The 2015-2016 offseason market consisted of some of the biggest and exciting players in the game. Some predictions as to where they were destined to be were accurate, while many came to a surprise.
With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training on February 17th, the offseason will officially come to an end, though there are plenty of players remaining on the market that will seek out a home before the season begins.
But, the big named free agents have found themselves a home for 2016, with opt-out clauses serving as the story of their contract. Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst signings of the offseason.
1.) Chris Davis, Orioles- 7 years/ $132million: Chris Davis has emerged as one of the most powerful hitters in the game, averaging 40 home runs per year over the last four years. But he is also notoriously known for the strikeout, as evidenced by his 208 he compiled last year. Davis never really had a legit market, with many of the big time spenders already covered at first base. Add in the fact that Davis is a convicted PED user, and somehow super-agent Scott Boras got Baltimore to bid against itself.
2.) Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks- 6 years/ $206 million: Zack Greinke is a dominant right hander, but he is already 32. Grienke is a good bet to age well and stay healthy and productive throughout the entirety of his contract, but if he doesn’t, boy oh boy is that contract going to get ugly real fast for Arizona. And, remove his two stellar seasons in Los Angeles as a Dodger and Greinke has been a really good pitcher in his career, but not a top of the line type of ace that should be making David Price/ Clayton Kershaw type money.
3.) Justin Upton, Tigers- 6 years/ $132 million: While he has always had a high ceiling, Upton has yet to show he can be a consistent five-tool player. Also, he has never shown the ability to lead a team to success. Upton is a good complimentary player, and he is a great complimentary piece to an organization that has Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez, but at $132 million, Detroit really did not need to make this signing. After all, didn’t they just rid themselves of Prince Fielder? Upton will more likely than not play up to his contract given he is just 28 years old, but like Davis, there was no real strong suitor willing to pay him more than $110+ million for his services.
1.) Jordan Zimmermann, Tigers- 5 years/ $110 million: The Tigers may have made a questionable call with the Upton signing, but they got a solid deal with their Zimmermann signing. Zimmermann was the first of the big aces to sign, and given his track record, will serve as a solid top of the rotation arm in Detroit. In an age where pitchers are getting ridiculous money, Zimmermann was had for a reasonable $110 million. He will only turn 30 in May, and is a good bet to log close to 200 innings of under 3.00 ERA ball if he can stay healthy. With a fastball in the upper 90’s and a devastating breaking ball, Zimmermann will fair just fine in the American League.
2.) Yoenis Cespedes, Mets- 3 years/ $75 million: Before the offseason began, it would be unheard of to think that 1.) Cespedes would appear on a list of best offseason signings and 2.) He would remain a Met. Don’t get me wrong, he is a talented athlete with a ton of power. But, aside from his hot stint with the Mets following a July trade, he has yet to put together a consistent season of solid production. And, all offseason long the Mets stated they would not pursue a reunion with Cespedes given his expected $100+ commitment. But give credit where credit is due, Cespedes took a little less to stay in Nw York and the Mets remained in contact with him knowing his market had yet to develop.
3.) Jason Heyward, Cubs- 8 years/ $184 million: Some believe Hayward is all hype, some believe the potential is there to be great. The Cubs were a perfect fit for Heyward, who fits that young mold by being just 26, and got him for less than the $200 million many experts had pegged for him. Hayward has posted an OPS of over .800 just twice in his career, but there is no doubt his athleticism and power potential will play well in Wrigley. And, he will not have to carry that Cubs team. He will compliment a stacked lineup that already had Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler. A smart move for both sides.
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