Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Free Agency Hit-Or-Miss (Or Foul)

            Now that most of the quality MLB free agents have been signed to teams, it's time to look at who did the best with their deals, who did the worst, and whose deals will be one of waiting and seeing.

Hit: Jason Heyward's eight-year, $184 million contract with the Cubs Jason Heyward didn't get $200 million, but this isn't that bad of a contract for him or the Cubs. Heyward may be a career .268 hitter, but he's only 26. He's also a spectacular fielder (Four errors in the past 409 games) who batted .293 and stole 23 bases last season. He also spent a majority of his young career at Turner Field, a hitter's nightmare of a park.
Hit: Yoenis Cespedes' three-year, $75 million contract with the Mets Even though Cespedes didn't get the six-year deal that he wanted, he does get to return to the team that he admires in the Mets. Included in his deal is an opt-out clause after a year so that he can seek his six-year deal next year if he wants. Cespedes doesn't just rake in hits (.291, 35 HR, 105 RBI). He also has the most outfield assists in all of baseball in the past two years with 29.
Hit: Jordan Zimmermann's five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers Detroit was once known for having a stellar rotation, but have fallen to the wayside as of late. As for Zimmermann, 2015 wasn't his best season (3.66 ERA, 13-10, 1.20 WHIP) and he won't strike out 200 batters in a season. However, he doesn't walk many batters either and should form a solid pitching duo with the re-emerging Justin Verlander.
Hit: Justin Upton's six-year, $132.75 million contract with the Tigers As long as Upton's committed to playing in Detroit, then this deal will work out fine. Adding another bat to an already-intimidating lineup with the likes of Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez will help immensely. Upton also gets the luxury of finally not having to play in a pitcher's ballpark like he has done for most of his career. Plus, the Tigers don't have to acquire his brother Melvin Upton, Jr., who's all kinds of disaster.
Foul: Johnny Cueto's six-year, $130 million contract with the Giants Cueto's coming off a questionable 2015 campaign with Kansas City (4.76 ERA, 4-7, 1.45 WHIP), but he should benefit nicely from the transition back into the NL. Plus, he goes into a pitcher's park in AT&T Park. If everything goes right, then San Francisco could have a good pitching duo in Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto.
Foul: David Price's seven-year, $217 million contract with the Red Sox While the Red Sox do have a dire need for starting pitching, I do have a bad feeling about this contract. It might be due to Price going to Fenway or it might be due to his postseason woes. However, Price is a pitcher who can go the distance in games and is coming off a solid 2015 season with Detroit/Toronto (2.45 ERA, 18-5, 225 SO, 1.08 WHIP).
Foul: Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto and his flurry of trades For the Mariners, their time to win is now, especially in the rising AL West. Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano aren't getting younger and they have a barren farm system to boot. So Jerry Dipoto worked out some deals (actually a lot) and acquired relief pitcher Joquain Benoit, starting pitchers Nathan Karns and Wade Miley, first baseman Adam Lind, and outfielder Leonys Martin. If a good majority of these trades work out for Seattle and they make the postseason, Dipoto will be a good candidate for Executive of the Year.
Miss: Chris Davis' seven-year, $161 million contract with the Orioles The richest contract ever paid out in Orioles history, Baltimore shells out a ridiculous amount of money to a player who batted .262 and struck out 208 times in 2015. Yes, Davis has a ton of power, hitting 126 homers in the past three seasons. However, shelling out record money for a player who strikes out way more than he walks or hits isn't usually a good investment.
Miss: The Dodgers' offseason First, they didn't lock up Zack Greinke, who went to division rival Arizona on a six-year, $206.5 million contract. Then, they had a three-year deal with Hisashi Iwakuma that fell through due to a bad physical (Iwakuma wound up going back to Seattle). Then, they settled for Scott Kazmir (3.10 ERA, 59 walks, 1.21 WHIP), who is sadly not Zack Greinke. They did get Kenta Maeda from Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. Otherwise, it was an offseason to forget for Los Angeles.
Miss: The Washington Nationals They had a chance to add bats and protection for MVP Bryce Harper along with some rotation arms, but failed. Yoenis Cespedes turned down a five-year offer to go back to the Mets. Justin Upton went to the Tigers. Wei-Yen Chen went to the Marlins. They acquired NLCS hero Daniel Murphy, who actually didn't have a bad 2015 regular season with the Mets (.281, 14 HR, 73 RBI) along with Ben Revere (.306 BA, .347 OBP, 31 SB). However, that won't do a lot for Harper as he'll have to carry the Nationals' lineup once again.

All statistics provided by baseball-reference.com

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