Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Nathan, A.J. Sign, J.P. Non-Tendered

Pierzysnki and Nathan are going their separate ways
Some of the pieces to the MLB free agent puzzle are starting to fall into places while some have been added. Closer Joe Nathan, the active saves leader, agreed to a two year deal with the Detroit Tigers, catcher A.J. Pierzynski jouned the Boston Red Sox, and Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia will be looking for a new home after the Blue Jays did not tender him a contract.

Nathan and his 341 saves was the top closer on the free agent market this off-season. I was hoping the Yankees would make a strong push for 39-year old, but you can't blame him for going to a team whose top three starters are Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Anibal Sanchez. The deal, reported by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, is reportedly for two years at an unspecified rate.

The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham reported that Pierzynski, who ironically was dealt from the Minnesota Twins to the SF Giants in 2003 for a package that included Nathan and played with the closer in Texas last season, is set to ink a one year, $8.25MM deal with the Red Sox. Pierzynski spent the 2013 season with the Texas Rangers after eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox. He'll replace Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who is reportedly close to signing with either the Twins or Florida Marlins.

Arencibia hit a total of 63 home runs in his first three years in the Major Leagues, but posted a .592 OPS this past season. (His career high is .720.) He also committed an AL leading 11 errors behind the plate.  The Blue Jays acquisition of veteran Dioner Navarro made Arencibia expendable, though the team was unable to trade him.

The Baltimore Orioles dealt closer Jim Johnson to the Oakland A's for second baseman Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later or cash. Johnson had a bust out season in 2012 when he saved 51 games in 54 chances. Though he saved 50 wins in 2013, he blew nine save attempts and lost eight games. Having made $6.5MM in 2013, he's set to become a free agent in 2015. He'll replace free agent Grant Balfour as closer, though set up man/some time closer Ryan Cook could still steal the job away IMO. The Orioles have stated they will look to acquire a replacement for Johnson rather than use someone who is presently within the organization.

Weeks, the younger brother of the Milwaukee Brewers' Richie Weeks, showed promise when he posted a .761 OPS in 97 games in 2011. A year later he was barely above .600 and has spent most of his time in the minor leagues since.

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