Grading the 2015 MLB Free Agency Deals So Far

Were in the middle of recapping every team’s seasons from last year. We’re about halfway through all the teams but now we’re in the heart of the free agency period and we’re seeing crazy new deals every day. Here’s how we graded some of the biggest deals made so far.

Detroit Tigers sign RHP Jordan Zimmerman to a 5 year, $110 M contract


$110 million seems like a lot of money but it’s just not these days. Zimmerman is a good and consistent pitcher. He’s had five straight solid years.

He had some bad timing as last year was probably his worst year but the year before he had a 2.66 ERA in 33 starts. He’s maybe not an ace but he will throw a lot of good innings for the Tigers.

Grade: B+

Boston Red Sox sign LHP David Price to a 7 year, $217 M contract


Price was perhaps the top free agent in this year’s class. He got paid like it. Like Zimmerman, Price is consistent. But he’s better and throws more innings. He’s had six consecutive season of 4 WAR or more. However, he’s being paid considerably more than Zimmerman.

His contract is larger than the one Clayton Kershaw signed two years ago and Price just isn’t in the same class as him and he’s quite a bit older than Kershaw was. The Red Sox were desperate and I think they overpaid.

Grade: C-

Arizona Diamondbacks sign RHP Zack Greinke to a 6 year, $207 M contract


Wow! This one of the stunner. All the experts had Greinke choosing between the Dodgers and Giants. The Diamondbacks had to offer Greinke more money (and an extra year) to get him away from their division rivals. I think it was too much money for a 32 year old. Since he’s more of a finesse pitcher some sexperts think he’ll age better. I’m not as sure.

Grade: C+

San Francisco Giants sign RHP Jeff Samardzija to a 5 year, $90 M contract


Jeff Samardzija was not good last year. The Giants are hoping that last year was an outlier. I would be worried though. His strikeout rate has dropped significantly since he left the Cubs.

The guy has had stretches where he’s pitched like an ace and times where he’s looked like he doesn’t belong. The Giants aren’t paying him to be an ace though. They’re just hoping for some solid production which I think they’ll get.

Grade: B-

Cubs sign RHP John Lackey to a 2 year, $32 M contract


Lackey’s surprisingly good year got him paid this offseason. I think the Cubs can still get something out of /lackey but not as much as the Cardinals did. It’s not a huge investment for the Cubs so the signing shouldn’t be a disaster.

Grade: B

Dodgers sign RHP Hisashi Iwakuma to a 3 year, $45 M contract


This deal is similar to the Lackey deal in that the Dodgers aren’t taking a huge risk with Iwakuma. I think this deal has higher upside though as Iwakuma is younger and was one of the best pitchers in baseball from 2012-2014.

Grade: B+

Orioles sign RHP Darren O’Day to a 4 year, $31 M contract


This seems like a lot of money to give a 33 year old reliever who doesn’t even close. His numbers with Baltimore can’t be dneied though. He’s probably worth it.

Grade: A-

Chicago Cubs sign 2B Ben Zobrist to a 4 year, $56 M contract


I love Ben Zobrist. I think he’s the best. I though the A’s would win 80 games partially because they acquired Zobrist. The Royals wouldn’t have won the World Series without him. I think Joe Maddon loves Zobrist more than me. Luckily, he still got him for a fair price.

Grade: B+

Chicago Cubs trade SS Starlin Castro to the New York Yankees for RHP Adam Warren and a player to be named later


The Cubs had too many middle infielders and needed to get rid of one. They traded their longest tenured one to New York in exchange for a decent pitcher. Castro has been a perpetual disappointment in Chicago and the Cubs needed to move on. However, Castro is still only 25 and has flashed his immense talent before.

Grade for Cubs: C+

Grade for Yankees: B+

Boston Red Sox trade LHP Wade Miley to the Seattle Mariners for LHP Roenis Elías and RHP Carson Smith


Miley didn’t work out in Boston (because he isn’t that good). They were able to get a couple of interesting players from the Mariners though. Roenis Elías wasn’t bad starting for the Mariners in 2014 but I don’t think there’s much potential with him. Carson Smith, though, has been impressive early in his career out of the bullpen. He could be a potential closer.

Grade for Mariners: C

Grade for Red Sox: A

Atlanta Braves trade RHP Shelby Miller to the Arizona Diamondbacks for OF Ender Inciarte, SS prospect Dansby Swanson, and RHP prospect Aaron Blair


First the Greinke signing and now the Diamondbacks have acquired another top level starter. It was quite a haul to give up though. Swanson was the number one overall pick last year and Blair should start in the major league next year. Inciarte is a good player already too. Miller is going to have to maintain last year’s level of production or Arizona will be regretting this trade.

Grade for Braves: A-

Grade for Diamondbacks: D+

Who else is still out there. Johnny Cueto, Jason Heyward, and Justin Upton are some of the top remaining free agents.


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