AL East, AL West Dominating Free Agent Market

In an article on spending in this year's free-agent market, Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan notes that this year's heavy spending hasn't been distributed evenly by division. Robinson Cano and Shin-Soo Choo have headed to the AL West, and that division has spent about $467MM on free agents. The AL East has spent about $399MM. Meanwhile, the NL Central comes in last so far, at around $78MM. To see what that means, here are MLBTR's top 50 free agents, and here's where they went by division. The total spending figures are from Passan.

AL West ($467MM)
1. Robinson Cano, Mariners
3. Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers
16. Scott Kazmir, Athletics
27. Scott Feldman, Astros
39. Corey Hart, Mariners
44. Joe Smith, Angels

AL East ($399MM)
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees
4. Brian McCann, Yankees
8. Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees
10. Mike Napoli, Red Sox
12. Carlos Beltran, Yankees
33. A.J. Pierzynski, Red Sox
37. James Loney, Rays
40. Edward Mujica, Red Sox

AL Central ($269MM)
18. Omar Infante, Royals
19. Joe Nathan, Tigers
20. Ricky Nolasco, Twins
35. Jason Vargas, Royals
38. Phil Hughes, Twins

NL East ($183MM)
13. Curtis Granderson, Mets
15. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marlins
22. Bartolo Colon, Mets
24. Marlon Byrd, Phillies
29. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
41. Nate McLouth, Nationals
50. Chris Young, Mets

NL West ($148MM)
26. Joaquin Benoit, Padres
30. Josh Johnson, Padres
31. Tim Hudson, Giants
34. Dan Haren, Dodgers
42. Juan Uribe, Dodgers
45. Justin Morneau, Rockies
47. Brian Wilson, Dodgers

NL Central ($78MM)
21. Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals

Retirement
49. Roy Halladay

Unsigned
5. Masahiro Tanaka
6. Ervin Santana
7. Matt Garza
9. A.J. Burnett
11. Ubaldo Jimenez
14. Stephen Drew
17. Nelson Cruz
23. Bronson Arroyo
25. Grant Balfour
28. Kendrys Morales
32. Fernando Rodney
36. Suk-Min Yoon
43. Paul Maholm
46. Jesse Crain
48. Jason Hammel

15 of the top 50 free agents remain unsigned, and the preceding list does not take into account trades, which are another way for teams to add talent in the offseason. The list also does not include the White Sox's $68MM signing of Jose Dariel Abreu or the Giants' re-signings of Hunter Pence or Tim Lincecum, since those occurred before the offseason began. (Passan's numbers appear to include Abreu's signing, but not Pence's or Lincecum's.) Nonetheless, a few notes:

  • The NL Central hasn't engaged in the free agent market much at all, even though three of its teams — the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds — made the playoffs last season, and all three went into this offseason as potential threats to do it again. Meanwhile, those three teams have lost Shin-Soo Choo (Reds), Carlos Beltran (Cardinals) and others to free agency, and they might end up also losing A.J. Burnett (Pirates) and Bronson Arroyo (Reds).
  • The 15 top free agents who remain unsigned might not change the prevailing patterns much once they do pick their teams. In the AL West, the Mariners could still add Nelson Cruz, and the Angels reportedly have interest in Matt Garza. In the AL East, the Yankees could be key players for Masahiro Tanaka. Stephen Drew could re-sign with the Red Sox. The Orioles have been connected to Ubaldo Jimenez, Cruz, Burnett, and Fernando Rodney. Rumors have connected Grant Balfour to the Rays.
  • None of the top dozen free agents have signed with NL teams. Meanwhile, the Yankees alone have come to terms with four of the top 12.
  • In fact, seven of the top 12 free agents have gone to the AL East or AL West. None have gone to any other division.
  • The starting pitching market remains uncertain, with Tanaka's situation keeping the market in a holding pattern.
  • The Diamondbacks may be the best bet to be the first NL team to sign a top-ten free agent, since they've been connected to Tanaka, Ervin Santana and Garza. The Pirates aren't a terrible bet either, but only because they're the likely favorites to get Burnett if he decides to play in 2014.


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34 Comments on "AL East, AL West Dominating Free Agent Market"


Quikmix
1 year 8 months ago

I can’t help but feel like the Rays were mentioned for the AL East as a consolation to the remainder of the division.

nickgarciataria
1 year 8 months ago

Rays fans should be happy they GOT a mention… every time they mention “AL East Notes” the Blue Jays are almost always left out.

Expos '94 World Champs
1 year 8 months ago

Boy, you really don’t realize until you look at a list like this. The NL Central has gotten killed in free agency this offseason. The Cubs, Brewers, Reds, and Pirates signed nobody so far. Incredible.

GrilledCheese39
1 year 8 months ago

No, they have, just not top 50 free agents

zeles
1 year 8 months ago

When will the Cubs spend?

Trock
1 year 8 months ago

I am a Cubs fan. Although I feel as though they definitely have the money to sign a ton of free agents, they have a ton of talent (mostly position players) in the wings that should be ready to come up next year. I think they want to see how that pans out before going on a spending spree, as it will determine how they spend their money. If the position players do pan out, they can spend that money they have on SP and RP. If they dont pan out, then they know they have to spend more across the board, vs at just one position. I think next offseason they may sign a fewer bigger FA but I feel as though they wait for a season of the young guys playing to see how they do.

BananaMonster
1 year 8 months ago

while I agree they haven’t made big splashes sometimes those are the best signings. (Liriano)

BananaMonster
1 year 8 months ago

while I agree they haven’t made big splashes sometimes those are the best signings. (Liriano)

selw0nk
1 year 8 months ago

The AL West is starting to be the AL East.

radicalhenri
1 year 8 months ago

it appears that the yankees and mariners have outspent the entire nl

radicalhenri
1 year 8 months ago

it appears that the yankees and mariners have outspent the entire nl

Mil8Ball
1 year 8 months ago

I imagine the DH has a lot to do with AL teams getting a lot of the top players every year, wish it was more fair. However, I’m not a supporter of the DH and a huge fan of players actually being able to field and having pitchers hit….so I guess I will have to suffer the unfair FA market advantage for the AL.

I wonder if it will ever become DH in both leagues…seems like too many owners would object very strongly for it ever to happen. I still dream that they will agree that in 10 years there will be no DH.

dc21892
1 year 8 months ago

If anything they will end up with a DH in the NL too. Keep these fragile pitchers off the base path. As a life long Red Sox fan, I can’t say I dislike the DH spot, because David Ortiz has been the guy in the middle occupying that spot for 3 World Series titles. Takes a special player to DH and do it well. Not many people realize that.

1 year 8 months ago

The players union would never support getting rid of the DH. With the rise in pitcher salaries, I imagine that NL owners would be more receptive to protecting their investments. Having a pitcher who plays every 5 days hit just doesn’t make sense.

Mil8Ball
1 year 8 months ago

I imagine the DH has a lot to do with AL teams getting a lot of the top players every year, wish it was more fair. However, I’m not a supporter of the DH and a huge fan of players actually being able to field and having pitchers hit….so I guess I will have to suffer the unfair FA market advantage for the AL.

I wonder if it will ever become DH in both leagues…seems like too many owners would object very strongly for it ever to happen. I still dream that they will agree that in 10 years there will be no DH.

BCleveland3381
1 year 8 months ago

Im still hoping the Mets make a run at Stephen Drew. His market is basically ZERO right now. The Red Sox aren’t willing to offer more than a 1 year deal and there doesn’t seem to be anyone else in on him. He is probably regretting not taking the QO, it’s not likely he gets anywhere near that 14 million dollar mark. I would take Drew on a 2 year deal in a heartbeat. Sure he has problems staying healthy, but he’s an offensive and defensive upgrade over Tejada.

The Mets need offense, Tejada is a slow-footed, zero power singles hitter who is average defensively. Drew has his problems, but he had 50 extra base hits last year in 129 games. Tejada has 68 in his entire 4 year career. I think he’s worth offering a 2 year deal for 24ish mil. Even if he bombs, it’s only a 2 year commitment for minimal money.

Seamaholic
1 year 8 months ago

Drew, like many of the Red Sox, had a freakish year last year, and is no youngster. He’s solid but nowhere near that good, neither with bat or glove. Stay away unless you can get a bargain.

Rook
1 year 8 months ago

Drew had a normal year for him. Check out his numbers in 2009-10, the last two full seasons he played before breaking his ankle. His 2013 numbers line up with them.
There was nothing freakish about his 2013 stats. He’s always racked up extra base hits and been a good defender.

Lionel Bossman Craft
1 year 8 months ago

Yankees lost their former Ace to Interleague play running base paths. His career hasn’t been the same since.

BCleveland3381
1 year 8 months ago

That’s simply not true.

1 year 8 months ago

Red Sox should sign Nelson Cruz for 3 years $39 mil just in case he stays class and Jackie Bradley isn’t ready yet

Lionel Bossman Craft
1 year 8 months ago

Cruz is probably going want/sign for much more then that.

Trock
1 year 8 months ago

Hey may have to settle for that. It seems as though the market is not strong for him (that i have heard of). I think the deal of 3/39 sounds like something he may end up getting.

Lionel Bossman Craft
1 year 8 months ago

Cruz is probably going want/sign for much more then that.

Patrick
1 year 8 months ago

Man, is it getting kind of cOLD in here…..

Mike1L
1 year 8 months ago

Some of this is shuffling the deck chairs and reflects the cost of talent. Yankees sign Ellsbury/McCann/Beltran for roughly $300M, lose Cano and Granderson and Hughes for…$300M. The Rangers are getting clapped on the back for their acumen, but, pending where Cruz goes, they have just added $250M. The cost of middle relievers and back of the rotation starters is astounding.

daveineg
1 year 8 months ago

Brewers get back a humbled former MVP from suspension. That’s like adding a big name FA. Coupled with the losses by Reds (Choo and Arroyo), and Cards (Beltran) and potentially Burnett for the Bucs, there’s hope.

daveineg
1 year 8 months ago

Brewers get back a humbled former MVP from suspension. That’s like adding a big name FA. Coupled with the losses by Reds (Choo and Arroyo), and Cards (Beltran) and potentially Burnett for the Bucs, there’s hope.

Drew
1 year 8 months ago

So what about this Yoon guy? What’s the word will he be coming over? He has similar KBO stats to Rya and that guys is goooood

Drew
1 year 8 months ago

So what about this Yoon guy? What’s the word will he be coming over? He has similar KBO stats to Rya and that guys is goooood

txftw
1 year 8 months ago

Angels spending big on Joe Smith! I wonder if they want to keep up with the Cano/Choo deals now haha

txftw
1 year 8 months ago

Angels spending big on Joe Smith! I wonder if they want to keep up with the Cano/Choo deals now haha

Tigers72
1 year 8 months ago

Since Scherzer will probably not sign an extension I wouldn’t mind trading him and the Tigers signing Matt Garza. They would still have a top rotation and could improve their team and get younger by trading Scherzer and Holady for Zunino and Hultzen maybe.

Sky14
1 year 8 months ago

The AL west has out spent the entire NL, crazy. Though not counting the Giants extensions skews the numbers a bit. Still could the AL have that much more money than the NL?