Alas, with pitchers and catchers reporting next week, some of the biggest names are finally getting signed.
The market for second-tier hitters predictably was going to be hurt by the economy, but who saw this coming?
- Bobby Abreu: Signed a 1-year, $5 million deal with the Angels today. What?!? This, from a guy who was looking for a 3-year, $48 million dollar deal back in November. I know, it includes some incentives, but talk about bargain basement time. Everything must go. I guess the thinking is, sign for one years, and hope the market rebounds in 2010.
- Adam Dunn: Signed a 2-year, $20 million deal with the Nationals. Nobody knew exactly where the Dunn market was, but for the only legit 40-HR guy in the game, this is equally stunning. Possibly more shocking is that he signed with the going-nowhere Nats.
What does this mean for the Manny Ramirez market? Well, it's hard to know for sure, but if I was Man-Ram, I might be thinking twice about putting on that addition to the house.
Yeah, right. He'll still probably come close to the 2-year, $45 million deal that the Dodgers offered a couple months ago. It's hard to undercut an earlier offer to a guy like Manny and expect him to perform.
L.A. is the perfect fit. He knows it. The Dodgers need him desperately. It's just a big game of chicken between Scott Boras and the Dodgers and this time, I think Boras is going to have to blink first.
The Giants have shown some interest, but comments this week seem like they've cooled their interest and there's no other viable big-money match for Manny. Could he end up with less than 2/45? It's possible. The Dodgers may stick to the 1/25 approach that Boras scoffed at, seconds after it was put on the table.
Boras is excellent at creating an inflated market, but after the Dunn/Abreu signings, it's clear, there isn't a market.
The Cubs, who gave Milton Bradley 3 years, $30 million, have got to be shaking their head. Yes, Bradley gives you power/average/speed and is a good defender in right. But he's only played over 101 games twice in his career (since 2000).
I'll take Dunn's five straight years of at least 152 games and 40 HR in a heartbeat over Bradley. Sure, Dunn strikes out three times a game, but stick that .381 lifetime on-base-percentage between Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez and then who are you going to pitch around? And Abreu is an RBI machine and still has the speed Lou Pinella covets, even if his defense is slacking.
But this isn't a rant about the Cubs, more about Manny. Good luck getting that 3rd or 4th year. If Boras can pull this off, you'd better be putting an addition on his house.
Fantasy spin: You can sufficiently take Adam Dunn off your keeper list now, unless it happens to be a 65+ keeper format. Playing in D.C. with a cast of characters, Dunn's production should easily dip to the 30-35 HR level with possibly less than 100 RBI. Couple that with a .240 average and he's no longer special. The only caveat is if you're league includes .obp, in which case you could justify making him a top 50 player, but nothing higher.
As far as Abreu goes, this might actually increase his value a tick. Sure, he doesn't have the Yankee lineup around him, but that one in Anaheim is just as intimidating and now he's in a system where they run at all costs. Look for Abreu to push 40 steals with similar so-so power numbers (20 HR, 105 RBI). But if he can stay healthy, you might be looking at a 2nd or 3rd round steal.