Saturday, October 17, 2009
Free Agent Fever Hits Cobb
Cobb world has been insulated from the recent economic downturn if the recent free agent splurges of several teams are any indication. The top 5 free agents received a total commitment of over $220 million. Virtually every team made some kind of signing, whether it was the New York Pickpockets adding new ace Ruben Montero, the Chicago Sabrecats upgrading the closer position to Geraldo Santiago or Tacoma bringing Buddy Hennessey out of retirement. Probably the most exciting Free Agent news were the big signings in Los Angeles, Louisville and Arizona.
"So much has changed for me over this off-season," said new Los Angeles Leopard Benito Rodriguez, " especially the expectations." Rodriguez has played most of his career in the small prairie cities of Fargo ND and Sioux Falls SD, flying under the national radar despite success that favorably compares to high profile pitchers like the mustached Eric Collins. Now that he has landed in Los Angeles, with an Ace's contract, the quiet Georgian will face intense media scrutiny. "Its something I have to get used to but we're building a winner here, and there is no better town to be a winner in than this one."
While Los Angeles took a giant step forward in their quest to make the playoffs, another team used the free agent period as an opportunity to build a potential champion. The Louisville Dogs won the final 15 games of the regular season to capture the best record in the AL. In the playodds they ran out of steam, bowing out to Cleveland in the ALDS. In response, Louisville has added power and improved their defense, bringing in top shortstops Steven Grilli and Corey Green, both of whom are capable of hitting over 30 HR. Green will move to 3B as he chases 500 HR and a spot in the Hall of Fame. "There were other teams who were offering the chance to stay at shortstop, but at this stage of my career, I am more interested in accumulating championships" Green said. " I think that Steve (Grilli) and I add a dimension to this team that can put it over the top."
Louisville also added catcher Vernon Jones to their mix. Jones will both catch and DH, and could himself hit 30 HR with enough playing time.
To the South West, the recently relocated Arizona Tigers made a huge splash when they signed superstar Kip Zeile. Arizona bench boss Cesar Galvez was excited about the addition of the accomplished slugger "Its great from a baseball perspective, but also from a business standpoint. The last time I was in Arizona the club just didn't click with the fans. Now Zeile is a guy the fans can relate to- he's one of the greatest hitters of all time and he is a great person- we didn't have a guy like that two years ago."
Besides Benito Rodriguez, the biggest winner in free agency this off-season were the Richmond Cohibas. Richmond added stud relievers Shane Parrish, Ryan Kinney and Bobby Flores and now has one of the most dominant bullpens ever, at the mere cost of their second and third round draft selections.
Any player with Type-A status. As is usual, teams shied away from Type-A's this offseason, leading to smaller contracts than some analysts expected for pitchers like Ryan Kinney and Bernie Lopez.