Tag: Free Agency

Oakland Athletics: Josh Willingham and 5 Players That Need to Re-Sign for 2012

For the Oakland Athletics, the 2011 baseball campaign is creeping to a halt.

Having had a tumultuous and exciting six months of baseball that included benchings and a firing, injuries and trades and, oh yeah, a movie release based on the team’s general manager (which opens nationwide today), the A’s are ready to put the season behind them as quickly as possible.

Yes, like most teams, the A’s have encountered some peaks through the course of the year; but the valleys have been absolutely abysmal—the nadir being a 10-game losing streak that they never fully recovered from.

Much of the blame can be and was attributed to the slothfully slow start offensively by the team as a whole. Although several players did warm up a bit midseason, by then the A’s had lost two of their starting pitchers for the season, and were in a tailspin that was difficult to overcome in a competitive AL West division.

With that in mind, the A’s head into the offseason with numerous players eligible for free agency and salary arbitration. This September has allowed Oakland to examine their 40-man roster and not only take a deeper look at those youngsters who have bright futures with the team, but also determine which veterans should be traded and which ones should be kept on next season.

Here are five players who the A’s need to re-sign this offseason.

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MLB Free Agency: 11 Potential Free Agents Whose Deals Depend on Albert Pujols

Overall, the upcoming MLB free agency class for the 2011 offseason is fairly weak.  Unlike 2010 when baseball fans anxiously watched to see where pitcher Cliff Lee and All-Star outfielder Carl Crawford would end up, 2011 will figure to be a quiet offseason.

Yet, among the 2011 free agents, one name stands out.  For the first time in his career, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols will be on the open market.  Given how he is only 31 years old and already has a career batting average of .330, 414 home runs and 1,242 RBI, he will surely command big money.

The Cardinals attempted to negotiate a new contract with Pujols this past offseason and into spring training.  Pujols actually set February 14 as the deadline for a new deal, otherwise negotiations would end.  No deal was reached, so it’s clear that Pujols’s next contract will set a new standard for free agents in future years.

Here are 11 potential free agents whose next contracts will be shaped by the conclusion of the Pujols saga.

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MLB Free Agency: The Offseason Move Each Team Already Regrets

The past offseason was a memorable one that saw more premier players change teams than in years past.  Obviously, not every signing or move will work our for each team as they plan it, but in most cases, it’s too soon to chalk up mistakes.

However, there are some moves teams made that they already regret.  Here is each team’s big regret from the offseason:

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2011 MLB Predictions: The 10 Most Compelling Stories of the Season

We’re just a couple short weeks away from meaningful baseball.

All the offseason moves, the talk from experts and promise of young prospects will come to a head and we’ll once again be reminded of why we not only love this game, but hate when it isn’t around.

The most compelling for me is Opening Day. I love it. I make the jaunt to Seattle every year to watch my Mariners embark on another campaign, even though I know the outcome may not make me do back flips.

On a national level, though, there are so many intriguing stories.

Of course, you end up with surprises like last year’s no hitters and (almost included) perfect games. You have milestones and injuries. Breakout stars and steady hands.

Let’s look at what we think, and hope, will be interesting this season.

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Albert Pujols The Next Alfonso Soriano? Cubs Prepare To Dish Out Maximum Funds

Chicago is spinning with excitement for next off-season, and they haven’t even been eliminated yet. Albert Pujols will become a free agent after the conclusion of this season, and some clubs have the rival right in their cross hairs. The Cardinals were unable to strike a deal with their current face of the organization and will now have to compete for his work. Pujols was reportedly seeking a 10-year, 300-million dollar contract and the Cardinals were unwilling to match it. Should the Cubs do what the Cardinals didn’t?

Think back a few years, Cub fans. Does this ring a bell? Middle-aged superstar searching for a lot of cash along with many years? Reminds me a little bit of a speedy, second baseman (now outfielder) named Alfonso Soriano. That deal hasn’t exactly panned out for the Friendly Confines. Should the Cubs take the risk again?

Obviously Soriano isn’t Pujols; they are extraordinarily different players and talents. Almost nothing between them is similar except that they both have the capability to hit for power. Currently, Pujols is regarded as the best player in baseball by many analysts, managers, fans, and fellow players. He is also 31. Assuming the Cubs, or any team, gives Pujols his desired contract, he would be 41 by the time it runs up. What are the odds that Pujols is still on the upturn at 31? His talents should, unless he actually is a machine like his nickname suggests, be dwindling.

If the Cubs can find a way to pay Pujols enough money per year for him to drop his contract to four or five years, then it would be an excellent deal. Get a veteran who can lead your team to long lost glory? Perfect. On top of that, you take away your in-division rival’s best player and soul of the team.  How much better could the Cubs have it?

It seems the Cubs are noticing their opportunity after they signed first basemen Carlos Pena to a one year, ten million dollar contract. There will be salary available and a gap at first base, Pujols’ position.

However, Chicago probably shouldn’t get too far ahead of itself. There are still 162 games left to be played before this is even an issue. The wait has begun and it’s going to be a long stretch before it’s over, and that’s exactly what all baseball fans will be doing; waiting.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Albert Pujols Rumors: Indentifying The Top 10 Teams That Will Not Sign Him

Have you ever wondered what goes through your girlfriend’s mind when she stops dead in her tracks, her eyes glaze over and she goes into a trance while looking at that ring in the window?

That’s what this is for men. Players like this only become freely available once a generation, and we too have paused and slipped into an alternative universe where this shiny jewel could be ours.

Well, at the risk of being the bearer of bad news, the parallels don’t stop there. There are only so many guys who can drop five grand just to make their girl smile, and only so many teams who can throw $300 million at a player.

In case you’re just back from a sabbatical in the Himalayas, Albert Pujols has reportedly cut off negotiations with the St. Louis Cardinals and plans to dip his toe into the murky waters of free agency.

While his legs dangle off the dock and you have visions of the fortunes of your team turning around by way of the hottest free agent signing in baseball history, I’ll have to ask you to snap out of it.

For you, the fans of the forthcoming 10 teams, it’s just not in the cards.

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MLB Free Agency: Previewing the Top 25 Players Who May Be Available Next Year

Now that the 2011 offseason is over, we can now look ahead to the 2012 offseason. 

Several free agents are sure to change the landscape of baseball, and unlike the offseason that just ended, the 2012 free-agent class is far better from top to bottom.

Here is a list of the top 25 possible free agents.

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NY Yankees: Why Robinson Cano Hiring Scott Boras Is Terrible for Yanks and Fans

New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano has replaced his agent, Bobby Barad, with high-powered sports agent Scott Boras.

Cano finished third in AL MVP voting in 2010 and was awarded the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.

Scott Boras is the founder, owner and president of the Boras Corporation, which represents about 175 professional baseball clients. Boras represents fellow Yankees Mark Teixeira and Rafael Soriano, and other big names around the majors such as Matt Holliday, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran and Jered Weaver.

He is also the former agent of Alex Rodriguez and negotiated both of A-Rod’s record-breaking contracts, as well as some other massive contracts around the league.

So what does this mean for the Yankees now that Boras will be representing Cano?

The Yankees will look forward to a painful and frustrating negotiation over Cano’s next contract. The 2011 season is the final year on Cano’s previous contract, but the Yankees have options for $10 million and $14 million in 2012 and 2013. Should the Yankees choose to exercise these options, and they will, then the negotiations will begin soon after the deal is over.

If Cano can keep up his outstanding production from the first six years of his career, he will be in line for a hefty raise, and Boras will make sure he gets it. Of course, the Steinbrenners will have the money to make this deal, and of course, they need to sign Cano when his contract is up, but this is part of the reason the Yankees will be digging into their farm system over the next few seasons.

When Cano is up for a new deal, the Yankees will still be paying the enormous contracts of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and Derek Jeter. Many teams in the MLB have payrolls for their entire team that come out to less money than the Yankees will be paying these guys in each of the next few seasons. Adding whatever deal Cano will be asking for to the pile will be overkill for the Yankees.

The fans will suffer from Boras taking over as Cano’s agent as well. Like I mentioned before, Boras has negotiated some of the largest contracts in Major League Baseball’s history. Some of these contracts are the reasons why ticket prices have skyrocketed around the league, especially at Yankee Stadium.

A higher payroll leads to a higher need for income, therefore ticket prices, as well as concession and souvenir prices, will continue to increase as long as contracts keep breaking new barriers.

I am not here to argue for a salary cap. There will never be one in baseball. But the way things are going, the middle class will be struggling to attend baseball games and fans will only be able to express themselves in the streets and in front of televisions.

One can only imagine what prices will be like at Yankee Stadium by 2014; a reality that many fans will be dreading.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Free Agency: Johnny Damon and 10 Players Who Picked The Wrong Team

If there’s one time of the sports year that everyone watches like a hawk, it’s MLB free agency.  From November until late January (sometimes longer), fans lose sleep over which teams top free agent players will sign with.

Some of these decisions pay great dividends, like C.C. Sabathia when he signed with the New York Yankees.  Other times, players regret locking themselves into long-term deals, like when Adrian Beltre signed with the Mariners.

Thus, let’s take a look at this past season’s free agency class.  Specifically, the players that picked the wrong teams.

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MLB Power Rankings: Each Team’s Player Whose Fantasy Value Rose This Offseason

The MLB off-season can set up a player for success or disaster. Some teams made a big splash, while others are still looking for a solution. Each team has the potential of making 2011 a season to remember, but which players are looking to take the fantasy scene by storm?

Postion changes or calling a new town home can be just the spark a player needed to become an elite fantasy option. Understanding exactly which off-season moves impacted which players is the key to a successful 2011 fantasy baseball campaign.

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