Saturday, January 11, 2014

Season 14 Free Agency Preview

Alberto Campos
Age: 29B/T: R/R
Born: Boca Chica, DO
Position(s): P (SP5)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile
Whoever lands this season's top free agent prize will be handsomely rewarded

Season 14 Free Agency Preview
After one of the quickest rollovers in recent Kenny Powers history, we on to Season 14!   And it's time to kick off this season's blog coverage with the Free Agency Preview.  Here are your top 10 free agents!

1.  Alberto Campos, 29, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 2.73 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 5 years, $99 million 

Possible Destinations: Tucson, Tampa Bay, Madison, Portland

Signed with Tucson - 5 years, $110 million

Campos is a sure-fire ace #1 starter with practically no weaknesses in his arsenal.  He's a five time All Star, but surprisingly has never won the Cy Young Award.  Wherever he winds up, he is likely sure to contend for seasons to come.  It's not every season you get the opportunity to land an ace starter who is only 29 in free agency.  This is the best free agent the Kenny Powers World has seen in some time.  His new team will get a HUGE boost to their pitching staff for sure. 

2. Randy Gonzales, 30, 3B
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: .850 Career OPS
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $50 million 

Possible Destinations: Nashville, Tucson, Burlington, Cincinnati

Signed with Rochester - 3 years, $16.8 million

Gonzales is the top rated offensive player in this season's class.  He is good in the field and would work anywhere except SS or C.  He still has nice power and outstanding splits.  A little bit of concern is there with potential ratings decline after age 30, but he should still have a handful of very good years ahead, and you won't find a bitter hitter who can play something besides 1B or LF in this season's class. 

3. Tuck Huff, 29, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.52 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 5 years, $65 million  

Possible Destinations: Chicago (AL), Portland, New Britain, Vancouver

Signed with Tampa Bay - 5 Years, $84 million

If you miss out on the Campos sweepstakes, Huff may not be a bad consolation prize at all.  Also only 29 years old, he has excellent control, great pitches, nice splits and keeps the ball the down.  He's not a huge workhorse but is capable of throwing 180 quality innings or so.  He'd also be a nice add to most any staff in the world. 

4. Quentin Cosby, 36, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.55 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $42 million 

Possible Destinations: Pawtucket, Pittsburgh, Madison, Toronto

Signed with Oklahoma City - 4 years, $25.8 million

Cosby probably has a better arsenal than Huff, but comes in behind him, as he is getting up there in age at 36.  He has held up remarkably well thus far, suffering little ratings decline.  He pitched last season as a long reliever, but is still capable of starting and throwing around 175 very high quality innings, and may be able to do so a couple of more seasons.  Great add for a team looking for a short term fix.  

5. Ron Young, 32, 1B
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: .899 Career OPS 
Salary Over/Under:  3 years, $40 million

Signed with Pittsburgh - 5 years, $65.5 million

Possible Destinations: Tucson, Nashville, Burlington, Honolulu

Young is a straight up masher capable of crushing the ball at a moment's notice.  He is great against righthanders, and still not bad vs. lefties, with good contact and batting eye.   He can probably play RF in a pinch fielding wise, which is a plus, but is probably more suited to play 1B or LF.  His downside is limited stamina and he is a bit brittle.  He's definitely worth the injury risk though, especially for a Type B player.

6. Kenny Clarke, 32, 1B
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: .876 Career OPS 
Salary Over/Under:  3 years, $33 million

Possible Destinations: Chicago (NL), Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Rochester

Signed with Pittsburgh - 5 years, $32.5 million

Clarke is an excellent all around hitter, with 4 straight 30 HR 120 RBI season under his belt coming into Season 14.  He's an elite batting eye and plus power, contact, and efficiency vs. lefties.  He's good, but not great on his RH split.  You'll have to play him at 1B or DH, because he's pretty weak in the field, but it will be worth it because he can mash. 

7. Bob Cambridge, 33, LF
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat:.881 Career OPS
Salary Over/Under:  2 years, $20 million

Possible Destinations: Tampa Bay, Tucson, Cincinnati, Toronto

Signed with Portland - 4 years, $69 million

The defending NL MVP will likely be insulted at his #7 ranking, but the hitters above him are younger and more powerful or more versatile in the field.  Still, even though he is 33, Cambridge is a great bat, obvious with him winning NL MVP last season, still with plus hitting ratings across the board.  He dominates lefties in particular.  Does he have another MVP season in him?  Probably not, but you'll still be adding an excellent bat to your lineup if you sign him. 

8. Javier Bonilla, 29, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 4.16 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under:  4 years, $35 million

Possible Destinations: Chicago (AL), Portland, Toronto, Tucson

Signed with Chicago (AL) - 4 years, $25 million

While not a #1 starter, Bonilla can be a nice #3 or #4 starter for a good team, and is only 29 years old.  He is a workhorse capable of 200 innings plus, and has nice splits, great pitches, good velocity and keeps the ball down fairly well.  His control is a bit mediocre, which holds him back from being consider elite, but is still capable of bolstering a lot of pitching staffs in the world. 

9. Dan Gordon, 34, RP
No Designation
Key Stat: 3.93 Career ERA 
Salary Over/Under:  3 years, $30 million

Possible Destinations: Pawtucket, Tampa Bay, Madison, Honolulu

Signed with Tucson - 3 years, $20.3 million

Gordon gets the nod as the top reliever in this class, with plus ratings across the board, although he doesn't through with a lot of velocity.  He can be a middle relief stud for any team, or possibly close as well, although middle relief seems to be more his forte.  He also won't cost a draft pick either, which is a major plus. 

10. Reid Fassero, 32, RP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.66 Career ERA 
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $35 million

Possible Destinations: Toronto, Chicago (AL), Pittsburgh, Chicago (NL)

Signed with Cleveland - 1 year, $7.465 million

Although not as spectacular ratings wise as Gordon, Fassero is an excellent reliever capable of throwing a ton of innings in middle relief.  It's surprising he hasn't thrown more innings throughout his career.  His pitches are fantastic and has pretty nice control.  He doesn't throw with a lot of velocity, and can be touched up from time to time against lefties.  Still, he can be a nice anchor in the bullpen to work a lot of the middle innings. 

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