We’re coming to the end of the offseason, and with the notable exception of James Shields, most of this winter’s key free agents have found new homes. That doesn’t mean transaction activity is likely to come to a halt, however. Let’s look back to last February to see what kinds of moves we might expect in the month to come.
- In particular, last February was a huge month for extensions. The Braves signed Andrelton Simmons, Craig Kimbrel and Julio Teheran to lengthy deals. Homer Bailey and the Reds agreed to a six-year deal (plus a mutual option) that crossed the $100MM threshold. The Yankees signed Brett Gardner for four years and an option. Michael Brantley agreed to terms on a four-year deal with an option in a contract that now looks like a bargain for the Indians. And the Athletics signed Coco Crisp for two years.
- Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz finally escaped the specters of their rejected qualifying offers and signed with the Orioles. The first year of Jimenez’s deal was forgettable, although the Orioles’ cheap one-year deal with Cruz gave them the AL’s home run leader. Meanwhile, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales remained free agents. The qualifying offer didn’t have the same chilling effect on this winter’s market, obviously, with Shields as the only player who rejected a qualifying offer and hasn’t yet signed.
- Fernando Rodney and Bronson Arroyo both agreed to two-year deals, while A.J. Burnett signed his complex one-year deal with the Phillies. Jason Hammel and Francisco Rodriguez also signed one-year deals.
- Two international players signed semi-high-profile deals as shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena headed to the Dodgers for five years and Suk-min Yoon went to the Orioles for three. (Neither deal has worked out as planned.)
- The Cardinals signed Pat Neshek to a minor-league deal that turned out to have a big impact, as Neshek produced a 1.87 ERA, 9.1 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 and made his first All-Star Game.
- The Dodgers, meanwhile, signed infielder Justin Turner to a minor-league deal that produced a terrific .340/.404/.493 season over 322 plate appearances.
- The Nationals acquired catcher Jose Lobaton and two prospects from the Rays for pitcher Nate Karns.