2013 MLB Free Agency: Best and Worst Free-Agent Signings Thus Far

Dan WilkinsCorrespondent IIDecember 5, 2012

2013 MLB Free Agency: Best and Worst Free-Agent Signings Thus Far

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    Although some of the biggest names remain on the open market, the 2013 MLB free agency period has gotten off to a fast start.

    Every team is looking to improve, but some teams have already shown their desperation more than others. In a free agency signing, a team can certainly find value, but just as common is the dreaded overpay in to try and fill a void. 

    Here are the best and worst free-agent signings of the MLB offseason thus far. 

Best: Torii Hunter (Detroit Tigers)

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    Heading into 2013, with the expected return of Victor Martinez, the Tigers were already in good shape heading into the offseason. Add in the likes of Torii Hunter in the outfield, and one of the league's best lineups just got that much better.

    Yes, Hunter's power numbers aren't what they once were, but he is coming off a season in which he hit for the highest average of his career (.313). Anything right around the .300 mark would make this a great addition for the Tigers.

    Hunter will average $13 million per year on his two-year deal, but in this situation, the value outweighs the cost. The Tigers should be right back in the thick of the World Series picture in 2013.

Worst: B.J. Upton (Atlanta Braves)

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    In B.J. Upton, the Braves get the right-handed power bat that they were looking for in a potential outfielder. However, his contract that makes him one of the worst signings thus far.

    With a five-year, $75.25 million deal, Upton will average over $15 million per year. For a player that has only hit .300 once in his career, and hasn't hit over .250 since 2008, that may be a little excessive.

    With a new club, Upton could very well recapture the form of his best years in Tampa. However, the fact that none of those years have come recently makes this signing a major cause for concern.  

Best: Russell Martin (Pittsburgh Pirates)

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    Heading into this offseason, catcher was possibly the No. 1 position that the Pirates needed to address. They did so in a big way, signing one of the top free agents at the position in Russell Martin.

    Martin brings solid defense and a bat with some pop. He is coming off the worst season of his career average-wise, but anything in the range of his .260 career mark would be ideal considering everything else that he will bring his new team.

    Martin will be a great addition to this young, potential-packed Pirates squad. With the catching position now taken care of, they become that much closer to contending in the NL Central.

Worst: Andy Pettitte (New York Yankees)

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    Entering a season in which he will turn 41 years old, the Yankees brought Andy Pettitte back on a one-year, $12 million deal.

    There is no denying Pettitte's success in the 12 starts the he made in his return from retirement last season. However, to be paying $12 million to a pitcher of that age, with no sign that said production can be carried out over the course of an entire season, is questionable at best. 

    Pettitte could certainly come out and prove all the doubters wrong and become a key piece to the Yankees success. However, this type of contract at this age seems like a move of desperation for New York to fill its starting rotation.

Best: Melky Cabrera (Toronto Blue Jays)

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    After a blockbuster deal with the Miami Marlins, the Blue Jays were left with very few holes of note on their roster. However, one that remained was the void in left field.

    To fill that spot, the Jays continued their spending and signed Melky Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million deal.

    Because of his PED suspension in 2012, this signing is certainly a risk. However, if Cabrera can recapture anywhere near the form that he enjoyed before the suspension, his deal will be one of the best of the offseason.

    In a few short weeks, Toronto has answered many questions that its roster faced going into 2013. Melky Cabrera will be a big key to the team's success going forward. 

Worst: Shane Victorino (Boston Red Sox)

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    Coming off one of the worst statistical seasons of his career, the Red Sox still awarded 32-year-old Shane Victorino with quite a large contract.

    The deal, still pending a physical, is worth $39 million over three years. It seems somewhat odd that, coming off such a poor performance, he will now be paid the highest average annual salary of his career.

    Victorino still brings speed on the base paths and covers a lot of ground in the outfield, but for this deal to be anywhere near worth the cost, he needs to produce at the plate.

    The Red Sox will hope that the struggles were just an aberration rather than the beginning of a decline.