Free Agents

2017-18 MLB Offseason Rundown: A look at all of baseball’s free agent signings and trades since the World Series

With the conclusion of the Winter Meetings Dec. 15, here’s a rundown of all the notable free agent signings in the MLB offseason so far. I’m going to try to update this list once a week as the offseason goes on, and will be adding in notable trades at as well.

At the moment, most of the players who have signed have been relief pitchers, which doesn’t make for the most fun transaction log but could really alter a team’s outlook and can point to future moves to come.

Carlos Santana -3 years, $60 million to the Phillies

Santana has been one of the most reliable batters in the business since his first full season in 2011. He might not be as exciting a player to watch or as young as Eric Hosmer, but I’m a sucker for guys who can draw walks and would prefer Santana right now if choosing a first baseman or DH for the next few seasons.

He’s an asset that any team would be lucky to have, except the fit here with the Phillies doesn’t seem exactly logical for the club. Rhys Hoskins, the team’s most exciting player last season, already mans first base, and without a DH in the NL, it looks like he’ll have to learn the outfield or be dealt, neither of which should make fans too happy.

Zack Cozart – 3 years, $38 million to the Angels
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2016 NFL Free Agency Review

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

Giants sign OLB Olivier Vernon
5 years $85 million

Good lord that’s a lot of money! The Giants aren’t messing around, and with the three additions so far (Vernon, Harrison, Jenkins) have completely revamped their defense.

Jaguars sign DE Malik Jackson
5 years $85 million

After year’s of targeting the second tier of the free agency market and getting underwhelming returns, the Jags finally went for a big gun, signing one of the more impressive pass rushers down the stretch last season. The only concern is that Jackson was just one piece in a strong front seven in Denver, and will be “the guy” in Jacksonville.

Washington signs CB Josh Norman
5 years $75 million

When you consider Josh Norman wasn’t close to a household name up until this past season, and that he’s already 28-years-old, a 5-year deal for this much seems almost sure to give headaches down the road. However, right now, it’s the perfect addition for Washington. Their defense showed vast improvements last season but still missed a top-level piece in the secondary. Norman will give them more flexibility, more confidence and take pressure off the offense.

Texans sign QB Brock Osweiler
4 years $72 million

When looking at the numbers, Osweiler posted more or less the same numbers as Brian Hoyer last season. However, Osweiler offers a lot more upside, and gives the team a young quarterback to build around. It is a lot of money for a guy who’s played in seven games. (more…)

2015-2016 MLB Free Agency Review

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

Cubs re-sign OF Dexter Fowler
1 year $8 million

The Cubs brought in Jason Heyward to replace Dexter Fowler earlier in the offseason, and the only question was wether or not the elite defender would be able to make the transition to center field. Well, with Fowler still on the market into the last week of February, the Cubs decided $8 million was worth the piece of mind. Fowler, who led off 150 games for the Cubs last season, should be able to man center as admirable as he did in 2015.

Fowler’s always struck out a little more than what’s considered healthy, but his walk-rate helps mitigate the damage. Also, the important thing is he should power and an ability to stay on the field last season, both of which had been lacking before he go to Chicago.

I don’t expect Fowler to play 150+ games again this year, but he’s a much safer every day player than Jorge Soler, who now looks like a fourth outfielder and the left side of a platoon with Kyle Schwarber And at only $8 million, if Soler explodes and forces his way into a regular role, Fowler would be excellent outfield depth at a reasonable cost.

Orioles sign RHP Yovani Gallardo
2 years $22 million

One of my least favorite signings in the offseason. Gallardo doesn’t really add much more than depth to the team’s rotation, and they gave up a first round pick for a two year contract. Entering his tenth season in the league, he’s started 30 games in his last seven, but has never posted an ERA under 3.42. His K/9 has dropped each of the last three seasons, from 9 in 2019 down to only 5.9 in 2015; his FIP has slowly crawled up to over 4 in that same timeframe. With a walk rate historically above 3 BB/9, the declining Gallardo offers little upside other than durability, and doesn’t particularly make me think Baltimore will be any better off now than they were before the addition. (more…)

2015 NFL Trade Reviews

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

Last year I combined my trade analysis with my free agency recap, but with so many trades this season I had to make a separate article, just to keep everything organized.  Here’s my take on the trades that have taken place so far in the new NFL year.

Mike Wallace traded to Minnesota from Miami
Dolphins gets Vikings 2015 5th round pick. Vikings get 2015 7th round pick.

Like I said after the Stills move for Miami, it was pretty clear they would be getting rid of Wallace, and at least they were able to get an asset (even if the value is minimal) for what would have been a cut if nobody made an offer. I think the offense takes a small hit, but if the Dolphins spend that money elsewhere the trade will be worth their while. The Vikings, after being relatively inactive in free agency, gave up a close to nothing for a player with a lot of speed and an up-and-down history of success.  They weren’t going to spend the money on anything this year anyway, and if Wallace doesn’t work out they can cut him without losing anything.  Probably not the ideal fit for the offense, but it’s a low risk move for sure.

Winner: Tie

Kenny Stills traded to Miami from New Orleans
Dannell Ellerbe to New Orleans from Miami
Saints get Dolphins 2015 3rd round pick

I’m not sure how the Saints got such a haul for Stills, who was a 5th round pick in 2013, has 8 total touchdowns in two seasons and is a pretty one dimensional talent. He has speed, and it’s elite speed, but that’s pretty much it. I don’t think too much of Ellerbe (he’s lucked into some nice stats playing next to Cameron Wake and has a big cap number), so the player swap isn’t important, but the pick seems like too much. I think the Saints will probably wind up cutting Ellerbe or restructuring, but even if they do it’s a nice move.

For the Dolphins, they got a good deep threat. Unfortunately, they already have a better version of that player in Mike Wallace, and if the last two year has taught us anything, it’s that Ryan Tannahill struggles getting the ball downfield.

I could see Miami cutting Wallace now and thinking that the addition of Stills will be a cheaper option for the same level of production, which could be very true. I just don’t think clearing cap space is worth the 3rd round pick.

Winner: Saints (more…)

2015 Football Free Agency Recap

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

Here’s where I’ll be posting my takes on NFL free agents and where they sign.

DeAngelo Williams to Pittsburg from Carolina

The story of what never was. Trapped in a quagmire of running back mediocrity, Williams always showed the most potential in Carolina, and got paid like a top back in the league. His injuries were always untimely, and as a result he hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2009. Now 31, he’ll be the primary backup for Le’Veon Bell.

Darren McFadden to Dallas from Oakland
2 years $5.8 million

It has looked like McFadden lost some of his burst after so many injuries. The Cowboys aren’t giving up much to get him, so it’s a low risk option in the backfield. I have a feeling they’ll add another back (possibly in the draft) before the start of the season.

DeMarco Murray to Philadelphia from Dallas
5 years $42 million

This is a good move in terms of fit. His skills go really nicely with the Eagles play calling and offensive line.  However, the financial aspect of the trade are all out of whack.  In trading McCoy earlier this month, it looked like the Eagles were trying to save money at running back, which would have been smart.  Then they gave a ton of cash to Murray and Ryan Matthews, two very injury prone backs. If Murray stays healthy like he did last season he’ll put up great numbers. That just isn’t a guarantee.

Brian Orakpo to Tennessee from Washington
4 years $32 million

Mostly due to injuries and being part of a bad defense his entire career, Orakpo has never lived up to expectations. He’s probably a good fit in Tennessee, who desperately needed defensive help, and if he plays all 16 games this year should earn his money. It’s a little risky, but a risk that might pay off.

Andre Johnson to Indianapolis from Houston
3 years $21 million

It’s hard not to look at this as a straight Wayne/Johnson swap, and it’s a perfect fit. Johnson is 3 years younger, is faster, taller and has about the same injury risk as Wayne. He’s never been a beast in the redzone like one might assume, but he’s also never had a quarterback close to as good as Andrew Luck. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if Johnson wasn’t nearly as good as most probably expect him to be, but the fit looks right.

Nick Fairley to St. Louis from Detroit
1 year $5 million

Fairly was a beast when he was on the field last year, but a lack of consistent effort through his rookie contract is probably what prevented him from grabbing a long-term deal. He joins an already stacked front seven in St. Louis, so even though his role will be diminished, he’ll have an easy time making an impact.

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2013 NFL Offensive Free Agency Preview

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Players that will get big money and deserve it:

Jake Long
Position: Left Offensive Tackle
Age: 27
Possible Suitors: St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals
Expected Contract: $50 million/ 5 years

The first overall pick from the 2008 draft, Jake Long has made it to 4 pro bowls in his first 5 seasons in the league.  He was injured in 2012, which hurts his value slightly, but he’s a proven player and will help any offensive line he goes to.

Jermon Bushrod
Position: Left Tackle
Age: 28
Team: Chicago Bears
Contract: $36 million/5 years

Louis Vasquez
Position: Guard
Age: 25
Team: Denver Broncos
Contract: $24 million/4 years (more…)