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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