CUT THE CHECK: MLB Free Agent Signing Report #2

Posted: December 5, 2012 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB
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It’s the heart of the winter meetings and deals are coming back in according to form. While the trade market All-Stars (RA Dickey, Justin Upton, James Shields, Astrubal Cabrera among others) are all in pure rumor form, the free agent meter in overdrive. There has been a holding pattern at the top, with Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton and Michael Bourn all having more myth to reality about exactly who is in for them and what type of deal it will take to land them. But the middle of the market is clearing out like a two for one sale.

The Boston Red Sox have filled their shopping cart in a hurry with new talent, while the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants have done so with bringing back their own guys. The National League in general has been very active, especially among last summer’s contenders. The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves have each added a top 10 free agent to their clubs, while the LA Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals are both waiting in the wings still.

What’s waiting to explode still is both the middle of the lineup power market, and most notably the starting pitching field. All of that hinges on what happens with Greinke and Hamilton, but anything is possible and at any second, the powder keg of the field could go off and a few hundred million getting handed out to the pair could change everything.

For now, here’s a recap of the more recent signings in this winter’s free agent scramble, with some of the impact of their deals. The ranks are by their original place on the CHEAP SEATS free agent tracker. An update Top 50 will debut tomorrow, with any updated signings and a complete recap of deals thus far.

The Giants two biggest "additions" were returns, by giving out $60 million to hold on to postseason heros Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro

The Giants two biggest “additions” were returns, by giving out $60 million to hold on to postseason heros Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro

 

4. BJ Upton-Centerfield: Signed with Atlanta Braves, 5 years/$75 million

I covered this all the way at The Sports Fan Journal, check it out.

10. Dan Haren-Pitcher: Signed with Washington Nationals, 1 year/$13 million

Haren is a very strong signing for the Nationals, who needed to replace Edwin Jackson in their rotation. While he suffered from some back troubles that produced his worst year as full-time pro, his upside is undeniable and he’ll round out the Nationals starters as the strongest overall group in the NL. With a one year deal, he’ll re-enter the market next year with a chance for very strong deal.

12. Mike Napoli-Catcher/First base: Signed with Boston Red Sox, 3 years/$39 million

Nap’s the perfect signing for Red Sox club that’s getting very versatile in filling its multiple holes. Napoli can work the catcher and first base (which will be his prime position) openings, as well as spell David Ortiz at DH. With his swing, he’ll eat the Green Monster up and could be in place for another 2011 in Fenway.

15. Mariano Rivera-Pitcher: Resigned with New York Yankees, 1 year/$10 million

No surprise here; there was no shot he’d go anywhere else. Rather, it’s a fulfillment of his promise to not go out on an injury note. He’ll slide back into the ninth inning role in the Bronx and make the entire staff better.

18. Angel Pagan-Centerfield: Resigned with San Francisco Giants, 4 years/$40 million

The first big eye raiser of the winter meetings, Pagan’s deal is a high risk one. He had a strong postseason, and was a value at $10 million per in this year’s CF market, but the length of it is questionable, as he’ll be 34 when it ends and will most likely have to man a corner position due to decline. But right now, it’s a major step in the Giants staying put at the top of the West.

24. Joakim Soria-Pitcher: Signed with Texas Rangers, 2 years/$8 million

One of the game’s best closers before having to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery and missing 2012 in KC, this is a rebound chance for Soria. He’ll become a setup man in Texas, but play for a contender for the first time and could be the impact setup man Texas hoped Mike Adams would be.

25. Marco Scutaro—Second Base: Resigned w/ San Francisco Giants: 3 yrs/$20 million

The market worked very favorable deal that was aided by his strong second half, NLCS MVP effort and a late battle between the Yankees, Cardinals and Giants for his services. But the Giants get back steady contributor for just over $6 million per year and keep their greatest strength in tow: group chemistry.

26. Shane Victorino-Outfield: Signed with Boston Red Sox, 3 years/$39 million

This is a strong sign for the Sox, who are looking to fill spots across their outfield, both now and going ahead. He’ll start in right field right, but can play every spot in the outfield and could be an option in center full-time if Jacoby Ellsbury leaves in free agency next winter. His signing changes the shopping list of many teams, as the Indians, Reds, Yankees, Rays and Giants were all in for him.

30. Andy Pettitte-Pitcher: Resigned with New York Yankees, 1 year/$12 million

Another matter similar to Rivera’s return to the Bronx, Pettitte wasn’t going to pitch anywhere else. The only shocker is the $12 million he received to do it, despite making only 12 starts after coming out of retirement and being shut down by injury nearly immediately last year.

33. Russell Martin-Catcher: Signed with Pittsburgh Pirates, 2 years/$17 million

The first big surprise of the offseason was when the Pirates lured Martin from the Yankees. He’ll be a strong veteran to handle their young, up and coming pitchers and provide the type of experience a team that’s failed two Augusts in a row needs.

61. James Loney-First Base: Signed with Tampa Bay Rays, 1 year/$2 million

A solid signing for a team based on pitching strength. He won’t provide much power for a corner infielder, but he’ll carry his own weight with his glove.

69. Scott Feldman-Pitcher: Signed with Chicago Cubs, 1 year/$6 million

A quiet signing that will give the Cubs a solid amount of innings on the bottom half of their rotation, at a decent price.

 

For more on the real time dealings and rumoring around the MLB winter, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.

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