The 20 Biggest Free Agent Deals Of The Offseason

Unless Vladimir Guerrero, Scott Podsednik or another free agent signs an unexpectedly lucrative deal, the biggest contracts of the offseason have all been finalized. As MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows, 20 free agents signed deals worth $15MM or more this offseason.

That's not counting the extensions that non-free agents like Troy Tulowitzki and Jay Bruce signed and we're only talking about guaranteed dollars. Many of the players below could earn more or less than the figures listed, depending on player opt-outs and vesting options. With that in mind, here are the 20 free agents who signed for the most guaranteed money this offseason:

1. Carl Crawford – Red Sox – $142MM

2. Jayson Werth – Nationals – $126MM

3. Cliff Lee – Phillies – $120MM

4. Adrian Beltre – Rangers – $80MM

5. Adam Dunn – White Sox – $56MM

6. Derek Jeter – Yankees – $51MM

7. Victor Martinez – Tigers – $50MM

8. Paul Konerko – White Sox – $37.5MM

9. Rafael Soriano – Yankees – $35MM

10. Ted Lilly – Dodgers – $33MM

11. Jorge de la Rosa – Rockies – $32MM

12. Mariano Rivera – Yankees – $30MM

13. Aubrey Huff – Giants – $22MM

14. Juan Uribe – Dodgers – $21MM

15. John Buck – Marlins – $18MM

16. Joaquin Benoit – Tigers – $16.5MM

16. Carl Pavano – Twins – $16.5MM

16. Jake Westbrook – Cardinals – $16.5MM

19. Adam LaRoche – Nationals – $16MM

20. Scott Downs – Angels – $15MM


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159 Responses to The 20 Biggest Free Agent Deals Of The Offseason Leave a Reply

  1. Rob 4 years ago

    There is some baaaaaaaaaaaaaaddddddd paper on that list.

  2. Stephen Anthony 4 years ago

    I think that Werth contract will be an albatross for the Nationals.

    • rizdak 4 years ago

      I think the Nationals are the albatross of MLB.

    • Sniderlover 4 years ago

      Pretty sure it became an albatross as soon as the signing was announced.

    • Think it wasn’t Werth it?

    • vtadave 4 years ago

      It will be dead money eventually, but if you are the Nats, what do YOU do? No major F/A’s (Lee, Crawford…) were coming there. Yeah they could roll the money into the draft, but they spend big on the draft every year anyway. Sure, the amount is outrageous, but at least they are trying to be relevant AND this isn’t a contract that is going to hurt them for awhile, if ever.

      • JaySchu 4 years ago

        It’s a waste of money on a non-contending team. If they were close to the playoffs, sure, the money is worth it then. They’re stuck firmly in the basement of the NL East looking up at an always good Marlins team, an up-and-coming Atlanta team and a still powerful but declining Phillies team. They don’t have a window to compete in and with the loss of Willingham and Dunn, the Werth signing did nothing to change any of that. That’s why it’s wasted money.

        • woadude 4 years ago

          Yeah and you told those Giants to stop competing with the always good Dodgers and the up and coming Rockies right? and you told the Reds about the always good Cardinals and the up and coming Brewers right? and you told the Rays to shut it down because the always good Yankees and the up and coming Red Sox, its freaking baseball, you play 162 games a year, anything can happen… Bryce Harper is going to be coming to town….The Nationals aren’t the Pirates and they aren’t the Royals, they relocated from Montreal and have been trying to establish themselves, look at the 97 Marlins and the 01 Diamondbacks… takes a few to get going before you make a serious push.

          • bjsguess 4 years ago

            You can cite exceptions to the rule all you want. The fact is that those are the exceptions. I can go down the list of teams with big payrolls that didn’t make the playoffs. Those teams improperly evaluated their competitive opportunity, spent money they didn’t need to, and now are boxed in and can’t get out.

            Baseball is played by humans. They get sick, injured, lose their edge, regress. Some of those are predictable, most are not. Inherent to the game is a certain level of instability. In some years the Yankees will not make it to the playoffs. In other years the Marlins will win the World Series. However, that is not to suggest that all times have an equal opportunity to win.

            It’s pretty simple actually. Is it possible that that I could flip heads 10 times in a row? Sure. Is it likely? No. Would you bet on my success? No. Even if I gave you 10-1 odds you wouldn’t take it. In most cases your decision not to bet would be making the smart move. In a very small number of cases you would kick yourself for not betting on me and missing out on the 10-1 odds.

            The Nats just bet that they are going to flip heads 10 times in a row. And they bet $125m. It’s a huge gamble that most likely will not pay off. The Nats are NOT going to be good in 2011 (adding Werth but subtracting Dunn is a minimal upgrade). Harper isn’t going to do anything in 2011. Strasburg is coming off major surgery. It’s a move that just doesn’t make sense NOW.

            Could be in a few years that the Nats are in a position to strike. Then I say go for it. Spend to your hearts content. However, until that time they shouldn’t be spending for the sake of spending. Keep that money in reserve, invest in the draft, and be financially nimble so that when the time comes when you are missing just a piece or two you can make those moves.

          • JaySchu 4 years ago

            Precisely.

          • JaySchu 4 years ago

            I never said they shouldn’t spend money ever. I said it was a waste of resources to spend big on free agent talent that isn’t going to put you in the playoffs. Would it make sense for the Pirates to sign Albert Pujols? No. Why? Because the team would still be bad with or without him. If you’re close to contention you spend the money. If you aren’t it’s a waste. Spending all that money on Werth today is pointless. Spending it in a few years when they are closer to contention is not.

        • woadude 4 years ago

          By the way it’s the NL east buddy.

      • Chris Whitby 4 years ago

        I think you take the patient approach and try to cultivate more homegrown talent while supplementing those players with the right free agents. The Rays didn’t get good by giving out Soriano-esque contracts to OF on the wrong side of 30.

        • vtadave 4 years ago

          The Rays also don’t have NEAR the money that the Nats do.

          Hey I could eat crow six years down the road if the Nats come out and say that the Werth contract is preventing them from extending Strasburg, Norris, Harper, Espinosa, etc. and pursing additional help. I just don’t think that will be the case.

          In 2 years, the Nats are going to field this lineup:

          CF ??? / Morgan
          2B Espinosa
          3B Zimmerman
          LF Werth
          RF Harper
          1B Derek Norris – guessing
          SS Desmond
          C Ramos

          That’s a lineup 1 or 2 pieces away from being Wild Card worthy assuming the kids develop of course. It’s also a cheap lineup and one that can afford another big bat that would still leave money for the rotation.

          I just think some folks underestimate how deep the Nats’ owners’ pockets are.

    • woadude 4 years ago

      Oh come one, quit hating on this, this reminds me of a kid in a baseball card shop that paid 200 dollars for a rookie card, the card shop probably made 199 dollars on the deal but the kid doesnt care, he has a card that makes him happy and the card shop is happy, then there is the dad who found out how much his kid spent on a piece of paper and goes all ballistic and makes the kid feel remorse and soon the happiness is a cloud of gloom, and why? because someone who had no say in the deal thinks that someone got a bad deal, Jason Werth is a good player and I am sure the Nationals are happy to have him and do not care about the contract and I am sure they are like the kid who dumped 200 dollars on the rookie card, is he broke now? will he ever have money again? How about just watch how he plays and then make judgements on the deal, watch Werth really help out Bryce Harper, remember him? number 1 overall pick? there are a lot more to signings then just dollars.

      • bjsguess 4 years ago

        Why would you assume that Werth would somehow mentor Harper? They might see each other Spring Training. Aside from that Harper won’t be on the big league squad for at least 2 years (and that’s if everything goes PERFECTLY). His development to the majors will come from his coaches not a guy in the big leagues.

        Let me give you a real life scenario here. Take the Mets. Think they are happy with their 2011 squad? I’m willing to bet that they wish they could have saved their pennies for Crawford. However, they are broke. Flat broke. It’s not just Bay, but when you stack on Santana, Beltran, and Wright you have half of your extremely high payroll tied up in 4 players. That limits what you can do. I’m sure that if the Mets could find a taker that they would move Beltran and Bay this second for just salary relief. Johan would be given some serious thought. Wright is the only guy in the bunch that is a slam dunk to earn his paycheck.

        The Mets have painted themselves into a corner and it’s going to be hard to get out (Beltran coming off the books will help). Point is, significant spending today DOES limit what you can do tomorrow. The goal is to maximize your resources by spending when it will yield the most favorable results. And I don’t mean to pick on the Mets. There are tons of teams that have made some questionable (to be polite) decisions this off-season. Starting with my Angels. Vernon Wells will absolute hamstring the organization over the next 4 years. Your talking about paying out $40m for Torii Hunter and Wells in your corner outfield spots for 2012. That’s just scary. The Angels would have been much better off spending that money on a true impact player (like Crawford) or sitting it out and saving that money for next year. Instead they panicked, made a move out of desperation, and really hurt the long-term prospects for this clubs success.

        • woadude 4 years ago

          Harper is closer to the major leagues than you think…easily a mid season call up when he crushes AAA. Or have you not been watching this guy?

  3. Stl_Great 4 years ago

    John Buck…

    • rizdak 4 years ago

      This list is by total $$. Berkman only signed a 1 year $8M deal.

    • Lance signed a one year deal worth 8 million. You would have noticed the list is for the biggest contracts if you would have read it.

  4. goredsgo 4 years ago

    It’s kinda sad that John Buck’s on that list

  5. Ethanator99 4 years ago

    I’m excited to see how Dunn does as a DH in that hitters ballpark.

    • Jason Klinger 4 years ago

      If he stays healthy, there’s no way he hits fewer than 50.

      • Guest 4 years ago

        He didn’t hit that many in Cincy, so why will he now?

        • jwsox 4 years ago

          the cell is a tad bit more of a launching pad and he wont be tired from playing the field like he did in cincy and he wil have paul konerko batting behind him which means a lot of fastballs

          • bjsguess 4 years ago

            Does Dunn really strike you as the type of player that gets worn out playing the field?

            40-45 HR’s is my bet. Wouldn’t be surprised with totals anywhere from 35-50.

      • Chris Whitby 4 years ago

        Mildly ambition prediction

  6. not_brooks 4 years ago

    Prediction for “Five Biggest Free Agent Mistakes of the 2010/2011 Offseason”:

    1. Jayson Werth
    2. Derek Jeter
    3. Jorge de la Rosa
    4. John Buck
    5. Joaquin Benoit

    • I wouldn’t hesitate to put Soriano on that list either, I don’t see him being a big contributor as a set up man.

      • vtadave 4 years ago

        Why is that? He’s been one of the best the last couple years and now he’s going to fall apart?

        • jwsox 4 years ago

          he actually hasent he has been good for a couple of years and only one great year mean while his velocity has dropped every year and so has his controll

          • Guest 4 years ago

            not to mention, closers who rely mostly on velocity and intimidating hitters tend to fair poorly in the set-up role (J.J Putz)

          • woadude 4 years ago

            Sounds also like a Papelbon fella.

          • Guest 4 years ago

            haha. You sir are 100% correct. Dan Bard hopefully will not have the same outcome

          • MB923 4 years ago

            His control has not dropped down at all. His BB/9 and WHIP have decreased (decreased meaning gotten better) every year the past 3 years.

            BB/9, WHIP

            2008- 5.8, 1.14
            2009- 3.2, 1.06
            2010- 2.0, 0.80

        • woadude 4 years ago

          Exactly, what the heck is going on with this site? everyone is suddenly attacking these players and their teams for actually dolling out dollars, how about be excited spring training is almost here? How about hold your hate until they actually play, man I can’t imagine what would happen if Werth only hit 8 home runs this year or Crawford breaks his leg.

    • $1529282 4 years ago

      If Soriano gets hurt this season, you can slide that one up to a Top 2 spot. Talk about unnecessary risk.

      • Chuck345 4 years ago

        Better than having Joba as setup as proven last year. Also, I heard the Yankees had a lot of money to spend since they missed out on Lee.

        • InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

          The Yankees don’t need a special occasion or circumstance to spend a lot of money. They have a lot of money to spend period.

        • woadude 4 years ago

          You heard wrong, they don’t have a lot of money because they missed out on Cliff Lee, they have a lot of money because they are the freaking Yankees, are you serious?

          • Chuck345 4 years ago

            Jesus Christ people can’t you tell sarcasm?

      • woadude 4 years ago

        IF I only had a nickel for every time I heard the word IF I would be rich, here is some of the best advice I ever heard, don’t live in the world of IF because nothing will ever happen because people would think too much to even move.

    • Jason Klinger 4 years ago

      Watch out for Konerko, too. He had a career year at an advanced age (for baseball), so this year could be a real letdown. The only way Soriano stays off this list is if Rivera goes down for the year in week 3.

      • jwsox 4 years ago

        if konerko goes back to his career norms it is still a good signing

        • bjsguess 4 years ago

          Typically guys going through their age 35-37 seasons don’t revert back to their career norms.

          I like Konerko but wouldn’t be surprised at all to see his OPS sitting in the 750-775 range by the last year of his contract.

    • Vmmercan 4 years ago

      Can Jeter really be considered a mistake when the Yankees fully knew they were overpaying for everything he is off the field?

    • woadude 4 years ago

      How can Benoit not be effective out of the pen? is he going to forget how to throw a ball? John Buck will suddenly not be able to squat down? Jeter sure will have a major declinein his bat but will he not be able to get to a baseball? is Jayson Werth going to need glasses and not be able to admit it? is De La Rosa’s contract going to prevent his team from siging a key player to his team? that should answer your question on your prediction, they all should do just fine.

      • not_brooks 4 years ago

        How could Benoit not be effective out of the pen? Hmm… I don’t know… Maybe 2010 was an outlier and maybe he’ll revert back to his previous career numbers (4.79 ERA, 4.3 BB/9)? Yeah, that’s not at all possible, right…?

        And John Buck? No, he won’t forget how to squat, but I wouldn’t bank much (let alone $6MM per) on a 30-year-old with a .722 career OPS.

        Don’t let the Gold Gloves fool you. Jeter has been a miserable defender for most of his career.

        The Werth deal is going to be a complete disaster. I don’t think you’ll find a single non-Nats fan who would disagree with that.

        And we’re talking about individual player deals here. Sure de la Rosa’s contract won’t hurt the Rockies as much as the Tulo/Cargo extensions, but almost $20MM over two years for a 30-year-old who has never thrown more than 185 innings, and has topped 130 just once? Yikes.

        Maybe all five of those guys will do “just fine”, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  7. nats2012 4 years ago

    You guys talk about the Werth contract, the Nationals owner is the richest in baseball, I think he can afford the contract. The Phillies offered Werth $16 mil a year, so $18 mil is not that different, and the Red Sox would have settled on 6 years. I dont think the owner who is worth over 4 billion dollars is on a corner with a cup after the Werth deal.

    • We aren’t saying that the Nationals went out on a limb to sign a bad contract we are saying that it is a terrible contract no matter who signed him. If Phillies or Red Sox would have signed him to close to the same amount it would still be a terrible deal.

      • nats2012 4 years ago

        I guess your right, but im a fan and its not my money, and its not like we are loaded with these contracts like the Mets, for our Werth contract they have Castillo, Perez, Reyes and Beltran.

        • briantalletsmoustache 4 years ago

          Baseball teams aren’t in the habit of throwing away money, and aside from the increasingly aware crazy-and-rich owners who like to burn money on sports teams, the amount of money spent has some relation to the amount of money they make. These owners didn’t get to be so rich because they’re in habit of losing millions of dollars. You’re a fan. You pay for the tickets, the merch, etc. So yes, it is your money.

          • woadude 4 years ago

            When you stretch out how much they make on advertising, tv rights, jersey sales, shirt sales and over all attendance boosts the contracts almost pay for themselves, what is it going to cost an extra 5 bucks to see the Nationals? really? are they going to make the hot dogs 18 dollars because they signed Werth?

        • woadude 4 years ago

          You are on the point here, It isn’t your money and your a Nats fan, are you happy to have Werth on your team? does it make you want to go to more games? I would be if I was in the DC area and a Nats fan, and plus how much are tickets to go? how much do New Yorkers have to pay to see Jeter? man take a vacation to a city with a mediocre team and you could go to a game really cheap and have a great time, I am happy for the Nationals and I am going to be pushing really hard for Werth to get at least 30 HR and somewhere around 100 RBI.

        • bjsguess 4 years ago

          IT IS YOUR MONEY.

          Fans pay for the teams expenses, not the owners. The owners try really hard to make a profit. The revenues come from YOU, not them.

          It’s a fairly simple concept – as expenses rise teams need to recoup that in additional revenues. Maybe it’s a better TV deal (virtually no impact to your bottom line as a fan). In most cases though it’s more money for parking, tickets, food, concessions, etc. Sure you may not mind the extra $5/ticket IF the team is a 90 win organization. However, do you want to pay top dollar to watch a club go out and win 72 games? For me personally, I’m glad that my team doesn’t have to support a $200m payroll like NY. No way could I afford to regularly take my family to baseball games given the cost associated with attending a Yankee game.

          At the end of the day the Werth deal isn’t huge. I think it was silly and a poor use of resources for the Nats but it won’t kill the franchise. However, you shouldn’t take that to mean that the contract is without consequence.

      • woadude 4 years ago

        Again, how many games has Werth Played as a National? has he even showed up to spring training? Who will contribute more to his team….Werth with the Nationals or say Vernon Wells to the Angels? this isn’t a bad contract yet, he has yet to play one single game, wait until late April or early May, until then, I see a player who has a championship ring and had a good bat in Philly go to the Nationals who I am sure are happy to have him, has any Nationals fan really post on here how disgusted they are to have Werth on his team? You guys act like they signed Willie Bloomquist to this contract….give Werth a break and a chance to play

    • Ownership can always afford any contract they give out. The question is how much value are you getting for your money (doubtful that Werth earns his dosh), and how much does giving that much money to one player handicap you and prevent you from signing/extending other players. The Werth deal is probably going to look bad in a few years because Werth only started hitting a couple seasons ago, and they’re paying him like he’s been a five win player his whole career. Even if he keeps up his numbers for a few seasons, the idea that he’s going to be worth $18M as a 39 year old is ridiculous. He’ll probably be underperforming that salary by the time he’s 35.

      • nats2012 4 years ago

        Anyway, we havent spent money in the past and we have been in last place, Im glad they have started to spend money and anyone who knows about the Nationals and what they are projecting in 2012 will not be talking about what we payed Werth, just wait and see.

        • I see what they basically have projected for 2012 and unless they sign a few elite free agents after the 2011 season, I don’t see them being much of a threat. I say 2013 is when they start really competing, assuming these kids pan out.

      • I think Cleveland would disagree with you on your first sentence. They really seem heavily limited.

        • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

          The Dolans are top 5 of the worst owners in baseball. He’s worth $3.3 billion and while I believe being sports teams are a business and should be treated as such, there’s something to be said with the “build it and they will come” scenarios, especially considering that the Indians have a loyal fan base that supports the team when they play above .500.

          THis was an interesting find:

          Listed below are the names of the owner’s currently worth more than Steinbrenner and the teams they are currently in charge of:

          * Chicago Cubs: Thomas S. Rickets: $1.3 billion
          * Texas Rangers: Thomas O. Hicks: $1.4 billion (obviously before the sale)
          * Detroit Tigers: Mike Illitch: $1.6 billion
          * Houston Astros: Drayton McLane, Jr.: $1.6 billion
          * Atlanta Braves: Liberty Media: $2.3 billion
          * Cleveland Indians: Larry Dolan: $3.3 billion
          * Washington Nationals: Theodore N. Lerner: $3.5 billion
          * Minnesota Twins: Carl Pohlad: $3.6 billion
          * Seattle Mariners: Nintendo Corporation: $257.4 billion

          • MB923 4 years ago

            Pohlad died in 2009.

            Also, how are the Blue Jays (Rogers Communications) not up there?

          • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

            Pohlad passed but his estate and their ownership still exist. As for the Jays, I don’t know.

          • Rogers Communications are worth about $20 Billion. I doubt they’ll spend all of that on the Jays, though.

        • That first sentence can only be wrong when you have a Tom Hicks situation and there’s bankruptcy involved. Otherwise a team by definition can afford a contract they give out.

    • Muggi 4 years ago

      Teams don’t use the owners as a piggy bank. It’s a hobby for you, a business for them.

      As you said, the Nets only paid $2m more than one team offered, and a year longer than another team offered. Do you wonder why reports have said Boras never even CALLED another team after the Nats made that offer? He knew no one would even come close.

      Sure the owner can afford it, the problem is can the Nats afford to have 20% of their payroll tied up in one guy, for SEVEN years, and NOT have him named Pujols?

      It’s a bad contract man, there’s no other way to spin it. I don’t fault them for overpaying to get a guy on a bad club, but to overpay THAT much was a mistake.

      • JayTeam 4 years ago

        If Rizzo remains that wealthy and was instrumental in pushing to aquire Werth, the Nats can easily afford to have 20% of their payroll used on one guy. It will only hamstring thier payroll going forward if Rizzo says it does. As a matter of fact that % will come down when their budget rises as the team improves. Some owners actually want to treat it as a hobby and will pay (often overmarket) to do so.

        • Muggi 4 years ago

          Depends how high it’s going to rise I suppose. The deal is backloaded; he’ll be making over $20m the final three seasons.

          • JayTeam 4 years ago

            No arguement about the fact is a bad contract, but as long as Rizzo doesn’t suffer a financial reversal, the contract will make no difference IMO. One other big reason is that Rizzo was the one pushing for the deal, it wasn’t the GM talking him into it.

          • not_brooks 4 years ago

            Rizzo is the GM…

      • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

        I do see a certain logic in the Werth signing even if it was an overpay.

        The Nats have had trouble attracting players because the perception is that they are not a competitive team (which is true). The Werth deal was done early and I think it was done in efforts to send a message to perspective players that they are willing to spend and want to compete. Werth, was brought in to do what Strasburg was doing, and that is to try and win games and change the culture that has become attached to the Nationals. After the Werth deal they went hard after Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke, and others. I think the Werth deal sends a message that they are committed to being a better team.

  8. nats2012 4 years ago

    Matt Holiday got 6 years $120 mil, I would take Werth over Holiday anyday. At least Werth can play some defense.

    • Werth was only a superb defender in 2007 and 2008, before he started playing full time. And Holliday’s put up similar numbers to Werth’s 2009 and 2010 numbers over his career. This is just factually incorrect.

      • Jason Klinger 4 years ago

        Fact. Werth’s UZR by year in the last four years: 13.3 / 17.8 / 4.3 / -6.9.
        You read that right – negative 6.9 last year.

        • RidiculousPage 4 years ago

          Not disputing the data, but shouldn’t we also take into account that Werth plays a more difficult position in RF?

    • Muggi 4 years ago

      he got 7/120 and was nearly 2 years younger than Werth when the contract was signed.

      Holliday has also averaged 6 WAR a season the last 3yrs; Werth has averaged 5, and has never had the higher value in any season.

      I like Werth, was a big fan of him in Philly, but you’re delusional if you want him and his contract over Holliday.

      • RidiculousPage 4 years ago

        Not to mention that, even though they came in Coors, Holliday also had more season that proved his ability. If I remember correctly, Werth has only had two full seasons of regular playing time.

    • JamesOrLurch 4 years ago

      Wrong. First of all, Holliday got 7 years $120 million. Secondly, Werth has been plagued by injuries, almost 2 years older than Holliday, owns a career batting average almost 50 points lower, a career OPS nearly 100 points lower, and 60 less career homers in one more season than Holliday. You would really take Werth over Holliday?

      If there can even be such a thing as a Nationals homer, you are one.

      • nats2012 4 years ago

        Jayson Werth carried the Phillies when all the injury prone stars were injured. How quickly people forget. And if the Yankees or Red Sox signed him no one would say anything like the monster contracts AJ Burnett or Crawford got. And I would take Werth because he can play center and we have Bryce Harper coming.

        • not_brooks 4 years ago

          A.J. Burnett’s contract was trashed the minute it was signed. It was a clear case of the Yankees ridiculously overpaying for mediocrity just because they can afford to do so.

          The big difference is that the Yankees can afford to pay Burnett like a #1 when he’s pitching like a Quad-A chump. Can the Nats afford to pay Werth like a once-in-a-generation player when he’s playing like a utility man?

        • Muggi 4 years ago

          If the Yanks had signed that deal it’d be even more ridiculed than it is now – “the rich kids don’t know how to spend their money” etc etc.

          The Nats had to overpay to get a star to come to a developing team – I think everyone understands why they had to do so, but it doesn’t mean it’s a good contract. It isn’t.

        • bjsguess 4 years ago

          It DOES matter which team signed him.

          A team competing for a playoff spot, that has a high payroll threshold, and a need for power hitter should consider Werth. And maybe even overpay as the value for every win is higher when the situation is leveraged. So a team like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies would all be justified in signing Werth, and possibly overpaying for his services. However, teams like the Pirates, Astros, Royals all would make horrible destinations for Werth. His value to those clubs is significantly lower because each incremental win means less when you are a non-contender.

          For example, let’s assume that the Yankees were looking at Werth and that Werth represents a 2 win positional upgrade. Right now, 2 wins could easily be the difference between making the playoffs or not. Making the playoffs results in significantly higher revenues for the club. Yankee fans also expect their organization to make the post-season. Failure to do so is a huge blow to the organization. The Yankees could also absorb Werth without having any major issues with future payroll. Meanwhile, you look at the Nats. If Werth is still worth 2 additional wins the club goes from a 70 win team to a 72 win team. It does not change the revenue structure, it does not position the team to be a playoff contender. And it does represent a significant % of their payroll which MIGHT impact their ability to maneuver in the future.

          I’m not sure that Werth is worth 7/$126 to anyone. However, I know that to a team like the Nats is a significant overpay.

      • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

        I won’t argue who’s better, Werth vs Holliday, but I think any arguement has to be limited to two things: a) Holliday away from Coors (see the difference in his lifetime h/r splits while w/ the Rockies b) Werth’s career as a starter (2008-2010).

    • Well according to FanGraphs Holliday’s UZR in the last three seasons is 2.9, 4.0, and 8.2 so that would make you wrong. I know UZR is a flawed stat but it’s flawed for everyone. But if you want to compare last season Werth had a -6.9 UZR which is a difference of 15.1. Holliday’s is well above average and Werth’s is well below average.

      If you want to compare offense Holliday is still better with a career line of .317/.388/.543 compared to Werth’s .272/.367/.481 and Holliday has also produced a considerable amount more in WAR throughout his career and over the last 3 seasons. Holliday was younger with still more potential when he signed his contract since he still could be a consistent 30-35 hr guy if there was more protection in the lineup. Both have about the same SB ability. Holliday has vastly out produced Werth in many categories while hitting in not so good lineups, meanwhile Werth has played in arguably one of the best lineups in baseball. Holliday is better. I would take Holliday’s contract over Werth’s any day.

      • nats2012 4 years ago

        Why would you give Matt Holidays last 3 seasons numbers on the field and only give Jaysons last year. Because all the other years Jayson blew him away. And you cant compare a left fielder to a guy who plays right and center.

        • Look at Fangraphs Matt Holliday has had a better season over each of the last three years when talking about avg, obp, ops, and slg. About the UZR I was just proving to you that Holliday isn’t a bad fielder. I was only comparing one season when talking about UZR, which was last season.

        • bjsguess 4 years ago

          Seriously – this isn’t hard to understand. Year by year in WAR (which DOES adjust for park splits – which means that Holliday was dinged for playing in CO). Here are the numbers by year for Holliday then Werth:

          2006: (H) 4.0 … (W) DNP
          2007: (H) 7.1 … (W) 3.2
          2008: (H) 5.7 … (W) 5.1
          2009: (H) 5.6 … (W) 4.9
          2010: (H) 6.9 … (W) 5.0

          Totals – Holliday = 29.3 WAR … Werth = 18.2 WAR. 11 WAR over the course of 5 years is very significant. Given age, history of injury, etc, etc. the two aren’t particularly close. Holliday is the better player and the better bet to perform up to his contract. Werth is a nice player and a great asset. However, he isn’t a superstar … even though he is paid like one.

      • jwsox 4 years ago

        is you are going to compare anything between holliday and werth compare the fact that werth has had 2 good years in his career and holliday has been consistently good over his career

    • ‘I would take Werth over Holiday anyday’

      Then it’s settled, you’re insane.

    • InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

      You are pretty much alone on that one good sir

    • For that money, I’d happily throw both players into the trash and build a dynasty for years to come. Niether player is one I would consider a cornerstone franchise talent.

  9. I honestly don’t think any single player on that list is worth the money. There is so much brighter talent making much less than that. Just my opinion but Carl Crawford, Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth are not one in a generation players worth that kind of spending.

    • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

      You’re right, but you can’t sign players already under contract. “Player’s availability” and “teams’ needs” got together to give birth to competition, thus driving up the price to what you see up there.

      • Right, BUT, if you extend high $$ contracts for the “best available” and lock those up for many years you’ve blocked any young talent from emerging within a farm system and you’ve committed your resources on depreciating talent severely limiting your ability to sign newer, better, younger talent to come. The New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs are a prime examples of this. Say, Albert Pujols becomes available (not likely but it’s possible) the yankees have firstbase blocked and in no way will Pujols accept a DH role at such a young age.

        Once in a generation MLB talent:

        Albert Pujols 1B
        Joe Mauer C
        Felix Hernandez P
        Hanley Ramirez SS (sorry boston, mistake trading him)

        Those are the only 4 players I would spend max money and max contract length on. They are just heads and tails above their opposition at their positions.

        • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

          So only 4 players deserve top dollar? I mean, hey it’s your opinion… I just disagree with it. There are a couple of ways to take this.

          1. As a Yankees fan, I’m more than happy having Tex at 1st base for the long haul.
          2. I wouldn’t dedicate a large contract to a catcher. An offensive backstop is rare, but they get injured so often, and don’t play as much as other positions.
          3. Doc, Timmeh > Felix.
          4. Tulo!

          But I digress. My original point is that those four players will not be available every year. Joe Mauer won’t be available for like 7 years dude, you want teams to not spend in the meantime? You aren’t making any sense. If you owned a team, it would go bankrupt from lack of ticket sales because you’re “waiting for Superman.”

          A dose of reality is seriously in need.

          • Oh shutup! I said those were the only once in a generation players in the MLB right now. Players obviously desereve varying levels of compensation but my whole point was I didn’t think this crop of free agents were worthy of the contracts to which they were given. I stand by that statement.

          • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

            Did you just tell me to shut up?! hahaaha awesome!

            Yes, I understood what you said perfectly. I just think it’s a very juvenile read on reality to remain ignorant to the multiple factors manipulating team spending and player salaries. So to reiterate, yes there may be other players more deserving of $, but they aren’t free agents, and you can’t design your success model waiting for them forever. Gotta go for what is available to fill your need, and in doing so, prices usually go up. It’s really not that difficult a concept to grasp…

            EDIT: Just for the record, I actually do think CC and Lee are “once in a generation” players or whatever you said. Werth, not so much.

          • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

            Actually, once in a generation would imply there is only one player for our generation, no? Hmm… trick question!

          • Positionally speaking. ie once in a generation catcher, pitcher, shortstop etc. Bonds and Pedro are not playing anymore, therefore (should go without saying) are no longer part of this current generation of ballplayers.

          • jwsox 4 years ago

            lee is not even close to a once in a lifetime tallent he is very very good yes and his post season stuff is nasty but his career has been short and inconsistent

          • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

            I can see that argument. His post season stats are just ridiculous though. I guess once in a generation literally, no he isn’t. So, right now, I’m with you, but maybe down the line, he’s in the argument…which is what I should have said.

        • vtadave 4 years ago

          I wouldn’t mind trading a top prospect for a run at a World Series…

          • Who said anything about trading a top prospect at making a run at a world series. This topic is entirely about signing free agents to obscene long term big money contracts.

          • vtadave 4 years ago

            I was disagreeing with you that trading Hanley was a mistake. Now sure they’d rather have him than Beckett, but it’s hard to argue with what the Sox were able to do with Beckett and Lowell.

          • Since beckett is absolute trash now and Hanley is arguably the most talented player at his position and on a hall of fame pace, I’d say the marlins bent boston over the table on that one. If you honestly believe Beckett won the world series for Boston you are denegrating the rest of the team especially David Ortiz and all of his clutch hits.

          • vtadave 4 years ago

            Do you think the Red Sox win the 2007 World Series without Beckett and Lowell?

            Beckett had the best season of his career in 2007 and won all four playoff games with a 35:2 K:BB. Lowell also had a great year and won the WS MVP.

            Hanley Ramirez was a very good prospect, but he was also coming off a .720 OPS that season when he was dealt and was “only” #30 on BA’s top-100 in 2006.

            Now sure, the Marlins aren’t complaining about the trade at all, but pretty sure the Red Sox wouldn’t undo the deal.

        • Muggi 4 years ago

          SO you’d sit on your money, hoping talent comes out of your farm or a once-in-a-generation talent hits the open market.

          You might note that the 4 guys you highlighted…all signed long-term deals with their home squad. The “newer, younger, better talent” you mention will also be chased by every single toeam in the league, so you’re not gaining much advantage by not signing veterans. Your plan makes for a large pile of money and a bad baseball team, sorry to say.

          • I wouldn’t SIT on money. I’d be more wise than spending 142 million or 126 million on an outfielder that you could get similiar or slightly less production for 1/5 the price. I would use the rest of that money building a team that consistently locks in young great talent, continue to turnover that talent every 2-3 years and consistently winning without having to pay old declining players at the tail end of unheard of “bad” deals.

          • Muggi 4 years ago

            As blackcourt has said in two spots in this thread…please provide a name of a single guy who provides Werth/Crawford levels of production, for 1/5 their price, and is available on the open market.

            I think you have a pretty warped view of baseball operations. These magical players looking to sign for $4m/yr on short-term deals while putting up 850+ ops just don’t seem to be as common as you seem to think.

          • Muggi 4 years ago

            For poops I decided to look for this mysterious young, “similar or slightly less production” players he seems to think exist. Crawford and Werth are both 5+ WAR guys, so I decided to look at 4WAR and up:

            45 players produced 4+ WAR in baseball last season. Here’s the list of guys that were available in FA, produced at least 4 WAR, and signed for less money than Werth:

            Victor Martinez (4yr/50m): 32, poor defensive C, passable 1B.
            Paul Konerko (3/37.5): Will be 35 when the season starts.
            Aubrey Huff (2/22): 34, and he’s been over 4 WAR three times in his 10yr career.
            Adrian Beltre: (5/80): 31, has the stigma of only performing in contract years.

            …and that’s it. 4 guys, only one of them younger than Werth, none as young as Crawford, all with some degree of questions.

            Maybe the players he knows about play in Mexico or something?

          • Muggi 4 years ago

            That took me so little time I decided to push it back even further; if you take it to 3.0 WAR, and that’s a BIG difference from 5, there’s still only:

            Adam Dunn (4/56): 31, DH.

            Still can’t find em.

          • Tko11 4 years ago

            With a turnover ever 2-3 years I don’t see how you can consistently win.

        • Tko11 4 years ago

          Ramirez or a championship? I think I’ll take the latter. Plus we have the almighty Jose Iglesias!! Lol just kidding but its fun to watch him play defense, hope his bat gets better. I would take Tulo over Ramirez…but thats just me, I really like his leadership and he has more power than Ramirez.

          • You’re as high as that other guy! Let me ask you a question, if you could have Hanley Ramirez today and be rid of Beckett and Lowell are you better off?? Again, way to throw the other boston players under the bus for the 04 title. Yes beckett pitched lights out but he alone did not win a title for you. Who’s to say that the front office traded for another quality starter or signed one for a year, retained hanley and won MORE titles with his amazing skills!?

          • Tko11 4 years ago

            Obviously if I could trade Beckett and Lowell for Ramirez NOW I would do it. But there is no denying that without the both of them they would have not won in 2007. This has nothing to do with the 04 team, that was just an amazing year. It could be possible that they would win more with Ramirez but they could have also not won even one. I still don’t think it was a mistake. Prospects are just prospects and then can always go either way….look at Alex Gordon, Brandon Wood etc. Good prospects at one time that could of been traded for good major leaguers

        • BlueCatuli 4 years ago

          I think you can remove Hanley and Felix from that list. I think they’re pretty stinking awesome, but there are guys at the same position that are just as good or better. Other than that, I totally agree with what your take.

          • You might be right, however, Hanley is a rare talent for a shortstop and King Felix has 2 cy youngs pitching on a terrible ballclub. They may need a few more years to prove they are truly special special talents.

          • BlueCatuli 4 years ago

            Doc did it with the Blue Jays, And until this past season, Lincecum was in the same boat. As for Hanley, Tulowitzki is very comparable and Starlin Castro appears to be headed in that direction. I agree Felix deserves more time, but Hanley is just a really good player among other really good players at his position.

        • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

          I think your list proves the point. Of them, Pujols and Mauer came the closest to ever hitting the open market. Guys of that caliber rarely hit the free agency.

          Any team delving into the fa market basically understands that they are handing out contracts to players either in their prime or past their prime and that towards the end of that deal they will more than likely be overpaying. The trick is to make sure you Johnny Damon overpay (lost defensive skill but still a valuable player in 2009 @ $13mil in the last year of his deal) vs Arod-Helton-overpay.

          • That’s exactly right. Every offseason, team after team will panic and overpay mediocre or even good but not great talent. 3-4 years later, the mistake is apparant to all yet teams don’t seem to learn that a 5-7 year deal to any player with more than $100 mill+ attached is an enormous risk and more times than not, wind up a poor contract. I do see the trend of signing young players to early extensions which buy out arb years and even some free agent years. I prefer this method as the organization who drafted and developed the player retain their services. Rockies are a prime example of how this is a better approach (car-go and tulo locked up for a mid-market team).

          • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

            You’re still missing the point. You yourself said that Mauer, Felix, Hanley and Pujols are once in a genertion types. That being the case teams can’t churn those guys out often. So instead, what they can’t develop they supplement thru FA or trades. It’s not panic.

            Yanks are prime example. Cliff Lee didn’t sign with them and the pitching prospects they’ve had over the years have either dissapointed for whatever reason (JOba) or simply aren’t ready yet (Killer B’s,Noesi, etc). So what do they do? Sit out 2011 or look for possible help thru FA> The same scenarios play out with the majority of other teams. No one is overpaying for talent out of benevolence but moreso because that’s what the market called for.

            All multi-year deals occur risk and are subject to regression during the later years. However, if you can sign a quality all-star to a 5-7 year deal and get all-star performance for 4-6 of those years then most teams are cool with that.

            Not too many teams can nor want to follow the lead of the Rays and suffer thru 5 -10 years of futility to rebuild and compete for a 3-4 year window.

    • I’d say Crawford is. Crawford is the Sabathia of a few years ago; the guy has been consistently great his whole career, he’s spent time in the playoffs, he’s got about every qualification you could want: speed, defense, average, OBP, some power (which will be helped by Fenway). But the biggest factor is that he’s 28; give a seven year deal to a 28 year old and he’s off the books at 35, after giving you some of the best years of his career and before he starts to really decline. That’s the big difference between the Werth deal and the Crawford deal; the Nats can only expect a few years of good production before Werth goes downhill, and the Sox can expect Crawford to be a productive player for the length of the contract.

    • Muggi 4 years ago

      I think every GM in baseball would love to hear who these brighter talents making much less than that are.

      Oh, yeah, they have to be available for trade or FA as well.

  10. sherrilltradedooverexperience 4 years ago

    they’re off on De La Rosa’s contract by $10.5 million.

  11. I love that the Yankees just had to get on this list.

  12. sherrilltradedooverexperience 4 years ago

    moderators/Ben–> De La Rosa only guaranteed 21.5 million

  13. nats2012 4 years ago

    Ok so Crawford gets 142 at 7, and is not a power threat, what is Werth worth?

    • Crawford does a lot more the Werth. The game isn’t just about power and Crawford does almost everything else better then Werth.

  14. nats2012 4 years ago

    Crawford is 29 and Werth is 31, so the question is what do you think Werth is worth?

    • Muggi 4 years ago

      probably 5/85. No way a team should go longer than 5yrs with a 31YO guy without major clauses to void the last few yrs if the player is spent.

  15. whitesoxfan424 4 years ago

    I am very happy no one has blasted the White Sox for the contracts given out this off-season, especially with two of the top 8. I honestly think they are decent moneywise, especially if you look at the potential of Dunn at the “Cell”, and considering we’re mostly paying for what Paulie has brought to this organization over his career.

    I am very excited to see Danks, Floyd and Jackson continue to get better while Dunn, Paulie and company score some runs.

  16. JamesOrLurch 4 years ago

    I would rather have Pavano over Westbrook for the same money.

  17. tony_mciv 4 years ago

    So what’s the general consensus on Beltre? Is he going to be terrible now that he’s in a locked contract? We all know how well he did with the Dodgers, then how terrible he was with Seattle, how great he was with the BoSox, and…?
    Just wondering (:

  18. nats2012 4 years ago

    Yeah but by then we will probably trade him to the Angels.

  19. Victor Kipp 4 years ago

    How come the Colon signing isn’t listed?

    • HerbertAnchovy 4 years ago

      Because it’s a minor-league contract that isn’t worth much.

    • briantalletsmoustache 4 years ago

      Because when he signed for $32.9 million, $32 million of that was monopoly money.

  20. Thurman8er 4 years ago

    Angels made the list! Yeah! love it, naysayers! (Heh…it’s just sad.)

  21. safari_punch 4 years ago

    I don’t understand why Beltra wasn’t low-balled by the Rangers when all the other top guys were off the market and the teams willing to fork out what Beltre’s agent wanted were, well, nobody (IIRC).

    I’m really surprised anyone would give Beltre a deal like the one he received.

  22. kingoriole 4 years ago

    Does anybody think any of these deals will be worth it?
    What’s the best deal on this list?

    I was gonna say Dunn, but as a DH he is way too pricey. Rivera? LaRoche? Crawford??

    • MB923 4 years ago

      Of the ones listed, I’d say Aubrey Huff is the best one. And Jayson Werth is the worst.

    • Sky14 4 years ago

      I would say Pavano, and Westbrook….the rest of them seem like gross overpayment but Its not my money nor am I paying their ticket prices

  23. vtadave 4 years ago

    Agreed. I think Beckett rebounds nicely this year. If you want to talk about “trash”, check out the Royals’ rotation.

  24. Vmmercan 4 years ago

    How can anyone debate this? It’s Rivera, he has lived up to every penny he has ever made and he’s the most dominant player at his position showing no signs of regression and it’s a two year deal. Plus he has probably the best safety blanket in the game so he can really be utilized to his fullest potential.

    I know it’s weird to choose a 40 year old but really? It’s Mo.

  25. thebigdog 4 years ago

    Wow, players 10-20 on that list wouldn’t even make a foundation for a good team.

  26. Brad426 4 years ago

    Yeah, because how much you pay total doesn’t matter. Like my car payment is only $400, it’s just for 50 years, so that’s cool, right?

  27. Still, funny to think Lee is at #3. I would never have guessed that.

  28. metsman 4 years ago

    he’s wrong about it being pointless, but how hard is it to construct a list that allows you to contrast yearly salaries, it doesn’t even have contract duration.. but at least 7 people found your patronizing retort witty.

  29. Chris Whitby 4 years ago

    I think his age (32) prevented teams from going beyond five guaranteed years, although I guess that didn’t stop the Nationals from giving Werth (also 32 on 2011 opening day) a seven-year deal. But it’s worth mentioning that if, should the sixth year of Lee’s deal vest, it’ll push the total value of the contract to $135MM.

  30. East Coast Bias 4 years ago

    Generation? I’d say either Bonds or Pedro.

  31. YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

    I mostly agree with you, that regardless of personal wealth, a baseball team should be run according to income vs expenses. That being said, there are occasions where an owner can and should subscribe to the “build and they shall come” contrivance. The Indians are a perfect example. Spend money, build a good team and the fans will show up. I wouldn’t recommened that for the Rays, Marlins and some others obviously.

  32. woadude 4 years ago

    Exactly, people can get a good rough estimate though, find out how many people attended every game and how much each person spent on tickets and hot dogs and after 162 games a year you can have a good idea how much money is right there, then find out how many employees work there and what they make a year and subtract that and then how much utilities cost and thats just the tickets and the hot dog money, now find out how much they made when you went to the mall and bought that Jersey and hat, and then factor in how much tv stations are paying them to broadcast the games to the viewers at home and you can get a good rough idea on how much money the Nats are not losing in the Werth deal.

  33. Until we realize pujols juiced.

  34. woadude 4 years ago

    The Marlins have won 2 world series titles as the Indians havent won since what 1948?

  35. bjsguess 4 years ago

    Does this really hold-up?

    How about the Rays. Easily a top 5 team in baseball over the past 4 years. Attendance has never been good. A team like the Padres seems to be near the top of the NL West, play in a gorgeous new stadium, and yet they can’t draw. The Angels were a top 3 team over the past 5 years and yet Moreno lost $10m last year. That’s with a team in the 2nd largest market and a rather modest $120m payroll.

    You need to have sustained excellence, in a good market, in order to get big revenues. Inconsistent success or being in a bad market are almost guarantees that you won’t ever get decent revenues regardless of how much money the owner puts into the club.

  36. Brad426 4 years ago

    Then it was all worth it.

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