We just looked at the offseason’s free agent spending by team. One of the more interesting sets of comparisons suggested, I think, involves the middle-class spenders, specifically those in the $60MM to $70MM range. Let’s consider the different strategies employed:
Veteran Bat: The Mariners and Tigers both made four-year investments in older, established bats (Nelson Cruz and Victor Martinez, respectively). Otherwise, they basically only added supplemental pieces through free agency, with Seattle adding platoon man Rickie Weeks and Detroit bolstering its pen with Joba Chamberlain and Tom Gorzelanny.
Veteran Arm: Most of the cash put onto the market by the Dodgers and Twins went into established starters coming off of good seasons but carrying some questions. Los Angeles went with Brandon McCarthy (supplemented by Brett Anderson, Brandy Beachy, and Dustin McGowan), while Minnesota spent big on Ervin Santana in addition to picking up Torii Hunter and Tim Stauffer.
Spread the Love: The Astros and Royals each invested in at least four players, with each club touching the $20MM mark only once apiece (Jed Lowrie and Edinson Volquez, respectively). Each filled needs with veterans (Luke Gregerson/Pat Neshek vs. Alex Rios/Kendrys Morales/Jason Frasor) and took upside risks (Colby Rasmus for Houston and Kris Medlen/Luke Hochevar for K.C.).
Upside Play: For the Diamondbacks, this season’s open market was all about one man: Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas. The rebuilding club jumped on the chance to put all of its free agent spending into a young player who could deliver huge value at the right time — if he can reach his ceiling.
Each of these clubs committed to sums within the same $10MM range. Which allocated its funds most intelligently, given its particular needs?