Friday, November 25, 2011

Season 16 free agency tracker

Big name free agents sign for big money in busy market

The free agency period has drawn to a close and plenty of big name free agents found new homes and new loads of cash to fill those homes. Let's take a look at some of the big names to land large contracts this season:

Dan Benard, P, Austin Slackers: 5 years, $94 million
The largest of the big contracts given out this off season, Austin mortgaged the house to keep their ace. Benard, a four-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year managed just an 8-10 record last season while sporting a 4.26 ERA. Not exactly worth $94 million but the Slackers are banking on Benard regaining his old form and stabilizing their rotation. The final year of Benard's contract is a mutual option. 

Sammy Garrido, P, Chicago Cows: 5 years, $91 million
Garrido left Salem for the bright lights of Chicago (and the money) but he may have also left for a better team and a shot at the playoffs. Garrido posted a 10-12 record with a 3.20 ERA for a Salem team that lost 100 games last season. Now he joins a rotation with Miguel Cayones and newly acquired Yorrick Cannon to form one of the better rotations in the NL. Garrido's deal includes a no-trade clause and a mutual option for season 20.

Alex Silva, SS, Salem Sacrifices: 5 years, $65 millionWith the departure of Garrido, Salem was left with some cash to spend and they wound up netting one of the best shortstops in the league in Silva. Silva batted .265 with a .374 OBP with the Pawtucket franchise last season. He'll provide stability at the top of the Salem order as they look to improve from their poor season 15. 

Watty Miller, RF, Fargo Dirtbags: 5 years, $60.5 million
No team spent more money this off season than the Fargo Dirtbags and Watty Miller was the recipient of a large portion of that. Miller takes over the right field position in Fargo from the departed Philip McCartin who signed with Ottawa this off season. With Buffalo last season, Miller batted .318 with a .390 OBP and .548 SLG and is expected to hit number two for the Dirtbags. The final year of his deal includes a mutual option.

AJ Leonard, LF, Oakland East Bay Rays: 5 years, $36 million
Easily the best bargain found in this free agent market, the two-time AL MVP Leonard leaves the comforts of Buffalo and heads to the NL West to join Oakland. Leonard batted just .266 with 35 homeruns and a .835 OPS in what was a down year for him but the East Bay Rays are hoping he bounces back in the middle of their lineup.

Nick Hernandez, LF, Fargo Dirtbags: 3 years, $33.3 million
After 12 seasons with the Pawtucket franchise, Hernandez leaves for Fargo and one final big contract as his Hall of Fame career winds down. Hernandez batted .282 with a .419 OBP and 49 steals last season and will replace Luis Martinez (who moves to a bench/utility role) as Fargo's everyday left fielder. He joins Miller, the newly acquired Brian Sweeney and Fargo residents Raul Vallarta, Rodrigo Melendez and Cesar Gonzalez to form the top offense in the NL.The final year of Hernandez's deal also includes a mutual option.

Mickey Stanifer, CP, Fargo Dirtbags: 5 years, $31.2 million
The top reliever on the market, Stanifer joined his Pawtucket teammate Hernandez in leaving the Patriots for the Dirtbags. Stanifer has served as the setup man for future Hall of Famer Carlos Carrasco for the past seven seasons but will now get an opportunity to close for Fargo, replacing the departed Christian Price in that role. Stanifer posted a 2.10 ERA in 72 appearances out of the bullpen last season and the final year of his deal also includes a mutual option.

Fred Carter, SP, Scranton Janitors: 3 years, $30 million
As Carter's storied career winds down he has found one more pay day by heading to the American League and signing with the Janitors. Carter went 15-10 last season with a 3.20 ERA for Huntington and will now be expected to anchor the Scranton rotation. While $30 million may seem like a lot for a 37-year-old starter, the final year of the deal includes a mutual option.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blue Coats make it back to back

DC captures second consecutive World Series in five games

The Washington DC Blue Coats became just the second franchise in the history of The Bigs to win back to back World Series championships by defeating the St. Louis River City RAGE four games to one. The Blue Coats' offense was paced throughout the postseason by clutch performances from center fielder Kyle Ramirez who batted .370 with a .442 OBP and .478 SLG after a regular season which saw him post a career best .303/.364/.392 batting line. Ace Carter Leonard carried the load on the mound, going 4-0 in five postseason starts with a 2.13 ERA.

The only other franchise to win consecutive titles is the Atlanta Bandits who accomplished the feat in seasons 6 and 7.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Henriquez gets 8th, Lincoln 3rd Cy Young

Simpson wins fourth MVP as familiar names take awards

Some familiar faces picked up some more hardware for this past season in The Bigs as Charleston's Ronn Lincoln won his second straight and third American League Cy Young Award of his career while Fargo's Javier Henriquez locked up NL Cy Young Award number eight. Lincoln finished season 15 with an 18-5 record while posting a 2.73 ERA and 1.06 WHIP while striking out 224 batters in 33 starts. Henriquez meanwhile registered a 19-4 record with a 2.32 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 212 strikeouts in 217 innings pitched.

Pitchers weren't the only repeat winners of major awards as Monterrey's Sean Simpson was awarded with his fourth career MVP award. Simpson batted .339 with 45 homeruns, 113 RBI and a 1.062 OPS while stealing 30 bases. In the National League it was Boise's Kevin Lawson taking home his first NL MVP Award. Lawson hit .292 with 55 homeruns, 135 RBI and posted a 1.062 OPS.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Season 15 Awards

With season 15 now complete, it's time to hand out a few awards.

Raul Vallarta, Fargo

Vallarta, a two-time POTY runner-up, has finally brought home the hardware with the best season of his impressive career. He led all of baseball with an awesome .435 OBP, and didn't skimp on the power either - his .559 SLG was in the NL's top 10. That, along with his 38 steals and a big league-leading 133 runs scored, was the heart of the Dirtbags' potent offense; meanwhile, his great defense at second helped make the Dirtbags one of baseball's best-fielding teams.

Runner-Up: Sean Simpson, Monterrey

Javier Henriquez, Fargo

Last season, Henriquez's age finally seemed to catch up with him, as he finished with an ERA of over 3.00 for the first time in his career. Apparently, that was just a minor hiccup, as he was back in vintage form this year: his 2.32 ERA and 1.00 WHIP both led baseball, and he threw his first career no-hitter (against Salem) on his way to his eighth career Cy Young award.

Runner-Up: Orlando Palmeiro, Helena

sweetsalve, Washington

For the second consecutive season, the Blue Coats are World Series champions. That's not just difficult, it's nearly unprecedented: only one other owner in the league (Atlanta's cantarski) has achieved this impressive feat. And Washington didn't just dominate the postseason - they had baseball's best record in the regular season, too. Although they've been one of the league's most powerful teams for quite some time now, what sweetsalve has achieved in the past two seasons is simply remarkable.

Runner-Up: sylemark, San Juan

As we remember the previous few months, it's important not only to remember the good, but to be able to laugh at ourselves for some of the bad. In that spirit, here are the winners of the "prestigious" Iron Glove and Tin Slugger awards for Season 15.

Presented to the worst fielder at each position

P Mark Rogers, Minnesota
C Livan Guillen, New Orleans
1B Luis Javier, Mexico City
2B Alex Saenz, Boston
3B O.T. Wagner, Oakland
SS James Palmer, Minnesota
LF Fernando Beltran, Salt Lake City
CF Enrique Alarcon, New Orleans
RF Steve Sweeney, New York

Presented to the worst hitter at each position

C Cesar Trevino, Milwaukee
1B Buddy Lowe, Milwaukee
2B Marc Phillips, Huntington
3B Raymond Newham, Vancouver
SS Brad Easterly, New York
LF Ivan Gil, New York
CF Zachrey Buckley, New York
RF Ramon Chang, Syracuse
DH Oswaldo Guerrero, Seattle