It happens every year… You take a pass on going hog-wild in the offseason with the belief that a better crop of stars will be available next offseason. But as is usually the case, the best players end up getting signed to extensions during the season and those that make it to November usually re-sign with their former teams.
Sometimes it’s all a matter of logistics and strategy. For example, let’s take a look at Shin-Soo Choo. The Reds can make him a one-year qualifying offer which would mean losing a draft pick to the signing team. All of a sudden the player becomes less desirable and it drives his price straight down. We saw this play out with Michael Bourn last offseason. He thought he would be endowed with a $75 million dollar deal heading into free agency, but instead had to settle for just 65% of that amount.
With that dynamic in play, it sometimes behooves the marquee player to work out an extension with his team rather than roll the dice in an open market that has few teams willing to part with their first or second round draft picks. Even the big market teams are thinking twice before losing their top picks. Recent mega deals to free agent flops have left some of those teams wondering where to find the EuroJackpot results more to their liking.
With that in mind, there is already some scurrying about in the pre-dawn weeks leading into a new hot stove season.
It’s been almost a foregone conclusion that the Colorado Rockies may move Carlos Gonzalez and possibly even Troy Tulowitzki this Winter as many reports have suggested. Not so, said a source with direct knowledge of the team’s plans, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. (MLBTR)
“There’s still a very small possibility that one will be dealt to address multiple needs, but there is zero likelihood that both will be moved.” Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports confirmed the report adding that that Rockies ownership doesn’t have much interest in moving either player.
Getting back to Shin-Soo Choo, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer says the outfielder loves it in Cincinnati, and his Reds teammates are all lobbying him to re-sign with the team. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he will do everything he can to re-sign Choo and confirmed he has already reached out to agent Scott Boras. They are expected to exchange numbers soon after the season.
Two other players whose names frequently come up as potential Mets targets are outfielder Hunter Pence and righthander Tim Lincecum who are both pending free agents. But according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Giants want to retain both players. He believes that the Giants could offer Pence a four-year, $56 million deal similar to what the Indians gave Nick Swisher last Winter.
Both Pence and Lincecum have expressed a willingness to remain with the Giants, but either way both of them will receive and decline qualifying offers from the Giants as they each seek multi-year deals.
Did somebody mention Carlos Beltran? MLB Trade Rumors featured him in a Face-Off against Nelson Cruz. Over 70% of their readers preferred Beltran to Cruz in a poll question, but they pointed out that due to Beltran’s declining defensive skills, he might be best suited to a switch in leagues where he can DH twice a week. Beltran has always rejected the thought of that, they write, but reality and age might make Beltran reconsider his options.
So as the Mets get set to navigate a fourth consecutive offseason with Sandy Alderson at the helm, it will be interesting to see if the GM can prove me wrong and actually outbid other teams to get the pieces the Mets need to compete in 2014 – the year when everything is supposed to change. I think it’s a daunting task and while the Mets keep insisting they will spend, they always punt when asked how much, and keep ducking questions about how much the Mets payroll budget will be next season.