Orioles sign Mark Hendrickson (1/1.5 mil)
Some MLB.com headline writers are comedians in their spare time. For example: “Hendrickson signing solidifies O’s staff”. Taken in context the signing is decent. Hendrickson is a stop-gag for the Orioles until their youthful pitchers are ready for the majors. The deal isn’t expensive nor long. Andy McPhail is fully aware of what 2009 will hold for the O’s and is committing against rushing prospects like Matt Wieters, Chris Tillman, and Jake Arrieta.
As for Hendrickson, he looks like Randy Johnson and throws like John Halama. At 6’9” you would imagine a history in basketball, but did you know he actually played for the Philadelphia 76ers for a few seasons? Hendrickson turned to baseball in1998 and hasn’t looked back. Hendrickson’s best season came in 2006 as a swingman, starting only 15 of the 39 games he appeared in for the Dodgers. Hendrickson underwent eye surgery in the off-season before signing with the Marlins, but didn’t see improved statistics. In fact, Hendrickson’s walk rates showed decline. CHONE has Hendrickson worth 1.2 WAR next season and anything higher than 0.2 WAR is going to turn this signing into profit.
Dodgers sign Claudio Vargas (1/400k, potential for 1.4 mil in incentives)
One could’ve pegged Vargas as a potential Oriole as well, but alas it wasn’t to be. Vargas spent 2008 with the Mets, throwing 37 innings with a 4.51 FIP and lowered strikeout rates. It’s worth noting Vargas velocity averaged out about a mile per hour less than 2007 and two below 2005/2006 averages. Historically, Vargas shows slight favoritism to flyballs. CHONE has Vargas equal to Braden Looper and Freddy Garcia amongst others with right around one WAR projected. You have to give Ned Colletti props for the signing, considering the Dodgers are getting him for the minimum, or at worst ~2 million.
Mariners sign Eric Hull (minor)
A former Dodger farm hand, Hull is a University of Portland product with decent numbers in the minor leagues. Too short to start, Hull has spent the past three seasons in the bullpen and produced moderate success with K/9s of 9.62, 11.1, and 10.54 and FIPs of 4.1, 2.51, and 2.60. In his brief major league stint Stull relied on a low-90’s fastball and an upper-70’s curveball. One would assume Hull will get some time with the major league team this season.
Ruiz isn’t quite the 31-year-old rookie, instead he was 30 last season when he made his debut. In 22 games, Ruiz possessed and OBP driven .693 OPS. That’s a bit shocking, since Ruiz’ minor league numbers suggest he has some power. A journeyman, Ruiz has played in the Reds, Orioles, Phillies, Yankees, Royals, Pirates, Giants, and Twins organizations.
Chavez spent last season with the Pirates, and much like Bako is what you’d expect from a 35-year-old back up catcher. Chavez threw out nearly 40% of attempted base stealers last season, and has a history of nailing runners. Quite a contrast to the Jays other minor league catcher invitee, Michael Barrett.
When Mike Maroth lost 21 games in 2003, he became the symbol of futility for an atrocious Detroit Tigers team. Maroth would remain with the Tigers for an additional three and a half seasons before the Tigers traded him to the Cardinals. Maroth signed with the Royals in the off-season, and threw less than eight innings before shoulder surgery ended his season. Maroth’s good for a ~5 FIP as a starter, but could be moderately more successful as a poor man’s left-handed specialist.
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