Tag Archives: Colorado Rockies

Season Preview – NL West

We’re up to the last division left to review with the NL West. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West,  NL East, and NL Central.

Last Year’s Records
San Francisco – 92-70
San Diego – 90-72
Colorado – 83-79
Los Angeles – 80-82
Arizona – 65-97

Notable Additions

Arizona – Xavier Nady, Russell Branyan, J.J. Putz, Melvin Mora, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Colorado – Matt Lindstrom, John Maine, Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton, Felipe Paulino

Los Angeles – Marcus Thames, Matt Guerrier, Jon Garland

San Diego – Brad Hawpe, Cameron Maybin, Jorge Cantu, Aaron Harang

San Francisco – Miguel Tejada

Notable Losses

Arizona – Ryan Church, Adam LaRoche, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Webb

Colorado – Miguel Olivo, Clint Barmes, Jeff Francis

Los Angeles – Russell Martin, Ryan Theriot, Scott Podsednik

San Diego – Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, Chris Young

San Francisco – Jose Guillen, Edgar Renteria

My Thoughts

Arizona – Under the leadership of new GM Kevin Towers, the Diamondbacks have already begun the process of rebuilding by trading away Mark Reynolds and letting Adam LaRoche and Brandon Webb leave via free agency.  They seem extremely unlikely to compete this season, but will look for improvements from Justin Upton and Stephen Drew.

Colorado – The Rockies spent their offseason spending money on contract extensions, as both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki were signed to long term contract extensions. The team also did well to re-sign some of their free agents, most notably Jorge de la Rosa. This really seems like a team to me that has the chance to compete for the division title, providing they get a few breaks to go their way. They will look for a repeat performance from Ubaldo Jimenez and improvements from Jhoulys Chacin and Dexter Fowler as well.

Los Angeles – With the ownership situation in a state of partial disarray, the Dodgers didn’t really go out and spend a lot of money this offseason. They did resign free agent starter Ted Lilly, but otherwise did not make any large acquisitions. The pitching staff is excellent, but they will look for a bounce back season from Jonathan Broxton as the closer. The Dodgers are another team that seems to me like they can compete, providing they catch a few breaks.

San Diego – The biggest news out of the Padres this offseason unfortunately was the trade of star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. They have cut payroll down to a very minimal amount at this point, and could look to move closer Heath Bell if they fall out of contention. I am not seeing a repeat of last year’s 90 win performance out of this group of players, but I don’t think they are necessarily going to be terrible either. They will look for Mat Latos to build on his excellent 2010 season and try to take another step forward, but there’s a lot of questions after him in the rotation.

San Francisco – The reigning World Champions only had one slightly major acquisition (Tejada), but did well to resign Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff. Their pitching could conceivably be better than last year, with Madison Bumgarner making a full season of starts this year. 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey will be up for the full season this year, and top prospect Brandon Belt is not likely to be in AAA for very long either. This is a team that could compete for the NL crown again.

Overall Thoughts

The NL West has the Giants at the top, and then a lot of question marks behind them. I honestly think that any of the teams at 2 through 4 could finish in any order in those spots.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. San Francisco
2. Colorado
3. Los Angeles
4. San Diego
5. Arizona

Who are the Faces of the Franchise? NL West

Finishing up with a trip around the NL West, here’s the last of the face of the franchise posts…

  • Arizona – Right now, I’d have to imagine that Justin Upton is very high on the list. The team has had a lot of turnover in the past year or so, and Upton has become one of the longer tenured members of the team.
  • Colorado – I would say that the previous face, Todd Helton, has been eclipsed at this point, with Troy Tulowitzki taking the helm instead. And with Tulo under contract through 2020 at this point, he’s not going anywhere for a while.
  • Los Angeles – I would imagine that the most identifyable player at this point would either be Matt Kemp, or possibly Andre Ethier. I think it’s only another year or two until Clayton Kershaw could overpower the other players on the team for this, as he is still very young.
  • San Diego – I’m not sure that they have one currently, as they traded Adrian Gonzalez away to Boston during the offseason. It will be interesting to see who establishes themselves as Spring Training and the season progresses. The first candidate that popped into my head was Mat Latos, and I think he may be able to do that as well.
  • San Francisco – Right now, it has to be the 2-time Cy Young award winning Tim Lincecum. Buster Posey will likely eclipse Lincecum at some point in the not so-distant future, but for a team built around its pitching, the best pitcher on the team fits that role very nicely.

Upcoming in the next couple of weeks will be my look at how I think each of the divisions will shake out, along with my predictions for the season.

Michael Young’s Trade Request

According to MLBTR, Michael Young has requested a trade, and will only accept a trade to 8 teams. From T.R. Sullivan, those teams are: Cardinals, Yankees, Twins, Astros, Rockies, Dodgers, Angels, Padres. Realistically, what of those are the best fit?

According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Young is currently under contract for 3 more seasons for a total of $48 million. Realistically, unless the Rangers eat a major portion of the contract, the Twins, Padres, and Astros seem like poor fits. But what about the rest of the teams?

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Prospect Review – Nolan Arenado

Next up on the prospect review list is a third baseman in the Rockies’ system, Nolan Arenado.

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted by the Colorado Rockies  out of El Toro HS (San Diego) in the 2nd round of the 2009 amateur draft
Age as of 4/1/11: 19

Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube

Asheville SALL A 92 373 45 12 65 1 19 52 .308 .338 .520
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/13/2011.

Prospect Ranks

Hardball Times: Rankings Not Released Yet
Deep Leagues: #6 (Third Basemen– 2011), #105 (Overall – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: #9 (Third Basemen – 11/2010)
Baseball America: #2 (South Atlantic League – 10/2010)
John Sickels: #1 (COL – 2011) B+
Baseball Prospectus: Rankings Not Released Yet
Top Prospect Alert: #3 (COL – 2011)


Arenado was drafted out of high school in 2009, where he had played catcher and shortstop primarily.  He received a bonus of $625 K for signing, and signed soon enough to play in 54 games in his 2009 season. He showed decent power in his stay in rookie ball that year, slugging 15 doubles and 2 home runs in those 54 games.  But his best performance to date is clearly his 2010 season.

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Season Previews in Review: National League West

Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I’ve reviewed the rest of the divisions, and now it’s onto the last division, the NL West.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Predicted Record: 74-88
Actual Record: 65-97

What a mess. The team wasn’t really expected to be good, and they weren’t. But I don’t think anyone was expecting Dan Haren not to be on the team at the end of the season, or Josh Byrnes would be employed anywhere but in the desert. The team did get some solid production from first baseman Adam LaRoche and second baseman Kelly Johnson, and made a very nice trade to acquire Daniel Hudson from the White Sox for starting pitcher Edwin Jackson. There are better days ahead with new general manager Kevin Towers at the helm, but I don’t know if they will be in 2011.

Colorado Rockies

Predicated Record: 85-77
Actual Record: 83-79

Every season, the Rockies seem to just be hanging out until around early August, at which point they turn it on and really make a push for the playoffs. They were in the race until about 2 weeks left, carried by the amazing pitching performance of Ubaldo Jimenez and MVP candidates Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. The team really did well on the Matt Holliday trade, as Gonzalez looks like he will be one of the top players in the National League for years to come.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Predicted Record: 92-70
Actual Record: 80-82

I really liked the Dodgers coming into the season. They looked poised for a division title with all the offense they appeared to have, and with the division not looking that strong, seemed almost like a lock. They did get great seasons from Clayton Kershaw and Hiroki Kuroda, but ended up moving outfielder Manny Ramirez, and not really ending up being important to the NL West race at all. The team has already resigned free agent starter Ted Lilly, but the thing that concerns me about this team is that there are really only two positions where they can make upgrades: catcher, and left field.

San Diego Padres

Predicted Record: 65-97
Actual Record: 90-72

Talk about a huge surprise. The Padres were widely expected to be a terrible team, and not perform well at all. They were carried by some solid pitching from Mat Latos and the rest of the starters, and managed to get enough offense to get 90 wins despite only having Adrian Gonzalez provide a consistent amount of offense. The team was in the race until 2 days left in the season, but wasn’t able to hold onto their division lead against the Giants. Bud Black and GM Jed Hoyer still have their work cut out for them, as the team still is unlikely to spend a lot of money on payroll, but they do have some solid prospects in their system.

San Francisco Giants

Predicted Record: 76-86
Actual Record: 92-70

The Giants really were a tale of two seasons: pre-Buster Posey, and post-Buster Posey. The team really started to take off once they inserted Posey into the lineup full time, and never looked back. They were expected to be led by their pitching, and while Tim Lincecum struggled at points during the season, him, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner really helped carry the team. Astute pickups of Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Javier Lopez, and Ramon Ramirez also helped the team to their first World Series championship in over 50 years.

Original Draft Series: #5 – Colorado Rockies

For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #5: Colorado Rockies

General Managers(since 1994)

Bob Gebhart (1994-1998): 512-559
Dan O’Dowd (1999-Current): 769-852

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Last
0 1 3 0 3 4 5 4

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
C Chris Iannetta 2004 – 4th Rd 6 333 gm, .236/.355/.440, 48 HR, 178 RBI Currently with Org.
1B Todd Helton 1995 – 1st Rd (8) 15 5 All Star Appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers
1906 gm, .324/.423/.556, 331 HR, 1230 RBI, 36 SB
Currently with Org.
2B Chone Figgins
1997 – 4th Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to LAA – 7/13/01
3B Garrett Atkins 2000 – 5th Rd 9 773 gm, .289/.354/.457, 98 HR, 479 RBI Non Tendered – 12/12/09
SS Troy Tulowitzki 2005 – 1st Rd (7) 5 1 All Star Appearance
528 gm, .290/.362/.481, 78 HR, 302 RBI, 40 SB
Currently with Org.
LF Matt Holliday 1998 – 7th Rd 10 3 All Star Appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers
698 gm, .319/.386/.552, 128 HR, 483 RBI, 66 SB
Traded to OAK – 11/10/08
CF Juan Pierre 1998 – 13th Rd 4 359 gm, .308/.356/.371, 110 RBI, 100 SB Traded to FLA – 11/16/02
RF Brad Hawpe
2000 – 11th Rd 10 1 All Star Appearance
816 gm, .280/.374/.492, 118 HR, 464 RBI, 13 SB
Released – 7/26/10
DH Ian Stewart 2003 – 1st Rd (10) 7 378 gm, .247/.333/.456, 54 HR, 180 RBI, 13 SB Currently with Org.
SP Ubaldo Jimenez Int’l FA – 2001 9 1 All Star Appearance
48-34, 3.51 ERA, 690.2 IP, 611 K, 300 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Aaron Cook
1997 – 2nd Rd 13 1 All Star Appearance
68-58, 4.42 ERA, 1210.1 IP, 506 K, 370 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Jake Westbrook 1996 – 1st Rd(21) 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MON – 11/18/97
SP Jeff Francis
2002 – 1st Rd (9) 8 55-48, 4.72 ERA, 871 IP, 595 K, 284 BB Currently with Org.
SP Jhoulys Chacin
Int’l FA – 2004 6 7-10, 3.80 ERA, 118.1 IP, 125 K, 61 BB Currently with Org.
RP Jamey Wright 1993 – 1st Rd (28) 6 35-52, 5.40 ERA, 791.2 IP, 381 K, 387 BB Traded to MIL – 12/13/99
RP Matt Daley Amateur FA – 2004 6 1-2, 4.09 ERA, 72.2 IP, 72 K, 27 BB Currently with Org.
RP Franklin Morales Int’l FA – 2002 8 7-9, 4.95 ERA, 127.1 IP, 93 K, 75 BB Currently with Org.
RP Esmil Rogers Int’l FA – 2003 7 2-2, 5.28 ERA, 59.2 IP, 52 K, 21 BB Currently with Org.
RP Greg Reynolds 2006 – 1st Rd (2) 4 2-8, 8.13 ERA, 62 IP, 22 K, 26 BB Currently with Org.
CL Manny Corpas Int’l FA – 1999 11 12-16, 3.93 ERA, 34 SV, 286 IP, 206 K, 80 BB Currently with Org.
BN Clint Barmes
2000 – 10th Rd 10 649 gm, .254/.300/.405, 61 HR, 285 RBI, 39 SB Currently with Org.
BN Seth Smith 2004 – 2nd Rd 6 319 gm, .277/.352/.495, 35 HR, 119 RBI, 7 SB Currently with Org.
BN Eric Young Jr 2003 – 30th Rd 7 62 gm, .238/.301/.298, 4 RBI, 17 SB Currently with Org.
BN Dexter Fowler 2004 – 14th Rd 6 253 gm, .255/.351/.398, 8 HR, 66 RBI, 39 SB Currently with Org.
BN Juan Uribe
Int’l FA – 1997 6 672 gm, .251/.293/.431, 87 HR, 324 RBI, 16 SB Traded to CHW – 12/2/03

June Amateur Draft

The Rockies have really capitalized on their draft picks, getting a lot of good players out of the first 5 rounds of the draft every season. Todd Helton is probably the best player that the Rockies have ever had, but right behind him are also Jeff Francis, Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki, and Brad Hawpe in terms of great players out of the draft. Nearly every position in the starting lineup also had a player who was reasonable to be on the bench for this group as well (Barmes, Smith, Uribe). I really like how this team has developed, and has also gotten better by moving Holliday prior to his free agency for Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street both.

International Free Agency

The Rockies haven’t been nearly as active in the international market as some other teams, but the players that they have gotten seem to have done very well for the team. Ubaldo Jimenez has developed into a definite #1 starter, and Manny Corpas has closed for the team in the past. While there are still a lot of works-in-progress, especially Franklin Morales and Esmil Rogers, the team seems to be going about the international market the right way.

Overall Grade

A. The Rockies have done well overall in both markets, and developed a very good team for this purpose. Nearly every player in their lineup was a potential All-Star when they were in their prime, and the Rockies caught quite a bit of those years as well. Their starting rotation is solid, and the bullpen is full of serviceable pitchers as well. Honestly, I even like their bench, as these players would probably be starters for a lot of the teams below them in the rankings.

Week in Review – June 21 to June 27

If the Playoffs Started Today

Boston Red Sox (46-31) vs. Texas Rangers (45-29)
Minnesota Twins (41-34) vs. New York Yankees (46-28)

New York Mets (43-32) vs. San Diego Padres (45-30)
Cincinnati Reds (42-34) vs. Atlanta Braves (44-32)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Robinson Cano (NYY) – .359
Runs – Kevin Youkilis (BOS) – 61
Home Runs – Miguel Cabrera (DET), Paul Konerko (CHW), Jose Bautista (TOR) – 20
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 64
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) – 29

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 13
Saves – Matt Capps (WAS) – 22
ERA – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 1.60
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) – 118
WHIP – Cliff Lee (SEA) – 0.91

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell, Felipe Paulino

Return from the Disabled List: Aramis Ramirez, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jimmy Rollins, Nelson Cruz,

To the Minors: Sam LeCure, Dioner Navarro, Rick Porcello,

Called Up: Matt LaPorta, Madison Bumgarner, Brad Bergesen, Matt Joyce, Andrew Oliver,

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • Erik Bedard made two different rehab starts this week, and is tentatively slotted in to make his return to the Majors on July 6th.
  • Tommy Hanson had a pair of forgettable starts this week, as he allowed a total of 14 earned runs over 6 2/3 innings pitched.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez had what was probably his worst start of the season, allowing 6 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Red Sox on Wednesday. The regression was due at some point, and this could be it.
  • Injuries abound over the week, especially if your jersey says Red Sox on the front. The day after hitting 3 homers in a game, Dustin Pedroia fouled a pitch off the inside of his foot, breaking it. Return timetable: Uncertain, but placed on the disabled list. On Saturday, starting pitcher Clay Buchholz hyperextended his knee running the bases in the second inning. Return timetable: Unknown. And on Sunday, catcher Victor Martinez took a foul ball off of his left thumb during the game, breaking the thumb. Return timetable: Too soon to know yet. What a terrible weekend it was for the Red Sox in San Francisco, despite winning.
  • Edwin Jackson of the Diamondbacks threw the 4th no hitter of the season on Friday, throwing a season-high 149 pitches and walking 8 to do it. It’s been really interesting to see so many no-hitters, and reminds me a lot of the 1991 season, when there were 7 of them during the season.
  • Manager A.J. Hinch of the Diamondbacks was given a lot of grief for allowing his pitcher to throw that many pitches in pursuit of a no-hitter, but I’m inclined to believe that the group of the manager, the pitcher, and the pitching coach are going to know what their player can and cannot handle.
  • In a rather surprising move, the Marlins fired manager Fredi Gonzalez on Wednesday morning. The Marlins were in 4th place at the time, and ownership had made it pretty clear that they expected the team to be in the playoff hunt and make the playoffs at the end of the season. Whether or not that was really realistic remains to be seen, but the Marlins will continue to search for his replacement.
  • I don’t think we can really discuss the week that was without discussing Big Z and his big blowup during his start on Friday afternoon. Whether or not he was trying to fire up the team remains to be seen, but the Cubs did not appreciate the behavior, pulled him from the start after 1 inning, and suspended him indefinitely. It’s really been a lost season both for the Cubs and Zambrano himself, and Big Z will be sent to the bullpen when his suspension is over.
  • Saturday brought the season debut of Giants’ pitching prospect Madison Bumgarner. He pitched effectively in the loss, going 7 innings and not having 100 pitches in that time. If they keep him up the rest of the season, they will have added an excellent arm to an already top-tier pitching rotation.
  • Andy Oliver was called up on Friday to take the rotation spot of the recently demoted Rick Porcello, making his major league debut. His debut was nothing particularly amazing, but Oliver is probably best known for his legal fight regarding his eligibility to pitch in college.
  • Josh Hamilton has been hitting out of his mind for over 3 weeks now, as he is in the middle of a 21-game hitting streak. He has hit nearly .500 with a whole lot of power since the streak started.
  • Jose Guillen is also in the midst of a 21 game hitting streak, but it appears that it has not been nearly as prolific as the one by Hamilton at this point.
  • Stephen Strasburg continues to dominate major league hitters, and took his first loss of the season in a 1-0 game against the Royals this week. He now holds the record for most strikeouts in his first 4 starts of the career with 41 in that time.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday: The Original Draft Series – Team #18 and #17
Wednesday: The Original Draft Series – Team #16 and #15
Thursday: The Month of June in Review
Friday:  Trade Retrospective – Rafael Palmeiro to the Rangers

Team Preview – Colorado Rockies

Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Chris Iannetta SP 1 Ubaldo Jimenez
1B Todd Helton SP 2 Aaron Cook
2B Clint Barmes SP 3 Jorge de la Rosa
3B Ian Stewart SP 4 Jason Hammel
SS Troy Tulowitzki SP 5 Jeff Francis
LF Carlos Gonzalez Bullpen
CF Dexter Fowler CL Huston Street
RF Brad Hawpe RP Franklin Morales
Bench RP Manny Corpas
C Miguel Olivo RP Rafael Betancourt
OF Seth Smith RP Matt Daley

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
C Miguel Olivo Free Agency 3B Garrett Atkins Non-Tender
IF Melvin Mora Free Agency SP Jason Marquis Free Agency
RP Jose Contreras Free Agency

Top Prospects: Jhoulys Chacin (P), Tyler Matzek (P), Willin Rosario (C), Christian Friedrich (P)

2009 Review

The Rockies were coming off an offseason where they had dealt away the best player on their team in OF Matt Holliday. That trade brought back OF prospect Carlos Gonzalez, closer Huston Street, and P Greg Smith. Street was slotted in at the back end of the bullpen to start the 2009 season, and Gonzalez was sent down to AAA for more seasoning. Top prospects OF Dexter Fowler and SP Jhoulys Chacin were widely expected to have a large impact on the 2009 season, and Fowler made the team out of Spring Training.

The Rockies finished 2009 with a 92-70 record, good for the Wild Card in the National League. The mid-season firing of manager Clint Hurdle seemed to light a fire under the team, as they went 74-42 under interim manager Jim Tracy. On offense, they were led by veteran 1B Todd Helton (.325, 15 HR, 86 RBI), SS Troy Tulowitzki (.297, 32 HR, 92 RBI, 20 SB), and IF Ian Stewart (25 HR, 70 RBI). Midseason callup OF Carlos Gonzalez had a great 2nd half of the season, posting a .284 batting average with 13 HR, 16 SB, and 53 runs scored in 89 games. On the pitching side, SP Ubaldo Jimenez really shined (15-12, 3.47 ERA, 198 strikeouts), and offseason acquisition Jason Marquis (15-13) provided some excellent starts for the team as well.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Rockies will look to return to the playoffs again this season after losing in the first round to the NL Champion Phillies. Their offseason was quiet for the most part, as they had replacements already in place for players that left. They will look for former #1 starter Jeff Francis to rebound this year after missing all of 2009 due to injuries. They are also looking forward to a full season of production from 3B Ian Stewart and LF Carlos Gonzalez. They recently signed 1B Todd Helton to a more team-friendly contract extension which should allow him to stay with the Rockies for the rest of his career, and will look to him for veteran leadership on a team that for the most part is still fairly young. They also brought back veteran 1B Jason Giambi to provide a left-handed bat off the bench.

The Rockies have done a good job of assembling a pitching staff that can handle the rigors of pitching in Denver half the season, and although the names are not necessarily well-known, the staff has proven to be more than capable at this juncture. Injuries could play a major part of the season for the Rockies, as closer Huston Street will likely start the season on the disabled list. This will likely move Franklin Morales into that role until Street returns.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

SS Troy Tulowitzki is the top ranked player on the Rockies, and is probably the 2nd shortstop overall in the Majors. SP Ubaldo Jimenez is a top-tier starting pitcher as well. Some sleepers for this season include OF Carlos Gonzalez, OF Dexter Fowler, and IF Ian Stewart. For deeper leagues, keep an eye on 2B/OF Eric Young Jr. He could provide some speed if he gets enough playing time.

Prediction for 2010

The Rockies are definitely a solid team, ready to compete in the NL West. I’m not sure that they have quite enough pitching to catch the Dodgers though.

85-77, 2nd in the NL West

Free Agency Review – Relief Pitchers

Today I’m finishing up my series of reviews of this offseason’s free agent class, talking about the relief pitchers of the class.

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

Left Handed Relievers
Name Old New Years Total $
Mike Gonzalez ATL BAL 2 $12 M
Billy Wagner BOS ATL 1 $7 M
John Grabow CHC CHC 2 $7.5 M
Darren Oliver LAA TEX 1 $3.5 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: None

This group of lefty relievers did well, as both Gonzalez and Wagner received high dollar contracts that I, for one, did not really see them getting out of the teams that they did. Gonzalez seems like he was a good signing for the Orioles, as he can help to stabilize the bullpen for the very young rotation they have. Wagner was a bit of an unusual signing, as he was a type-A free agent. The Braves could have kept either Gonzalez or Rafael Soriano without having to give up the draft picks, but felt that Wagner was a better fit instead. That said, there is a certain swagger that Wagner can bring to the club that I don’t think either Gonzalez or Soriano would provide.

Right Handed Relievers
Name Old New Years Total $
Jose Valverde HOU DET 2 $14 M
Fernando Rodney DET LAA 2 $11 M
Rafael Soriano ATL ATL/TAM 1 $7.25 M
Kevin Gregg CHC TOR 1 $2.75 M
Takashi Saito BOS ATL 1 $3.2 M
J.J. Putz NYM CHW 1 $3 M
Octavio Dotel CHW PIT 1 $3.5 M
Rafael Betancourt COL COL 2 $7.55 M
Matt Capps PIT WAS 1 $3.5 M
Kelvim Escobar LAA NYM 1 $1.25 M
LaTroy Hawkins HOU MIL 2 $7.5 M
Brandon Lyon DET HOU 3 $15 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Kiko Calero (FLA)

Lots of closers in this group. The Rodney signing was interesting to me, as it signals either one of two things: Rodney isn’t that concerned about being a closer, as he could probably have gotten a job as one with a number of teams, and 2)the Angels have very little faith as Brian Fuentes as the closer. Either way, definitely something to be watched. Washington, Houston, Detroit, and possibly Pittsburgh all got closers off of the free agent pool this year. The other interesting trend was the musical chairs game played by some of the teams, with Valverde and Lyon essentially trading spots, and deciding that the player they don’t know is going to be better than the player they do.

This weekend’s posts: Fantasy Previews of 1B and 2B

Free Agency Review – Starting Pitchers

As expected, the free agent class of starting pitchers was pretty deep this offseason, although there were very few solid options.

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

LH Starting Pitchers
Name Old New Years Total $
Randy Wolf LAD MIL 3 $29.75 M
Andy Pettitte NYY NYY 1 $11.75 M
Erik Bedard SEA SEA 1 $1.5 M
Aroldis Chapman CIN 6 $30.25 M
Doug Davis ARI MIL 1 $5.25 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Jarrod Washburn (DET)

Of all the lefties, Randy Wolf probably did the best in terms of capitalizing on a good season. Milwaukee got a very good veteran starting pitcher for a reasonable price. Bedard signed an incentive-laden deal which could be worth up to $8.5 M total, and if he earns them all, the Mariners will be extremely happy with the results as well. The most unusual signing in my opinion was the Chapman signing. The Reds, not known for spending a lot of money necessarily, sign a pitcher who will be under contract for 6 seasons, and be paying him for as much as 10 perhaps, and will hopefully not be starting his career in the Major leagues.

RH Starting Pitchers
Name Old New Years Total $
Rich Harden CHC TEX 1 $7.5 M
John Lackey LAA BOS 5 $82.5 M
Brad Penny SF STL 1 $7.5 M
Joel Pineiro STL LAA 2 $16 M
Justin Duchscherer OAK OAK 1 $2 M
Ben Sheets OAK 1 $10 M
Jon Garland LAD SD 1 $5.3 M
Colby Lewis JPN TEX 2 $5 M
Jason Marquis COL WAS 2 $15 M
Vicente Padilla LAD LAD 1 $5.025 M
Carl Pavano MIN MIN 1 $7 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Braden Looper (MIL), Todd Wellemeyer (STL), John Smoltz (STL), Pedro Martinez (PHI)

Lackey was the big name on the market this offseason, and got the big contract that went along with it. I was a bit surprised at the time about this since I didn’t really think that the Red Sox were in the market for a starting pitcher. However, it looks now like he will be the replacement for Josh Beckett should he leave via free agency after 2010. The Angels did well to replace Lackey with Pineiro. Pineiro, while not the same quality pitcher as Lackey, will provide more stability to the rotation being led now by Jered Weaver and Scott Kazmir. Free agency was also littered with high-risk, high-reward types like Harden, Sheets, and Duchscherer. The most interesting signing for a right hander to me is the Rangers’ signing of Colby Lewis. Lewis is returning from 2 seasons in Japan where he was very dominant, and should be interesting to watch this season.

Tomorrow: Free agency review of relief pitchers