Monday, October 29, 2012

First Day of MLB Offseason, Yankees, A's Exercising Options

With the MLB World Champions crowned less than 24 hours ago, the offseason is already in full swing.  Clubs like the Yankees and the A's are already exercising options, and teams are beginning to eye notable free agents.

After a combined 7-for-70 performance in the 2012 postseason, the Yankees have locked up Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson for $15 million apiece.  Granderson's average was low all season, but his power numbers made up for that, while Cano has been a solid player for a number of years during the regular season.  The team hopes that the signings of these two will lead them to another playoff appearance where they can redeem themselves.

Across the U.S., the Oakland A's have inked one player's option, and dropped another's.  Closer Grant Balfour $4.5 million option was exercised by the club, while infielder Stephen Drew's $10 million clause was dropped.  Balfour, catalyst for the "Balfour Ragefest" that ensued in right-center field at Coliseum, became a cornerstone of the back end of Oakland's bullpen, especially during their AL West champion stretch run.  Drew was a late season pick-up, but I think the late season surges from Josh Donaldson and Cliff Pennington sealed his fate.

Drew becomes another free agent headed into a star-studded 2012-13 offseason.  Some other names on teams' radars include Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Mike Napoli, Anibal Sanchez, Zach Greinke and David Ortiz.  Ortiz has been in talks with the Red Sox since the expiration of his latest contract, and a two-year deal appears imminent, waiting for the free agent signing period to being after midnight ET on Friday. 

Pitching wins championships, as showcased by San Francisco over the past three weeks, and there are plenty of hurlers out there who could benefit teams from the top two spots of the rotation to solid late inning relievers.

Outfielders are not in short supply either.  Veterans like Ichiro Suzuki, Torii Hunter, Angel Pagan and Delmon Young are all on the market, and can not only help a team on the field, as the latter two have shown this postseason, but in the clubhouse as well.  Looks like it'll be another wild MLB winter.

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