I decided to go through the top free agents and decide on how much they’re worth, how much they want and whose fault it is that they haven’t signed.
1. YU DARVISH
A quick look at his stats, indicates that he wasn’t an ace in 2017. He’s a recent TJS survivor, and had well-known struggles in the playoffs (despite the short sample size). I would say that despite all of this he is clearly the best available starting pitcher on the free agent market. I think that 4 years/$80 million is fair for his services. Adding the open market bidding process, we can raise that to 5 years/$110 million. Let’s just say that he wants considerably more than that, he wants 7 years/$175 million. Not only that but he’s waiting on the Los Angeles Dodgers to resign him, despite them trying to get under the luxury tax threshold.Minnesota and the Chicago Cubs have reportedly shown the most interest, but Darvish is waiting out LA. I think it’s pretty obvious that Darvish is the reason for his own unemployment.
2. J.D. MARTINEZ
How about him? A 30 year old with defensive liabilities and strikeout issues but with power, who also has had injury issues in recent years and not much of a track record. Did I mention that he also hasn’t even played for 125 games in a season except once? Due to his skill set Edwin Encarnacion’s 3 years/$60 million contract with Cleveland seems to be a fair comparison. Therefore, fair offer seems to be 4/$80, ironically the same as Yu Darvish. Also just like Darvish, he wants more despite Boston’s more than fair offer. A lot more. He reportedly wants 7 years/$200 million. That’s insane and something that he’s simply not going to receive. Boston offered him 5 years/$125 million and he turned it down. Martinez just like Darvish is keeping himself unemployed.
3. ERIC HOSMER
One thing that we can say about Hosmer, is that he’s nowhere near worth his reported asking price. Hosmer is an average to below average defensive first baseman without much power and with a lack of a consistent track record. I see him as similar to Starlin Castro, as in a former top prospect who is an above average but not good player, that still has a chance to get better. 4 years/$52 million is around what he’s worth, and even that’s a stretch. First base is a position that is very easy to fill these days, so even 3 years/$36 million would not be unfair in my opinion. Hosmer however has rejected offers for 7 years and well over $100 million. Hosmer should blame himself for his current unemployment status.
4. JAKE ARRIETA
Let’s check out his stats first, as we can easily see he was barely good enough for the Majors from 2010-2013, broke out in the second half of 2014, had a Cy Young winning 2015, and then declined in both 2016 and 2017. In fact his ERA was over 5 for a large part of 2017, and he finished it with a 4.16 FIP. His FB speed dropped as well, proving that he really is in decline. Arrieta is 31 years old, so he’s at a point where he should be in his prime. Players at this age typically don’t get better, so most likely he’ll never repeat 2015 again. That said, he can still be productive. His 2017 ERA (3.53) and FIP (4.16) portray a #3 starter. Let’s look at some of his projections. I would say that if he wants ace money, then a 1 year/$20 million deal to reestablish his value is fair. Otherwise, 4 years/$60 million is around what he’s worth. 6 years/$160 million however?! Blame Arrieta for his own unemployment.
5. ALEX COBB
First off, he rejected 3 years/$47 million from the Chicago Cubs. Second, let’s check out his stats. I’m going to be brutally honest, with those FIP and K/9 rates over the last two years, I question how he’s worth more than 1 year/$10 million or 2 years/ $20 million. I’ll even be very generous: 2 years/ $26 million, but to actually want more than 3 years/$47 million?! He’s a 30 year old starting pitcher who has never pitched for even 180 innings in a season, just had his K/9 decline again, and who masked his 4.16 FIP with a 3.66 ERA. You know what let’s go back to 1 year/$10 million. In fact, did the MLB give him a drug test at all?
6. LANCE LYNN
How about him? Up until his TJS, he was a pretty solid #2-3 starter. He wasn’t anywhere near that good last year, at least according to his peripherals. Like Arrieta, he would be a lot better off going for a one year deal. 1 year/$16 million seems fair. Otherwise, 3 years/$36 million should be what he’s shooting for. Not much has been said about Lynn this offseason, so it’s hard to say what’s the problem here.
7. MIKE MOUSTAKAS
Moustakas is a 30 year old injury-prone below average defensively third baseman with power, but a below average OBP. Not much has been said about him but it’s easy to see why. He almost certainly wants more than he’s worth, which should be around 1 year/$13 million. It’s fair to assume that his unemployment is his fault.
In conclusion, I think that it’s fair to say that the players should point the finger at themselves and their agents.