ANALYZING THE FREE AGENT MARKET

There’s been a lot of talk about this free agent market being unfavorable for free agents. I decided to analyze whether the top free agents have been underpaid based on expectations. I’m not including free agents who didn’t yet sign.

1. SP PATRICK CORBIN

Expectation: 6 Years/$129 Million

Result: 6 Years/$140 Million

Corbin was clearly not affected by the free agent market, and in fact received more than expected.

2. C YASMANI GRANDAL

Expectation: 4 Years/$64 Million

Result: 1 Year/$16 Million

He apparently rejected 4 years and slightly less than $60 million from the New York Mets. It’s possible that his playoff struggles and subsequent benching by the Los Angeles Dodgers hurt his market more than we thought.

3. SP NATHAN EOVALDI

Expectation: 4 Years/$60 Million

Result: 4 Years/$67.5 Million

Another player that actually signed for more than expected. Ironically, Eovaldi is the type of player that certainly should’ve received less based on his peripherals and injury history.

4. CF A.J. POLLOCK

Expectation: 4 Years/$60 Million

Result: 4 Years/$50 Million

Pollock signed below expectations, but “only” by $10 million, and his injury history might have been a bigger barrier than expected.

5. SP J.A. HAPP

Expectation: 3 Years/$48 Million

Result: 2 Years/$34 Million

Happ’s age may have played a part in him receiving less years, but a higher AAV.

6. LF MICHAEL BRANTLEY

Expectation: 3 Years/$45 Million

Result: 2 Years/$32 Million

Another player that signed for less years, but a higher AAV. His injury history could’ve been a reason for this result.

7. LF ANDREW MCCUTCHEN

Expectation: 3 Years/$45 Million

Result: 3 Years/$50 Million

McCutchen has actually received more than expected, the interesting part is that unlike Happ and Brantley, he doesn’t have an injury history and isn’t over 35.

8. SP YUSEI KIKUCHI

Expectation: 6 Years/$42 Million

Result: 3 Years/$43 Million

There‘s actually more money involved, but the above is guaranteed. Kikuchi clearly was not affected by the market in a negative way.

9. 3B JOSH DONALDSON

Expectation: 1 Year/$20 Million

Result: 1 Year/$23 Million

Donaldson did better than expected, though it was by “only” $3 million.

10. SP CHARLIE MORTON

Expectation: 2 Years/$32 Million

Result: 2 Years/$30 Million

Morton did worse than expected, though by “only” $2 million.

11. C WILSON RAMOS

Expectation: 3 Years/$36 Million

Result: 2 Years/$19 Million

Ramos received less than expected. It’s likely that his injury history played a part in this result.

12. RP JEURYS FAMILIA

Expectation: 3 Years/$33 Million

Result: 3 Years/$30 Million

The difference is “only” $3 million and he didn’t even sign as a closer as expected.

13. RP ZACH BRITTON

Expectation: 3 Years/$33 Million

Result: 3 Years/$39 Million

Despite recent injury troubles, Britton did better than expected and didn’t even sign as a closer.

14. RP DAVID ROBERTSON

Expectation: 3 Years/$33 Million

Result: 2 Years/$23 Million

Robertson did worse than expected, which is surprising considering how other relievers did. It’s possible that the contract was affected by the fact that in an unusual circumstance, he represented himself.

15. SP HYUN-JIN RYU

Expectation: 3 Years/ $33 Million

Result: 1 Year/17.9 Million

Ryu received a qualifying offer, and due to his injury history, was going to be very negatively affected by it. As a result, he ended up accepting it.

16. RP ADAM OTTAVINO

Expectation: 3 Years/$30 Million

Result: 3 Years/$27 Million

Ottavino did only slightly worse as expected.

17. DH NELSON CRUZ

Expectation: 2 Years/$30 Million

Result: 1 Year/$14.3 Million

He received a year less, but more in AAV. Based on the fact that he can’t really play in the field anymore and is 38, this wasn’t much of a surprise.

18. 2B/SS/3B JED LOWRIE

Expectation: 3 Years/$30 Million

Result: 2 Years/$20 Million

The expectations were only a year off.

19. RP ANDREW MILLER

Expectation: 3 Years/$27 Million

Result: 2 Years/$25 Million

He did worse in length, but a lot better in AAV. Considering how he struggled with injury and performance in 2018, I think that this is more than fair.

20. RP JOE KELLY

Expectation: 3 Years/$27 Million

Result: 3 Years/$25 Million

No surprises here, as $2 million isn’t really that big of a difference when you factor in his track record.

21. RP KELVIN HERRERA

Expectation: 1 Year/$8 Million

Result: 2 Years/$18 Million

He actually did surprisingly better than expected.

22. SP ANIBAL SANCHEZ

Expectation: 2 Years/$22 Million

Result: 2 Years/$19 Million

He did as expected, off by “only” 3 million.

23. SP MATT HARVEY

Expectation: 2 Years/$22 Million

Result: 1 Year/$11 Million

He did worse than expected, though his track record indicates that a multi-year deal might have been an overly ambitious expectation.

24. SP TREVOR CAHILL

Expectation: 2 Years/$22 Million

Result: 1 Year/$9 Million

He did worse than expected, but his track record may have been a valid reason for this result.

25. 1B/2B DANIEL MURPHY

Expectation: 2 Years/$20 Million

Result: 2 Years/$24 Million

He did slightly better than expected.

26. 2B BRIAN DOZIER

Expectation: 1 Year/$10 Million

Result: 1 Year/$9 Million

He did as expected, as $1 million isn’t really that big of a difference.

27. 2B DJ LEMAHIEU

Expectation: 2 Years/$18 Million

Result: 2 Years/$24 Million

He did better than expected and didn’t even sign as a starter.

28. RP JOAKIM SORIA

Expectation: 2 Years/$18 Million

Result: 2 Years/$15 Million

The contract was largely as expected.

29. 3B MIKE MOUSTAKAS

Expectation: 2 Years/$16 Million

Result: 1 Year/$10 Million

He did worse in years, but better in AAV. However, he apparently rejected better offers.

30. SP LANCE LYNN

Expectation: 2 Years:$16 Million

Result: 3 Years/$30 Million

Surprisingly, Lynn received more years but at a lesser AAV.

31. RP CODY ALLEN

Expectation: 2 Years/$16 Million

Result: 1 Year/$8.5 Million

He received a slightly higher AAV than expected but at less years. It’s even likely that it was to his benefit, so he could rebuild his value. As a result I consider this to fall in the expected contracts.

32. RF NICK MARKAKIS

Expectation: 2 Years/$16 Million

Result: 1 Year/$6 Million

I’m actually surprised that he was expected to receive as much as he was.

33. SP DEREK HOLLAND

Expectation: 2 Years/$15 Million

Result: 1 Year/$7 Million

I’m not surprised at the contract due to his track record.

34. RP BRAD BRACH

Expectation: 2 Years/$12 Million

Result: 1 Year/$4.35 Million

His bad 2018 apparently really hurt him, though this feels pretty severe.

35. SP WADE MILEY

Expectation: 2 Years/$12 Million

Result: 1 Year/$4.5 Million ($500,000 in incentives)

His peripherals hurt his value significantly, that’s a clear indication of how Sabermetrics has influenced teams.

36. SP GARRETT RICHARDS

Expectation: 2 Years/$10 Million

Result: 2 Years/$15.5 Million

Despite his injury history, he actually outdid expectations.

37. RP JESSE CHAVEZ

Expectation: 2 Years/$10 Million

Result: 2 Years/$8 Million

This was largely as expected.

38. SP CC SABATHIA

Expectation: 1 Year/$8 Million

Result: 1 Year/$8 Million

Sabathia received the exact contract that he was expected to receive.

39. C KURT SUZUKI

Expectation: 2 Years/$8 Million

Result: 2 Years/$10 Million

Suzuki received slightly more than expected.

40. SP DREW POMERANZ

Expectation: 1 Year/$6 Million

Result: 1 Year/$1.5 Million

Pomeranz did a lot worse than expected, likely due to his injury history.

41. SS/3B MANNY MACHADO

Expectation: 13 Years/$390 Million

Result: 10 Years/$300 Million

Perhaps he was overrated? He’s a very good player but the expectations were for a contract for an elite player, though he still got that type of contract.

42. 2B/SS/LF MARWIN GONZALEZ

Expectation: 4 Years/$36 Million

Result: 2 Years/21 Million

He received less years, but at a higher AAV.

43. RF BRYCE HARPER

Expectation: 13 Years/$420 Million

Result: 13 Years/$330 Million

I think that his inconsistency played a part in this result.

44. C MARTIN MALDONADO

Expectation: 2 Years/$8 Million

Result: 1 Year/$2.5 Million

The expectation seemed a bit high for a career backup.

45. SP ERVIN SANTANA

Expectation: 1 Year/$6 Million

Result: Minor League Contract

Considering he missed most of 2018 and was terrible when he pitched, I think that the expectations were too optimistic.

46. RF ADAM JONES

Expectation: 1 Year/$8 Million

Result: 1 Year/$3 Million

The expectations were too optimistic based on his performance.

47. SP GIO GONZALEZ

Expectation: 2 Years/$24 Million

Result: 1 Year/$3 Million (on a Minor League contract)

His value has fallen drastically due to his declining advanced metrics, though this is still too far.

Let’s look at how this all adds up, I’m considering contracts where the result was close to the one expected as fitting that designation. I put Ryu in the “largely as expected” category, as he wasn’t expected to receive a QO and his acceptance had to be expected and technically kept him off the market.

Largely As Expected: 14

Above Expectations: 10

Below Expectations: 23

Well it definitely looks as if most contracts were below expectations. Many of them had good reasons for being so, but it was still surprising.

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