Thursday, January 26, 2012

Owners and Mandated Signing

Prince Fielder signs with Detroit and got stuck in the tunnel when he, Cabrera, Martinez and Avila weren't willing to step aside to let the others go through created a considerable logjam in the process.

He's a fine player and all, but the Tigers already have DH and first base manned by Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera. Look, you can never have too much offense, but they've got four guys who probably isn't going anywhere soon and only three positions to play. Catcher, first base, and designated hitter, for Cabrera, Avila, Martinez and Fielder. Yes, Cabrera's played some third and left field earlier in his career, but he's already got horrible defense at first. If he played left field, with the Tigers staff consisting mostly of flyball pitchers, he'd make all those who complained about Delmon Young's defense grimace. If he played third base, well, Tigers starters should be glad that they are right handed. Martinez is obviously not going to catch, with Avila behind the plate. If he can still hit a bit when he comes back, maybe Detroit can eat a bit of his 12.5 million salary and trade him for something useful. Avila? He's going nowhere. After Detroit finally finding a respectable catcher after Pudge hit his declining phase, the affordable youngster figures to stay in Detriot for a while, judging by their farm system.

Which brings me to my main point. Owner mandated signings often does more harm than good. A good example would be Rafael Soriano, the 10 million dollar middle reliever. Last winter, Brian Cashman was forced to sign him under instructions from the Steinbrenners and Randy Levine. Soriano was ineffective early on, then lost some time to injury. Granted, he came back and pitched well down the stretch, but with the emergence of David Robertson, he is nothing more than a guy paid 10 million per year to pitch the 7th and occasionally the 8th. In comparison, Papelbon will get 12.5 million per year for the next four years. Ryan Madson will get a bit less than Soriano. That's only the start of it. With Joba coming back in the summer and Hughes potentially in the pen too, the Yankees are using hundred dollar bills for toilet paper have one crowded bullpen.

Cashman was about to part ways with A-Rod when he opted out his contract, but thanks to the Boss A-Rod receives a 10 year contract for 275 million guaranteed. He has been declining and/or hurt ever since. I won't talk about this too much, because obviously this won't end well. A 27.5 million guy whose speed, power, contact and batting eye are all declining, not to mention defense. With first base blocked by a 22.5 million player, the only likely destination for him is DH, and we all know that you don't pay that money for a DH.

In recent years, owner-mandated signings haven't really gone too well, but could this one be different? Doubtful, in my opinion.

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