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.
When he’s not throwing baseballs, Twins pitcher Trevor May is an active gamer. He streams on Twitch, a very popular video game streaming site, fairly regularly and now he’s officially on an eSports team. Luminosity Gaming announced the organization added May last Friday. It appears he’ll be streaming and commentating on Overwatch, a multiplayer first-person shooter made by Blizzard Entertainment.
May is the only current athlete to be an active member of an eSports team. Former NBA player Rick Fox owns Echo Fox, an eSports team that sports players in games including League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Mortal Kombat X. Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is also a known advocate of eSports.
The NBA in particular has been very active on the eSports front. Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov launched NRG eSports in November 2015. Shortly thereafter, Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan invested in the Immortals eSports team. Almost a year later, the 76ers acquired controlling stakes in Team Dignitas and Team Apex. The same month, the Wizards’ and Warriors’ owners launched a group called Axiomatic, which purchased a controlling stake in Team Liquid, a long-time Starcraft: Brood War website which has since branched out into other games. And also in September 2016, Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko bought team Renegades, moving them to a group house in Detroit. In December 2016, the Bucks submitted a deal to Riot Games in order to purchase Cloud9’s Challenger league spot for $2.5 million. The Rockets that month hired someone specifically for eSports development, focusing on strategy and investment. Last month, the Heat acquired a controlling stake in team Misfits.
Once an afterthought, eSports has grown considerably in recent years and now it should be considered a competitor to traditional sports. League of Legends, in particular, is quite popular, reaching nearly 15 million concurrent viewers at its peak in the most recent League of Legends World Championship. That championship featured a prize purse of $6.7 million with $2 million of it being split among winner SK Telecom T1’s members.
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.