Monday, July 21, 2008

Top 10 Biggest Free Agent Signings

Here is a list of the ten most lucrative contracts signed during the free agent period. I have only included players who are moving to a new team - those who are returning to their old team were not included. The values listed include the total money over the entire life of the contract.

10. 1B Marino Renteria ($15.2 M/4 years) - Los Angeles Longballers
Los Angeles was a team that made a huge free agent splash this season. We will see their name pop up again before the end of this report. Renteria was limited to just over 200 ABs with KC last year, but figures to play a larger role for the Longballers, especially against left-handed pitching.

9. SP Gary Scott ($16.5 M/3 years) - Mexico City Diablos Rojos
Mexico City brings in new ownership, and apparently the new ownership isn't afraid to go the free agent route to improve their team. Scott should anchor the Red Devil rotation, as he posted a 3.91 ERA last season in 198 innings pitched. Scott turns 35 this season, which may prove to be a concern by the end of the contract.

8. RP Tony Xaio ($16.5 M/3 years) - Little Rock Snappers
Little Rock is coming off of a playoff appearance, and don't seem to have any large holes this season. Xaio, however, wiil add depth to their pitching staff. He lacks the stamina you usually want in a starter, although he has started in the past. Last season Xaio, in 128 IP posted a 3.66 ERA and struck out 106 batters.

7. RP Harold Summers ($16.8 M/3 years) - Indianapolis Wildcats
The Wildcats were looking for help at the back end of their bullpen, and they found it in Harold Summers. Possibly the best reliever in this free agent class, Summers saved 46 games with a 3.71 ERA last season for St. Louis.

6. SP Geoffery Corcoran ($16.8 M/3 years) - Los Angeles Longballers
With this signing, the Longballers are hoping to strengthen their pitching staff, although to do so, he'll need to be more effective than he was in Season 2 with Cleveland (93 IP, 4.84 ERA).

5. RP Marv Rivers ($17.2 M/4 years) - Detroit Hawks
Detroit is under new ownership, and right out of the gate, they are rolling the dice with this move. Rivers is unproven at the major league level, where he will be expected to close out games for the Hawks. He converted 18 of 22 opportunities last season in Triple-A, but if he can't produce at the big-league level, Detroit will be on the hook for a lot of money.

4. C Pete Stairs ($23.2 M/4 years) - Scranton Athletics
Scranton is another team who made a big splash during the free agent period, and anything less than a World Series Championship this season will be a disappointment. Stairs will help their cause, who may have been the best free agent signing this season. At only 27 years old, Stairs still has some great years ahead of him. He posts a career .418 on-base percentage and has hit at least 20 home runs and driven in at least 100 runs in each of the past two seasons.

3. 1B Wiki Cruz ($28 M/4 years) - Scranton Athletics
This is another player that Scranton will be able to stick in the middle of their order and expect to produce. Last year he was good for a .310 average with 39 home runs and 124 RBI, and The A's will expect at least that this season.

2. SP Ernest Lincoln ($32 M/5 years) - Pittsburgh Bad Little Doggies
This was the biggest contract dealt to a starting pitcher this season. Lincoln, only 27 years old, should be an effective starter for years to come. Last season with Buffalo, he posted a 4.10 ERA in 193.1 innings pitched. Pittsburgh will hope for that kind of production, if not better.

1. 2B Lon Moran ($33.2 M/4 years) - Los Angeles Longballers
The biggest contract this season goes out to Moran, who is expected to provide a spark at the top of the Longballers' lineup. Last season he batted .292 with 112 runs scored and 62 stolen bases. The Longballs hope that these big contracts will translate into wins, which they were severely lacking last season.