MLB Free Agency: Ranking the 10 Biggest Signings of Offseason

Scott RussellContributor IIFebruary 5, 2012

MLB Free Agency: Ranking the 10 Biggest Signings of Offseason

0 of 10

    When a team signs a free agent, the true value of the acquisition is entirely unknown.

    Contracts like Barry Zito's make long-term deals risky, but when the best players in the market are demanding 10-year deals, somebody is always ready to ante up and take the risk.

    The Rangers spent big money to negotiate with Yu Darvish before signing him to a six-year deal.

    The Tigers committed to Fielder in the nine-year agreement they reached with Prince Fielder. 

    Scott Boras may prove to be the ultimate winner in this year's free agent market, but that is not what matters at this point.

    Here are my selections for the 10 best signings of the offseason. My decisions are based on my personal opinion, baseball knowledge and predictions of upcoming major league seasons.

    There are a number of signings which I have left off of this list and am more than happy to discuss them in the comments thread. 

Tigers Sign Prince Fielder

1 of 10

    Prince Fielder was signed by the Tigers to a nine-year contract worth $214 million.

    Many analysts feel that the length of the contract favors Prince. His weight figures to be an issue given that he is closing in on age 30.

    Fielder moves to the American League, opening up the opportunity to play DH. 

    Fielder is a one-of-a-kind talent, and Detroit is getting something special in Prince.

Angels Sign Albert Pujols

2 of 10

    The Angels made the biggest splash in free agency, signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year contract worth $250 million. 

    Life could not get much better for Albert after winning the World Series and signing a long-term deal.

    Moving to the American League makes sense for Pujols. Albert turned 32 in January and will benefit from a few games in the DH slot.

Rangers Sign Yu Darvish

3 of 10

    The Rangers lost C.J. Wilson, but acquired one of the most sought-after entities from Japanese baseball since Ichiro.

    Darvish signed a six-year deal worth $60 million. However, Yu will cost closer to an estimated $111 million after Texas pays $51.4 million to Darvish's former Japanese team, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

    Yu's contract will set expectations high, as he has an opportunity to become a star in Arlington.

Miami Marlins Sign Mark Buehrle

4 of 10

    In Mark Beurhle, the Miami Marlins signed one of the most consistent left-handed starters in the game today. 

    Beurhle has pitched 10, that's right 10, straight seasons of more than 200 innings. That type of consistency is hard to find.

    Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen will feel comfortable sending the ex-White Sox pitcher out to the mound every fifth day.

    The deal worth $58 million over for years should pay huge dividends for the Marlins, who are spending their way into the playoff picture.

Phillies Re-Sign Jimmy Rolliins

5 of 10

    Sure, Jimmy is not the player he once was when he won the MVP in 2007, but the three-year, 38 million dollar contract the Phillies signed him to was favorable for both parties.

Angels Sign C.J. Wilson

6 of 10

    The Angels snagged the left-handed pitcher from the division rival Texas Rangers

    In a move that complements the Albert Pujols deal so nicely, the Angels acquired Wilson for the price of $75 million over five years.

Cardinals Sign Carlos Beltran

7 of 10

    Beltran's stint with the Giants did not pan out, but he was able to find a suitor in the offseason.

    The World Champion St. Louis Cardinals signed the switch-hitter for close to $26 million over the next two years.

    Beltran is a player who possesses all of the intangible skills needed to be a successful player in 2012 if he can stay healthy.

    His health is the biggest risk surrounding this deal.

Phillies Sign Jonathan Papelbon

8 of 10

    The Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million contract after talks with Ryan Madson fell through. Many argue that Philadelphia paid too much for the right-handed closer.

    Papelbon becomes the second-highest paid closer behind Mariano Rivera ($15 million).

    Jonathan is coming off of a very solid year in which his K/BB ratio was 8.7 and he converted 31 of 34 save opportunities. 

Yankees Sign Hiroki Kuroda

9 of 10

    The Yankees added Hiroki Kuroda to their pitching staff in addition to acquiring Michael Pineda from Seattle.

    The signing of Kuroda was a logical move for New York. 

    Hiroki is now 36 years of age; however, he pitched over 200 innings for the first time in his career a season ago. He also posted a 3.07 ERA.

    The Yankees will pay Kuroda $10 million dollars this upcoming season, a price that will be seen as well worth it if Hiroki can duplicate his performance of a season ago. 

Diamondbacks Sign Jason Kubel

10 of 10

    The signing of Jason Kubel fills out an outfield which is now made up of Justin Upton, Chris Young and Kubel. 

    Kubel signed a two-year, $14 million contract.

    This move gives Arizona a highly-capable outfielder at every position. Kubel has shown consistent power as well as potential for growth.