Saturday, December 09, 2006

Handy-Dandy Free Agent Signing Guide - Part 6 - Oh Barry Be Not On the Lone Prairie Edition

Who: Andy Pettite
What Team: Mordor
How Much: $16M
How Long: 1 year
What It Means: He's been paying very close attention to Roger Clemens
Will They Regret It: Stop me if you've heard this one before, but considering what the rest of the market is doing (Gil Meche! I repeat, Gil freakin' Meche!), if he stays healthy and the Grimsley file doesn't suddenly turn into sworn testimory, then everyone will be fine with this deal. The Yankees actually have some real live pitching prospects for a change, and this buys them a little more seasoning time before at least one member of the geriatric brigade breaks down. Expect to see a repeat next off-season, and a mad scramble for any kind of pitching in Houston, which is now left with an increasingly thin rotation.

Who: Octavio Dotel
What Team: Kansas City
How Much: $5M
How Long: 1 year
What It Means: Dayton Moore has taken a look at his farm system.
Will They Regret It: If they try to make him a closer, they will. Otherwise, if Dotel is all the way back from his injury woes (and does anyone else ever use the words "injury woes"?) then he's capable of being a lights-out setup man. The price is a bit high, but you can blame the Orioles for that. Everyone gets what they want here - KC gets an actual pitcher for the pen, and Dotel gets one year to prove himself before going for the big bucks again.

Who: Barry Bonds
What Team: San Francisco
How Much: $16M
How Long: 1 year
What It Means: They're staying together for the sake of the kids, all 45K or so per home game.
Will They Regret It: No. For one thing, Bonds sells tickets. For another, he still beats the living hell out of the ball - last year's line was .270/.454/.545. For a third, his defense and durability issues aren't quite as bad as advertised. He's not a Gold Glover any more, but he's only slightly below average, and for a .545 slugging percentage, you can put up with that. Oh, and he played in 130 games last year, only 13 fewer than iron man Albert Pujols. So expect a season of controversy, punctuated by a lot of very long home runs, and the most awkward award presentation ceremony short of Pete Rozelle handing over the Super Bowl hardware to Al Davis.

Who: Vincente Padilla
What Team: Texas
How Much: $33.75 M
How Long: 3 years
What It Means: If you find a pitcher crazy enough to want to stay in Texas, hang on to him.
Will They Regret It: Considering the current market, probably not. The contract is the right length, and Padilla's game (fastball, fastball, fastball, fastball, and then maybe a fastball) isn't the sort to be affected by the park he's in. Or, to put it another way, when someone connects with a Padilla heater, it's so far gone it doesn't matter what stadium they're playing in. So all things considered it's a decent value for a decent talent. If that club option for the fourth year gets picked up, however, that means either the earth has flipped on its axis or something had gone horribly, horribly wrong.
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