10 Best Free Agent Signings Of The Offseason

It's time to present MLBTR's ten best free agent signings of the offseason.  Note that only Major League deals are included.  The players are listed in order of contract amount.

  • Joel Pineiro, Angels: two years, $18MM.  At the advice of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, Pineiro tried a sinker in Spring Training and went on to lead all of baseball in walk and groundball rate.  There are concerns over Pineiro's ability to reach 200 innings and succeed without Duncan, but the Angels signed a potential #2-3 starter and didn't take on a lot of risk.
  • Adrian Beltre, Red Sox: one year, $10MM.  Beltre was confident enough in his abilities this year to turn down a pair of three-year, $24MM offers from other clubs.  He's arguably the best defensive third baseman in the game, and he may return to his 25 home run ways in Boston.
  • Noel Arguelles, Royals: five years, $7MM.  The 20-year-old Cuban lefty is the equivalent of an extra first-round pick for the Royals.  True, he's no match for Aroldis Chapman, but he cost a quarter of what the Reds paid.
  • Adam LaRoche, Diamondbacks: one year, $6MM.  LaRoche should provide Arizona a .350 OBP and .490 SLG at a fair price.
  • Orlando Hudson, Twins: one year, $5MM.  Even if his defense is slipping, it appears the Twins added a couple of wins here.
  • Colby Lewis, Rangers: two years, $5MM.  The Rangers weren't the only team to notice Lewis' two years of dominance in Japan, as the A's and Twins also made two-year offers.  This was a low-risk, high-reward signing by the Rangers.
  • Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks: one year, $2.35MM.  Johnson was supplanted by Martin Prado as the Braves' starting second baseman last season and signed with Arizona after being non-tendered.  His arbitration-eligibility for 2011 is nearly as good as a club option.  If Johnson approaches his .273/.351/.443 CHONE projection, he'll be well worth the D'Backs' investment.
  • Gregg Zaun, Brewers: one year, $2.15MM.  In a world where Jason Kendall, Ivan Rodriguez, and Brian Schneider snagged two-year deals, the Brewers got Zaun for one year at a lesser salary, plus a club option.  Unlike those catchers, Zaun is able to muster up a .340 OBP.
  • Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals: one year, $2MM.  Though he may not be ready until May or later, Wang represents the right kind of risk for the Nationals.  If he rediscovers a 60% groundball rate, the Nats won't be non-tendering him after the season.
  • Felipe Lopez, Cardinals: one year, $1MM.  Scott Boras got Lopez $3.5MM coming off a decent '08 season, so he seemed in line for more after a fine '09.  However, Lopez tired of waiting around and switched to Beverly Hills Sports Council before signing with the Cards at a steep discount.  Utility players and half-season pitchers received larger guarantees.

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104 Responses to 10 Best Free Agent Signings Of The Offseason Leave a Reply

  1. andollio 5 years ago

    I think you need to include Andruw Jones in this signed a one year deal for 500k and is absolutely killing it this spring, prolly going to be a starter for the white sox.

    • markjsunz 5 years ago

      Just wait until late may when he is not hitting his weight and striking out close to 50% of the time. I watched his one year with the dodgers at 18 million a year. He would strike out and laugh, he was quoted as saying that he did not care waht the fans thought of him.He showed up to camp about 50 pounds overweight. I guess the muscle turned to fat when he stopped his steroid usage. I would bet even money he does not last the season with the white sox.

      • RiverKKiller999 5 years ago

        Andruw has always struck out a smiled like a jack rabit even when he was with the Braves .I guess he been watching the move ‘Major League’ too many times taking tips from Pedro Cerrano. haha

        • markjsunz 5 years ago

          This guy was a solid ballplayer with the braves and I am not sure why the Dodgers gave him the type of money they did when he hit .225 the year before. Good grief the guy was an absolute bust, but to make matters worse was his smiling and laughing all the time. After one of his many strike outs after being unable to solve the mystery of major league pitching. Joe Torre tried to keep putting a spin on it but finally I think the Dodger ownership made him take defered compensation and threatened to sue him if he did not. They probably had a clause in the contract that would have led the dodgers to prevail.

          • RiverKKiller999 5 years ago

            Yeah that was crazy to pay Jones that kinda money when he hit .225 and had a decrease in homers from 41 to 26 and batting average.Dodgers shoulda saw that he was turning sour and signed some 1 else.But to me it looks like the Dodgers were only looking for power from A-Jones but didn’t get it at all.Big bust of course but he’s still kinda youngish and has time to bounce back and improve a little.Us Braves fans got use to him striking out and smiling afterwards.Yes it was annoying seeing him do that .

          • markjsunz 5 years ago

            Most likely good ole Andrew never was much of a ball player without steroids.

          • RiverKKiller999 5 years ago

            Did I miss anything because I don’t remember hearing Andruw Jones ever used steroids.

          • Ahhh steroids, the arguments last gasp of air….

      • foxtown 5 years ago

        You’re referring to an Andruw Jones who was 30 pounds heavier than he is this spring. Jones showed up to camp in phenomenal shape and is proving with his actions that he wants to be a starter again. Sorry that he didn’t seem to care with the Dodgers but I believe he wants to revitalize his career this season.

        • markjsunz 5 years ago

          Like I said good luck come about late may when he is hitting about .160 and taking up space on the bench. If you guys are thinking of winning a division with this guy as a starter it is going to be a long hot summer.LOL

          • foxtown 5 years ago

            Well, if that is the case we have plenty of outfielders to take his spot. We are going to break camp with 5 outfielders (Pierre, Rios, Quentin, Jones, Kotsay) so if he doesn’t perform then he will be easily replaced and he knows that. With only a $500k commitment, there is almost no risk.

      • Did you happen to catch his improvement last year? You are referencing that he showed up then 50 pounds overweight, when last year he showed up in shape, issued a public apology, and showed up in better shape this year and is having a helluva spring training.


    • WhiteSoxFan81 5 years ago

      Double Post..

    • WhiteSoxFan81 5 years ago

      I just got back from Spring Training and Jones is in great shape. Maybe those Dodgers years finally got to him. I think he will be the starter the Sox were missing, at least to start the year. He may even move Pierre from LF to DH, giving the Sox a better defensive OF.

      • HeyNickyJ 5 years ago

        Why would you move Pierre to DH, I know Pierre isn’t great but Quentin is terrible in the field.
        I’d go Pierre in left, Jones in Center and Rios in Right.

        • Quentin is terrible in the field? Simply put, are you smoking crack?

          • HeyNickyJ 5 years ago

            Is a -25.4 UZR/150 in 2009 and a -6.2 UZR/150 in 2008 good in your universe? Because it’s terrible in mine.

        • foxtown 5 years ago

          Pierre in left??? Have you seen him throw? Teams would be running from first to third all day if Pierre was in left.

          • HeyNickyJ 5 years ago

            Of course I’m aware of Pierre’s throwing arm.
            Though I’d rather have a left fielder who could actually get to the ball, even if the runner gets to third, than have Quentin out there letting the runner get all the way around because his range is so bad.

    • Sorry, can’t agree. the guy is still on the books for LAD and correct me if I am wrong can’t ask for more than 500k while being paid by another team.

      • The money is now deferred. You can technically ask for more from a team but that is just deducted from the amount the Dodgers pay. This year is different because it was only a two year contract.

  2. bigpat 5 years ago

    I thought the Felipe Lopez signing was amazing. Teams avoided him like the plague. His deal is literally no risk for a guy who’s hit well the past few years and has versatility. He makes less money than guys like Alex Cora, Ramon Vazquez, Juan Uribe, and others.

  3. demetriusminor 5 years ago

    WHere do you think Dye will end up?

  4. Guest 5 years ago

    How is John Garland not there? Because the Padres are not a big market team or a playoff contender? Garland was easily one of the better signings in the off season for his talent and contract.

    • Garland was a finalist for the list.

    • aap212 5 years ago

      The chip on your shoulder is bigger than Petco.

      Not that you’re wrong.

      • Guest 5 years ago

        How is that? Please enlighten me…

        • aap212 5 years ago

          Banging the “You’re biased against covering my team or giving them credit because they’re not the Yankees or Red Sox” drum always smells of bitterness. I mean, I think he makes as much sense as most of the guys on the list, but you’re talking about a roughly league average starter signing with a team he won’t help win anything, and you can’t even spell his name. It doesn’t call for a mini-diatribe about your team being covered.

          • Guest 5 years ago

            I wasn’t banging the biased coverage or credit to my team drum! I asked a question and made a statement, pretty simple. Obviously I am not the ONLY one who feels this way.

            My point was that Garland, who for most of his career, pitching in hitter friendly parks, coming to what some people would call a mediocre division and probably pitching against the #3 starters for the opposing teams will fair much better, especially in the extreme pitcher friendly confines of Petco park.

            Also, I challenge your description of Garland as a “roughly league average starter”. A pitcher whose career includes two 18 game winning seasons, playing in Chicago of all places and a life time record of 117-102 is not my idea of an “avg pitcher”. Obviously being away from primarily hitters parks GOING to an extreme pitchers park and eliminating the DH will help his numbers significantly, and should help the Padres win more games.

            So, Chien-Ming Wang of the Nationals is going to contribute more in that division to his team, in contrast to the Padres? The guy may not even be ready until May, who knows how long.

            Garland was a terrific sign, REGARDLESS of whether or not the team makes the playoffs! I think I conceded that in my initial post. If Garland was signed by ANY TEAM I would have thought the exact same thing!

            As far as me making a TYPO on his name, my fathers name is JOHN, obviously I know about him as a player, is that your retort, really..

            Also, I question your use of the word diatribe, which implies, an “abusive attack of someone”. What is abusive or unfair about questioning the fact that the “writer” did not include Garland as one of the better free agent signings? Obviously Tim Dierkes did not find my question to be an abusive or unfair attack, as he responded by saying that he considered Jon Garland to be one of the finalists. I believe that indicates your comments were out of line and NOT mine.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            Diatribe may be too strong a word, but I meant in the lighter, colloquial sense that you were being kind of didactic. I just read your original post wrong. The second sentence looked sarcastic and bitter in the context of the internet, as I’m sure you can understand.

            On Garland, you’re really using wins and losses to evaluate him? He’s gone 117-102, sure, but that’s actually not a bad reflection of the teams he’s pitched for as a whole. The best attribute he has is that he racks up enough innings that his record is most likely to match his team’s.

            Mostly, I just think it’s weird to sweat your guy *not* making this list. It’s sort of an arbitrary list of OK signings from the second and third tier of a really weak free agent market. Maybe two or three of these guys are likely to impact their teams in any slightly significant way, contenders or no.

  5. citzen 5 years ago

    John Lackey?

    • rockiesmagicnumber 5 years ago

      John Lackey is the highest paid pitcher on the Boston Red Sox. How exactly does he fit into this “bargain but really good” group?

      If Pineiro carries what he learned in StL to Anaheim, he might out-WAR Lackey for 9M/year.

      • citzen 5 years ago

        Where did it say anything about bargains in this article? Did I miss it. If so never mind.

        • rockiesmagicnumber 5 years ago

          Fair enough on it not EXPLICITLY saying “Bargain”, but “signing best pitcher on free agent market for pretty much what you’d expect him to get on the free agent market that 20/30 teams wouldn’t be willing to pay” doesn’t really come across as a “best signing” when you compare value to actual payout.

          You’ll note Matt Holliday is also not on this list. Also Jason Bay, Chone Figgins, Jose Valverde, Marco Scutaro, others.

          • citzen 5 years ago

            You are right. Lackey is no bargain. But I am hopeful that he will allow the red sox a chance to win the division. I never mind when other people spend lots of money to make me happy.

  6. humbb 5 years ago

    I like the list Tim. One thing I would have added is a short summary of the potential incentive payments not included in the guaranteed money. Some of these incentives can total more than the base payments shown (e.g. Wang can get an additional $3M). Also some are more attainable than others – and some are contingent on health/availability of other players at their position.

    Might help in producing more comparable apples to apples evaluations.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      That’s a great suggestion. For example, Wang won’t be a good signing UNLESS he pitches well. And if he pitches well then his cost goes up. Same argument for guys like Bedard or Harden.

      As an Angels fan I would swap Pineiro for Cameron. Joel will most likely sport an ERA in the 4.50 range. Not bad for a #5 starter but I don’t consider him a bargain signing either. Now if Pineiro can pitch for the Angels like he did for the Cards then he becomes the very best signing. I just don’t hold out any hope for that.

  7. empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

    note to self: when Boston that signs a corner infielder that hasn’t put up an OBP over .330 since 2004 to a $10 million deal, it’s called a great deal.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      It is when you consider he can hit 30 HR’s and plays the best 3B defense in baseball. Oh, and it was only a one year deal.

      • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

        when your metric of “can hit 30 HR’s” is that he did it once, 6 years ago… then, yes, he “can hit 30 HR’s”. by this same metric, so can aubrey huff and russell branyan.

        • Jason_F 5 years ago

          However, when you take into consideration the power-depleting characteristics of Safeco field, the fact that he averaged 25 HR’s there from 06-08 and that a high fly ball to left field at Fenway becomes a home run, 30 jacks is definitely in the realm of possibility.

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            isn’t this the part where most sabermetrics fans are allowed to cop-out and say “but guuuys! It’s the AL EAST! The AL EAST!!!

        • bjsguess 5 years ago

          Hitting in Safeco is a far cry from hitting in Fenway. His last 2 years (not including his injury riddled 09 campaign) the guy hit 25 and 26 HR’s. Here are his away stats for those years:

          08 – 312 PA / 15 HR’s
          07 – 316 PA / 15 HR’s

          So, I will gladly stand by my statement. Beltre “can” hit 30 HR’s while playing half is games in hitter friendly Fenway vs pitcher friendly Safeco. And for what it’s worth – actually hitting “30” HR’s isn’t the point. Hitting 29 HR’s would be terrific, as would hitting 31.

          My issue with your statement was quite simple – you discounted Beltre’s worth because he doesn’t walk. Yet, you completely ignore 2 other important aspects of his game, defense and power.

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            maybe it wasn’t his best work, but he ranked #35 last year amongst players who had played third and had at least 300 PA’s. could you pay this guy $10MM? sure, if you have the cash. is that one of the best deals of the offseason? not even close, in my opinion.

          • BoSoxSam 5 years ago

            bjsguess already addressed last year; he was riddled with injuries throughout the year. Sure, he still had 300 PAs, so that works for your stats, but even when he was playing he was struggling with the nagging injuries. Sure, it’s a risk that the RS are taking. But if Beltre even just comes back to his 07 and 08 numbers (which again, is not really expecting that much, considering 09 was basically lost to injuries), -plus- he gets at least slightly improved numbers due to his new home field, he should definitely be able to hit 30 home runs. If he can do that, plus his great defense, he’s a major steal. Tim even mentions that even with his 2009, he got 3 year deals at 8mil a year that he turned down. Clearly he’s pretty confident in his abilities as well, which just makes me more confident that he can turn it around. He obviously thinks he can step it up a notch this year, and get the big 4 or 5 year deal he was originally looking for.

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            sorry, i didn’t realize we were considering “player confidence” when handing out 8-figure contracts. someone get eric gagne’s agent on the phone.

    • rockiesmagicnumber 5 years ago

      Adrian Beltre is an elite defender at 3B. He has an average-to-above-average bat, and again, elite 3B defense. He fits with Boston.

      He would’ve fit even better with Philadelphia.

    • Jason_F 5 years ago

      Your comments are overbearingly sarcastic and really come across as pompous. You could’ve easily disagreed with Beltre’s inclusion on this list and constructively backed up your assertion. $10M on a one year deal for arguably the best fielding 3rd baseman in the game with the ability to hit 25+ bombs out of the 7th spot in your lineup doesn’t really sound like the Red Sox were stretching to me.

      • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

        sorry, i thought i mentioned that he hasn’t put up an OBP over .330 in 6 years. if we’re all going to cite his league-leading UZR/150 from last season, maybe we should also mention that his OPS was 20th in the majors last year amongst all third baseman with at least 150 PA’s. we could also mention that in 2007 his UZR/150 showed he actually had below average defense (and note that this metric is a little bit shady to begin with). in any case, you should note that i never said this deal was terrible, but signing a once-good player to a 1-year, $10MM contract isn’t a great deal in my opinion. or else ben sheets would be on this list, and i don’t think anyone’s asking for that. but maybe that’s just me being overbearingly sarcastic.

        • Jason_F 5 years ago

          You did mention the OBP, but repeating something doesn’t necessarily make your argument better. It is widely believed that he played hurt most of last year and that, barring injury, is at least a league average bat at 3B (you are obviously entitled to your opinion, but the numbers for 06-08 support this). Also, you are going against what the developers of UZR claim is the most important aspect of the metric: sample size. A career 13.9 UZR/150 overshadows your mention of the one year that he dropped below 0.0…1 season out of 8. So, if you can accept that he is a league average bat with 25+ HR potential playing the best defense at his position, I don’t see how you can say this is anything but a good deal.

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            since you mentioned that he’s a league-average bat, let’s just simplify everything:

            – a league average bat is a 100 OPS+ (beltre averages exactly 100 over the last 5 seasons)

            – a league average salary is $3.23 million (boston is paying beltre $10 million).

          • Jason_F 5 years ago

            So, what is Beltre going to be doing in the top half of those innings in Boston where he’s not sitting in the dugout, in the on-deck circle, in the batter’s box or on the bases? I’ll help you, he’s going to be fielding his position presumably as good as or better than anyone else in the game. That’s the other half of baseball outside of hitting.

            So far, you have conceded that he is a league average bat…are you ready to agree with the other two points that make up my argument, that he has 25+ HR potential and plays excellent defense?

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            ok, “OPS”, as a statistic, includes slugging percentage. which i thought was a pretty accepted power metric. in fact, it’s his power that even allows him to be considered average. without it, his OBP is certainly nothing to write home about (unless you write letters home about players with below-average OBP). so i am very much considering power. that’s included in the “league average bat” part. in baseball you generate power with a bat.

            re: defense. you’re right. by every generally-accepted metric he’s a plus defender. if you want to pay an extra $6.8 million for that defense, be my guest. but i’m not going to call it a great contract.

          • Jason_F 5 years ago

            Of course slugging percentage is a perfectly fine way of measuring power. However, the easiest way to exponentially improve a player’s OPS is via the HR. Seeing as his HR total is the part of his game that stands to have the most potential to improve (because of the three reasons I mentioned above), his OPS for 2010 could possibly be significantly better than it has been in the past. Couple this with the fact that his offense is highly unlikely to be worse than it has in the past, given that he will only be 31 this season, it makes even more sense.

            You don’t have to call it a great contract, just one of the 10 best of the offseason. Which, I believe, it most certainly is.

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            sorry, i can’t do this anymore. i was limiting my argument to things borne out by the statistics, not “could possibly’s” and “highly unlikely’s”. additionally, i didn’t get the special significance of age 31. if this is what we’re basing our disagreement on, i’m afraid it’s going to have to stop right here.

          • Jason_F 5 years ago

            If you were a GM, you wouldn’t take into consideration what is likely and unlikely to happen in the upcoming season? I mentioned he was only 31 because a player’s performance doesn’t normally start slipping at that age. What would have to happen this season for you to determine that Beltre was worth the $10M that the Red Sox are paying him?

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            if i were a GM, i would make determinations on what is “likely to happen” based on statistics correlated with run-production, not “age 31-ness.”

          • BoSoxSam 5 years ago

            Again, I think to get correct numbers to show his true abilities, you really need to eliminate 2009. Seems to me that most people agree he played hurt throughout the year, and his numbers suffered greatly because of it. I’m curious; what would be his OPS+ average for the four years before that? If it’s still 100, then you win.

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            so now he’s a league average bat coming off an injury-plagued season? and that somehow makes him more appealing?

            sorry, just can’t eliminate an entire year. especially the most recent one.

          • Jason_F 5 years ago

            His OPS+ for the 4 years before that: 104.

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            deleting entire years of data works wonders. and it still just comes out to 104? you know what troy glaus’s OPS+ was over the last 5 years if we do him the favor of not counting his worst and most recent season? 123. you know how much he signed for? hint: not $10 million.

          • Jason_F 5 years ago

            I simply answered the guy’s question, nothing more and nothing less. However, Glaus is also coming off of a major injury, will be playing a position that he has played for a grand total of 38 big league innings, is 4.5 years older than Beltre, and has a high risk of injury going forward. I think the Glaus signing was a great one, but the level of uncertainty with what he will provide to the Braves is much, much greater than what the Red Sox have in Beltre.

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            anyone can post statistics, but lets go ahead and make sure they’re correct:

            troy glaus: born august 3, 1976.
            adrian beltre: born april 17, 1979.

            difference: 2 years, 8 months.


          • Jason_F 5 years ago

            Ok, ya got me there. I made a mistake with their ages. You’re really resorting to some petty stuff your last few comments, though. My points remain valid, however.

            I’ll try one more time, though: “What would have to happen this season for you to determine that Beltre was worth the $10M that the Red Sox are paying him?”

      • East Coast Bias 5 years ago

        A little sarcasm is good for the soul.

        • Jason_F 5 years ago

          I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with a little sarcasm…however, every single comment of his is teeming with it.

    • aap212 5 years ago

      We’ve reached a point where any time you sign a guy to only a one year deal, it practically triples in value. Ten million isn’t that much money, the defense is a guarantee, and there’s upside in the bat. And again, it means not signing the guy who requires more years.

  8. dutchschultz 5 years ago

    Troy Glaus will be on this list at the end of the year.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      Might have something to do with the fact that the guy is playing a position he has never played and is coming off a year in which he suffered a major injury (again).

      We could go all day with the list of guys who have great upside but carry tremendous risk. Glaus would definitely be on that list. Harden, Dutch, Bedard, Wang, Branyan, P Martinez, Andruw Jones, Sheets, Huff, etc. Any one of those guys could be All-Stars in 10. Any one of those guys could contribute nothing.

      I look at the list and see guys that aren’t injury prone. Most have a track record of being starters capable of contributing. Some are coming off big years (Lopez, Pineiro) while others are just solid players year in, year out (Hudson). So, while Glaus certainly has the potential to outperform everyone on the list, he could also underperform everyone on that list.

      It was just 11 months ago that the internet was ablaze with Epstein for President posts after scoring Baldelli, Smoltz, and Penny. Or Johnson signing with the Giants. Point is, these high risk guys usually DO NOT work out.

  9. RiverKKiller999 5 years ago

    Some how Troy Glaus didn’t make the list?

  10. This list just proves to me how weak this year’s Free Agent class was, frankly. And that Jon Garland almost made the list says it further. There are questions and doubts about almost every guy on this list. I do think Johnson and Lopez both may be the best bargains of the bunch, though.

  11. FarmerErnie 5 years ago

    No Jason Bay? That was a steal or the Mets at that price and for those years. That’s a much better signing than an of the garbage on that list.

    • Jason_F 5 years ago

      Felipe Lopez 2009: 4.6 WAR
      Jason Bay 2009: 3.5 WAR

      Difference in guaranteed contract value committed: $65 million.

      • Super_Hero 5 years ago

        and yet, minus budget constriant, all would perfer Bay over Lopez.

        • Jason_F 5 years ago

          And which team, other than the Yankees and Red Sox, go through an offseason “minus budget constriant?” That’s a pretty big “minus”…

      • BoSoxSam 5 years ago

        And this is where I think that WAR is becoming a bit of an overused stat, similar to ERA or batting average. Sure, Lopez had a much higher WAR. But nearly every team would rather have Bay (minus budget constraint, fine. But still, ask an executive of any of the 30 major league teams which of the two they’d rather have on their team if they had to choose, and I bet you the overwhelming majority would choose Bay.) Jason Bay is a power hitter, a strong middle of the lineup guy. He did very well as the #4 hitter for one of the strongest offenses last year with Boston. Even on an extreme powerhouse such as the Yankees, he’s in the 3-5 slots. He’s a home run and RBI guy. Sure, his defense isn’t great. Sure, some of the peripherals are pretty weak. But this is my point; some aspects of the game, such as power hitting, are more highly valued. It takes a certain type of player to be a strong cleanup hitter, and that’s what Bay is. Lopez is a strong all-around guy, but he’s not the one you want to see come up to bat in a tense, need to hit a big one, type of situation. As valuable as Lopez is, that factor in Bay’s game is what makes him such a big draw.

        • Jason_F 5 years ago

          Your point is extremely valid. I agree that you cannot use WAR as the only method of comparison here (trust me, I’m a Giants fan and could’ve used Bay’s injection of power into the lineup more than anyone). My point with the simple comparison that I made is that I don’t think there is a $15.5M per year difference between those two players and I view this top ten list as who is going to provide the most value per dollar of the total contract. Combine that with the fact that the Mets are committed to paying this exorbitant salary for 3 (and possibly 4) more years when he is going to be required to play the field and cost them runs in that aspect of the game, I just think it is silly to say that the signing of Jason Bay is better than anyone named on this list.

  12. jaydh 5 years ago

    To see Pineiro on this list is quite comical.

    • WasianCU 5 years ago

      I don’t think you can really say that without seeing how the season turns out for him. As others have already mentioned, if he pitches similar to last season then he is a steal. If he regresses and puts up a mid 4’s era with mediocre peripherals then he is an overpaid #5 starter.

      Either way, I don’t think you can consider it comical when you have no idea which way his season will go.

  13. $1526717 5 years ago

    I think Aroldis Chapman should be on there. 6 years $30 mill really isn’t that much money in this day and age, and it looks like at worst he’ll be a decent reliever, at best a Cy Young candidate. And he’s not even old enough to drink yet.

    Great investment by the Reds, and it shouldn’t bust their budget even if he turns out to be a total bust

    • Yankees420 5 years ago

      I agree that Chapman can become a high caliber pitcher, but if he turns out to be a “decent reliever” then 5 mil a year isn’t a very good deal. (Note that I do like the signing by the Reds)

    • aap212 5 years ago

      It’s hard to put a guy on this list when he’d never pitched on American soil against high level competition and they had to double the price of the most expensive draft pick ever to get him. Don’t get me wrong, I’m optimistic about him, but hard to slot him into this list.

  14. I honestly don’t think any of those players will have a major impact, they are all very close to replacement level talent where similar valued players could have been picked up on waivers. I guess as someone else pointed out, it goes to show you how week the free agent class was.

    • Yankees420 5 years ago

      Its like 4 comments up that Jason_F showed that Lopez had a 4.6 WAR last season, and it was higher than Jason Bay’s, I doubt you could get anyone that good on waivers.

      • I realize that, but I don’t project Lopez to continue that kind of success, and this is based on what a player will do this season, not what they did last season.

  15. $1526717 5 years ago

    Oh, and where’s Russ Branyan? The Indians got him for a song. Yea, he has a bad back and can’t play defense, but he can still give you 20-25 home runs.

    I thought Jack Cust was a good value signing as well and a decent shot to rebound. Jonny Gomes as well.

  16. Super_Hero 5 years ago

    Chien-Ming Wang will start the season on the dl coming off of surgery. hasn’t been the same since he got crushed in the playoffs a couple yrs ago but he is one of the better free agent signing. haha

  17. trebek29 5 years ago

    no nick johnson for 1 yr. 5.5 mill full time dh?

  18. Spirit of '69 5 years ago

    John Lackey is the highest paid pitcher on the Boston Red Sox. How exactly does he fit into this “bargain but really good” group?

    You’d be right if the headline read “bargain free agents” but it didn’t, it’s supposedly a list of the best free agent signings. Lackey was expensive but he gives the Red Sox an outstanding rotation, if he stays healthy he will likely prove to be worth the money. Probably will outperform A.J. Burnett whose salary is comparable.

    I’m admittedly biased but I also think Bay was a great signing for the Mets, the only real highlight of the off-season for them. Again, he’s expensive but if he stays healthy he’s going to help them immensely. I agree with the list if it’s strictly bargain signings, but a high-priced free-agent can also be a good signing (Texeira, Sabbathia, Ibanez).

    • trebek29 5 years ago

      i agree overall but there are two reasons i do not like the Bay signing: his plays atrocious defense and it will be even worse in cavernous citifield and the mets needed to spend that money on a pitcher

  19. Spirit of '69 5 years ago

    trebek29: I agree his defense is a concern but, let’s face it, that’s not why they ponied up the money. They desperately needed a reliable HR and RBI bat in the middle of that lineup given the quick demise of Delgado. If Beltran comes back and others stay healthy he makes everyone else a tougher out while adding back some badly needed offensive numbers.

    Given that Delgado’s and Wagner’s salaries came off the books, they’re really not taking a financial hit by signing Bay and the potential dividends are big. When Beltran has a power/RBI bat behind him he becomes even more dangerous. Wright will benefit too.

    • trebek29 5 years ago

      i again agree but do you think it would have been better for the mets to spend this money on starting pitching? remember they signed bay before beltran and reyes suffered their most recent ailments. assuming both those 2 would be playing on opening day back then, your lineup would have included, obviously, reyes, wright, beltran, castillo, and franceour, who are all good offensively and the first 3 names are superstars. on the other hand, your rotation is, for lack of a better term, a complete joke.

      • Spirit of '69 5 years ago

        Yeah, agree, sighhhh … I would’ve preferred they go after Lackey first. They have the money and paired with Santana would’ve been an excellent 1-2. I like Bay a lot and had hoped they would package several players and prospects for at least another starter — either Oswalt, who they almost had a couple of years ago in a three-way trade that was blown up by Baltimore, or Arroyo who was presumably available going into the off-season even before Reds signed Aroldis Chapman.

        I’ve been very vocal on this site throughout the off-season about how the Mets rotation scares no one and how it’s yet another delusional exercise by the front office — akin to convincing themselves that bullpen full of Heilmans, Sosas and Schoeneweises would ever get anyone out.

        I think Maine is a question mark but worth sticking with. Pelfrey is woefully inconsistent and, in my opinion, needs a smaller market with less attention. Perez just plain sucks.

  20. trebek29 5 years ago

    more or less yes which is why i think the bay signing was by far one of the worst of the offseason not b/c of what he represents, but with what else the team needed, which is pitching. i think that is augmented b/c ike davis and thole are going to fill dire needs for you in the not to distant future and spending any bit of money on catchers or first basemen, which the mets did albeit very minimal, was still a waste.

  21. Spirit of '69 5 years ago

    Well, that’s definitely a legitimate way to look at it. I come at it a different way. The team filled a glaring need in the middle of the lineup. That they chose to delude themselves about the rotation – by either not signing a free agent pitcher or making a deal for a proven starter – is something I see as a larger inherent problem than just one off-season.

    For instance, everyone watching the Mets knew in early ’07 that their bullpen was weak but the problem wasn’t addressed until after the ’08 season. Two full seasons of trusting pitchers who clearly couldn’t pitch cost the team two playoff berths, likely two division titles.

    The Mets front office operates in the twilight zone. They address one problem with a Johan Santana but ignore the bullpen (which, incidentally, blew 7 leads handed to them by Santana — they hold half those leads and he likely wins another Cy Young). This year they addressed the middle of the order bat problem with Bay but ignored starting pitching.

    The Bay signing, like Santana, will prove to be good for them — maybe better than good. But by itself is not enough. This is bigger than one signing or one off-season. I’m telling you, they’re delusional.

  22. aap212 5 years ago

    Pineiro only struck out 105 guys last year and 33 of them were Pirates, Padres or Astros. Of the last six seasons, he’s had one very good full year. I wouldn’t bet my mortgage on him being a 2 or 3 in the big boy league.

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      wow your using STRIKEOUTS to measure pitching statistics?? that has to be the most arbitrary way to measure a pitchers performance, second only to the infamous “win-loss stat.”

      does it really matter how a pitcher gets a hitter out as long as he gets out….

      anyways, pineiro threw 200+ innings, walked only 27 batters last season, made 30+starts, led the majors in shutouts, had a sub 1.2WHIP, and gave up a total of 11 homeruns the whole season. that is deserving of a 2/16 deal.

      oh yeah and he also led the majors in groundball/flyball ratio which i would prefer over someone who leads the majors in strikeouts. the last part is just an opinion.

      • aap212 5 years ago

        Then name a guy who’s had sustained success with a strikeout rate that low in recent years. A couple of years of Westbrook here, a couple of years of Wang there. But no one you would reliably call a 2 or 3. This is not at all like win-loss arguments. If you don’t miss bats, your margin of error is too small. The really successful groundball guys of recent years, like Halladay or Lowe, still strike guys out. Strikeouts aren’t everything, but if you can’t even strike out five guys per nine in the national league, you’re a tough bet to be a middle-front of the rotation guy on an AL contender.

  23. Trious 5 years ago

    Wang could end up being the best signing of the off-season

    He won’t win 20 games with the Nats lack of consistency at the plate but I could see him with 16-17 wins and a 4 ERA which is fantastic for them

    He has good stuff

  24. Holy_Roman_Emperor 5 years ago

    Joel Piniero wtf……

  25. Bernaldo 5 years ago

    I don’t buy that any of these guys deserve to be “best” until we are well into the season. On paper, one can make a case for any of these as well as other as best free agent signing. So far, there are no bad signings but given the realities of baseball, some of these guys are likely to be on the “worst” list come October.

  26. hernandez4cy 5 years ago

    What about the signing of the one the best defensive, and top of the order players in baseball by the Mariners Chone Figgins? How does that not make the top 10? Pretty ridiculous.

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