MLB Free Agent Signings: Troy Tulowitzki, Javier Vazquez, Juan Uribe
Two Thumbs Up
The Colorado Rockies locked up Troy Tulowitzki through the 2020 season with the announcing of a seven-year, $134 million contract earlier today.
Basically, Tulowitzki is going to be a member of the Rockies for the majority of his playing career. He'll be 36 when his current contract is up.
You can't blame the Rockies for this one. The 25-year old shortstop is quickly developing into one of the best shortstops in the game, if he isn't already.
He plays solid defense, runs well and swings a mighty bat.
The Rockies will end up with a huge bargain in the end and that's what they are hoping for—but it doesn't come without risk.
Tulowitzki has missed significant time in two seasons now. He sat out most of 2008 with a torn quad muscle. This past season, he suffered a broken wrist after being hit in the hand. The injury caused him to miss a month of the season.
Had he not suffered the injury, Tulowitzki would have been well on his way to another 30 homer, 100 RBI campaign.
I think we will see a 40-homer season from Tulowitzki at some point.
2011 Forecast: .299, 33 HR, 115 RBI, 15 SB, 105 R
Two Thumbs Down
In other news, the Dodgers are reportedly close to signing a three-year, $21 million deal with SS Juan Uribe.
Uribe hit .248 in 148 games with the Giants last season, while posting career highs in homeruns (24) and RBIs (85).
I don't know why the Dodgers insist on paying Uribe that kind of money to play infield for them. He provides decent pop, but I doubt very seriously that he'll reach 20 homeruns again.
His defense is average at best, and he produces a lot of outs (career .256 average, .300 OBP).
Uribe hit .280 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs in 261 ABs at AT&T Park last season. To extend upon that, he hit .346 in 182 ABs at AT&T Park with 9 homers and 32 RBI in 2009.
In contrast, Uribe hit a paltry .215 on the road in 2010 and .241 in 2009. Maybe the team that signs him should consider benching him on the road.
This will be another waste of money for the Dodgers organization.
2011 Forecast: 400 ABs, .250, 17 HR, 60 RBI, 45 R
Marlins Bolster Their Staff
Javier Vazquez also cashed in, signing a one-year deal worth $7 million.
Normally, I would say this is a good move, given his poor history pitching for the Yankees, but there are too many red flags here.
He isn't getting any younger, for one, but he also lost velocity on his fastball last year.
Couple that with career worst ratios in HR/9 (1.8), BB/9 (3.7) and his worst K/9 since his last stint with the Yankees (6.9) and you've got yourself quite a risk.
Vazquez likes to use his fastball up in the zone after working his breaking pitches down in the dirt to produce strikeouts. It's harder to do that when you don't have your old velocity.
Don't expect a miraculous recovery in velocity, either. That's unlikely at his age.
He will really have to use his other pitches effectively if he wants to avoid another 2010 season.
The good news is that he is a different pitcher in the National League—for the better. Another positive, Vazquez only allowed hitters to hit .258 against him last year and 18 of his 32 homers allowed came at Yankee Stadium.
It's a risky deal for Florida, made even worse by his no-trade clause. That will make dealing him at the break very difficult should he register any success with the Marlins.
2011 Forecast: 165 IP, 6-8, 4.35 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 140 Ks
More to Come
The Winter Meetings are upon us and there are still some very high-profile free agents on the market. It should make for an interesting conclusion to the offseason.
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box below. You can e-mail me suggestions or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @JoeSportswriter.
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