Are Free Agents Signing Earlier Than Usual This Year? And Other Bullets

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Are Free Agents Signing Earlier Than Usual This Year? And Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

MoneyThanksgiving at the Taylor household was a success. Yes, my mashed potatoes were a little looser than you might like, but damnit, I mashed them things by hand. I also made the stuffing, a broccoli cheese casserole, biscuits, and the turkey (evidence of which is here, courtesy of The Wife, who notes that I did receive a little assistance on my first turkey). Boom. Martha Stewart’d.

  • It seems like more free agents are signing in November this year, doesn’t it? I tend to keep a pretty close eye on these things – occupational hazard – but I go by feel, rather than data. (Not because I eschew data, obviously, but because there hasn’t really been a need for me to deeply research whether more players were signing in a given November than in years past.) The good news for all of us is that FanGraphs lives for those kind of off-the-wall data dives, and Paul Swydan tries to figure out if our guts are right on the timing of signings this year. It turns out that this year has actually been pretty typical, with a touch fewer free agent signings in November than in years past. We might feel like it’s a bit more, though, because there seem to have been a higher number of large contracts inked this month (McCann, Peralta, Nolasco, Jason Vargas, Jose Abreu, Alexander Guerrero, etc.), which sounds about right to me. Offseason activity, anecdotally, tends to be about the same in November and January, with a substantial peak in December (and there’s always a little trickle in February). Swydan’s data backs that up, which is interesting to see. So bring on December, I guess.
  • It’s almost disappointing to see Swydan’s results, because it would have been interesting to speculate on why free agents are signing earlier this year. I guess we can still go there a little bit, given the big deals already handed out. It’s clearly a hot market, with prices taking off … well, or so we would have thought until Ricky Nolasco got just $49 million over four, and Brian McCann got just five years and $85 million. Don’t get me wrong, those are healthy contracts. But they’re nothing like we would have expected to see for those guys in the wake of Tim Lincecum getting two years and $35 million, especially coming so soon in the offseason.
  • Baseball Prospectus approves of the George Kottaras acquisition, calling him “everyone’s favorite offensive-minded reserve catcher.” BP says his defense is “less than splendid,” but his ability to get on base and hit for power (from the left side) should work well for the Cubs, who will pair him with righty Welington Castillo.
  • FanGraphs digs much more deeply in the Kottaras trade, but primarily from the Royals’ perspective (as in: why would they give him up for such small cash savings?). The piece, however, gives you a better sense of why Kottaras, despite his attractive offensive numbers, has been a backup for his entire career.
  • Friend of the program Harry Pavlidis chatted at BP this week, and it’s a smattering of interesting bits. After having Pitchf/x data so readily available in recent years, I’m suddenly turned on to the idea of Fieldf/x data … which Harry says won’t be made publicly available any time soon. Hamburgers.
  • Ted Lilly has confirmed to that he is indeed retiring, primarily due to a neck issue from he doesn’t feel like he can come back. Lilly will remain a Cubs favorite for a long time. Maybe he can come to CubsCon this year and party with us!
  • The Cardinals, who signed Jhonny Peralta to a massive contract fresh off a PED suspension don’t want to be the “morality police.” The Arizona Diamondbacks, however, apparently do. Don’t try shopping your PED user to them.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.