Quick and Dirty MLB Free Agent Tracker

Heath Bell | 3-Years, $27,000,000 | Miami Marlins

  • Good deal for Bell, but whatever. Overpaying for a closer will be a common theme this offseason. In this deal, the Marlins show that they’re willing to spend and can plausibly compete in the coming years. However, this signing does not make the Marlins a better team – while he had a better ERA than Juan Carlos “Leo” Oviedo-Nunez last season, the amount of saves isn’t much different (36 versus 43), and all coming in low-stress situations. get ready for more absurdly large deals for closers.
Chris Capuano | 2-Years, $10,000,000 | Los Angeles Dodgers
  • So far (as of 12/6) this has really been the only good (new) signing for the Doyers this season. Capuano should serve as a serviceable 3-4 starter behind Kershaw and…Lilly? Ugh. Sorry Dodger Blues, but this is going to be a long season. But feel good about this one. Chances are you won’t notice Capuano this season – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Jamey Carroll | 2-Years, $6,750,000 | Minnesota Twins
  • Twins are going nowhere fast, and this signing is just prolonging what looks like will be a tough few years at Target Field. While Carroll isn’t the worst option available, it would have suited the Twins better to fix whatever happened to Alexi Casilla and bank on a decent season with him and Nishioka up the middle, rather than spending what money remains on…Jamey Carroll.
Bruce Chen | 2-Years, $9,000,000 | Kansas City Royals
  • Good move. Chen became a hot commodity last season, the Red Sox acted as suitors so late in the season he would have only had one start for them, yet Chen would have given them a  fighting chance. Bruce Chen has learned to pitch, and has some so rather effectively (and unexpectedly). Often hurt or missing for entire years in the past, Chen has found a home, is in good health, and has the confidence of the Royals brass. Great move for those involved.
David DeJesus | 2-Years, $10,000,000 | Chicago Cubs
  • Theo is up to it again, quickly bringing in well-above average outfielder David DeJesus for two years. Cubbies are light hitters and poor runner, and DeJesus does both well. Ignore his mediocre 2011 played in the baseball hellhole of the Oakland Coliseum and you have yourself an above-replacement gamer for at least two seasons. Good signing.
Mark Ellis | 2-years, $8,750,000 | Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Well, at least for the Dodgers, all of these bums are only getting signed for a maximum of two seasons. You ever watch Mark Ellis try and hit major league pitching? No? Apparently, neither has Ned Colletti. Not a god move.
Jerry Hairston, Jr. | 2-Years, $6,000,000 | Los Angeles Dodgers
  • The Dodgers are making this list quite a bit, and I am confused as to why. They’re not in contention, and all of these signings just seem to be odd place-holder or stopgap changes. The worse thing about this deal is it is the Dodgers BEST signing so far this offseason. THE BEST. Ned, if it weren’t for all of the other signs, I’d say well done, but instead I’ll say: “What’s the point?”
Ramon Hernandez | 2-Years, $6,400,000 | Colorado Rockies
  • With some quick trade maneuvering, Rockies were able to land a decent catcher in Ramon Hernandez, the catcher everyone forgot about the past two season due to injuries. His power seems to be gone, but the balls are still landing on the grass and he doesn’t freeze on the basepaths. If his power is to come back, Colorado is the most likely place for this to happen.
Aaron Hill | 2-years, $11,000,000 | Arizona Diamondbacks
  • This is okay, I guess. Diamondbacks needed a second baseman after sending Kelly Johnson to Toronto in exchange for Hill last season, but they probably could have found a better one…somewhere. It’s likely that the fans and brass of the D-Backs cherry-picked the last fifth of the 2011 season and completely ignored the rest of the disaster that was Aaron Hill’s 2011.
Adam Kennedy | 1-year, $800,000 | Los Angeles Dodgers
  • I am surprised this was a major-league deal.
John MacDonald | 2-Years, $3,000,000 | Arizona Diamondbacks
  • This is a good sign for the Diamondbacks, but I may get some backlash as to why: intangibles. Accept it or not, baseball isn’t just numbers, you have to be smart, make the right decisions, and leadership and clutch are real things. I love metrics, and believe me, Johnny Mac is not a Sabrmetricians dream, except maybe UZR, which is probably pretty baller. But you need certain guys in the clubhouse, you need someone to mayor, mentor, whatever. Johnny MacDonald is perfect for this role and I promise you he will excel at it in Arizona for two full seasons.
Jose Molina | 1-Year, $1,800,000 | Tampa Bay Rays
  • You know, this Andrew Friedman seems to know what he’s doing. Jose Molina is often overlooked and is the most unknown of the Molinas, but he is still a hell of a player, especially a backstop, and is great for young pitching (except, well, Brandon Morrow…). He’ll fit in great in the full-of-personality Rays clubhouse, and at the end of 2012, we may look back at this as one of the best moves of the offseason.

Jonathan Papelbon | 4-Years, $50,000,000 | Philadelphia Phillies

  • Well, I suppose he’s an upgrade from Ryan Madson, but not substantial enough for Phillies fans to get excited about. It’s especially steep at $12Million+ per year. Phillies could have saved some money by signing Madson and getting lower-stress saves. Prepare for a roller-coaster ride, City of Brotherly Shove.

Jose Reyes | 6-Years, $106,000,000 | Miami Marlins

  • By far the most zeroes I’ve used in this post so far (although, at press time, it’s only 12/5), and by far the most influential deal so far. Adding Reyes to the Marlins lineup completely changes the team, their attitude, their clubhouse – which is EXACTLY what a deal of this magnitude is supposed to accomplish. Read more, here.

Grady Sizemore | 1-Year, $5,000,000 | Cleveland Indians

  • Good buy-low, high-reward. Five Mil is nothing for big league franchises these days…well maybe the Athletics. The sad thing is Grady just did not show signs of getting out of that funk last season (I should know, I kept him on a fantasy roster until July). Worth the bargain, but unlikely that he ever comes back to Grady Sizemore, circa 2006-2008.

Jim Thome | 1-Years, $1,250,000 | Philadelphia Phillies

  • Big Jim comes home, and it’s wonderful. This is likely Thome’s last season, and he’s doing it in the place he loves to play. He’ll be a hell of a pinch-hitter, something the Phillies have done well at acquiring and utilizing in the past (See: Matt Stairs.)

Matt Treanor | 1-Year, $1,000,000 | Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Yep, there’s six zeroes in that deal. Before the decimal. Facepalm.
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