Hello! I am very excited to be a part of this crew, helping contribute to the podcasts and this blog. Particular thanks to Alex for being kind enough to be the one to let me in.
This list only includes free-agent signings. No contract extensions or trades here. If I missed a deal you think is important, let me know in the comments. Without further ado.
Bartolo Colon; ATL; 1 yr, $12.5 mil: B+
Big Sexy is on the move. Bartolo looks like he has plenty left to give in this league, so this is a good baseball signing for the Braves. He was the only Mets pitcher last season to make every one of his scheduled starts, sporting a solid 15-8 record and a 3.43 ERA in 191.2 innings. It’s a bonus for PR, because what better way to draw fans into a new stadium for a seemingly mediocre team than Big Bart?
Kendrys Morales; TOR; 3 yrs, $33 mil: C+
It feels like the Blue Jays hit the panic button on this one. This signing on November 11 essentially took them out of the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes. While Morales is a fine player, he isn't Edwin. Morales is also a primary DH nowadays, having rarely played first base over the last handful of years. Steve Pearce will try and fill in at first base for Edwin. The length of the contract is puzzling, considering his age, but his per year average of $11 million is financially reasonable. But they still should have waited a little longer for Edwin.
Josh Reddick; HOU; 4 yrs, $52 mil: B
The first signing of a pretty solid offseason for the Astros. Reddick gives them some much needed outfield help and also brings in a left handed power threat. Hopefully for Houston he can produce like he did for a lot of his career in Oakland and not like his two months in LA last season. The Astros paid for his high ceiling, but must be wary off his potentially low floor.
Brett Cecil; STL; 4 yrs, $30.5 mil: A
Set-up men in the MLB, so hot right now. Seeing the success of Andrew Miller, the Cardinals bolstered their bullpen by signing Cecil (another blow to the Jays). He may compete for the closer role, but he’ll likely be utilized like an Andrew Miller, coming in high leverage situations at various stages of the game. A very solid move that could help them challenge the Cubs in the NL Central.
Edison Volquez; MIA; 2 yrs, $22 mil: B
An under the radar signing than could pay off big for the Marlins. Tragically, the Marlins had a pitching void left by Jose Fernandez. Volquez helps fill part of that. This signing, combined with a healthy Giancarlo Stanton and production out of Ozuna/Yelich/Bour, could put the Marlins closer the playoffs.
Yoenis Cespedes; NYM; 4 yrs, $110 mil: A-
The first big re-sign of the offseason. Cespedes has certainly earned his money, especially from the Mets. The Mets, however, may have fallen into the trap of locking up Cespedes long-term. At his previous stops in Oakland, Boston, and Detroit, there was times when Cespedes seemed fat and happy with his wallet and his game suffered. It’s always a concern when a guy is traded as much as Cespedes has.
Carlos Beltran; HOU; 1 yr, $16 mil: B+
Another solid signing for the boys from Houston. Beltran helps any line-up he's in and his veteran presence is always a plus. With such a youthful team, having a guy like Beltran around will help tremendously. A return to Minute Maid will rekindle some very fond memories as well.
Matt Holliday; NYY; 1 yr, 13 mil: C
A worse version of the Beltran deal. Holliday won’t be anything more than a DH. Even though this is the Yankees, $13 million seems like a lot for slightly above-average DH who's had injury troubles the last couple of years.
Mark Melancon; SF; 4 yrs, $62 mil: A+
This is the definition of a no-brainer. The Giants second half collapse was due in large part to the closing out of games and their failure to do so. The Giants lapped the rest of the majors with 32 blown saves, the last two coming in their divisional series loss to the Cubs. At that moment, a record contract for a closer was the smartest path the Giants had to being better in 2017.
Rich Hill; LAD; 3 yrs, $48 mil: A-
One of the Dodgers big three re-signs. The Dodgers couldn't afford to lose another one of Kershaw’s number twos. So slightly overpaying for a older pitcher who can best be described as a late bloomer is understandable. If Hill performs even close to last year’s numbers and keep his blister under control, he’ll be worth the money.
Ian Desmond; COL; 5 yrs, $70 mil: B+
Go big or go home. Last year showed Desmond’s ability to adjust to a new position, so a defensive fit was not an issue. The Rockies adding more offense is what they should do. Take advantage of your 81 home games at altitude and try to be the most entertaining home team in baseball. The Rockies need to power their way towards challenging the Dodgers and Giants in the West, and Desmond helps them do that.
Aroldis Chapman; NYY; 5 yrs, $86 mil: A
The Cubs got played. Take their number one prospect from them, help them break the curse, but then bring Chapman back. Brilliant. Easily worth the record money. The back end of their bullpen is set with Betances and Chapman, but the rest of the Yankees roster is filled with question marks more than anything.
Dexter Fowler; STL; 5 yrs, $82.5 mil: B+
A direct takeaway from the Cubs. Fowler provides a dynamic leadoff bat and exceptional defense. He’s really starting to come into is own which makes the timing of this deal all the more better. Another signing that'll make it tough for the Cubs to repeat even in the division.
Kenley Jansen; LAD; 5 yrs, $80 mil: A
Probably the most important retention of the Dodgers’ offseason. Kenley has become an elite closer and the Dodgers couldn't afford to lose him. The timing of his wedding, which included teammates like Turner and Gonzalez, influenced him to leave money in D.C. to stay in LA. A massive decision for both teams.
Justin Turner; LAD; 4 yrs, $64 mil: A
The final piece of the Dodgers’ free agency puzzle. Turner has thrived at Chavez Ravine, setting career records in a number of categories in 2016. Hopefully Turner’s legs can stay under him in his mid-30s, but if the Boys in Blue can get his post-April production or close to it, they'll be happy. This move also helped the Dodgers keep prospects out of a potential Longoria trade in order to pursue the Doziers and the Kinslers at 2B.
Ivan Nova; PIT; 3 yrs, $26 mil: B
A step forward for the Bucs. Nova provides plenty of potential to be a solid piece of the Pirates’ rotation, but not the ace of the staff. Injuries are a concern and if Liriano struggles again in 2017, the Pirates will lack anything close to an ace.
Edwin Encarnacion; CLE; 3 yrs, $60 mil: A
Cleveland’s window is now. Edwin helps any team he's on get better. Within a run of glory last year, the Tribe add an upgrade to Mike Napoli, no offense to Napoli. Edwin hasn't shown signs of slowing, so for now his floor is high. This signing will help keep the Indians in the mix for the AL pennant this year.
Santiago Casilla; OAK; 2 yrs, $11 mil: C-
Somebody had to sign to sign him. The highlight of the closing debacle for the Giants last year with nine blown saves, he was far from a hot commodity. This signing is another wheel spinner for the A’s, who haven't recovered from the Donaldson deal.
Jose Bautista; TOR; 1 yr, $18 mil: B
So much for no hometown discount. The Blue Jays salvage one piece of their free agents by signing Joey Bats to essentially a qualifying offer. Bautista did himself no favors with his play last year, slashing .234/.366/.452 with only 22 dingers in 517 PAs. After being passed over by a lot of teams, he had to put his tail between his legs and go back to Toronto. Perhaps he just had a down year, but at 36, perhaps he's on a steady decline.
Mark Trumbo; BAL; 3 yrs, $37.5: A
Chicks dig the long ball. Trumbo’s resurgent power in 2016, cranking 47 Trumbombs, wasn't enough to yield a massive contract, but he still got paid handsomely. The Orioles couldn't afford to lose his power, but their patient approach paid off. Trumbo adds intimidation to a lineup that has had a different player lead the league in homers each of the last four seasons. Still, I would've like to have seen Trumbo go to Denver for the hell of it.