Analyzing The Offseason’s Biggest Contracts

For just the third time in baseball history, three free agents have signed deals worth over $100MM in a single offseason. And Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth and Cliff Lee are far from the only players to cash in this winter. Adam Dunn, Derek Jeter and Victor Martinez all signed deals that guarantee them $50MM or more.

The last time as many as six free agents signed deals worth $50MM or more was the 2006-07 offseason, when the likes of Gary Matthews Jr. and Gil Meche were on the open market. The current offseason has drawn comparisons to the winter of 2006-07, but according to one barometer of the free agent market, teams have not yet matched the aggressive spending of four years ago.

A total of 41 free agents signed contracts worth $10MM or more in the 2006-07 offseason. Nearly two months into this offseason, 24 free agents have signed eight-figure deals, as MLBTR's transaction tracker shows*. Some players, like Adrian Beltre, Rafael SorianoAdam LaRoche, Kevin Gregg and Carl Pavano could push that total higher and it may surpass 30 by the end of the offseason.

The arbitrary $10MM cutoff does an admittedly imperfect job of gauging teams' willingness to spend. But the sheer volume of eight-figure deals shows that teams spent at least as aggressively four winters ago.

*Not including players who signed contracts after being posted by Japanese teams.

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