Sunday, June 5, 2016

Looking Back On Baseball MTJAG's Offseason Free Agent Bargains

Even though he wasn't covered on this blog, Rich Hill has been the ultimate free-agent bargain/Carlos Osorio, AP
During the off-season, Baseball MTJAG wrote up three articles on potential free-agent bargains, categorized in three groups: The Solartes (career minor-leaguers), The Villanuevas (underrated pieces), and The Madsons (injured or rehabbing players). In this article, we will check on these players and see if they have provided any value for their respective organizations.

Part 1

Erik Cordier, RHP (video)
Signed with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan, has 14 strikeouts in 12 innings but with a 4.50 ERA and 8.2 BB/9.
Juan Gonzalez, RHP
Joined the Cardinals organization on a minor league deal, has a 2.66 ERA and 11.1 K/9 for AAA Memphis. Despite not being on the 40-man roster, he could be in line for a call-up soon if the middle relievers struggle in St. Louis.
Andrew Barbosa, LHP
Signed with the Mets, back in AA as a 28 year old despite good numbers. Has been very good in AA Binghamton and had a start in AAA, throwing 5 innings of 1-run ball with 6 strikeouts and no walks. Being a hard-throwing big lefty, its puzzling why he hasn't been challenged more.
Robert Zarate, LHP
Has been injured all year for AAA Indianapolis of the Pirates organization. Displayed good stuff in Spring Training despite being hit hard.
Conner Crumbliss, 2B/OF (video)
Listed as inactive on, probably retired.
Tommy Field, INF (video)
Released by the Tigers after a slow start in AAA, but signed on with Minnesota and is hitting well in AAA Rochester, batting .281/.324/.469, should get a call-up soon on a struggling Minnesota club.
Destin Hood, OF (video)
Still a toolshed but development has stagnated. Mashed a team-leading 8 homers for AAA New Orleans of the Marlins organization, with 5 stolen bases as well. Plate discipline still needs work, but with the lack of minor league outfield options he might be the next man up should any Marlin outfielders get hurt.

Part 2

Ryan Webb, RHP (video)
Has a 3.31 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen. Settling in as the middle reliever, but with a low 5.5 K/9. Good production for the cost.
Cesar Ramos, LHP (video)
Solid swingman for the Rangers thus far with a 3.58 ERA in 27.2 innings. Carries a 5.33 FIP though, so might be due for regression
Domonic Brown, OF
Scuffling away in AAA Buffalo. May never reach the potential he once had.
Justin Ruggiano, OF (video)
Went 1-4 with a double on April 6, his only major league game of the year. Not doing terrifically well in AAA Round Rock either.
George Kottaras, C (video
Batting .161 for AAA Sacramento. Solid defensively, but behind Posey, Brown and Susac on the depth chart.

Part 3

Bobby Parnell, RHP
Bullet Bob pitched well in AAA and has been called up by the Tigers to save their mess of a bullpen. Averaged 94.2 mph on his fastball in his one inning of major league work. Not quite back to his flamethrower status yet, but a major improvement from last year.
Jeff Beliveau, LHP (video)
Still recovering from injury, has struck out 16 in 10.2 rehab innings this year.
Cliff Lee, LHP
Not playing this season, may be retired.
Cory Luebke, LHP
Made the team after a strong showing in spring training, but sent down after a rough start (6 ER, 5 BB in 3.2 innings). Sent down to AAA and has a 14.2 K/9 and 29/3 K/BB ratio. Has received a well-deserved call up again, and will definitely try to pitch better than his first time around.
Carlos Quentin, OF (video)
Didn't make Opening Day roster out of Spring Training and decided to not play.

Overall, this years free agent class did not produce many value signings outside of the Rich Hill deal with Oakland, and most of the players on this list have struggled so far. One player to note is Robbie Grossman, the last man cut from this list, and he has hit .327/.441/.527 in 15 games for the Twins. The gaudy numbers likely won't keep up, but he will provide some plate discipline (10 BB/11 Ks) and a little pop as well. From these writeups, Gonzalez, Field, and perhaps Hood seem like possible callups soon, and Webb and Ramos have been serviceable for their respective teams. Parnell and Luebke have both shown flashes of their pre-injury selves and will try to build on them going forward. While we didn't discover the next Jose Quintana star out of nowhere, overall this list of players has produced decent value for their low costs.

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