Free Agent Spending

There were ten free agent contracts handed out this past offseason that exceeded $30 million in total money. At the time, I believed that three of them were actually good or fair deals for the respective teams.

Sadly for my ego, one of those was the $51 million given to Adam Dunn by the Chicago White Sox.

All of the contracts were for multiple years, but here’s how they’re looking with one month remaining on the first year via FanGraphs WAR, Baseball Reference WAR and Baseball Prospectus’ WARP.

  • Carl Crawford, BOS: 7 years for $142 million, 0.3 fWAR, 0.0 bWAR, 0.8 WARP.
  • Jayson Werth, WAS: 7 years for $126 million, 2.1 fWAR, 1.6 bWAR, 1.4 WARP.
  • Cliff Lee, PHI: 5 years for $120 million, 5.2 fWAR, 5.3 bWAR, 5.6 WARP.
  • Adrian Beltre, TEX: 4 years for $80 million,4.0 fWAR, 3.8 bWAR, 3.6 WARP.
  • Adam Dunn, CHW: 4 years for $56 million, -2.5 fWAR, -2.4 bWAR, -2.3 WARP.
  • Derek Jeter, NYY: 3 years for $51 million, 2.3 fWAR, 0.9 bWAR, 1.9 WARP.
  • Victor Martinez, DET: 4 years for $50 million, 1.9 fWAR, 2.1 bWAR, 2.1 WARP.
  • Paul Konerko, CHW: 3 years for $37.5 million, 3.4 fWAR, 3.9 bWAR, 3.5 WARP.
  • Rafael Soriano, NYY: 3 years for $35 million, 0.1 fWAR, 0.1 bWAR, 0.0 WARP.
  • Jorge de la Rosa, COL: 3 years for $32 million, 1.3 fWAR, 1.6 bWAR, 1.2 WARP.

With the exception of Lee, Beltre and possibly Konerko, none of these signings would crack the top 30 in either the American or National League when it comes to value provided to their teams. And that’s in the first of multi-year contracts.

While some of these players will improve their numbers next year by regressing back up to their true talent level, all of them are past their expected peak performance, which brings up a scary possibility for the nine teams that spent a collective $629.5 million on the top free agent signings this past offseason:

There’s a reason why I don’t like free agent deals.