More Signings of Interest to Me
The San Francisco Giants signed 2Bman Marco Scutaro to a three-year deal for $20 million. While a three year deal for a player of Scutaro’s age (37) is generally a mistake, the total money seems fairly reasonable, given the boost Scutaro gave the Giants the last three months (including the post-season) in 2012.
The Giants like to reward the players who have performed for them, which I think has benefits for the organization as a whole, even if it means some signings are busts. Also, even if Scutaro tanks sooner rather than later, at only $6 million per season (he also received a $2 million signing bonus), he doesn’t prevent the Giants from exploring other options for second base after 2013.
Former Giant Nate Schierholtz signed with the Chicago Cubs for $2.25 million, which actually seems like a lot to me. For player of his age (29 in February 2013) and hitting ability (.727 career OPS), a major league contract in the $1 million to $1.5 million range seems more appropriate. Corner outfielders who hit as well as Schierholtz are not particularly hard to find.
Aside from the contract amount, playing for the Cubs will be great for Schierholtz. Playing half his games in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field will give Schierholtz the opportunity to put up the best offensive numbers of his career. Let’s hope Nate gets to start in right field on days when the wind is blowing out. If so, he might really make some money next off-season.
Ryan Spilborghs, formerly of the Rockies, and Brandon Dickson, formerly of the Cardinals, are heading to Japan’s NPB in 2013. Although I haven’t yet seen any reports on what these players will be receiving for their trips across the ocean, I think the Dickson signing makes a lot more sense than the Spilborghs signing.
While Dickson hasn’t down much at the major league level (5.14 ERA in 14 career innings pitched), he’s been a fine starter for the last three seasons at AAA Memphis. Specifically, he’s had ERAs of 3.23, 3.95 and 3.63 with good ratios, which is impressive when you consider what a hitters’ league the Pacific Coast League (“PCL”) is. Also, Dickson will be only 28 in 2013, so he’s still in his prime. In short, Dickson looks like the kind of pitcher who can be successful in Japan.
Spilborghs, on the other hand, is already 33 years old, and he hasn’t hit particularly well since 2010. His major league OPS in 2011 was an awful .588 in over 200 plate appearances, approximately half of them at Coors Field — Spilborghs’ road OPS in 2011 was a dreadful .380.
Last year, Spilborghs had an OPS of .774 in more than 500 AAA plate appearances, most of those in the hitter friendly PCL. His age and performance the last two seasons do not suggest that Spilborghs will take Japan by storm in 2013.
Another concern is that Spilborghs, as an established MLB player, is likely to be relatively expensive for the NPB team signing him (the Seibu Lions). However, Spilborghs has never really been much of a hitter, a fact disguised by playing all of his major league career as a Colorado Rockie — Spilborghs has a career home OPS of .862, but a career road OPS of .679.