11 January 2010

Huff signs with Giants; Market Narrowing

With Aubrey Huff signing with the Giants, I can only imagine that Adam LaRoche's and Russell Branyan's agents are on hold with the Mets. Last year's DH situation is showing up again as this year's first base situation (as well as DH, by the way). Players who were expecting multiyear deals near 10MM per will not be getting what they once thought was a cinch to get. Adam LaRoche, in fact, turned down an offer of 2 years and 17MM from the Giants. I imagine that offer is now off the table with Huff, Pablo Sandoval, Mark DeRosa, and Juan Uribe in the mix for their corner positions. That leaves the Giants 5MM to spend on someone like Jon Garland.

This also leaves teams like the Orioles in a better bargaining position. Andy MacPhail has mentioned that he sees Garrett Atkins as more of a first baseman than a third baseman, but the market is void of talent at third. He has also mentioned a desire for a right handed power hitter, which the market also lacks at first base. If he is really dead set on getting another bat, it seems like it will be a buyer's market on left handed first basemen desperate for a starting slot.

A brief look at the teams and who they have spelling 1B, 3B, and DH after the jump.

Corners and DHs:
Arizona Diamondbacks - Allen, Reynolds
Atlanta Braves - Glaus, Jones
Baltimore Orioles - Aubrey, Wigginton, Atkins (1B/3B weak)
Boston Red Sox - Youkilis, Beltre, Ortiz
Cincinatti Reds - Rolen, Votto
Chicago Cubs - Lee, Ramirez
Chicago White Sox - Konerko, Beckham, Teahan
Cleveland Indians - Peralta, Hafner, LaPorta (~1B)
Colorado Rockies - Helton, Stewart
Detroit Tigers - Cabrera, Inge, Ordonez, Guillen (~DH)
Florida Marlins - Cantu, Bonifacio (3B weak)
Houston Astros - Berkman, Feliz
Kansas City Royals - Gordan, Fields, Butler (~1B/DH)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Morales, Wood, Matsui (3B weak)
Los Angeles Dodgers - Blake, Loney (~1B)
Milwaukee Brewers - Fielder, McGehee, Gamel
Minnesota Twins - Morneau, Punto, Kubel, Harris (3B weak)
New York Mets - Murphy, Wright (1B weak)
New York Yankees - Teixeira, Rodriguez, Johnson, Swisher
Oakland Athletics - Barton, Carter, Chavez, Fox, Cust
Philadelphia Phillies - Howard, Polanco
Pittsburgh Pirates - LaRoche, Clement, Alvarez (1B weak)
Texas Rangers - Young, Smoak, Davis
St. Louis Cardinals - Pujols, Freese (3B weak)
San Diego Padres - Gonzalez, Headley, Kouzmanoff
San Francisco Giants - Huff, Sandoval, Uribe, DeRosa
Seattle Mariners - Kotchman, Figgins, Griffey, Bradley
Tampa Bay Rays - Pena, Longoria
Toronto Blue Jays - Overbay, Encarnacion, Snider (DH weak)
Washington Nationals - Zimmerman, Dunn

Teams in need of a 1B: Orioles, Mets, Pirates, Indians, Dodgers
Mets seem intent on signing a player. Thin money is on them resigning Carlos Delgado, but I could also see them going with Russell Branyan or Adam LaRoche. Pirates will enter the market if the money becomes tight for the position. They want more offense, but have little interest in paying for it. They probably need one more year to buffer Pedro Alvarez and can always shift Andy LaRoche to second base. The Indians have a situation where they can continue to run LaPorta out to left field, but he really is more of a first baseman. They could enter into the market similarly to the Pirates, but have less need than the Pirates. Last season, the Dodgers were irritated with James Loney's stagnant bat. He appears to have the approval of Joe Torre and money appears tight for the Dodgers with the owner's divorce hearings going on.

This leaves the Orioles who have been mentioned as having an 80MM MLB payroll budget. They currently are sitting around 65MM, so they appear to have money to spend. Bedard, a LOOGY, and a free agent 1B would probably fill most of that up.

Russell Branyan - Baltimore Orioles 1/4.5MM
Adam LaRoche - Pittsburgh Pirates 1/4MM
Carlos Delgado - New York Mets 1/5MM
Hank Blalock - Los Angeles Dodgers 1/4MM
Ryan Garko - Florida Marlins 1/2MM

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