>Let’s take a look at the top free agents that where on the market during the past off-season.
The Toledo Tornados signed Harold Morton signed a 2yr/ 9.0mil contract with a 1.0mil signing bonus during the off-season. Morton played for the Anaheim Beefpound last season and put up decent numbers, not great numbers but decent. Morton has lost some power as he’s gotten up there with age but his .310 batting average so far this season is prove that he can still hit. At 4.5Mil a year the team is hoping that not only can Morton have some success this season but also will be able to hit next season which I think age will finally begin to slow his hitting down. Morton is hitting .310, with 2 homeruns, 14 RBI and 12 runs. I give this signing 6/10
The Ottawa Crawdaddies signed Gus Wilkins to a 3yrs/31.5mil contract during the off-season. Wilkins played for the Colorado Sky Sox last season and had great numbers in Colorado (not just great power numbers). The Crawdaddies had to be very happy to get a player like Wilkins who is still in his prime and should put up some great numbers in Ottawa. Wilkins is hitting .338, 6 homeruns, 30 RBI, 33 runs and 2 stolen bases. I give this signing 10/10.
The Crawdaddies also signed Chris Haney to a 2yrs/ 5.6mil contract during the off-season. Haney played for the Durham Bulls last season and put up decent numbers for a reliever. Haney got on the market at the perfect time this season as relievers where in high demand but is Haney worth the 2.8mil that the team will be paying him for the next two seasons, I really don’t know as relievers especially middle relievers can be good one year and struggle the next. Haney is 0-0, 2.70ERA, 0 saves, 6.2 innings pitched and 5 strikeouts. I give this signing 5/10.
The Florida Gators signed Richard Evans to a 3yrs/ 18.3mil contract during the off-season. Evans played for the Texas Talley Whackers last season and he had good numbers for the Talley Whackers last season. Evans is a perfect number two hitter as he makes good contact and knows how to get on base to give the power hitters a chance to bring him hone. Evans is hitting .324, 2 homeruns, 12 RBI, 36 runs and 7 stolen bases. I give this signing 9/10.
The Gators also signed Neifi Moya to a 2yrs/ 6.6mil contract during the off-season. Moya played for the Tacoma Pioneers last season and struggled at the plate but that could have been playing in the spacious ballpark in Tacoma. Florida was hoping that Moya just had an off-year playing in Tacoma last season and took a chance paying him 3.3mil a year for the next two years, with the season still early it doesn’t look as if Moya was a good chance to go after this season. Moya is hitting .236, 3 homeruns, 11 RBI, 13 runs and 5 stolen bases. I give this signing 3/10.
The Gators also signed Jim Buckley to a 2yrs/ 13.0mil contract during the off-season. Buckley played for the San Juan ballerz last season and a pitched very well getting his third straight winning season and pitching for the third straight season over 200 innings with his ERA under 4 each season. Florida did a great job finding him on the market for only 6.5mil a year as I think his age scared a lot of other teams from offering him more money during the off-season, so it was good steal for the Gators. Buckley is 3-0, 3.48ERA, 44 innings pitched, 41 strikeouts and 0 complete games. I give this signing 9/10.
The Boston Braves signed Mike Baxter to a 3yrs/ 16.4mil contract with a no-trade clause during the off-season. Baxter played for the Monterrey Stars last season and didn’t put up any kind of numbers that stood out on the free agent market this season. I think the Braves took a big chance signing Baxter to such a big contract to a hitter who had a .255 career average with 37 homeruns and 154 RBI the last three seasons. Well the Braves must have seen something that no one else saw as Baxter as been a big reason why the Braves have one of the best offensives this season. Baxter is hitting .357, 10 homeruns, 32 RBI, 34 runs and 7 stolen bases. I give this signing 8/10 (could be the best signing of the year if he can keep up those numbers this season).
The Braves also signed P.T. Martinez to a 4yrs/ 30.4mil contract with a 1.0mil signing bonus. Martinez played for the Durham Bulls last season and was a big part of the offensive that led the Bulls to a World Series victory. Martinez has seen his power number dip a little the last couple season but his hitting skills are still near the top of the league as he has only hit under .300 once during his career and is a big part of getting the Braves at the top of the offensive categories in the American League this season. Martinez is hitting .319, 6 homeruns, 38 RBI and 29 runs. I give this signing 8/10.
The Texas Talley Whackers signed Nicholas Daly to a 3yrs/ 20.0mil contract with a 500k signing bonus during the off-season. Daly played for the Jackson Blazers last season and struggled last season as the Blazers had him bouncing from the bullpen and starting staff. Who is the real Daly, is it the pitcher from last season who struggled as he went from the bullpen and starting staff or the pitcher that 16 games two years ago. The Talley Whackers are hoping that his the pitcher from two years and not the pitcher from last season and paying him 20.0mil the next three season he will need to be. Daly has struggled a little this year going 2-3, 5.59ERA, 37 innings pitched, 29 strikeouts and 0 complete games. I giving this signing 4/10.
The Talley Whackers also signed Mike Steinbach to a 1yr/ 9.0mil contract during the off-season. Steinbach played for the Jackson Blazers last season and didn’t have a winning record as he went 10-12 but pitched over 200 innings and an ERA of 4.43. Steinbach couldn’t repeat his numbers from two years ago after going 16-4 and looked like age had finally caught up to him but I believe that he still has one more good year in his arm and with the Talley Whackers he will get a chance to win the World Series this season as well. Steinbach is 5-1, 3.74ERA, 43.1 innings pitched, 38 strikeouts and 1 complete game. I give this signing 8/10.
The Monterrey Stars signed Jeremy Morris to a 3yrs/ 14.4mil contract with a 5.5mil signing bonus during the off-season. Morris played for the Durham Bulls last season and was a good closer for them saving 30 games last season. Morris got his first chance last season to close games and didn’t disappoint anyone in the way he worked the ninth inning. The Stars needed to get a good closer during the off-season and that’s what they did, I do think the signing bonus was a little much but overall they got the right guy for there team. Morris is 2-1, 1.93ERA, 6 saves in 7 chances, 14 innings pitched and 10 strikeouts. I give this signing 7/10.
The Kansas City Dirt Bags signed Brad Campball to a 2yrs/ 5.4mil contract during the off-season. Campbell played for the Monterrey Stars last season where he was the main set-up man for the team last season. Campbell pitched almost 80 games and over 100 innings last season while also having his ERA under 3. The Dirt Bags needed some help in the bullpen this season and went a good arm but Campbell was playing in a contract year as he never had an ERA under 4 before last season. Campbell is 0-1, 6.97 ERA, 1 save in 1 chance, 10.1 innings pitched and 9 strikeouts. I give this signing 3/10.
The Houston Hitmen signed Dave Carlson to a 5yrs/ 22.0mil contract with a 5.0 signing bonus during the off-season. Carlson played for the Atlanta Brave Vawts last season and was one of the main relievers for the team even though his numbers where kind of high for a reliever last season. I think the Hitmen where desperate for relievers this season as I that they really over paid for Carlson as he is still young but he’s got a couple more years before he will hit his prime and then he will up for free agency again. Carlson is 1-2, 3.38ERA, 2 saves in 3 chances, 5.1 innings pitched and 5 strikeouts. I give this signing 5/10 (it would be higher but I think that Houston overpaid for him).
The Durham Bulls signed Louie Gibson to a 3yrs/ 12.6mil contract during the off-season. Gibson played for the Colorado Springs Armed Forces last season and was there closer. 14 blown saves last season is something that probably scared off a lot of teams during the off-season which is surprising to me as Gibson has the stuff to be a great closer but maybe mentally he’s not closer material. The Bulls saw there relievers from last season leaving the team, so they went out and how to get a good closer so they could defend there championship this season. Gibson is 0-0, 4.09ERA, 8 saves in 8 chances, 11.0 innings pitched and 8 strikeouts. I give this signing 6/10 (I’m a little afraid that the blown saves that he had last season will eventually seek up on him this season, if not his ranking will be higher at the end of the year).
The Colorado Springs Armed Forces signed Joaquin Diaz to a 3yrs/ 10.5mil contract with an 800k signing bonus. Diaz played for the San Juan ballerz last season and had his worst year of his professional career. Diaz had his first losing season but did pitch over 200 innings and made all of his 32 starts for a year ago. The biggest problem with Diaz isn’t his stuff, it’s his constantly as he can be lights out one game and have problems getting out of the first inning the next. Diaz is 2-0, 2.89ERA, 43.2 innings pitched, 23 strikeouts and 0 complete games. I give this signing a 7/10.
The Armed Forces also signed Vladimir Gonzalez to a 3yrs/ 11.4mil contract during the off-season. Gonzalez played for the Fargo Woodchippers last season and was of the best set-up men in the National League last season, pitching almost 90 games and over 100 innings, his career low in ERA. You couldn’t blame Colorado Springs for going after Gonzalez during the off-season but I believe that they gave to many years and to much money for an aging reliever coming off a career year. Gonzalez is 3-2, 6.98ERA, 0 saves in 1 chance, 19.1 innings pitched and 13 strikeouts. I give this signing a 4/10.
Earl WilliamsThe St. Louis Cornerstone Earl Williams signed to a 3yrs/ 28.5mil contract during the off-season. Williams played for the Colorado Sky Sox last season and had great numbers in the thin air of Colorado. I don’t think anyone expects Williams to put up the numbers he had last season but I believe he will still put up great numbers once again this and might have a MVP caliber for the Cornerstone this season. Williams is hitting .313, 13 homeruns, 35 RBI, 33 runs and 5 stolen bases. I give this signing 9/10.
The Tornados also signed Charlie Hill to a 1yr/ 6.0mil contract during the off-season. Hill played for the Anaheim Beefpound last season and is one of the best relievers in the game, as he pitches a ton of games, a ton of innings, strikeouts very high for a reliever so why wouldn’t the Tornadoes want to go after a reliever like this. I still think that 6mil for a non-closer is a lot of money but if he can get any where near last seasons numbers it might be worth it. Hill is 1-1, 3.63ERA, 1 save in 1 chance, 17.1 innings pitched and 13 strikeouts. I give this signing 7/10 (it would be higher but the 6.0mil is still high to me).