In the winter rush to improve, teams are so often prone to irrational free agent bids.
And while the offseason buzz is nice in the interim, they might eventually discover that performance on the field doesn’t nearly justify the money exchanged at the negotiating table. Here are five most likely to induce buyer’s remorse.
The Kansas City Royals’ window of success is wide open. With many of the key pieces still in place, the chances of a World Series repeat remain strong. Only a few additions are needed to solidify the roster. Nevertheless, Kennedy’s addition is way too far beyond his market value. As a Padre in 2015, the 31-year-old right-hander went 9-15 with a 4.28 earned run average, a 1.30 WHIP and 31 home runs allowed. By the Royals signing him, who rejected a qualifying offer from San Diego, K.C. is forced to relinquish its first round pick in the 2016 draft – not to mention $70 million over five years.
On its own, the New York Mets adding some depth to the infield can be judged as a reasonable move. But the skill set of Cabrera – once of the Indians, Nationals and Rays – is too much of a match to the team’s other regular shortstop, Wilmer Flores. At two years, $18.5 million, the Mets got a slightly above-average hitter with occasional pop who is far from reliable with the glove. If the Mets wanted more versatility, they should have gone in a different direction. Instead, the shortstop position still remains a defensive liability.
There have been several instances this offseason which prove it really pays to be a starting pitcher. Samardzija is ample evidence that even the mediocre can still attract contracts that flirt with nine figures. The Giants were willing to overlook the 11-15 record and the 4.96 earned run average he compiled with the White Sox in 2015 and sign him at a rate of $18 million over the next five years. It’s a good thing they still have Madison Bumgarner and fellow newcomer Johnny Cueto to alleviate the eventual pain.
Never will a Scott Boras client be undersold. Davis is no exception. And even though he’s the only player on this list who re-signed with his current club, the Orioles were by no means granted a “hometown discount” for the slugging first baseman. Baltimore is giving its top offensive performer seven years and $161 million (some of which will come well after he’s retired) more for what he was than what he can be. And, unfortunately for the O’s, history indicates that players who fit Davis’ description tend to dramatically drop off in production once they hit 30. Davis will reach that personal milestone on March 17.
ICYMI – With Chris Davis Deal, Scott Boras Strikes Again https://t.co/YjVjo4WqNX
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) January 16, 2016
Some regrets are immediate. Others take time before developing. The Red Sox may fall into the same undesired situation as the Phillies are with Ryan Howard and Angels will eventually be Albert Pujols – albatross long-term contracts that are too big to move. Needing and wanting an ace for a rotation that had one of the worst ERAs in all of baseball, Boston risked future repercussions for a ‘win now’ maneuver in signing the AL Cy Young runner-up to a seven-year, $217 million contract. It very well could bite the Red Sox in 2022. In 2016, it could be a difference maker in a division filled with parity.