Bird Seed: Cano Signs, So Does Everyone Else
Bird Seed is your regular recap of recent baseball happenings, information, rumours, and how it all affects the Blue Jays.
In by far the biggest news to come out since the last Bird Seed, and easily the biggest signing of the offseason thus far, the Astros have signed Chad Qualls to a two-year, $6 million deal.
Wait, that’s not the biggest signing so far? You’re telling me that a stud second baseman signed as well? You’re right, I suppose that did happen. The Seattle Mariners made headlines on Friday, reportedly signing Robinson Cano to a ten-year, $240 million deal, one of the largest contracts in baseball history. Rather than analyzing this, I’ll point you to Nik’s amazing post on the signing. Cano was widely regarded as the top free agent available, and it will be interesting to see if his addition makes one of Seattle’s middle infielders available for trade.
Ellsbury, entering his age-30 season, signed a seven-year $150 million deal. Ellsbury is coming off a year in which he put up 5.8 fWAR, a 113 wRC+, and a 10.0 UZR, not to mention a World Series ring. He has been worth a cumulative 16.3 fWAR over the past three years, including an incredible 9.1 fWAR campaign in 2011.
Kuroda, signed to a one-year, $16 million deal, is coming off a superb season in which he posted a 3.31 ERA, along with a 3.60 xFIP. Having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past three years, Kuroda has aged like fine wine. As he turns 39 in February, it will be interesting to see if he can continue being excellent in his old age.
Finally, Beltran, signed to a three-year $45 million dollar deal, is coming off of a modest 2.0 fWAR season, although that was heavily impacted by his -15.3 UZR. Beltran’s bat has aged well, posting wRC+ marks of 152, 126, and 132 over the past 3 years.
The New York Mets have reportedly signed Curtis Granderson to a four-year $60 million contract. Granderson, coming off a season ended prematurely by a J.A. Happ fastball, has posted a total of 10.4 fWAR over the past three years, including a stellar 6.7 fWAR season in 2011, wherein he posted a 146 wRC+. He wasn’t as impressive last year, however, posting just a 97 wRC+ in a limited sample of 245 PA. Turning 33 in March, Granderson will join a seemingly crowded Mets outfield that already features Lucas Duda, Andrew Brown, Chris Young, Juan Lagares, and Eric Young Jr..
The Boston Red Sox have re-signed former Blue Jay Mike Napoli to a two-year $32 million deal. Napoli is coming off a season in which he played a key role in Boston’s World Series run. He posted 3.9 fWAR in 2013 with a 129 wRC+ and surprisingly solid glove at first base, totaling a 9.7 UZR. Napoli, the owner of this magical beard, broke a team record for strikeouts last year, with 187. After originally signing Napoli to a three-year$39 million deal last offseason that was voided over concerns about a possible degenerative hip condition, Boston settled with him on a one-year $13 million deal. Combined with this deal, however, Napoli will make $45 million over the term of the voided deal, an extra $6 million.
The Sox also pried away reliever Edward Mujica from their World Series foes, signing Mujica to a two-year $9.5 million deal. Mujica, 29, had an ERA of just 2.78 in 65 games for the Cardinals last year. Walking an insane 0.70 batters per 9 innings, Mujica is master of control, and was the proud owner of an xFIP of 3.53.
The Washington Nationals signed Nate McLouth to a two-year $10.75 million contract. McLouth, 32, is coming off of a season in which he posted 2.5 fWAR, and will likely slot in as the Nationals’ fourth outfielder, behind Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Denard Span. McLouth has been roughly a league-average bat in his career, sporting a 101 wRC+, but hasn’t been very good in the field in his 9 years of service time. Last year, however, McLouth posted a UZR of 4.0.
Last but certainly not least, the Texas Rangers are reportedly close to a one-year $2 million deal with former Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia. Arencibia’s troubles have been very well documented, including his 57 wRC+, the 10th worst single season OBP in all of baseball’s recorded history, and .236 on-base percentage that prompted fans to suggest that people start referring to a 0.250 OBP as the “Arencibia Line”. He is expected to back up Geovany Soto in Arlington next year. Best of luck to him.
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