The Atlanta Braves made a significant splash in the free-agent market this week by signing B.J. Upton to a five-year, $75.25 million contract. The move was the first real major signing of the 2012-13 free-agency signing period.
Several other big names finalized their 2013 plans, including Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte who chose to re-sign with the New York Yankees.
The week culminated with the news earlier today that the New York Mets have re-signed David Wright to a eight-year, $138 contract extension, the richest in club history.
With the Winter Meetings just around the corner, the hot stove undoubtedly will continue to sizzle.
Here is a review of the week's top signings.
The Biggest news from Monday was that the Tampa Bay Rays signed Evan Longoria to a $100 million contract extension. The amended deal is now worth $136 million and could keep Longoria with the Rays until 2022.
"In signing this contract, I kind of wanted to show that I'm committed to this organization," Longoria told MLB.com.
Longoria, 27, missed a significant amount of time in 2012 due to a partially-torn left hamstring he suffered in April. In 74 games, Longoria batted .289 with 17 home runs, 55 RBI and an .896 OPS.
The 2008 AL Rookie of the Year has been a key part of the Rays offense when healthy. The extension also is void of a no-trade clause, which could come into play down the line if the Rays decide to dump salary.
The move makes a lot of sense for Tampa as they continue to try to keep their core together. It also may help in their efforts to secure support for a new stadium as it shows they are committed in putting a winning product on the field.
There were a few minor signings on Tuesday as both the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels made strides to bolster their pitching depth.
The Cubs signed Scott Feldman to a one-year, $6 million contract. Feldman, 29, pitched in a variety of roles for the Texas Rangers last season. He spent most of his time in the starting rotation where he went 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA.
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said that they plan to use Feldman strictly as a starter next season.
"I know he has bounced around a little bit with the Rangers, but in large part that was due to the amount of starting pitchers they had," Hoyer told ESPN.com. "We clearly see him as a starter, and we are excited to add him to the rotation."
Feldman doesn’t project to be a top of the rotation guy for Chicago but will provide some depth at the back of the rotation.
The Angels also made a move to bolster the back end of their pitching staff by signing Madson to a one-year, $3.5 million contract. Madson missed all of 2012 with the Cincinnati Reds due to an elbow injury. He last pitched in 2011 with the Philadelphia Phillies where he posted a 4-2 record, 2.37 ERA and 32 saves.
The Madson move is not a huge gamble for the Angels—especially if he can replicate the numbers he put up with the Phillies in 2011.
Wednesday was a busy signing day as Andy Pettitte, B.J. Upton and Jonathan Broxton all finalized their plans for the 2013 season.
The New York Yankees decided to bring back Andy Pettitte for one more season. Pettitte, 40, started 21 games for the Yankees in 2012—going 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA. He missed a significant amount of time in 2012 with a fractured left ankle. He was able to return for the playoffs where he pitched well—posting an 0-1 record with a 3.29 ERA.
The return of Pettitte and re-signing of Hiroki Kuroda brings stability to the top of the Yankees rotation for 2013.
One of the biggest moves of the week was the B.J Upton signing by the Atlanta Braves. The Braves signed Upton to a five-year, $75.25 million contract and he is expected to take over the center field duties for the 2013 season.
Upton, 28, had spent his entire career with the Tampa Bay Rays and posted a .246 batting average, 28 home runs and 78 RBI in 2012.
It will be interesting to see whether or not the Braves are getting a player who can be a marquee centerpiece of the organization now that Chipper Jones has left the game for good.
The final significant move of the day was the re-signing of Broxton by the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds re-signed Broxton to a three-year, $21 million contract, according to ESPN.com
Broxton was acquired last season from the Kansas City Royals for a pair of minor leaguers. He finished up strong, posting a 3-3 record and a 2.82 ERA in 25 games with the Reds.
The Broxton move should allow the Reds to move Cuban fireballer Aroldis Chapman into the starting rotation in 2013.
The New York Yankees gained one important piece back for 2013 but lost another to an unexpected team.
The Yankees officially brought back Mariano Rivera for 2013 by signing the veteran to a one-year, $10 million contract.
The ageless Rivera missed most of 2012 with a torn ACL he suffered while shagging fly balls during a pregame ritual last May in Kansas City.
Rivera posted a 1-1 record, 2.16 ERA and five saves in 2012.
It will be interesting to see whether or not 2013 will be the last hurrah for the 43-year-old Rivera.
On the heels of the Rivera signing, the Yankees learned that incumbent starting catcher Russell Martin had decided to bolt the team for the Pittsburgh Pirates. According to the Boston Herald, Martin signed a two-year, $17 million contract to leave the South Bronx for Pittsburgh.
Martin was expected to play a prominent role for the Yankees in 2013 as he put up good numbers in 2012 (.211 BA, 21 HR, 53 RBI). The move strengthens a notable area of weakness for the Pirates, as they have struggled to find a serviceable starting catcher. Martin will provide a significant upgrade over Rod Barajas, who was the primary backstop for the Bucs in 2012.
The New York Mets have re-signed David Wright to the largest contract in the clubs history, according the Dave Coleman of WFAN.
The contract extension is for eight years and could total $138 million if the value of Wright’s previously exercised 2013 club option is included, according to Coleman.
Wright, 29, has been one of the key pieces of the Mets franchise for the past nine seasons. After a poor 2011 season where he only batted .254, Wright stormed back in 2012 putting together a strong season (.306 BA, 21 HR, 93 RBI) which earned him an All-Star selection.
The re-signing of Wright to an extension will bring some stability to a team that finished 74-88 in the NL East in 2012.