The 2017 MLB Free Agency class is full of over the hill players or players that can offer nothing but a timely hit or strikeout here or there. To be honest this may be the one season where the league may want to skip the process entirely. Except for one or two players.
Aroldis Chapman is the one exception here, and if the Chicago Cubs are smart, they will make sure he’s locked up as soon as humanly possible. But looking around at the class there are so few names that can help put a team over the top. They might put their bank accounts in the red but offer little production stat wise.
This is still baseball and while stats may be one thing, teams still tend to overspend when it comes to household names, names that used to be or names that are on the verge. Salary means nothing in this sport, which makes it open season to overspend and regret later. There’s no need to offer these guys CEO money. Start them off in the mailroom and see if they can prove themselves.
Here are 3 players teams should avoid opening their checkbooks for. (Note- Stats are up to date as of 9/29/2016)
Jose Bautista (Blue Jays)- 2016 salary ($14M)
What teams will be willing to pay a salary that some of these players might demand even though their careers are on the decline? What will Jose Bautista command as a 35-year-old, hitting the end of his slugging career? In 2016 he hit .234 with 21 home runs, 67 RBIs in 500 plate appearances.
At his age, his bet best will be to stay in the American League where he can play the DH role. There will be no need for a National League team to offer him a large sum of money unless he’s willing to take a considerable pay cut from his current salary of $14M. He can no longer perform like a player that should earn that type of deal. Others may argue that injuries this season was the cause of his decline but that’s what happens when age begins to catch up to you.
C.J. Wilson (Angels)- 2016 salary ($20.5M)
Stay away from Wilson. His age screams he has a few years left in his arm but his production says otherwise. The Angels have paid him plenty over the course of his tenure but he has not done much for a team that enters every season with World Series hopes. In 2016 he pitched 132+ innings, 110 strikeouts with and 8-8 record in 21 starts.
I understand the American League is full of power hitters but he can’t seem to get out the small ball players either as his ERA sits at 3.89. Over the last three seasons, his wins have decreased and his ERA hovers around the 4.00 mark. In what world of quality starters does that scream $20M per season? There will be a team that will view him as a possible 4th or 5th starter and offer a large sum believing that a change of scenery will cure his pitching woes.
Brett Anderson (Dodgers)- 2016 salary ($15.8 M)
How is this guy still in the majors, I have the slightest clue. But, with Anderson hitting the market this offseason, there will be a team or two as crazy as the Dodgers willing to pay him due to his age. Anderson is only 28, in pitching years that’s like saying he’s 20. There’s plenty of room left to add innings, but he’s not worth, nor has he ever been worth $16M. I get that the Dodgers were Championship hungry at the time and was throwing around money like a rapper at a strip club but they made a grave error in judgement and it has cost them dearly.
Anderson posted an ERA of 15.00 in 2016 as injuries have been his downfall. How much do you offer a player with a lack of intensity, command, and ability to get out of jams? He might be a good 5th starter or middle reliever, but his days of high money demands are over.