Two free agent signings over the weekend have set the market for starting pitchers. On Black Friday, which is apparently not a holiday in Canada, J.A. Happ signed for three years and $36 million with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Sunday’s news was that former Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann agreed on a five-year, $110 million contract with the Detroit Tigers.
Neither contract should be a surprise.
Zimmermann, who was arguably the third best pitcher behind David Price and Zack Greinke in this winter’s free agent sweepstakes, gets an average of $22 million from the Tigers, who are not shy about spending.
Johnny Cueto, who obviously thinks he’s a better pitcher than Zimmermann, reportedly turned down six years and $120 million from Arizona.
Perhaps Cueto doesn’t want to pitch for the Diamondbacks, but if he thinks he’s going to get a better offer, well, he may not.
The Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox remain the favorite in the Price sweepstakes. He’ll probably command Max Scherzer-type money — seven years, $210 million.
If he doesn’t go to Boston, the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals are seen as options.
Dave Dombrowski, who acquired Price in July 2014 for the Tigers, and flipped him a year later to the Blue Jays just days before he and Detroit parted ways, could sign him.
Or Dombrowski could get into the Chris Davis sweepstakes.
If Davis doesn’t re-sign with the Orioles, and I think there’s a decent chance he does, he could be a logical successor to David Ortiz, who will retire after next season.
The Globe reported that the Red Sox are eager to move Hanley Ramirez, who was a huge disappointment in first season of a four-year contract.
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Ramirez was challenged in left field, and if he remains in Boston, they’re contemplating a move to first base. With the Marlins and Dodgers, he was a shortstop with a terrific bat.
He’s owed $22.75 million over the next three seasons, and will be 32 next month.
Speculation is that the Orioles might be interested in him because if Davis leaves, they’ll need a big bat, and that Dan Duquette originally signed him for the Red Sox.
If Duquette thinks highly of him, that opinion is not shared universally among Orioles decision makers.
It’s a much, much better bet to overspend for Davis than take on Ramirez—even if the Red Sox help with his contract.
If the Orioles don’t re-sign Davis, and it won’t be because they haven’t made a genuine try, they need to focus on getting a quality starter and outfielder with the ability to get on base.
This week promises to be a much more interesting one than last week’s. The Orioles have to tender contracts to their 11 arbitration eligible players, and more free agents are likely to sign.
A week from now, the Winter Meetings will be underway in Nashville, Tenn., and the Orioles will be linked with countless players.
The last time the meetings were there, Nate McLouth re-signed with the Orioles and T.J. McFarland was taken in the Rule 5 draft. Those were nice moves, but the team is looking for something a little bigger this time.