The slowest MLB offseason in memory (if not history) is finally at an end. We have been hit with the free agent firehose over the past week, as multiple big names have finally inked new deals. Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer, and J.D. Martinez all shook off the winter’s slow market to land $100 million contract, and the teams that missed out have scrambled to pick up other free agents along the way.
While there are still a few free agents left out there, we want to tie a bit of a bow on this offseason. Our Detroit Tigers haven’t done much, but other teams are finalizing their rosters as they look to compete for a playoff spot in 2018. Inquiring minds want to know, though: who got the best deal of the offseason?
This week’s question: What was the best free agent signing this offseason?
Ashley: I think Eric Hosmer got the best deal of the offseason because there had to be some kind of witchcraft involved for a mediocre first baseman to get an eight-year contract. Congratulations to Scott Boras, who no one can tell me doesn’t work hard for his clients when he can get a deal made like that.
Rob: I’m inclined to say Hosmer too, but because I like that San Diego is gambling a bit without the idiocy they had when they went for it a few years ago. This feels like the contract Jayson Werth signed with the Washington Nationals several years ago.
Patrick O.: Leonys Martin. Haha! Just kidding. I like J.D. Martinez’s deal for the Boston Red Sox at $110 million over five seasons, but I’ll give the edge to the Brewers for signing Lorenzo Cain at $80 million for the same term. It looks like J.D. will be the designated hitter in Boston, which is his best position, but it limits his value. Cain is a true five-tool player who can bring value in every aspect of the game. Milwaukee has to pay some compensation for Cain, but he’s the best all-around offensive player on the market this offseason. I will add that Alex Cobb is still out there and might yet sign at a bargain rate with some lucky team.
Peter: Best free agent deal for a team? Jarrod Dyson to the Arizona Diamondbacks. They are getting great value for just two years and $7.5 million. Best free agent deal for a player? Eric Hosmer. Eight years of job security for someone who the numbers overwhelmingly do not like going forward.
Ron: I like Yu Darvish’s contract from both a player and team standpoint. The Cubs were smart and heavily front-loaded his deal. There’s a $7 million decrease between his first year’s salary and final year’s salary. They also included a two-year opt-out clause so Darvish can opt out after 2019 if he wants. I think six years at $126 million is a good deal for an elite starter at this point, especially one as good as Darvish can be. Consider this: they are paying less per year for Darvish than the Tigers are for Jordan Zimmermann. Additionally, Darvish is only the 13th-highest paid starter this season. Out of those 13 pitchers, only three are younger than Darvish is, and two are the same age. I think the Cubs got a good deal for him, but Darvish didn’t exactly get screwed either given the amount of the contract and his opt-out clause.
Kyle: I think Justin Upton and the Angels worked out a win-win deal. There was a lot of benefit on both sides locking the agreement in earlier in the offseason, especially given the last couple months, and the interest is clear on both sides. Upton locked in a five-year deal after turning 30 at solid AAV, and the Angels will probably get the appropriate value from one of the better options on the market. Aside from his start with the Tigers, Upton has been very consistent, and his defense has been good for a slugger. Both sides should feel good about their relationship continuing.
Rob: After thinking about this question a bit, I have to go with J.D. Martinez too. It’s a perfect fit for both player and team. The Red Sox fill a huge need in the middle of their lineup, and J.D. will get paid $50 million to mash for two years before opting out. Making him the full-time designated hitter should keep him healthier than he has been over the past few years, and he’s going to hit the daylights out of the ball in that division. Those worried about his value can look to another former AL East DH: Edwin Encarnacion, who was a consistent 3-4 win player for several years with the Blue Jays before he signed with Cleveland last winter.
Brandon: It’s not an exciting deal, and it presumably won’t save the Mets, but that Todd Frazier contract is a steal for them. The mid tier free agents seem to have born the brunt of a tepid market. 2 years/$17 million is pretty team friendly for a guy that consistently puts up 3 WAR. And the term is too short to ever hurt them.