|Of course he's smiling, he's got a guaranteed contract.|
The front offices of Major League Baseball teams around the country waited and waited. They waited until Japanese-born pitcher Masahiro Tanaka chose the team and the contract he would play for in his quest for success in the United States. With that done and pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in a couple of weeks, it's time for the remaining free agent pitchers to find a new home or return to their existing ones.
Matt Garza didn't take long at all to decide on which team it would be (the Milwaukee Brewers), but it did take some time to get the contract finalized. With some concerns over lingering arm issues, the Brewers gave Garza a guaranteed four years and $50MM, incentives that could tack on another $4MM, and an option for 2018 that will give Garza the opportunity to earn $67MM when everything is said and the contract is done.
A.J. Burnett had trouble deciding if he wanted to play any more, but once he did the Baltimore Orioles decided to go (MLB Network's Peter Gammons tweeted) "all in" on the lanky right-hander. After the success Burnett had in the National League the last two seasons with Pittsburgh, you would think he would stay in the NL, but those offers may not be forthcoming.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported the Toronto Blue Jays have looked extensively at the medical records of Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana. The Blue Jays are hoping to make an official offer to at least one of them. 1 Both have been hoping for long term, big money deals.
Bronson Arroyo has had his name brought up by many teams, but told ESPN"s Jayson Stark that he has yet to receive an official offer. He's baffled by the lack of action.
"I get [Clayton] Kershaw," Arroyo told ESPN.com. "I get why he got all that money. But then you've got guys like Dice-K [Matsuzaka], who came over here and was good for the first couple years but then didn't pan out. And when he doesn't pan out, they all just forget and go on to the next guy who's not proven, and pay him.
"Meanwhile, they forget about guys like me, who have done the job for the last eight or 10 years, and treat them like they've never done anything in this game. That's hard, man." 2Scott Baker was an emerging star for the Minnesota Twins over the stretch of 2009-2011, but Tommy John surgery wiped out 2012 and most of 2013. The 32-year old signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners and was given an invitation to spring training in his comeback attempt.
Journeymen Paul Maholm, Jason Hammel, and one time stud Tommy Hanson are all still available. Back end of the rotation starters Jerome Williams, Jason Marquis, and Roberto Hernandez (the former Fausto Carmona) are all still on the market as well. Either they are holding out for guaranteed money or teams are still waiting to sign them to minor league deals.
15 more days until the sound of ball thudding into catcher's mitt. I can't wait.
1 - foxsports.com
2 - espn.com