Most of the game's top free agents are off the board, and Spring Training is rapidly approaching. The 2010-11 offseason has provided some genuine shocks in terms of free agent signings. Let's take a look at some of the biggest ones:
- Cliff Lee, Phillies, five years and $120MM: For weeks leading up to the signing, we heard that it was a two-horse race between the Yankees and Rangers. Talks of a mystery team surfacing were taken with a grain of salt until the Phillies emerged to add Lee to one of the best rotations most of us will ever see.
- Jayson Werth, Nationals, seven years and $126MM: If you'd been told a few months ago that Werth would sign the then-third biggest deal for a free agent outfielder in history — with the Nationals of all teams — would you have believed it?
- Carl Crawford, Red Sox, seven years and $142MM: Not to be outdone, Crawford one-upped Werth's deal by securing an additional $16MM. The Angels were thought to be the clear favorite, but Theo Epstein and crew had other ideas.
- Adrian Beltre, Rangers, five years and $80MM: With their infield seemingly set, aside from possibly first base, the Rangers didn't seem a fit for the Boras client. But Beltre turned down offers from two of his newest (and former) rivals in the AL West — Oakland and Los Angeles — to play in Texas.
- Rafael Soriano, Yankees, three years and $35MM: Shortly after Brian Cashman publicly declared he wouldn't surrender the Yankees' first round pick, the Yankees signed Soriano, a Type A free agent, to a three-year deal that, incredibly, includes two opt-out clauses.
- Lance Berkman, Cardinals, one year and $8MM: Certainly not as high profile as the other candidates, but with Albert Pujols entrenched at first base, this seemed an impossibility. Berkman though, will serve as St. Louis' primary right fielder after being primarily a 1B/DH since 2005.
All of these moves came as a surprise to some extent, but let's open the issue up to everyone for discussion: