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%)
- 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.
Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.
Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.
As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.
This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.