
 

jon abbey

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Several big market teams that typically spend, including the Sox, Jays, Yankees, Braves, Mets, etc have been really inactive this offseason. I’d say that was unexpected and likely a big factor.
The Yankees didn't sign any massive FA deals but did trade for Soto/Verdugo/Grisham and signed Stroman to a two year deal, which added around $65M to this year's payroll. They also tried for Snell a few times but were rebuffed, they should definitely not be grouped in a set of 'really inactive' teams.
 

CR67dream

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The prediction at MLB TradeRumors was 2 Years, $22 million. FanGraphs was at 2/20. Bleacher Report had 3/33. John Heyman and two unnamed experts (HA!) listed 2/20, 2/24, 2/30.
Wow, even worse than I thought, those predictions must be old. I was using 1yr as the context of what the past month or so has looked like.
 

moondog80

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The Yankees didn't sign any massive FA deals but did trade for Soto/Verdugo/Grisham and signed Stroman to a two year deal, which added around $65M to this year's payroll. They also tried for Snell a few times but were rebuffed, they should definitely not be grouped in a set of 'really inactive' teams.
Yeah, all those teams are well above the tax, I'm not sure how much more payroll they could be expected to add. In terms of untapped $$$, Washington and Detroit are a couple of teams that have spent in the past and have payroll room, but they might be a year or two from spending. Baltimore absolutely should be spending more -- if I were Boras I would buy a weekly segment on Baltimore sports radio to rile up the fans . And of course, Boston...
 

doctorogres

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I think this may have been discussed way earlier in the thread, but I'm not sure the Red Sox can be competitive for these 1-year pillow contracts for pitchers I'm seeing thrown around here. Over the last 3 years, Fenway has been the second most hitter-friendly park in the league, with a park factor of 108. For reference, Coors is first with a 112 PF, the Toilet Bowl is 21st with a 98 PF, and Seattle is last, as expected, with a 92 PF.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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The Yankees didn't sign any massive FA deals but did trade for Soto/Verdugo/Grisham and signed Stroman to a two year deal, which added around $65M to this year's payroll. They also tried for Snell a few times but were rebuffed, they should definitely not be grouped in a set of 'really inactive' teams.
All true, my point was that they largely sat out the free agent market, though, which has surely had an impact. Lots of teams that traditionally spend big on free agents didn’t this year, for a variety of reasons. I don’t think stating that the Yankees were inactive in free agency is that controversial a claim, with the caveat that action is defined as signing players.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Wow, even worse than I thought, those predictions must be old. I was using 1yr as the context of what the past month or so has looked like.
Those predictions were at the beginning of free agency.

I think we're in agreement: as opening day approaches, the likely expected contract for remaining players has shrank. Lorenzen went from ~ 2 years/$20 million to 1 year/$4.5 (up to 7) million. Snell went from ~ 6 years/$150 million to 2 years/$62 million. The same thing occurred with every other player who signed in March and I don't see any reason why we should look at Lorenzen's lesser deal as being caused by anything other than the same, obvious market forces that have impacted his peers.
 

moondog80

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Looking at the Orioles a little more, they could have given Blake Snell a one year, 50 million dollar deal and still had a payroll that was not only about 70 mil under the tax, but about 15 mil under the payroll that the Orioles themselves had in 2017.

If you're mad about the Sox' lack of spending, it could be much worse. I get not wanting to sign Aaron Nola to a 7 year deal with all the young guys they have soon to be getting expensive. But the payroll space they have this year can't be rolled over, and they apparently are going to do nothing with it, for a team with very real Word Series hopes.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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The O’s won over 100 games last year, though, and did add Burnes and Kimbrel. Sox finished in last and added Criswell. I think that’s the difference.
 

moondog80

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The O’s won over 100 games last year, though, and did add Burnes and Kimbrel. Sox finished in last and added Criswell. I think that’s the difference.
And they have a golden opportunity to help the now even more, when every marginal win is enormously valuable in pursuit of one of the top seeds that lets you skip the first round, in a way that doesn't hurt the future at all (like most "help the now" moves do). It's not trading future wins for current wins, it's current wins for free. But despite revenues that allow otherwise, they are content keeping the 29th highest payroll in MLB. It's malpractice.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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And they have a golden opportunity to help the now even more, when every marginal win is enormously valuable in pursuit of one of the top seeds that lets you skip the first round, in a way that doesn't hurt the future at all. But despite revenues that allow otherwise, they are content keeping the 29th highest payroll in MLB. It's malpractice.
I don’t disagree in theory but part of the reason their payroll is so high is because they have so many cheap impact players. It’s a pretty darn good roster.
 

CR67dream

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And they have a golden opportunity to help the now even more, when every marginal win is enormously valuable in pursuit of one of the top seeds that lets you skip the first round, in a way that doesn't hurt the future at all (like most "help the now" moves do). It's not trading future wins for current wins, it's current wins for free. But despite revenues that allow otherwise, they are content keeping the 29th highest payroll in MLB. It's malpractice.
Not to mention all the losing and rebuilding it took to put them where they are. Their window is now.
 

moondog80

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I don’t disagree in theory but part of the reason their payroll is so high is because they have so many cheap impact players. It’s a pretty darn good roster.
Yep, the roster is awesome. This an historic mix of loads of low-paid talent, lack of deadwood on the payroll, revenues that allow for increased spending, and impact players available on short term deals that won't hurt the future. And they are letting is pass without taking full advantage. They might win anyway, but that doesn't make this acceptable.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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So, who do you think the O’s should have signed this offseason? They’ve basically got plus players at every position in the lineup, and the oldest player is 31. They added perhaps the best pitcher to change teams this offseason.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I don’t disagree in theory but part of the reason their payroll is so high is because they have so many cheap impact players. It’s a pretty darn good roster.
I also imagine that they'll start trying to get a few of these guys into long term deals similar to Atlanta. Their payroll will start escalating quickly
 

HfxBob

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I think this may have been discussed way earlier in the thread, but I'm not sure the Red Sox can be competitive for these 1-year pillow contracts for pitchers I'm seeing thrown around here. Over the last 3 years, Fenway has been the second most hitter-friendly park in the league, with a park factor of 108. For reference, Coors is first with a 112 PF, the Toilet Bowl is 21st with a 98 PF, and Seattle is last, as expected, with a 92 PF.
How much influence do you think this really has? Park factors are surely taken into account by the people who evaluate data and make personnel decisions.
 

moondog80

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So, who do you think the O’s should have signed this offseason? They’ve basically got plus players at every position in the lineup, and the oldest player is 31. They added perhaps the best pitcher to change teams this offseason.
Blake Snell and/or Jordan Montgomery. Especially once Kyle Bradish got hurt. What's the downside?

Failing that, they should extend some of their young players in a way that puts some of the cost on this year's payroll.
 

Cassvt2023

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Blake Snell and/or Jordan Montgomery. Especially once Kyle Bradish got hurt. What's the downside?

Failing that, they should extend some of their young players in a way that puts some of the cost on this year's payroll.
Snell wasn't coming to the East Coast unless a team made a massive overpay. And there are 30 teams that apparently do not believe that Jordan Montgomery is worth what he and Boras are asking, or he would be signed by now. The O's went thru many very painful years to get to this point, I think trading for Burnes shows that they're committed to winning, now we shall see if they can extend him.
 

moondog80

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Snell wasn't coming to the East Coast unless a team made a massive overpay. And there are 30 teams that apparently do not believe that Jordan Montgomery is worth what he and Boras are asking, or he would be signed by now. The O's went thru many very painful years to get to this point, I think trading for Burnes shows that they're committed to winning, now we shall see if they can extend him.
Then make a massive overpay. Seriously, why not give him 50 mil for one year?

Yes, they traded for Burnes. Their best starter from last year is out with a partially torn UCL.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Then make a massive overpay. Seriously, why not give him 50 mil for one year?

Yes, they traded for Burnes. Their best starter from last year is out with a partially torn UCL.
Part of the “why not” to the bolded is that every contract sets a precedent for future contracts. It’s irresponsible to give out ridiculously huge contracts just because you’ve got cap space.
Would you pay $1 million for a $500,000 house just because you’ve got an extra $500k in the bank?
 

CR67dream

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How much influence do you think this really has? Park factors are surely taken into account by the people who evaluate data and make personnel decisions.
I think Boras is certainly taking it into account. On a pillow deal like we're discussing, is Fenway the best place for Monty to showcase himself roughly 15 times on a one year make or break deal? After going through all this already?

I don't think anyone is saying that it would be the lone or deciding factor, I sure don't think that, but I'm pretty sure they look at everything, and there are certainly more pitcher friendly parks out there for a pitcher who needs to show results to salvage his next contract. Realistically, though, options are dwindling by the day, and being picky about that sort of thing may not be in the cards for Monty anymore.

This whole cycle has just been bonkers.
 

moondog80

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Part of the “why not” to the bolded is that every contract sets a precedent for future contracts. It’s irresponsible to give out ridiculously huge contracts just because you’ve got cap space.
Would you pay $1 million for a $500,000 house just because you’ve got an extra $500k in the bank?
If I really wanted the house, they were no other similar houses available, and the 500K couldn't be used in the future? Sure.

But even if 50 mil is ridiculous , they could at least have engaged with him to see how much of a premium it would have taken. Or with Montgomery. There's no indication they've done that.

I know their roster is quite good, but even with Burnes they could use another starter, especially with the questions about Bradish. Snell was a very rare opportunity that fit perfectly with their circumstance.

Boras was negotiating to the end with the Yankees, BTW. So I don't buy the west-coast-or-bust explanation.
 
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CR67dream

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Would you pay $1 million for a $500,000 house just because you’ve got an extra $500k in the bank?
The Yankees would be doing just about that to land Montgomery should they choose to. The math hasn't stopped the Dodgers from busting through the 110% threshold either. Teams do it a lot.

And I'd also argue that it's much more irresponsible to hand out huge multi-year deals for pitching than it would be to overpay in the short term when there is clearly plenty of current money and space available. 50 mil seems a little crazy for Snell, but say, 1/40 for a team like Baltimore, for which he may be the final piece of a championship puzzle, doesn't sound nuts to me at all. At the very least Baltimore would get kudos for willingness to use the space with an offer, and if he took it, it could have changed the complexion of the entire American League.

In any case I'm not saying I think the Orioles should have done that, but I don't think the idea is irresponsible at all, nor do I think it's necessarily a bad precedent to set.

Now watch them swoop in and pillow Monty.... ;) :oops:
 

Cassvt2023

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Could it have been the timing of the new ownership group taking over in Baltimore? We all know that the old regime had a reputation for not spending. We may not truly see how this new group intends to spend and operate until 2025. The Burnes trade was likely more of a baseball ops decision, but when you start talking paying one player $40m plus a year, you'd think that would need to be run by ownership.
 

moondog80

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CR67dream

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jon abbey

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We'll see. The tax was an obstacle with Snell, not sure why they'd pay it with a lesser pitcher (albiet on a smaller base salary). 110%.
No draft penalties with Montgomery but I don’t think they’re actually talking to Montgomery anyway.
 

moondog80

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No draft penalties with Montgomery but I don’t think they’re actually talking to Montgomery anyway.
Fair point. The Yankees penalties would be a bit more harsh given that they are taxpayers. Though the reports stated that they just couldn't solve the tax issue with Snell, so it seems like they were OK with the draft pick.
 

simplicio

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Those predictions were at the beginning of free agency.

I think we're in agreement: as opening day approaches, the likely expected contract for remaining players has shrank. Lorenzen went from ~ 2 years/$20 million to 1 year/$4.5 (up to 7) million. Snell went from ~ 6 years/$150 million to 2 years/$62 million. The same thing occurred with every other player who signed in March and I don't see any reason why we should look at Lorenzen's lesser deal as being caused by anything other than the same, obvious market forces that have impacted his peers.
The only other pitchers to sign MLB deals in March were Ryne Stanek turning a 0.1 fWAR season into $4m and 36 year old Justin Wilson somehow getting $1.5m after missing almost 2 full years following a -0.2 fWAR performance in 2021. Neither of those is screaming soft pitching market to me.

It could very well be what you say and just a function of timing and market forces, but occam's razor isn't landing me there personally.
 

HfxBob

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https://www.bostonglobe.com/2024/03/22/sports/red-sox-pitching-houck-whitlock-giolito/?event=event25

Speier's Twitter says he discusses the Sox not pursuing Lorenzen/Montgomery in this article, I don't have a glob sub to see how informative it is.
You can probably guess most of it. After Speier expresses all the questioning of why the Sox haven't replaced Giolito, Breslow has his say. After he explains how they're still not ruling out an acquisition but how hard it is for everything to "line up" (they've fallen in love with those two words), he says:

"But we also have to make the moves that make sense for us working within all of the constraints. It’s really easy to talk about the financial ones, but there are more.

There’s also wanting to give the guys that we have here a chance to establish themselves. It’s believing in what we have and maybe even more than what others might believe outside the doors of the clubhouse.

Not to put too much into spring training statistics, but guys are pitching differently. They’re using different pitches. They’re landing secondaries. They’re leveraging strengths. All of those things are happening, and it does seem to indicate that there’s a meaningful step forward in front of these guys.”
 
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YTF

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You can probably guess most of it. After Speier expresses all the questioning of why the Sox haven't replaced Giolito, Breslow has his say. After he explains how they're still not ruling out an acquisition but how hard it is for everything to "line up" (they've fallen in love with those two words), he says:

"But we also have to make the moves that make sense for us working within all of the constraints. It’s really easy to talk about the financial ones, but there are more.

There’s also wanting to give the guys that we have here a chance to establish themselves. It’s believing in what we have and maybe even more than what others might believe outside the doors of the clubhouse.

Not to put too much into spring training statistics, but guys are pitching differently. They’re using different pitches. They’re landing secondaries. They’re leveraging strengths. All of those things are happening, and it does seem to indicate that there’s a meaningful step forward in front of these guys.”
As frustrated as I am over the idea that I think the Sox need to find an additional arm to help fill innings when the eventual injury/injuries happen, I think Breslow does have a valid point with the bolded. I'm not sure heading into the season that the Sox were fully confident that they knew what they have with Houck, Whitlock and Crawford. Some of the puzzle pieces may in fact be in house, but if they are going that route then I suspect that an acquisition may come in the form of a veteran starter who's been released by another team that will sign on a minor league deal and wait in the wings until a rotation slot opens up in Boston.
 

loneredseat

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I'm starting to come around to this. Give the young guys a chance.
Although you could always sign Montgomery and move Pivetta to the pen (but I'd hate to be the guy to have to tell him).
 

HfxBob

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As frustrated as I am over the idea that I think the Sox need to find an additional arm to help fill innings when the eventual injury/injuries happen, I think Breslow does have a valid point with the bolded. I'm not sure heading into the season that the Sox were fully confident that they knew what they have with Houck, Whitlock and Crawford. Some of the puzzle pieces may in fact be in house, but if they are going that route then I suspect that an acquisition may come in the form of a veteran starter who's been released by another team that will sign on a minor league deal and wait in the wings until a rotation slot opens up in Boston.
Yeah, it seems pretty clear what the plan is now. One obvious question is how many innings they're penciling in for Houck and Whitlock.
 

Snoop Soxy Dogg

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I'm starting to come around to this. Give the young guys a chance.
Although you could always sign Montgomery and move Pivetta to the pen (but I'd hate to be the guy to have to tell him).
Pivetta isn't moving to the pen, Montgomery or not. He's got his issues, but he can give you innings, and is a strong contender to make a leap to next tier starter.
 

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Yeah, it seems pretty clear what the plan is now. One obvious question is how many innings they're penciling in for Houck and Whitlock.
Fangraphs has the two of them projected at 260 total (out of ~750 from the rotation). The big problem with this "plan" is that there aren't enough innings coming from the rotation.

Really from the projections there aren't enough innings, period: FG has 1256 total innings projected, so with the current staff we're around 160 - 200 (?) short. That's a lot to pull from the minor leagues or random acquisitions, and I don't think we can expect them to be good innings.

The bottom line is that the budget limitations stand in direct opposition to Ownership's stated goal of being competitive.