Posts Tagged ‘Yahoo Fantasy’

yank

Now that we’ve seen all of the negatives of the Alex Rodriguez story, lets look at the positive to come out of this ruling. The New York Yankees have reclaimed the $25 million salary that they were supposed to pay Rodriguez and are now free to spend it however they please. With that in mind, here are three ways the Yankees could decide to use that money that would benefit them.

 

It is no secret that Yankees are well below the championship caliber team that fans expect. They (officially) no longer have a starting third baseman, Mark Texeira is returning after missing the entire 2013 season, and Derek Jeter is a shell of his former self.  With all that being said, the number one thing the Yankees need right now is starting pitching. CC Sabathia struggled mightily last year, finishing with a 14-13 record and a career high ERA of 4.78. In addition, Ivan Nova was up and down all of last year and Hiroki Kuroda is 38 and also lost some of his momentum in the second half of last year. To make matters worse, the Yankees don’t even have a set #4 and #5 pitcher right now. Now they can look at this two ways.

The first way to look at this is to go for the big splash (in true George fashion) and sign Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. In 28 starts last season, the former Rakuten Golden Eagle went an astounding 24-0 with and ERA of 1.27. At only 24 years old, Tanaka has the potential to be the Yankees number one starter going forward. However, Tanaka does not come without risk. As the Yankees know, a lot of Japanese pitchers have struggled with their transition to the MLB. Daisuke Matzusaka, Hideki Irabu, and Kei Igawa are all perfect examples of that. Of course that doesn’t mean that Tanaka will not be the next Yu Darvish, it just means that he could also be the next Hideki Irabu.

If the Yankees decide against the Japanese star, they definitely have other things they can do with that money. One hypothetical scenario would be bringing in a solid starting pitcher with a solid relief pitcher for a total of less money than Tanaka would cost. Two starters that are immediately available are Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez. Both have struggled in the past couple of years and are both likely to command no longer than two-year contracts. Garza in particular, with a career ERA of 3.84, but past AL east experience with his time with the Rays, would cost only around 8-12 million on a year for a short amount of time. With no need for commitment, either of these pitchers can be a good temporary fix to the starting pitcher problem.

As far as the relief pitchers, there is once again a decent crop of short contract players available. Grant Balfour, Fernando Rodney, and Fransisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez could all be had on 1-2 year contracts for about $12 million. These would all be good temporary players for the Yankees to have if they want to make a chase for the playoffs.

Now this third option may scare most Yankee fans. I is a terrifying notion that will be a new concept to those who love the pinstripes. Save the money. The 2015 free agent market is going to be filled with significantly better crops. Asdrubal Cabrera, Chase Headley, Max Scherzer, and James Shield will be highly coveted players who would fit the Yankees perfectly. Not spending money this year will all but guarantee no playoffs this year, but it may be worth it in the long hall.

What should the Yankees do? Go after Tanaka? Get some short-term player? Maybe save the Money? Let us know what you think it s comments.

Advertisements

frtr

Now that we are approaching the playoffs, its about the time where players are having there fantasy seasons evaluated. Instead of going player by player, the team here at The Fifth Quarter decided to make things a little more interesting. We present

                                                        The Fantasy Awards.

Rookie of The Year

1.    Giovani Bernard- The 2nd round pick out of Notre Dame has flourished in the Cincinnati Bengals offense. Despite splitting carries with Benjarvus Green Ellis, He was top 10 in fantasy points for RB’s going into the Bengals bye week. He has been even more valuable in PPR leagues. Even though he cooled off a bit toward the end of the year, Bernard will definitely be a RB2 going into next year.

2.    Eddie Lacy- Even with the injury problems and handcuff back James Starks, Eddie Lacy has put up fantastic numbers this year. Since returning from a concussion, he has put up double-digit fantasy points in all but 2 games. The Alabama bruiser will be a top 10 pick next year without hesitation.

3.    Julius Thomas- As if the Denver Broncos didn’t have enough weapons, they draft a 6’7 former basketball player to play TE. Thomas is 2nd in points among TE only trailing Jimmy Graham. He has become an elite fantasy option and will stay this way as long as Peyton Manning is at QB.

                                                Injury Replacement of The Year

1.    Fred Jackson- Fantasy owners enraged by CJ Spiller (more on him later) have at least found a silver lining in the whole situation. Fred Jackson took the role of feature back and has cherished every minute. He has rushed for 896 YDs, rushed for 9 TDS and added 387 YDs in the passing game. He finished a top 11 running back this year, but don’t expect similar numbers next year.

2.    Harry Douglas- Ever since fantasy owners suffered the heartbreaking loss of Julio Jones, many wondered if anyone would be able to replace him. In walks Harry Douglas. Douglas has been extremely impressive in his four games as a starting WR for the Atlanta Falcons. Douglas has put up 42 points in those four games. He isn’t a viable starter going forward, but he provided some good value for this year.

3.    Keenan Allen- When 6’5 receiver Malcolm Floyd suffered his season ending injury in week 3, people once again wondered who would be the fill in. Initially it seemed it would be journeyman Eddie Royal. However, after a few weeks, it was clear the 2nd round pick out of Cal was going to be the guy. Since week 4, Allen has put up 1,046 receiving yards and 8 TD. His value is based on the play of QB Phillip Rivers, but he should be a safe pick in next years draft.

Waiver Wire Pick Up of The Year

1.    Julius Thomas– Up for his second nomination, Thomas has been a gods send for fantasy owners. In a particularly week year for TEs, Thomas has proven to be a true gem for whoever was lucky enough to get him. With Peyton throwing to him, Orange Julius had 788 Rec Yards and 12 TDs. Thomas value will be put into question when a new QB steps in, but until then count on him as a top 3 TE fantasy.

2.    Zac Stacy- While he hasn’t proven himself entirely yet, all signs point up for the rookie 5th round pick out of Vanderbilt. Since his first carry in week 5, Stacy has put his foot on the gas and hasn’t let up. He ran for 973 yards with 7 touchdowns and has added an extra 100 yards and a touchdown through the air. Stacy ended the year in RB1 conversation and could be a first round pick come next year.

3.    Nick Foles- After Foles suffered a concussion against Dallas in week 7, a lot of people threw Nick Foles to the waiver wire and continued playing their every week quarterback. That move could have very easily cost many people a championship. The Eagles signal caller was electrifying in his return, scoring over 20 points in six straight weeks.  In the exhilarating Chip Kelly offense, Foles will easily be a top five quarterback next year.

 

Bust Of The Year (Injury Related)

1.     C.J. Spiller- Oh what could have been. Had Spiller sat out a couple of weeks and let his ankle heal, he could have ended being worthy of his first round pick status (e.g. Roddy White). Instead Spiller insisted on playing and killed his value in the process. Despite a bit of resurgence towards the end of the season, Spiller only finished with 927 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Spiller will fall to the third or fourth round next year, but he will have tremendous upside.

2.     Steven Jackson- Coming into the season, many thought that long time Rams running back would have a rejuvenation year in a much better Atlanta Offense. They weren’t totally wrong. Jackson had a nice stretch to end the year with three straight double-digit games. The problem is a little stretch isn’t acceptable for someone you spent a second round pick on. Jackson suffered a thigh injury in week 2 and was held out for six weeks. When he came back he just couldn’t put it together. S-Jax finished the year with 543 yards and 6 touchdowns. Not the production expected from a RB2

3.     David Wilson. The hype was endless. The New York Giants speed back started off as the biggest sleeper of the year and ended up being ranked as high as 14 on pre draft rankings. Out of the gate, he looked like a disaster, scoring negative two points against the Cowboys. He finally showed a little promise four and scored his first touchdown in week five. However, the excitement was shortlived. Wilson left the same game with a neck injury and was later ruled out for the game with a neck injury. Low and behold it was much worse. Wilson was ruled out for the year and his entire career may be over. Wilson has vowed to play again but there is serious doubt behind that. As far as fantasy, he shouldn’t even be in your thought process going forward.

Bust Of The Year

1.             Ray (Fried) Rice- The wheels just fell off the bus this year. The number six ranked player (according to Yahoo) was just miserable this entire year. With a lack of a passing game, opposing defenses focused on Rice and absolutely destroyed him and his handcuff back Bernard Pierce. Rice finished the year with 660 yards and 4 touchdowns. If the Ravens don’t improve in the passing game and on the offensive line, Rice should be no more than a flex player come next year.

2.             Hakeem Nicks- Now no one expected Nicks to be an MVP for your team, but he was expected to be a solid WR2 and a possible difference maker. Instead, Nicks fell into complete oblivion. With a dysfunctional offense and contract issues Nicks pretty much fell behind Ruben Randle in terms of targets. He wasn’t playing with his all and frustrations with his coach showed when he was randomly benched in week 12. Nicks put up a total of three games with over 100 yards and scored no touchdowns all year. Being on a new team may help him, but don’t trust Nicks immediately as anything more than a WR3

3.             Trent Richardson- Seems like he was too busy making sextapes to learn the Colts playbook. After being traded after week 2 from the Cleveland Browns to the Indianapolis Colts, growing pains were expected, as he had to learn a whole new offensive system. However, no one expected growing pains like these. In 14 games with the Colts, the 2012 number three overall pick ran for 468 yards, 3 touchdowns and 5 fumbles. This was just simply unacceptable. Richardson ended up being benched at the end of the year for backup Donald Brown. Richardsons season high rushing yards was 64. This is just insane for a player ranked 10th overall. With Donald Brown likely leaving in free agency and having the whole offseason to learn the playbook properly, all hope isn’t lost for the Alabama bruiser. In terms of next years draft though, he shouldn’t be any higher than a 10th round pick.

Most Valuable Player

1.                      Peyton Manning- With questions coming into the season about his health, Manning silenced all critics with one of the greatest seasons ever. Finishing with an overall number one ranking, Peyton threw for 5,477 (a new record) and 55 touchdowns (also a new record). In terms of fantasy, Manning scored 419 points in standard leagues, which is 50 points better than second place finisher Drew Brees. The Broncos captain also had five games of over 30 points, which is the most by any quarterback this year. It is undeniable that Peyton had one of the greatest seasons ever on the field and the computer.

2.                      Jamaal Charles- What a breakout year. The already established star running back catapulted himself into superstardom this year with his incredible season. The Kansas City running back ended the year with 1,287 yards on the ground with 12 touchdowns. Charles wasn’t done as he added 693 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. The former Texas back stamped his season off with an exclamation point game that destroyed all projections. In a 56-31 thrashing of the Raiders, Charles rushed the ball 8 times for 20 yards and 1 touchdown. That seems like an ok fantasy day, until you look at the rest of the box score. Charles added 8 receptions for 195 yards and 4 touchdowns for a grand total of 51 fantasy points. As long as Andy Reid is the head coach, expect Charles to be a top 3 overall pick every year.

3.                      LeSean McCoy- the same that was said about Jamaal Charles, can be said about Shady McCoy. Putting on absolute clinic, McCoy led the league in rushing with 1,607 yards and added 9 touchdowns. Furthermore, McCoy also benefited from the passing game, adding 539 yards on 53 receptions and 2 touchdowns.  Additionally, when the quarterback wasn’t Matt Barkley, Shady never scored under 10 points in a game. The former Pitt running back proved that he wasn’t going to let his bad 2012 season deter him from greatness. Expect just that going into further seasons.

We will announce the winner of each category in the coming weeks. Disagree with our picks? Feel someone was left out? Let us know in the comments!

Image

Could the end of an Era be on the horizon? According to a report by Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer, New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan will coach his final game as a Jet next Sunday in Miami. Glazer tweeted on Sunday that Ryan told his players in a team meeting on Saturday night that he will be fired after the season ends.

Ryan requested of his players to fight for him in the last two games of the season and the players have seemed to respond. The New York Jets played one of their strongest games of the season, defeating the Cleveland Browns 24-13. The defense came up huge on multiple occasions and the offense look fairly competent, moving the ball fairly well against a strong Cleveland defense.  With one game remaining for the Jets upper management to change their mind, here are three reasons why New York should hold on to their once beloved coach.

                                                                        He is Respected

            Players like to play for Rex Ryan. This has been a fact ever since 2009. Multiple players, both on and off the Jets, have come out and said if they could have any head coach they want Rex Ryan. This nearly became a problem in 2011. After going 8-8 and missing the playoffs, it seemed as if the Jets locker room was in total disarray. Players not giving it their all, being selfish, and getting in fights seemed to be a common occurrence. It was at this point that Rex stepped up and not only demanded the adoration of the players, but the respect. The players have seemed to respond to this properly. Despite the losing, there has not been another report of dysfunction or lack of discipline in the locker room. Rex also showed this week the give and you shall receive policy. After a Geno Smith was pushed after running out of bounds, Ryan exploded at a referee for not immediately throwing a flag. Ryan then ran over to a scuffle that was breaking out between players and broke it up. One of the keys to being a good head of anything is to be respected and with Rex Ryan there is respect.

He Did The Best He Could

Coming into the season, expectations were at an all time low for the New York Jets. Coming off the worst year in his tenure, dealing with a Quarterback controversy, and having a difficult schedule, Ryan and the Jets seemed doomed to have a terrible year. However, this has not been the case. With the average prediction was 4-12 for the New York Jets final record, New York took that all in stride and put together a pretty impressive year. The Jets are 7-8 going into the last game of the year. That 7-8 record includes wins against the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and the then formidable Atlanta Falcons. In addition to this, the Jets possess a top 10 defense, a top 5 pass rush, and a top 6 rushing attack.

The area in which New York has struggled the most is in the passing game. Despite having the 30th worst passing offense in the NFL, the question must be asserted, how much can you blame Rex? New York has a second round rookie quarterback under center. To make matters worse, that quarterback has no receivers to throw to. Stephen Hill has been a disappointment, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley have been off the field half of the year with injury issues, and Kellen Winslow was suspended for PEDs. With all that being stated, none of these receivers are stars to begin with. Holmes, who is supposed to be the #1 receiver, has only had one year where he had over 1,000 yards receiving. You cant expect to have a better than 30th ranked passing game when you don’t have better than 30th ranked receivers.

Who Else Is There?

            Despite all of the positives, New York still hasn’t made the playoffs in three years. This is typically long enough of a time span for a team to decide to pull the plug on their head coach. However, who are they going to hire? Former Bears head coach Lovie Smith, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, and Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton are the three hottest names on the market right now. All of these guys are defensive minded coaches. The defense has been very good to this point, so what need is there to replace one established defensive mind with a less established one?

Another name brought up has been Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrel Bevell. Bevell did wonders with Russel Wilson over the past two years and has created one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. This could be an intriguing higher, but is it worth it? Yes, the offense would receive an improvement, but without proper upgrades, that improvement has a ceiling. Furthermore, the defense would take a tremendous hit with Rex no longer in the fold. With the weak free agent market this year, the cost would outweigh the benefit of replacing Rex.

As WFAN host Joe Beningo pointed out, the New York Jets seem to be stuck in a rut. They hire a coach; he exceeds expectations in his first year and then disappoints and gets fired. First Herm Edwards, then Eric Mangini, and now it seems Rex Ryan will be joining that club. The Jets need to resist temptation and keep Rex. He took a team that no one gave a chance to and may have them end up at .500. In reality, Rex may be getting a pink slip, but he might actually deserve an extension.

Image

By far the most highly touted free agent this year has finally found himself a new home. Former Yankees 2B Robinson Cano has reportedly signed a 10 year $240M deal with the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners landed by far the best 2B in the league. He hits for average, hits for power, gets on base, plays great defense, all while playing at a premium position. Any given game, Cano’s team has a sizable matchup advantage, and that is invaluable. Sounds enticing. But looking closely, it wasn’t a homerun of a deal.

The only sizable contract on the Mariners is Felix Hernandez’s which nets him $20 million a year. After that, only 2 players make over $1 million. And the Mariners recently signed a 17 year TV broadcasting deal that will net them $2 billion over the life of the deal. Yeah, with a B. That’s not a typo. But still, netting Cano was really smart, finally making the team relevant, but the deal itself is not something as a fan to be happy about

10 year deals for players don’t work out. Flat out, they never do. There’s maybe 5 or 6 guys in the whole league that could net a $200 million deal and it’d be a smart team investment. And none of them are 31 years old. Cano will make on average $24 million a year over the life of the deal. At 31 now, Cano will probably live up to that slalary for maybe the first 5 years of that deal, if the Mariners are lucky. After that, he’ll be worth slightly less, and during the last 2 years or so, he’ll most likely be no more than a nuisance and liability.

The Mariners have some interesting pieces right now. Felix Hernandez is still elite. Hisashi Iwakuma will try to build on a stellar 2013 campaign, and Taijuan Walker is set to take on a full rotation role, assuming he isn’t traded for David Price. But regardless of that deal, the Mariners will have one of the best 1-2-3 punches in the game. The offense leaves much to be desired, but Cano is a great start. With the TV deal and low payroll, Seattle has plenty more to spend. They could sign Shin Soo Choo or Nelson Cruz to man one of their open OF positions. Seattle has options, and they’re moving in the right direction for the immediate future and the next few years. It’s the years following that will provide some obstacles to overcome.

GRADE: C+

Image

The Yankees made a big free agency splash this week, and it wasn’t to bring back star 2B Robinson Cano. The Yankees reportedly signed CF Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7 year, $153 million deal. While on the surface it seems like the Yankees win this move, by gaining a star CF while stealing the Red Sox’s most valuable free agent, Looking closely tells us another story.

While Ellsbury has been good in his time in Boston, he hasn’t been the superstar the Yankees are expecting him to be, or better yet, paying him to be. Ellsbury is coming off a year in which he hit .298, had an OBP or .355 and slugged .426 while hitting 9 home runs and driving in 53 RBI, and stealing 52 bases. All while playing very solid defense in a park that’s difficult for many players to field in, in Fenway Park. Seems like a player you’d want, right?

Well, yeah, but not in the capacity the Yankees want. In the past 4 seasons, Jacoby Ellsbury has missed 264 games. Nearly 2 out of 4 seasons, lost. Ellsbury has reached the point where he has been red flagged as injury prone in the baseball community. Ellsbury just turned 30 in September. Meaning Ellsbury’s body has become injury prone in his 20, the time when he’s supposed to hit peak performance. Now he’s 30 coming off another season in which he was hurt. Granted, he only missed 28 games, a relatively healthy year for him.

But the Yankees are giving 7 YEARS? To a guy who’s now turning 30? At the back-end of the prime of his career? If Ellsbury’s body has suffered this much damage in his 20s, how much more can his body withstand? Not 7 years, or at least 7 fully healthy productive years that the Yankees are paying for. Plus, they gave him $153 million dollars. Presumably, instead of the neighborhood of $200 million for Cano over 10 years.

The Yankees reportedly would only offer Cano 7 years at $180 million. While I wouldn’t give Cano 10 years at $200 million+ he wanted, I’d rather pay the extra 3 years and $80 million or so to take Cano from Seattle. Cano’s 31 and 10 year deals to guys on the downside of their career never work,  but getting 7 really good years out of Cano, who never misses a game, plays at a premium position, providing stellar defense and hitting, and wins the head to head matchup at 2B every single game you play, is worth way more than the $27M difference in pay the Yankees would give Ellsbury over Cano.

All the while, the Yankees had Brett Gardner slated to play CF. He is coming off a year in which he hit .273, had an OBP of .344 and slugged .416, while hitting 8 home runs and driving in 52 RBI while stealing 24 bases. Sound familiar? Well those numbers are pretty comparable to Ellsbury, and they come from a guy who’s played over 145 games 3 out of the past 4 seasons. Now, the Yankees have a crowded middling outfield with immovable expensive pieces such as Vernon Wells and Ichiro, who now don’t even have pronounced roles on the team.

I know it’s all early speculation, and we can’t predict Ellsbury getting hurt again and not living up to his deal, but after taking a hard look at the deal, I can’t be happy as a Yankees fan at the end of the day.

GRADE: C

Image

10 Case Keenum- He is going against JAX and needs to make up for the last loss he had against them. Expect Tate to be the star of that game but Keenum should still put up numbers.

9 Matt Ryan- He has talent but the team has been falling apart all year since Julio went down. Poor guy has a great arm and two good receivers, but all they do is run the ball. If you can’t win might as well kill the clock from the start and protect the talented arm.

8 Joe Flacco- Against MIN everyone does well. Hasn’t been on this list much this season, but has the potential to do something good this week.

7 Josh McCown- Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall help when you are a second string QB. Another thing that helps is going against DAL secondary on Monday night AT HOME. Looks like we are in for another great matchup Monday night.

6 Cam Newton- Cam is showing us why we should call him SUPERMAN even though he wears Batman fleets. The man flies and can sling the ball as well.

5 Tom Brady- He is heating up finally and becoming that QB we all wanted to watch in the beginning of the season. Look for him to have fun against a strong CLE defense.

4 Drew Brees- Time to forget last week and think of the future. BIG DIVISIONAL GAME! Saints are back at home and are going to show them why home field advantage is so important after being shown that back in SEA

3 Nick Foles- Gonna be a shootout down in Philly this week! Two of our top 3 QBs are in this matchup and the other is clear cut #1! I like him for another week without an interception.

2 Matthew Stafford- Going against a weak PHI DEF and second in the league in passing yards. He has Megatron and he has Bush he is one blessed man this week.

1 Peyton Manning- Is this really still surprising people that he is putting up these numbers? He has the most passing TDs by a long shot and passing yards by a full 300 which is more than the average passing yards per game in this league

Image

MLB free agency is officially underway. While the free agent pool is short on big name stars, it is filled with quality depth that can help any team take themselves to the next level. Let’s take a look at some of the notable free agents available, and who are their most likely suitors.

Robinson Cano, 2B – far and away the best free agent on the market this year. He hits for average, hits for power, gets on base, plays great defense, all while playing at a premium position. Any given game, the team with Cano has a sizable matchup advantage, and that is invaluable. Sounds enticing. All that production comes with a price, and it’s well documented at this point that that price is sky high. Cano and his agent Jay-Z have reportedly been asking for a 10 year, $310 Million deal. Cano is already 31, so a 10 year deal is unlikely, even for the sometimes-recklessly-spending Yankees. Not to mention no player has ever been paid an average of over $30 Million a year. The Yankees have been firm in saying they won’t pay for Cano’s demands, and while both sides aren’t budging, the Yankees are in the drivers seat. They’ve been negotiating with numerous other free agents including Shin Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, Masahiro Tanaka assuming he posts from the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan, and of course recent signee Brian McCann. No one will pay Cano $310 Million. But the Yankees best offer will be more than anyone else.

Prediction: Yankees

 

Nelson Cruz, OF – Before being suspended 50 games for his connection with the Biogenesis clinic in Florida, Nelson Cruz was having a quietly strong year. He hit 27 HR and slugged .506 in just 109 games, while making his 2ns All-Star Game. He’s 33 so he still has plenty left in the tank for what he gives you; a power bat with serviceable defense. He’s reportedly asking for a 4 year $75 Million deal. Seems pricey but for a contender looking to upgrade their offense, he’s a perfect fit. With Marlon Byrd’s magical season over, and being 36 and a free agent, the Pirates have a big hole to fill.

Prediction: Pirates

 

Jacoby Ellsbury, OF – Ellsbury is 30 years old coming off a fantastic rebound year, following a 2012 season cut short by injury, with the world champion Boston Red Sox in which he bat leadoff, hitting just under .300 and stole a league leading 52 bases. The Mariners have the 7th lowest payroll in baseball and beyond their 2 frontline starting pitchers; Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, no player makes over $2.7 Million. The Mariners have an impressive amount of young pitching coming up including Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, and Danny Hultzen. Add Ellsbury into the mix offensively and defensively; the Mariners could be formidable contenders in another years’ time.

Prediction: Mariners

 

Shin Soo-Choo, OF – Choo had a fantastic all around offensive year in 2013 for the Cincinnati Reds. From the leadoff spot, he hit .285, hit 21 HR, stole 20 bases, and was 2nd in the NL in on-base percentage to teammate Joey Votto, with a .423 on-base percentage. Some of that can be attributed to being hit by a major league leading 26 pitches, but Choo is still a high-end leadoff man. He’s posted an OBP of .373 or higher 5 out of the last 6 years, including 4 times over .390, twice topping .400. But Choo is 31, and his Achilles heel has always been his defense. Agent Scott Boras is pushing for his client to get over $100 Million. I’m not sure if he’ll top it, but he’ll get close. The Mets lost Matt Harvey for this upcoming year as he’s recovering from Tommy-John surgery. They won’t be competitive in 2013. But next year, they’ll have Harvey, Wheeler, and Syndergaard in the rotation. Add Choo, and a couple more pieces next year during free agency into that roster, and they’ll have a legitimate chance to compete for the first time since 2006.

Prediction: Mets

Curtis Granderson, OF – Grandy had phenomenal 2011 and 2012 seasons, topping 40 HR each year. A hand injury sustained in spring training this year derailed is 2013 season and limited him to just 61 games. Now, at 32, he’s a free agent, and teams are concerned not only about his health but his game as well. He hasn’t hit over .262 in the past 5 seasons, and teams worry that Grandy’s power numbers were over-inflated by tiny Yankee Stadium, and don’t think he can sustain those numbers outside of such a hitter-friendly park. Since trading Justin Upton to Atlanta last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks have been missing a power bat to compliment MVP-candidate Paul Goldschmidt. While Chase Field isn’t Yankee Stadium, it is one of the most hitter friendly stadiums in all of baseball, and could help vault Granderson’s numbers back to where they were in 2011 and 2012, and help the Diamondbacks make a push past the Dodgers to the top of the NL West.

Prediction: Diamondbacks

 

Mike Napoli, 1B – Napoli quietly had a fantastic 2013 season with the Red Sox hitting 23 HR, driving in 92 runs, and getting numerous big-time hits during the postseason. Many expect Napoli to return to Boston next year, and I agree. He signed a 3 year $39 Million deal before last season that was nullified when his physical revealed injuries in both hips. Napoli was more valuable at catcher in previous years, but due to his medial history, his days of catching are over, and at 32, that is probably the wise choice to preserve his bat long term. The deal then became a 1 year $5 Million deal. He far and away outplayed that contract, and is back to full strength. We already saw the Red Sox are willing to commit to him long term, relatively speaking for a 32 year old player, with their original offer last year. He isn’t going anywhere.

Prediction: Red Sox

Joe Nathan, RP – Nathan had a great 2013 season, finishing with the 5th-most saves in the majors with 43, and had an outstanding 1.39 ERA and .90 WHIP. Nathan may be 39, but he’s still performing at an elite level. Earlier this month, Nathan declined his 1 year $9.5 Million option with the Rangers. He should be able to pull in more annually on a 2 year deal. The Tigers don’t have many holes on that team, but closer is one of them. They haven’t had a reliable closer since Jose Valverde, and even that’s a stretch. The Rangers sent the Tigers $30 Million in the Ian Kinsler-Prince Fielder trade. So while a big chunk of that can be put towards locking up Max Scherzer long term, the cash can help them land Nathan and help shore up one a bullpen that had the 7th worst ERA in the majors last year. This seems like a match made in heaven.

Prediction: Tigers

Carlos Beltran, OF – Beltran may be 36 but he hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down in recent years. He hit .296 this year, hitting 24 HR, and driving in 84 runs. The Yankees have reportedly been negotiating with Beltran in recent days, and reportedly made him an offer. With Curtis Granderson expected to leave the Yankees this offseason, the Yankees will have a gaping hole in the outfield. In that stadium, the switch-hitting Beltran can probably return to 30-homer status.

Prediction: Yankees

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C – Salty hit a respectable .273 with 14 HR ad 65 RBI this year, while playing above average defense. With Napoli no longer catching and no other legitimate catcher on the free agent market, the Red Sox bringing Saltalamacchia back makes the most sense.

Prediction: Red Sox

 

Matt Garza, SP – Garza is widely viewed as arguably the best pitcher available in the free agent market. Between the Cubs and the Rangers this year, Garza went 10-6 with a 3.82 ERA and a WHIP of 1.24. But a major concern for Garza is his health, as he’s only pitched 259 innings in the past 2 years combined. And already 30, teams will have to wonder about his long-term durability and value. The Dodgers were considered a viable option, but the recent signing of Dan Haren probably takes them out of the mix. The Blue Jays on the other hand, lost Josh Johnson this offseason, and saw prized acquisition R.A. Dickey struggle mightily this year. Bringing in Garza to add stability to that rotation would make a lot of sense for Toronto.

Prediction: Blue Jays