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03-12

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10

The Lineup Card: 11 of Our Favorite Offseason Moves
by
Baseball Prospectus

02-27

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2

Painting the Black: Lessons from the Top 50 Free Agents List
by
R.J. Anderson

02-12

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15

Overthinking It: Where the Remaining Free Agents Would Matter the Most
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-31

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13

Pebble Hunting: The Opt-Out Hater's Case for Opt-Outs
by
Sam Miller

01-07

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1

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 359: The Remaining Free Agents/Pillow Contract Candidates
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

11-26

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0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 337: Free Agent Spending So Far/The McCann, Molina, and Smith Signings
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

11-26

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0

The BP Wayback Machine: The Guessing Game
by
Joe Sheehan

11-25

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4

Transaction Analysis: Rays Bring Back Molina, Reaffirm their Belief in Framing
by
Ben Lindbergh

11-25

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0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 336: Paying Peralta, and Punishing PED Users
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

11-20

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11

The Lineup Card: 10 Free Agents Who Are Likely to Be Overpaid
by
Baseball Prospectus

11-18

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20

Baseball Therapy: Why Do Teams Overpay for Free Agents?
by
Russell A. Carleton

11-13

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2

The Lineup Card: 12 Free Agents Who Are Likely to Be Bargains
by
Baseball Prospectus

11-12

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0

Rumor Roundup: The High Price of Free Agent Pitching
by
Daniel Rathman

11-07

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1

The BP Wayback Machine: Today's Oxymoron is Free Agents
by
James Click

11-05

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1

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 322: The Qualifying Offer Analysis Episode
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

11-05

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38

Painting the Black: The 50 Best Free Agents of 2013-2014
by
R.J. Anderson

09-17

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5

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 288: The Appeal of Year-to-Year Contracts/Ranking Contenders By Rootability
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

08-23

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5

Pebble Hunting: Free Agent Alternate History
by
Sam Miller

07-09

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0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 239: Carlos Gomez and the NL MVP Race/The Cubs and Trading Recently Signed Free Agents
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

04-04

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2

Overthinking It: So You Want to Buy a 2014-15 Free Agent?
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-13

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3

Sobsequy: Notable AL Minor-League Free Agent Signees
by
Adam Sobsey

02-27

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3

Sobsequy: Notable NL Minor-League Free Agent Signees
by
Adam Sobsey

01-18

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3

A Little Relief
by
Jonah Birenbaum

01-15

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5

Overthinking It: Have the Twins Learned to Love the Strikeout?
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-15

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14

Skewed Left: Filling the Free Agent Voids
by
Zachary Levine

01-12

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8

Overthinking It: Bargain Bin Free Agents
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-03

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9

Skewed Left: Has Baltimore Been Busy Enough?
by
Zachary Levine

12-25

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1

BP Unfiltered: Christmas for Free Agents
by
Ben Lindbergh

12-22

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7

Overthinking It: The Winter's Quietest Contenders
by
Ben Lindbergh

12-21

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0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 107: Edwin Jackson, the Cubs, and Qualifying Offers
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

12-20

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15

Skewed Left: How to Analyze the Astros' Spending
by
Zachary Levine

12-19

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1

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 105: Will R.A. Dickey's Knuckleball Be Better in the Dome?/Do the Red Sox Have a Consistent Philosophy?
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

12-18

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1

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 104: Our Least-Favorite Offseason Signings So Far
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

12-06

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1

Transaction Analysis: Double LOOGY Day
by
R.J. Anderson

11-09

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5

Head Games: Free Agents Looking for Financial Love
by
Will Woods

11-07

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6

Sobsequy: Let Me Qualify That
by
Adam Sobsey

11-06

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5

Overthinking It: This Offseason's Generic-Brand Bargains
by
Ben Lindbergh

11-05

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3

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 76: The Free Agents the Internet Can't Agree On
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

11-02

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0

The BP Wayback Machine: Changing the Game?
by
Joe Sheehan

11-01

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0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 74: The Ervin Santana Trade, the Royals' Rotation, and the Pitching Market/Rick Hahn and the Future of Front Offices
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

09-27

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7

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 51: What the Rockies Knew About Ubaldo/The Eternal Torii Hunter/Declining Dan Haren
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

05-29

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21

Bizball: Inside the 2012-16 CBA: The Luxury Tax Meets the Draft
by
Maury Brown

05-17

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49

The Process: Fixing the Phillies
by
Bradley Ankrom

02-09

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8

On the Beat: The Best of the Rest of the Free Agent Market
by
John Perrotto

01-18

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3

The BP Wayback Machine: The Arbitration Process
by
Thomas Gorman

04-15

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21

Baseball ProGUESTus: The Scott Boras Factor: Reality or Hype?
by
Vince Gennaro

03-14

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36

Ahead in the Count: Battle for the Beltway
by
Matt Swartz

02-09

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1

Contractual Matters: NL West Payroll Projections
by
Jeff Euston

10-04

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6

Contractual Matters: Market Corrections
by
Jeff Euston

04-23

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5

Ahead in the Count: Methodology of The New MORP
by
Matt Swartz

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November 12, 2013 6:00 am

Rumor Roundup: The High Price of Free Agent Pitching

0

Daniel Rathman

Ricky Nolasco and Ervin Santana are asking a lot, Stephen Drew is about to make some money, and a familiar starter resurfaces as a knuckleballer.

Ricky Nolasco and Ervin Santana Shoot for the Moon
Want Nolasco? That’ll cost you $80 million over five years. Want Santana? Prepare to shell out $100 million—and your highest unprotected draft pick, since the right-hander turned down a qualifying offer from the Royals.


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Why free agents rarely come cheap.

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.

James Click explained why free agents are often costly in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as a "Crooked Numbers" column on November 10, 2005.

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Ben and Sam discuss who did and didn't get qualifying offers, which player stands to lose the most money as a result, and why the system doesn't make sense.

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Predictions, statistics, and analysis about the newly unemployed players who will soon be employed.

It's back and bigger than last year. There are a few things to clear up before getting to the list. First, the players are ranked by a combination of their expected impact and their AAV—hence why a closer can finish in the top 20. Players with injury histories were nudged down the list, perhaps too much, based on what we saw last winter. The predictions are total guesswork, and to drill that point home I've included predictions made by a random number generator. Chance doesn't know about depth charts, team behaviors, budgets, or any of the like, so keep that in mind.

Finally, there are no international free agents involved. Masahiro Tanaka seems like a quality pitcher, but if I haven't seen the player in some form or another then he's not included.

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Ben and Sam discuss why players don't choose year-to-year contracts, then rank contending teams by rootability.

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August 23, 2013 6:42 am

Pebble Hunting: Free Agent Alternate History

5

Sam Miller

Why timing is everything when it comes to buying big free agents.

You know what they say: The key to comedy is timing. Consider the following three jokes:

Joke 1. In December 2011, three men were wandering through the countryside in search of a place to sleep for the night. They came upon a large farm. The farmer said they were welcome to spend the night, so long as they didn’t touch his beautiful daughter. To make a long story short, one of them—the Angels—snuck out and signed Josh Hamilton for five years and $125 million, Hamilton went on to hit 43 home runs (including four in one game!) and drive in 128 for his new team, and he received multiple MVP votes after the season. The last four years didn’t work out as well after that, but that’s how these things go. The Angels, thanks to Hamilton’s contributions, made the postseason in 2012 for the first time in three years. The farmer's wife made pancakes for them all the next morning and the three men went on their way.

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Ben and Sam discuss Carlos Gomez' valuable season and the Cubs' willingness to trade players they recently signed as free agents.

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April 4, 2013 10:21 am

Overthinking It: So You Want to Buy a 2014-15 Free Agent?

2

Ben Lindbergh

Let the other teams sign their players to extensions. The 2014-15 free agent market's got a great deal for you!

Greetings, friend, and WELCOME to Free Agent Emporium, home of the finest free agents your non-CBA-restricted spending can buy! If you’re trying to turn your team around quickly, you’ve come to the right place. Why settle for the same old players year after year when you could bring some excitement to your roster construction instead? No Extensions, Reinventions!™ We’ll help you pick out the right free agents to fit your needs, and you can take them home today. No need to spend time training them: all our free agents come completely clubhousebroken, so you won’t have to worry that they’ll high-five the fans or forget they’re in the field. Now with no draft-pick compensation required!

Is that a shopping list? Let me take a look. [Reads] Hey, you’ve got quite a few positions to fill. Seems like someone’s been “neglecting” their drafting and player development! Ha, ha. That’s what we like to see. Those Who Build from Within, Never Win.™

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March 13, 2013 5:00 am

Sobsequy: Notable AL Minor-League Free Agent Signees

3

Adam Sobsey

Which players from this year's crop of AL spring training invitees could catch on?

In this second, American League installment of the two-part notable minor-league free agent signee series (the National League is here), the discoveries were less player-specific: for numerous teams, it was hard to make a strong case for a single candidate. Instead, two other revelations: First, you have to act fast on these marginal players, because they can be gone for good before the season even starts. One candidate from the National League article two weeks ago, injury comeback returnee Kelvim Escobar, has already been released by the Brewers, due to yet another injury. Many other players, especially former major-leaguers, have opt-out clauses that activate on March 26. As a result, some of the considerations below are more theoretical than actually predictive.

Secondly, this exercise has manufactured an opposition of sorts to a position I’ve been espousing for a while about replacement-level talent. Scanning the fringe ranks for overlooked gems, or comparing projected major-league rosters to projected Triple-A rosters, you discover that there really are very few players in the lower level who seem like they’d actually be better than the guys ahead of them on the depth chart (would you really rather have Brian Bixler than Justin Turner?). And the difference is often significant.

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February 27, 2013 7:15 am

Sobsequy: Notable NL Minor-League Free Agent Signees

3

Adam Sobsey

Which members of this year's crop of spring training invitees could catch on and make an impact in the majors?

It’s that time of year: Grapefruit and Cactus. (I feel a margarita-like cocktail coming on.) It’s the one time of the season when ballplayers wear jersey numbers like 75. When millionaires of otherwise upright goodwill and equanimity secretly hope for other millionaires to get hurt. When major-league camp invitations go out to players like the legendary Craig Albernaz, who has played in parts of the last six seasons for the Rays’ Double-A affiliate and has a career OPS of .545—somebody has to catch all those pitchers. When former big-league regulars, now on minor-league deals and looking around at all the prospects who play the same position, start counting the days until the opt-out clauses in their contracts arrive.

In other words, it’s time to sift through those minor-league free agent signees and find the one in each organization likeliest to make an impact in the majors this season.

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January 18, 2013 5:00 am

A Little Relief

3

Jonah Birenbaum

Rafael Soriano is off the market, but there are still some potentially useful bullpen arms to be had.

Earlier this week, Jon Heyman tweeted a short list of free agent relievers who could be a reasonable fit for the back end of the Blue Jays’ bullpen. Whether you credit Heyman with clairvoyance or good contacts, it just so happened that one of the names conspicuously absent from that list was Rafael Soriano. Hours later, the 33-year-old right-hander became a member of the Washington Nationals, signing a two-year, $28-million deal with a vesting option for 2015.

In snapping up Soriano, the Nats removed the best available free agent reliever from the market, but they left an assortment of lower-tier options for teams still looking to bolster their bullpens. Ken Rosenthal later listed several teams still interested in picking up a reliever, identifying the Rays, Tigers, Mariners, Marlins, and Mets as potential suitors. Here are some of the options they can consider:

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January 15, 2013 10:43 am

Overthinking It: Have the Twins Learned to Love the Strikeout?

5

Ben Lindbergh

Pour one out for Brad Radke and his spiritual descendants.

We don't typically think of particular player types as being associated with certain teams. There are some exceptions that seem to persist over time: the Rockies go after groundballers, for instance, and the Yankees tend to target lefty-swinging sluggers. But those teams' player preferences are tied to their ballparks. If the Rockies played at a lower altitude or the Yankees found they could fit in another luxury box by making their outfield fences more symmetrical, they would adapt to their new surroundings and stop pursuing the same sort of player.

Other apparent preferences are illusions or short-term trends based on temporary team composition or the whims of one front-office regime. The A’s, for a while, liked fat guys, but then they discovered defense. The Royals, under Dayton Moore, have a thing for former Braves. The Tigers, under Dave Dombrowski and scouting director David Chadd, have a reputation for liking big pitchers who throw hard. But that’s almost an obvious affinity, sort of like saying a team favors hitters who hit the ball far. The Tigers might like pitchers who throw hard a little more than most teams, and they might be a bit more willing to overlook the shortcomings of pitchers who fit that profile. But what team doesn’t like big pitchers who throw hard?

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