Anthony Rizzo may be making headlines, but the Cubs' much-maligned shortstop might their best hope for future success.
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Sahadev Sharmais a contributor to ESPN Chicago and ChicagoSide, where he regularly covers the Cubs and White Sox. Sahadev spent four years as a radio producer at ESPN 1000 in Chicago and often dabbled in the blogosphere. In the fall of 2010, Sahadev focused his attention on the writing side of the business and quickly realized that was where he belonged. If not spending his free time with his wife, one-year-old son, and two Italian Greyhounds, you’ll likely find Sahadev appreciating Starlin Castro’s ability to hit, defending Adam Dunn, or watching YouTube clips of the Illini’s 2005 NCAA tourney comeback against Arizona. Follow him on Twitter @sahadevsharma.
While several backstops have been locked up lately, the Diamondbacks might not be so lucky with Miguel Montero.
On Wednesday, I wrote favorably about the Brewers’ five-year extension for catcher Jonathan Lucroy, which essentially assured the team of average-or-better production from the position at a reasonable rate through 2017. The Diamondbacks aren’t so lucky; according to Jon Heyman, their catcher, Miguel Montero, has done his time and is looking forward to a payday next winter.
The 28-year-old Montero has been Arizona’s primary catcher for the past three seasons, though he missed a significant chunk of the 2010 campaign while recovering from knee surgery. Already a solid, 2.8 WARP player in 2009, Montero put forth a career-best 3.8 WARP effort in 2011, and his production was one of the key factors behind the Diamondbacks’ division title.
The Brewers' decision to extend Jonathan Lucroy could have a massive payoff.
An unexpected storyline has emerged over the last few weeks of the offseason, as the Royals and Brewers have agreed to long-term contracts with their catchers. The latter deal, which will pay Jonathan Lucroy either $11 million or $13 million (if he attains Super Two status) over five years and includes a club option for the 2017 season, was made official on Tuesday.
What’s interesting about the deals given to Lucroy and Salvador Perez is that neither projects to be a star-level player. The Rays’ pact with Matt Moore and the Pirates’ hitch with Andrew McCutchen were examples of teams preferring cost certainty—and the chance to strike significant bargains with potentially elite players—at the expense of some additional risk for the club. The Lucroy and Perez extensions carry less financial risk for the Brewers and Royals, respectively, but the upside is also considerably smaller.
The Andrew McCutchen extension might help heal those still smarting over the post-Bonds era in Pittsburgh.
From 1986 through 1992, the Pirates enjoyed the services of a five-tool outfielder on his way to becoming one of the game’s all-time greats. But with two All-Star Game appearances and two MVP awards already in hand, the then-28-year-old Barry Bonds left Pittsburgh to sign a record contract worth $43.75 million over six years with the Giants.
Jonah Keriwrote last June about the parallels between the early years of Bonds’ career and those of Andrew McCutchen. Since Bonds chased the money in San Francisco in the midst of his athletic prime—one that ultimately lasted longer than anyone might have expected back in 1992—the Pirates have struggled to find a player with the potential to impact a game in as many ways as the young Bonds could. McCutchen brings a combination of power and speed, coupled with discipline and instincts, which parallel Bonds’ talents better than anyone who donned the black and gold in the 17 seasons between them.
Prince Fielder's new deal has albatross potential, but the Tigers hope it doesn't turn out like one of John's picks for the worst contracts of the free-agent era.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
As your mind reels at the size of Prince Fielder's payday, take a look at this list of 10 free-agent deals that didn't work out well for the teams that handed them out, which originally ran on February 20, 2007.
Ryan Dempster and Scott Rolen are two players who have reworked their contracts to give their teams more financial flexibility.
As Cubs general manager Jim Hendry began the work of assembling his 2010 roster last winter, he faced a daunting task: construct a team capable of re-claiming the National League Central title, which it had done in 2007 and 2008, and do it with precious little payroll flexibility. The Cubs had more than $125 million committed to 11 players, with another eight players eligible for salary arbitration. Hendry was poised to blow past the 2009 year-end payroll total of $141 million without filling his 25-man roster, before even considering a trade or free-agent signing requiring more spending.
A look at the contract status of each of the 30 major-league skippers.
If you’re in the market for a question you might use to win your next bar bet, you probably couldn’t go wrong with this one: Who preceded Mike Scioscia as manager of the Angels? If your answer was "Terry Collins," you’re close. But wrong.