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.

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