By: Noah Wright
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Every off-season, there are always a handful of all-star caliber players that hit free agency. As you could expect, most of these players land big, long term contracts. As we are nearing mid-June, lets see how some of these big free-agent signings have paid off so far.
(NOTE: I will not include Ohtani, as he was an international free agent)
1.) Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez to a 5 year, $110 million deal
So far, JDM has more than proved his worth. The slugger has split time between DH’ing, and playing the corner outfield positions, granted, not that well (-5 DRS, -1 defensive WAR, -3.5 UZR). But they signed him to hit, and he’s done just that. In his 254 PA’s, JDM has slugged 20 home runs and 52, both leads The AL. He has a tremendous batting line, with a .314/.374/.646 line. He also has 170 wRC+, which is a career high.
2.) Phillies sign Jake Arrieta to a 3 year, $75 million dollar deal
After he seemed to be hitting a decline in his career, with his velocity down, and his ERA, HR/9, and FIP up, Arrieta seemed that he would continue to decline. However, he has done the complete opposite. In his 64 and a third innings of work for The Phils, Arrieta has produced a quality 2.66 ERA, 3.24 FIP, and 1.166 WHIP. He also has a low 2.7 BB/9 rate, and is currently tying a career low, .4 HR/9 rate. While his strikeout numbers are down, with a career low 6.2 K/9, and 17.2 K%, his velocity is back up, according to fangraphs velocity charts.
3.) Rockies sign Wade Davis to a 3 year, $52 million deal
After passing up on their closer for the 2017 season, Greg Holland, The Rockies decided to sign another former Royal late inning arm. The now Rockie closer, Wade Davis, is living up to his contract. He’s followed up one all-star level season with another this year, with a 3.42 ERA, 3.83 FIP, and a 1.101 WHIP in 26.1 innings. He also has kept his healthy strikeout rate, with a 10.6 K/9, and a decent .241 opponent BABIP. However, he does have a slightly high 4.1 BB/9 rate, and 1 HR/9 rate, but the HR/9 rate should be no surprise, as he could be affected by The Coors Factor.
4.) Royals resign Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $6.5 million deal
The Royals third baseman entered the off-season, expecting a payday, and why wouldn’t he? He was coming off a career year, but because of the free agent freeze of this off-season, he had to settle for a one year, $6.5 million deal. Moustakas has been on a tear this year. He’s replicating a lot of aspects of his 2017 year, with his .271/.327/.502 line in 272 PA’s. He’s also hit 13 HRs, and has driven in 42 runs. His wRC+ of 120 is nearly a career high, and will likely end the season with a different team, as The Royals are rebuilding. While his defense was down last year, the third baseman's defense has bounced back this year, with 1 DRS, .2 dWAR, and 1.1 UZR.
5.) Brewers sign Lorenzo Cain to a 5 year, $80 million dollar deal
The Brewers really bolstered up their outfield this season. After trading for Christian Yelich, The Brew Crew signed Lorenzo Cain to a 5 year deal. So far, he’s been just what The Brewers wanted. In 257 PA’s, Cain has hit a god .284/.389/.436, with his OBP being a career high. He’s also hit 7 home runs, and has stolen 11 bases. Cain’s slugging % and ISO are also good for 2nd highest in his career, and his wRC+ is just 1 below of his career high of 128. His defense has also been strong (as usual), with 11 DRS, 2 dWAR, and a 4.7 UZR in centerfield.
6.) Padres sign Eric Hosmer to an 8 year, $144 deal
After not signing until late into the off-season, The Padres landed first baseman, Eric Hosmer to a long term deal. Since going to The Friars, Hosmer has done pretty good. In 263 PA’s, Hosmer hit .289/.373/.470 to go along with 7 homers, and 28 RBI’s. However, he currently has a career high, .181 ISO, .355 BABIP, and is near a career high in wRC+, with 132. While his defense can be a bit spotty sometimes, Hosmer has done decent at first so far this year, with 4 DRS, exactly 0 dWAR, and -1.2 UZR.
7.) Angels sign Zack Cozart to a 3 year, $38 million deal
After an All-Star year with The Reds, Zack Cozart signed with The LA Angels, but was moved to play some third base and second base since The Angels already had Andrelton Simmons at short. After starting the year on The DL, the now third baseman has not started out the season the way The Angels wanted him to. In 235 PA’s, Cozart is batting .230/.302/.383 with just 5 home runs, and 18 RBI’s. His BABIP of .257 is a career low. Though he was always known for being a very good defensive shortstop, the said can’t be said when he plays third, for he has -4 DRS, -.2 dWAR, and -1.8 UZR at the hot corner.
8.) Cubs sign Yu Darvish to a 6 year, $126 million deal
Darvish has not pitched the same as he has before since his World Series struggles in 2017. The Cubs signed Darvish, with the expectation he would easily fill the gap Arrieta left behind. So far this season, Darvish has not done so. In 40 innings of work, the righty has produced an uncharacteristic 4.95 ERA, 1.425 WHIP, and 4.81 FIP. His usual control seems to be lost as he currently has, what would be a career high, 4.7 walks/9. While his strikeout numbers may be at their norms (11 K/9), he has given up 1.6 HR/9, a career high. Darvish has also suffered injuries, with 2 DL placements this season. However, while he does have a .293 opponent BABIP, opponents only have a .232 average against. While he still has time to turn things around, Darvish has been the worst big name off-season signing so far.