The Atlanta Braves and infielder Andrelton Simmons have agreed to a seven-year contract that guarantees Simmons $58 million, according to a Thursday press release.
The Braves have been very busy locking up young players this off-season, extending the likes of Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Julio Teheran, and Craig Kimbrel. Including Simmons' new contract, the Braves have spent $280.7 million in guaranteed contracts this offseason.
The 24-year-old Simmons saw his first full season in the Major Leagues in 2013. Simmons hit .248/.296/.396 with 17 home runs and 59 RBI in 157 games (87 OPS+). Although his hitting still has yet to come, his defense was fantastic. Simmons posted a 23.9 UZR/150 (Ultimate Runs Zone per 150 games), which is Gold Glove caliber. And, yes, he did win the Gold Glove. If Simmons can boost his on-base percentage and keep up the fantastic defense, he will be one of the best shortstops in all of the Major Leagues.
Simmons was originally selected by the Braves in the 2nd round of the 2010 amateur draft. He sped through the minor-leagues, hitting a triple-slash line of .299/.352/.397 in 1,042 minor-league plate appearances. In those 237 games, Simmons added 54 stolen bases.
Simmons will be able to stay in a Braves uniform until 2020. The Braves have done a fantastic job themselves this offseason in retaining young talent for a long time in order to keep their team intact. In 2013, Simmons added 6.8 Wins Above Replacement to the Braves (via Baseball Reference), something that the Braves hope will continue as he progresses.
The Cincinnati Reds and pitcher Homer Bailey have agreed to a six-year, $105 million contract extension, according to media reports on Wednesday. The deal includes an option for a seventh year that is worth $25 million with a $5 million buyout. Therefore, Bailey's deal is worth a guaranteed $110 million.
The 27-year-old went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.124 WHIP in 209 innings pitched (32 starts) with the Reds in 2013 (110 ERA+; 3.2 WAR). The highlight of Bailey's season came on July 2, against the San Francisco Giants. Bailey twirled the second no-hitter of his career, pitching nine fantastic innings on 109 pitches (74 strikes) and striking out nine. Bailey's 2013 campaign was arguably the best of his career, and the Reds hope he will continue to get better throughout the extension to his contract.
Over his career, Bailey has been a very good pitcher, or a very bad pitcher. In starts where Bailey has took the win, he is 49-0 with a 1.81 ERA and a 3.07 K/BB ratio. In starts where Bailey has taken the loss, he is an 0-45 with an ugly 8.12 ERA and a terrible 1.74 K/BB ratio. In starts were Bailey has gotten a no decision (49 starts), he has posted a 4.17 ERA and a 2.90 K/BB ratio. As you can see, Bailey can be dominant, average, or terrible. Overall, Bailey is 49-45 with a 4.25 ERA and a 2.55 K/BB ratio in 853 innings pitched, all with the Reds.
Bailey and the Reds have been negotiating a contract extension for some time, so it was almost a given that this deal would have happened before tomorrow's scheduled arbitration hearing. It's a little surprising that Homer Bailey would be paid over $100 million, but the Reds do know more than the average fan, and they've still got all his prime ahead of him. The baseball world will just have to wait and see if Bailey's contract will pan out for the Reds.
The Texas native was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2004 amateur draft out of high school. He originally made the Major Leagues in 2007, when he was just 21-years-old. He sped through the minors, which included a 2006 season where Bailey posted a 2.47 ERA in 138 2/3 innings pitched. Bailey made his first noise in the Major Leagues back in 2012, when he posted a 3.68 ERA in 208 innings with the Reds.
Thirty-year-old Stephen Drew has yet to agree to a contract this off-season. The shortstop's market has been relatively quiet. However, as the beginning of Spring Training games near, Drew has drawn interest from four teams. Although the baseball world does not know who these teams are, the Red Sox and Mets seem like pretty good speculations as of now. Also, the Yankees seem like they could be in on Drew.
In my opinion, the Mets are almost a lock to be in on Drew. The Mets posted the second-worst OPS from their shortstops in 2013, posting a very low .561 OPS. The Major League average was 119 points higher, with a .680 mark. Omar Quintanilla, who started 89 games at shortstop, posted a 70 OPS+, while hitting a three slash line of .222/.306/.283 with 2 home runs and 21 RBI. However, the Mets do have two younger players that could take the shortstop position in 2014, Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores. I also believe the Mets want to see what they've got before they decide to give Drew the big money.
The Red Sox might still be looking to re-sign Drew, especially now that $13.25 million of their payroll is now free due to the leave of Ryan Dempster. However, they have Xander Bogaerts, a top infield prospect that is ready to take over the position. Shortstop is likely the ideal position for Bogaerts, as that is his natural position. Bogaerts spent all but 20 games (365 total games) in his minor league career at shortstop. The other 20 were split evenly between third base and designated hitter. The Red Sox were thought to have let Drew leave, as it would be the best situation for the Aruba native.
The Yankees will be without Derek Jeter in 2015 and beyond, as he will be ending his career in 2014. Joel Sherman of the New York Post stated that the Yankees did offer Drew a contract earlier in the off-season, but that was when they were just reaching out to players in an attempt to get a "bite." Other recent reports have stated that the Yankees will not be in on Drew, but it's really hard to know their exact plans. If they can lock up Drew, they will be able to quickly find a successor to Derek Jeter that has what it takes to play very well.
Drew was good in 2013. He posted a triple-slash line of .253/.333/.443 with 13 home runs and 67 RBI (111 OPS+) in 124 games with the Red Sox. He was worth a total of 3.1 Wins Above Replacement, and 0.6 Defensive Runs Above Replacement. Drew was good, but he is asking for a lot of money and is also tied to draft pick compensation. That could be the main reason that his interest level has remained relatively low. Nonetheless, will be with a team in 2014, there is no doubt about that. But, that is pretty much all we know.
The Orioles and starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez are in agreement on a four-year deal, according to reports. The deal is pending a physical. The deal is expected to be in the $48 million range, per reports.
According to Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, the Orioles had to offer Ubaldo Jimenez a fourth year in order to sign him. Jimenez also received interest from other teams in need of a pitcher, such as the Blue Jays and Mariners. This is the second notable starting pitcher the Orioles have signed this offseason, as they officially announced they locked up Korean Suk-Min Yoon to a three-year deal this afternoon.
The Orioles have needed starting pitching. Badly. The Orioles finished 27th in the MLB in ERA with a 4.57 mark from starting pitching in 2013. They also finished 22nd in innings pitched. The batting average against from starting pitchers ranked 23rd with a .266 average. It was obvious the Orioles needed pitching. However, three of the Orioles' starters finished with an ERA+ north of 100. But only two of them were able to pitch over 100 innings.
Jimenez should make nearly an immediate impact in Baltimore. The 30-year-old right-hander went 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 182 2/3 innings pitched with the Cleveland Indians in 2013 (114 ERA+). Jimenez racked up 194 strikeouts compared to just 80 walks. His dominance helped the Indians reach the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
During his career, Jimenez has been up and down. In 2010, he was one of the best pitchers in the National League, going 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 221 2/3 innings pitched with the Colorado Rockies (161 ERA+). He went to his only All Star game that season. But from the 2011 to 2012 seasons, he was just downright awful. Jimenez went 19-30 (including a league-worst 17 losses in 2012) with a 5.03 ERA in 365 innings pitched (82 ERA+) during that time.
Jimenez having a rebound campaign in 2013 helped him cash in this offseason. A very pricey piece for the Orioles indeed; Jimenez will also cost the team their number 17 overall pick. But in a very competitive American League East division, the Orioles had to do whatever it took.
The Atlanta Braves and closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel have agreed to a four-year, $42 million deal on Sunday, according to media reports. Kimbrel had been going into arbitration this offseason, but this extension will avoid the hearing. Kimbrel could make up to $58 million over five-years, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
The Braves have been busy this offseason with extensions. This is the third extension the Braves have offered this offseason, following the pacts for Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, and Julio Teheran. They have spent $222.7 million in guaranteed contracts through extensions this offseason, all with young, homegrown talent.
The 25-year-old has arguably been the best closer in the National League since breaking out in the Major Leagues in 2011, when Kimbrel won the National League Rookie of the Year award. In his past three seasons, Kimbrel has had 138 saves while posting a 1.48 ERA in 206 2/3 innings. In 2013, Kimbrel went 4-3 with a 1.21 ERA and 50 saves in 68 games with the Braves (320 ERA+). Kimbrel has been an All Star each of the last three seasons.
The Braves have been busy locking up young talent this offseason, which should be the way to go. After locking up Freeman, Heyward, and Teheran to large contracts, they lock up Craig Kimbrel, their anchor in the bullpen, to a large deal. This is a good route for the Braves to take as the look to contend into the future seasons.