Who: Adam Eaton
What Team: Philadelphia
How Much: $24.5M
How Long: 3 years
What It Means: The market is officially All Out of pitching.
Will They Regret It: Probably, in large part because everything the Phillies do seems to turn out regrettable. Once upon a time, Eaton was a hotshot Phillies pitching prospect who got traded away for Andy Ashby (who himself had once been a hotshot Phillies pitching prospect), but that was a long time and several odd injuries ago. The optimist says that Eaton's still got great stuff and, thanks to injuries, doesn't have a lot of mileage on his arm. The pessimist notes that he's never been able to harness that stuff for a full season, and that injuries find Eaton like hair care products found Flock of Seagulls. Hopefully Eaton will be able to refrain from stabbing himself in the stomach this time around, but even if he does, the past injury history is too troubling to ignore.
Who: Randy Wolf
What Team: Los Angeles (the real one)
How Much: $8/17M
How Long: 1 year + option
What It Means: According to the official Tommy John Surgery Recovery Timetable, Wolf should be back to his normal self next season. Unfortunately, his normal self hasn't been that great for a while.
Will They Regret It: Dodger Stadium is a fairly forgiving place for a pitcher whose stuff might get killed in a smaller park, and while Wolf's numbers last year were fairly awful, he's a lefty working his way back from TJ. The real culprits here are the Phillies' last couple of managers, who rode Wolf far too hard when he was about the only decent thing in their rotation, and beat the hell out of what might have been a good-to-great career. Something tells me this one will work out all right for the Dodgers, in large part because the length of the deal is mercifully brief. Expect Wolf to put up decent numbers as a #3 or #4 guy, and to cash in on his next deal.
Who: Woody Williams
What Team: Houston
How Much: $12.5M
How Long: 2 years
What It Means: Tim Purpura really likes old pitchers, and doesn't think the two he's got will b be coming back.
Will They Regret It: Probably, but not for the right reasons. The odds on Clemens and Pettite coming back are slim at this point, and Woody falls naturally, through no fault of his own, into the "Roger's replacement" slot. This means, of course, he's going to be blamed for the shortfall between his production and Clemens', which is much like someone blaming Glen Burtnick for ruining Styx. The real problems in Houston have to deal with the absolute offensive sinkholes they run out there every day at multiple positions, and their inability to get a prospect on the field and playing regularly before he's eligible for Social Security.
Who: Adam Kennedy
What Team: St. Louis
How Much: $10M
How Long: 3 years
What It Means: Someone's figured out that scrappy doesn't turn two on a regular enough basis.
Will They Regret It: No. Kennedy comes home to shore up the Cards' middle infield, put Aaron Miles on the bench where he belongs, and provide decent production and defense. The price is reasonable, the contract length isn't onerous, and the other options are distinctly unappealing.
Who: Royce Clayton
What Team: Toronto
How Much: $1.5M
How Long: 1 year
What It Means: Stock up on canned goods and shotguns
Will They Regret It: Long ago, the phrase "I don't need to worry, I've got Royce Clayton" became a running gag in my fantasy baseball league. I can understand the logic of wanting a one-year placeholder while J.P. Ricciardi tries to figure out what the hell to do with his middle infield, but this is a placeholder in precisely the same sense that one of John Norman's Gor novels is a serious examination of gender roles.