Free agent outfielder Juan Pierre has officially retired from baseball, he announced on his personal Twitter account on Friday. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald first reported the news.
The speedy outfielder notched 614 stolen bases over a 14-year career with the Rockies, Marlins, Cubs, Dodgers, White Sox, and Phillies. Pierre's best attribute was easily his speed, as his 614 stolen bases ranked 18th all-time and first amongst active players at his retirement. Pierre did not play Major League Baseball in 2014, so retirement comes as far from a shock.
The 37-year-old Pierre attended the University of South Alabama and was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 13th round of the 1998 MLB Draft. He worked his way quickly through the minors, reaching the big leagues in 2000 at age 22, and never going back to the minors until rehabbing from an injury with the Dodgers in 2008.
Pierre was not a home run hitter. In fact, he launched only 18 home runs during his 8000+ plate appearances. However, Pierre's speed helped him to get over five times as many triples as home runs, as he had a career 94 three-baggers. Overall, Pierre is a lifetime .295/.343/.361 hitter, mostly out of the leadoff spot, where he was slotted at in 80.6 percent of his plate appearances.
As a big leaguer, Pierre earned himself $57 million, according to Baseball Reference, and was worth a total of 23.2 fWAR and 83.2 Base Running Runs (BsR).
I wish Juan Pierre the best in retirement and enjoyed watching him play, especially during the ladder part of his career. It still astounds me that he could be that effective on the bases even at that age.
The Milwaukee Brewers bolstered their bullpen Thursday with the reunion of right-hander Francisco Rodriguez on a two-year pact, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported first. The deal includes an option for a third year, Heyman reported in a follow-up tweet.
Rodriguez's contract with the Brewers is worth $13 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
The 33-year-old Rodriguez spent 2014 and most of the past four seasons with the Brewers and comes with 13 years of big league experience. The closer has saved 348 games over his lengthy career, which is second amongst active big leaguers and tenth all-time.
Rodriguez pitched 68 innings last season, going 5-5 with a 3.04 ERA, saving 44 games. Due to his 4.50 FIP, Rodriguez may be expected to regress from his good numbers last season. Despite that, Rodriguez had a 73-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which was the highest K/BB total of his career (min. 10 innings pitched). Overall, he was worth -0.6 fWAR last season, which could be misleading because he did do his job.
There was a surplus of bullpen arms on the free agent market this offseason, so for Scott Boras to find Rodriguez a two-year deal with an option this late into the offseason can be considered a success. The Brewers were planning on using Jonathan Broxton as their closer for 2015, but he'll likely slide back into the eighth inning role. They also were rumored to have interest in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Other relievers of Rodriguez's caliber have earned larger guarantees this offseason. David Robertson earned a four-year, $46 million pact from the White Sox, Andrew Miller earned a four-year, $36 million deal from the Yankees, and Luke Gregerson earned a three-year, $18 million deal from Houston (more in the range of Rodriguez's deal). Rodriguez is older than the three, but still provides a great reunion for the Brewers. He will be a good asset to their bullpen.
Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton has had a drug "relapse," according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The incident occurred a few months back, per Heyman, and involved cocaine and possibly other drugs.
Discipline for Hamilton would be at baseball commissioner Rob Manfred's discretion, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. He is outside the standard program due to failed tests in the minors.
This report comes just a few hours after Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reported that Hamilton was meeting with Major League Baseball in New York regarding a possible disciplinary matter. According to Heyman, he confessed his usage to MLB, which likely occurred during the meeting.
Hamilton has had prior issues with drug and alcohol addiction in the past. He was on Major League Baseball's restricted list from 2003 to 2005 due to those issues.
When healthy and on the field, Hamilton has been a solid player. Last season, in 381 plate appearances with Los Angeles, Hamilton hit .263/.331/.414 with 10 homers, 44 runs batted in, and a 114 OPS+. The Angels signed Hamilton to a five-year, $125 million deal that will run through 2017.
If Hamilton is suspended by Major League Baseball, "he could be out until late June or July," according to DiGiovanna's report. He would go uncompensated during that time. He is set to make $25.4 million this season and $64.8 million from 2016-17 on the rest of his contract.
Hamilton's possible suspension could cause depth issues for the Angels for this 2015 season. He's served as a corner outfielder for the Angels in the two years he's spent with them, also spending some time at designated hitter. Collin Cowgill and Matt Joyce could serve as options in the outfield for Hamilton, with Joyce already being the team's primary designated hitter.
Hamilton was already planning to be out until April or May as he recovered from surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder. Now it appears that he could be out for an extended period of time, due to this relapse in drug addiction. I hope Hamilton can get the help he needs to overcome this problem.
When teams are given the opportunity to sign a 19-year-old impact player, many jump for the opportunity and will not back down from paying whatever it takes to get him.
That's what happened with Yoan Moncada.
The Boston Red Sox agreed to sign the Cuban infielder Monday, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Moncada's signing bonus was for $31.5 million. The Red Sox will have to pay a 100 percent tax on that money, as it exceeded their allotted international signing bonuses from this signing period.
Moncada may just be worth the money.
Regarded as a five-tool talent, the Cuban import has already received comparisons to Robinson Cano and Chase Utley in his prime. Many prospect writers and specialists would have expected Moncada to have gone first or second overall in the MLB Draft had he been eligible. According to Baseball America's Ben Badler, Moncada's signing, when official, will make him the Red Sox' top prospect and the 10th prospect in the sport. His arrival in Fenway is already highly awaited.
Big market teams like Boston, along with the Yankees and Dodgers, had the inside edge on signing Moncada, mostly his high cost with the 100 percent penalty for signing him. New York was considered a finalist. However, smaller market teams like the Brewers and Padres were also considered finalists, but they were likely unable to afford the $63 million the Red Sox will be paying to Moncada and Major League Baseball in both the contracts and penalty.
Unlike a normal contract, Moncada's contract does not include a number of years he will be with the club. The Red Sox signed him to a minor league deal, with the $31.5 million figure just serving as a bonus. Moncada will work his way through the minors and earn either the big league minimum or just above the big league minimum during his first three seasons. Then, based on his performance, his salary will jump in arbitration, like a regular minor leaguer.
Moncada is a true second baseman, but with Dustin Pedroia at second for the foreseeable future in Boston, he will likely change positions to third base, shortstop, or possibly in the outfield, if he outgrows the infield positions. With Xander Bogaerts currently slotted at short, the most likely answer for Moncada is to move to third base, with Pablo Sandoval shifting to first.
The $31.5 million bonus absolutely demolishes the old record for an international signee. That record was held twice before during this offseason, first with an $8 million mark for now-Angel Roberto Baldoquin, then by Yoan Lopez with an $8.27 million bonus with the Diamondbacks. Moncada's signing may be the beginning of talks for an international draft, thus allowing more teams to be involved in acquiring him, besides just the big market teams.
A 19-year-old impact player will make a lot of noise. Teams will not back down. The Red Sox certainly didn't with their record-breaking signing of Yoan Moncada.