Free Agency and the Cubs

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Jon Heyman just tweeted this about Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong:



Vogelsong, as you recall, was spectacular for the Giants in 2012 against the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.  He came extremely cheap because he was in Japan for a while and wasn’t that highly touted.  After a relatively forgettable 2013 campaign, Vogelsong getting a shade over $6.5MM with incentives suggests that we’re looking at a ceiling for a reclamation project like Scott Baker.

The MLBTR blurb suggests that Vogelsong’s base is $3MM guaranteed.  Baker didn’t pitch a ton last season but was serviceable in the 3 starts (15 innings) he did finally get to pitch before being shut down.  Baker got paid $5.5MM last season, so an incentive package (starting around $3MM and no more than $5MM base with escalators to Vogelsong’s $6.5MM as reported by Heyman) sounds about right for 2014.  If he wants more (and he’d be kind of petty and insane if he holds out), then he’s gone.

For whatever reason (probably a good one, mind you), the Cubs are also rumored to be interested in former Cardinals reliever Edward Mujica.  Mujica had a good line overall last season and did save 37 games for the Cards, but towards the end of the season I seem to recall manager Mike Matheny got a bit displeased with him and installed Trevor Rosenthal instead.  The Cubs signing Mujica seems counter to what Chris Bosio said before, which was that the closer job may go to Pedro Strop (read this) or Hector Rondon.  However, Mujica could potentially be a good veteran presence for the other guys and still slot in as the 7th inning guy, with Strop and Rondon tag-teaming in the latter innings.  This also depends on whether in-house options like Chang-Yong Lim or Kyuji Fujikawa can contribute significantly.

As for the reported asking price, which is about $15MM over three seasons (the third season may be an option), this is in line with what Joe Smith just got from the Los Angeles Angels.  Mujica and Smith are the same age, although Mujica is probably the better reliever overall.  So the price tag shouldn’t be surprising.

This is the price of free agency.  And that’s not even getting into what the big boys up top are going to command.

About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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