The free agent season officially begins today. Boston GM, Theo Epstein anticipates his second go around in the Hot Stove League:
"I think it will be a pretty active offseason in general," he said in a conference call last week. "There was a record number of one-year contracts signed last year, so a lot of players are available. Obviously, with a changing market, it creates an interesting dynamic for the clubs, and I think action is a good way to solve those issues. I think it will be an active offseason.
J.P. Ricciardi adds that teams will continue to non-tender players in order to avoid arbitration cases:
"It seems like there are going to be a record number of nontenders," Ricciardi said. "More and more clubs are going that route. When teams look at the value of players based on the system as opposed to what their actual talent is, sometimes 2 and 2 isn't 4. Some teams look at players and say, `I don't want to pay this guy $4 million because of the system.' "
Meanwhile, the Awards season begins in earnest today, when the American League Rookie of the Year will be announced. The competition is between Rocco Baldelli, Hideki Matsui, Angel Berroa, and Jody Gerut. I liked what little I saw of Gerut, but think the award will go to either Berroa or Godzilla.