The business of signing free agents in Major League Baseball is nothing even close to an exact science. Since free agency was born in the mid 1970s, team owners and executives have adopted all sorts of various plans, strategies and guidelines for determining values of available players with different degrees of success/failure.
Throughout the history of MLB free agency, experts and pundits have graded player signings based on performance and whether or not that player was underpaid or overpaid for his efforts. As such, general managers themselves have been graded based on their ability to evaluate talent against the almighty dollar.
In today’s day and age, with the disparity between large- and small-market teams, it becomes even more important to be successful, especially for a team like the Tampa Bay Rays, whose limited attendance numbers over the years have restricted management from overspending on players during the winter.
Let’s be honest—at times, signing a free agent can be a real crapshoot. You just never know what is going to happen with that particular player, and GMs oftentimes cross their fingers, hoping they made the right decision.
As the current offseason unfolds, hundreds of players will have signed new contracts, either with their current teams or with new ones. Bleacher Report will attempt to identify the top free agents, whether or not they will be underpaid or overpaid and give the best guess as to how much they will sign for, and with what team.
As stated above, the practice of signing free agents is not an exact science, and neither is estimating where a player will sign or for how much. But we’ll give it our best shot anyway.