Fun with Free Agent Numbers

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Another free agent domino fell earlier today as outfielder Shin-Soo Choo signed a seven-year, $130 million deal with the Rangers. With Choo gone, Nelson Cruz is the last remaining elite free agent hitter left on the board while Stephen Drew, Matt Garza, and Bronson Arroyo are some of the top remaining players beyond Cruz.

With lots of talent accounted for, let’s have some fun with free agent numbers as of right now, December 21 at 6 PM. All data originally taken from MLB Trade Rumors and played around with in Excel.

Highest-Spending Teams (percentage of total spending in parentheses):

  • New York Yankees: $328,000,000 (18%)
  • Seattle Mariners: $261,800,000 (14%)
  • San Francisco Giants: $172,000,000 (9%)

Lowest-Spending Teams (percentage of total spending in parentheses):

  • Milwaukee Brewers: $1,950,000 (1%)
  • Atlanta Braves: $4,000,000 (2%)
  • Baltimore Orioles: $4,500,000 (2.5%)

Divisions ranked by spending (rank among 6 divisions in parentheses):

  • AL East: $463,750,000 (2)
  • AL Central: $290,750,000 (4)
  • AL West: $487,850,000 (1)
  • NL East: $182,475,000 (5)
  • NL Central: $97,900,000 (6)
  • NL West: $305,250,000 (3)

Spending by league:

  • American League: $1,242,350,000 (68%)
  • National League: $585,625,000 (32%)

Most players signed by a team:

  • New York Yankees: 9
  • Chicago White Sox: 6
  • San Francisco Giants: 6
  • Tampa Bay Rays: 6

Fewest players signed by a team:

  • Atlanta Braves: 1
  • Milwaukee Brewers: 1
  • Cleveland Indians: 1
  • Washington Nationals: 1
  • Baltimore Orioles: 1

Divisions ranked by most players signed (rank among 6 divisions in parentheses):

  • AL East: 23 (1)
  • AL Central: 18 (2)
  • AL West: 16 (4)
  • NL East: 13 (5)
  • NL Central: 11 (6)
  • NL West: 17 (3)

Total players signed by league:

  • American League: 57 (58%)
  • National League: 41 (42%)

Lengthiest deals:

  • Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners: 10 years
  • Jacoby Ellsbury, New York Yankees: 7 years
  • Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Rangers: 7 years

Percentage of multi-year deals by length:

  • 10 years: 1 (1%)
  • 7 years: 2 (2%)
  • 6 years: 1 (1%)
  • 5 years: 2 (2%)
  • 4 years: 6 (6%)
  • 3 years: 9 (9%)
  • 2 years: 28 (29%)
  • 1 year: 49 (50%)

Most multi-year deals given by team:

  • New York Yankees: 5
  • San Francisco Giants: 4
  • Tampa Bay Rays: 3
  • Cincinnati Reds: 3
  • Minnesota Twins: 3

Total amount earned by position on multi-year deals:

  • Starting Pitcher: $333,000,000 (19.5%)
  • Relief Pitcher: $154,625,000 (9%)
  • Catcher: $164,250,000 (9.5%)
  • Infield: $523,300,000 (30.5%)
  • Outfield: $576,200,000 (31.5%)

Multi-year deals earned by position:

  • Starting Pitcher: 9 (18%)
  • Relief Pitcher: 10 (20%)
  • Catcher: 6 (12%)
  • Infield: 13 (26.5%)
  • Outfield: 11 (22.5%)

If you notice any errors or omissions, let me know in the comments and I’ll make the necessary edits.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.