Pros and Cons of the 10 Biggest MLB Offseason Signings
With the winter meetings among us, we're finally seeing free agency kick into high gear with a number of big names starting to make their moves.
A number of players have gotten speculation out of the way, signing long-term extensions with their teams early on rather than dealing with the process of testing the waters in free agency.
For every strong result that comes from massive contracts handed out to some this offseason, there will be others that aren't quite so lucky, as players and management alike could set themselves up for failure with the decisions they make or don't make.
Contract Signed: One year, $12 million
Having sat out the entire 2011 season, it was hard to say exactly what should be expected from Andy Pettitte when he signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal to return to the Yankees in 2012.
He showed plenty during his 33 appearances with New York in his past two seasons, including a sub-3.00 ERA and five wins in 12 starts in 2012.
Pettitte may still be somewhat of a question mark, though, as the lefty is already over 40 years old, and the Yankees could be in for trouble if they're investing that much in their pitching staff with players nearing the end of their careers.
Contract Signed: Four years, $40 million
Leading the league with 15 triples and swiping 29 bags, Angel Pagan's speed is a huge asset, and with a .288 batting average in 2012, he's been able to show consistency at the plate.
With the Giants again in 2013, Pagan will have a great opportunity to build on his early success, and fans will certainly hope he doesn't revert to his days in New York.
As a Met in 2011, Pagan batted 26 points lower than this year, with an on-base percentage that dropped right along with it.
Pagan did have two seasons batting over .290 in a Mets uniform, but consistency isn't his strong suit in all facets of the game.
Contract Signed: Five years, $75,250,000
With the prospect of Michael Bourn leaving Atlanta for a new organization, you can't blame the Braves for making a big splash in the free-agent market in signing B.J. Upton.
Upton bombed 28 home runs and stole 31 bases in 2012, showing that he has the combination of power and speed that's always in demand.
He has, however, had some down numbers over the past two seasons. Upton batted only .246 in 2012, which was actually the first time he reached a .245 average since 2008.
Contract Signed: One year, $13 million
In signing Dan Haren to a one-year, $13 million deal for the 2013 season, the Washington Nationals continue to show that they're going to push to make moves until they feel they have the winning formula.
With Edwin Jackson likely set to join a new rotation, Haren's off-speed pitches will be a great asset in a division that boasts plenty of strong hitters.
Haren did win 12 games in 2012, though he pitched in only 176.2 innings and saw his velocity drop, something the Nationals certainly took into consideration when they opted to keep the deal to one year.
Contract Signed: One year, $15 million
If the New York Yankees intend to run up another 95-win season in 2013, it'll take an extraordinary effort; the AL East seems to be improving by the minute, and the Yankees find themselves with a number of vacancies to address.
With Alex Rodriguez set to be sidelined for a few months and Derek Jeter still working his way back, pitching becomes that much more important.
Hiroki Kuroda's decision to stay in New York, instead of heading back to Japan, should give the Yankees the force they need in the rotation to go along with a returning Pettitte.
If they both play like they did last season, they could be in good shape, but putting two rotation spots in the hands of pitchers hovering around 40 years old always bears some risks.
Contract Signed: Three years, $21 million
As the Cincinnati Reds look to move on from their disappointing performance in the postseason this year, they re-signed a player that was key to their success in 2012 by inking Jonathan Broxton to a three-year deal.
In 25 appearances with the Reds last season, Broxton went 3-3 with a 2.82 ERA, a mark they'd surely take again. But with his 5.68 mark in 2011 and 4.04 mark in 2010, it could very well go either way over the next few seasons.
Contract Signed: Two years, $16 million
Leading into the end of the summer, it looked like Melky Cabrera could be an MVP candidate and in turn work his way into a huge contract this offseason.
That all changed when he was handed a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing supplement.
Had that suspension not been handed down, Cabrera would've been in line to receive far more than the $16 million contract he signed with Toronto, so the Blue Jays can be thankful they're getting him for a relative steal.
On the downside, it's always risky to sign a player that's coming off a suspension, and if his 2012 outburst proves to be a result of the PEDs, the results in 2013 certainly won't match up.
Contract Signed: Three years, $39 million
Having dumped a massive amount of payroll last summer, the Boston Red Sox have plenty of holes to fill this offseason.
They got off to a great start in signing Mike Napoli to a three-year, $39 million contract. His offensive capacity will go a long way toward filling the void left by Adrian Gonzalez, and the ability to play multiple positions is an asset for any team.
Napoli has struck out at least 125 times in two of the past three seasons, however, and he's never posted more than 75 RBI in a season.
Contract Signed: Two years, $17 million
The Pittsburgh Pirates are slowly working their way up from the basement of the NL Central, and with some solid play from role players, they could very well be in wild-card contention in 2013.
Signing Russell Martin could be a plus, though he batted only a shade over .200 with an on-base percentage just over .300.
From a career standpoint, however, Martin's track record is more polished, with three 18-plus home run seasons and a career batting average more than 20 points higher than what he hit while in New York.
He's more stout defensively as well, with a career .991 fielding percentage while throwing out 30 percent of stolen-base attempts.
Contract Signed: Two years, $26 million
Heading back to the division where he got his start in the league, Hunter's strong defense will be a big plus in the spacious confines of Comerica Park, and if he can put up another offensive effort similar to his 2012 output, the team will be in a good position to make a run in the postseason once again.
Looking at the number itself, the contract might be a bit high for Hunter at this point in his career.
His 2012 performance was certainly something special, but he posted career highs in some categories that he may not see again in 2013.