Ok folks, I am going to be throwing together a quick segment on the top 5 free agent signings of the off season and how each player will potentially help the team. If I made any egregious omissions, feel free to let me know in the comments, and I may do a follow up early next week if I get time. Now, without further ado, let’s get this rolling:
Contract: 5yrs 20M/yr
Silva is the kind of free agent that can put a team over the top. He is a plus defender with nice speed, durability and excellent health. His bat is exceptional, as he can hit for good power, off of both lefties and righties, won’t strike out too much and will get his share of walks. All-around, he is a cornerstone player, in his prime. 5 years is a great term length for a 28 year old, even if 20M per is a bit steep. Coming off a down year of .261/.326/.425, the Bald Eagles really hope he can return to his past form- and the Metrodome may give him the slight boost needed for that. The Bald Eagles are going to love plugging him into their already potent lineup, but chatter around the league is that unless Silva can be a front line starter as well, the Bald Eagles will still have a tough time making up the 40 games that NY ran away with the division in. Overall, Silva is a welcome addition to a young, up-and-coming team.
Contract: 5 years worth 78.5M total
Helena finished 3rd in the AL west, but was only 7 games off KC for the division lead. How did Helena respond? By making two major FA splashes, the first of which being Young. Young is a durable, healthy front line starter who is a lock for 200+ top-notch innings. Not the hardest thrower, Young can get righties out at a great clip and will deal well to lefties with his plus control and stamina. His 4seamer has a ton of life and sets up his slider well, keeping hitters guessing and ultimately, balls on the ground- which is going to be key in Helena. A 5 year deal for a 32 year old may be lengthy, but if he can take care of his body and keep his skill level up, that will be a good ~15M spent. Helena’s team .754 OPS from last year may have to be a little better for them to make up some ground in the division, but Young will definitely help with those pedestrian numbers of team WHIP and Opp AVG. Overall, this move will help Helena now, and hopefully won’t become an albatross in 2-3 years.
Contract: 3 yrs, 14.5M total with a 7M bonus
Kouzmanoff is a solid outfield defender with incredible power to all fields. His contract is favorable for Scranton, as they had the means to toss an extra 7M at him in the form of a signing bonus to compensate for the years and overall dollars. at 31, a 3 year deal is beyond reasonable, and with that bat, you have to figure even a worst case scenario could still leave him as a serviceable DH or 1B. The worry on Kouz is his health. He has dodged major DL time in the past, but his durability could lead to potential health problems later in the contract, if not sooner. The bottom line with Kouz is that he can mash, and that is something that will be a welcome addition to Scranton’s average .427 team SLG%. Finishing last year at 18 games out of the division, SWB addressed their offense, and hopes that the pitching can really rebound from a S16 of 4.82 team ERA and .270 team Opp AVG. Overall, a nice value for SWB.
Contract: 5yrs, 11.5M per/yr
Mo Wilkerson is the second pea to the Helena pitching pod. Needing to upgrade pitching, they added Young, then looked to Wilkerson to complete their new rotation. Wilkerson is an absolute stud on this hill. While his durability could be better, he is good for 180+ good innings. Dealing superbly to both righties and lefties, his control will leave no corner left unpainted. Another soft tosser, he isn’t going to strike many guys out, but his fastball is lively and his curveball will help him put guys away. Another front line pitcher that will throw a lot of ground balls, Helena is really hoping to get tons of production out of the 33 year old, but he will age quick in the second half of that contract, so it had better come quickly. Overall, a nice deal now, we’ll see how Helena feels about it in S20 (though I’m sure a WS title would ease any pain and justify just about any size contract).
Contract: 4yrs with a total value of ~31M
Stewart has the potential to be the best defensive LF/1B in the league if he that is indeed where he ends up playing (per what his card lists). he is overall a plus defender at those positions and has some nice durability. Colo Springs was downright bad last year, so it is hard to believe that some FA signings and other moves will be able to make up for the 33 games they were out last year. but alas, a power hitting 31 year old can certainly bring a lot of good experience and knowledge to what is sure to be an up-and-coming, young clubhouse in the next few years. Stewart absolutely destroys lefties and righties with immense power, and still manages to keep his K’s relatively low. he has a slightly above average eye, and don’t sleep on this guy bunting, as he may quietly be the best bunter in the league. he can adequately spray the ball to avoid the over-shift, but don’t expect prolonged stints of opposite-field power. Not to worry, he can certainly make up for it with power to LF. Colo Springs is going to hinder his HR potential a bit, but I would still expect him to be good for ~30 bombs this year. And make no mistake, he will certainly help that .393 team SLG%. Overall, CSP should hope for a clubhouse role model as their young talent matures.
Well there you have it, the top 5 FA signings of the offseason to date. As I said before, if you have any guys that I missed, feel free to leave his name and team in the comments. Also, feel free to use the comments as you wish for remarks, scoldings, ect. Hope you guys enjoyed!