After a crazy week, it was a mostly quiet weekend.
The Yankees have signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million deal, with a no-trade clause. One interesting note about the deal is that the Yankees will send a compensatory draft pick to St. Louis. They gained picks from the qualifying offers rejected by Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, but gave both of those picks up along with their own first-round pick because of the signings of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Beltran. So maybe the system isn't as broken as it seemed earlier this off-season? Dave Cameron compares Beltran's current deal with his last one as a way to talk about the changing market.
Also, the Yankees resigned Hiroki Kuroda for one year at $16 million.
The Astros, now determined to spend money after doing everything they could to save it last year, have signed Chad Qualls to a two-year, $6 million deal with a $3.5 million option for a third year. Frankly, I thought his career was pretty much over when he came to St. Pete (with a compensatory pick in tow). Guess not.
Jason Hanselman linked to it deep in a comment section last week, but it's an interesting and well-supported enough narrative that it should get wider play. Josh Lueke has routinely dominated triple-A, only to fail completely on the major league level. It may be that he's that mythical quad-A player, but it's also true that umpires have not given him a normal major-league strike zone.
Chad Dotson at The Hardball Times profiles the newest Ray, catcher Ryan Hanigan.
With David Price to Seattle rumors swirling, The Process Report has profiled two likely Mariners trade chips, Taijuan Walker and Brad Miller. While I'm not as in love with Walker's fastball as most, I do agree with Tommy's link to Jason Cole's assessment of Walker, in that he should perhaps work on a splitter rather than his traditional but mediocre changeup. His fastball is very vertical, and the combination of a vertically dropping splitter with the already plus cutter would add in some of the intrigue I think his arsenal may be lacking.
Interesting Links You Should Read
And if you're really into this stuff, TrackMan has an internship posted right now. Seriously, someone who doesn't have their life already settled, go do this and then tell the rest of us here all about it.
The NPB posting system is nearly officially changed. The new system sets a max bid of $20 million (that doesn't count against the luxury tax cap). All winning bids (in the case of ties) can then negotiate directly with the player. I view this as a clear win for small-market teams, as a) more teams can participate in the posting process and b) a higher percentage of the money paid to acquire Japanese players will count toward the luxury cap.
It's sort of like Christmas morning whenever MGL posts, and today he revisited the math behind the DH penalty, the pinch-hit penalty, and a few others. Of special note, it comes out different whether you're looking at pinch hitting against the starter or against a reliever.