This winter’s free-agent deals ranged from excellent to eye-popping, with the stars all getting paid big. There were so many great player deals, it’s hard to narrow it down to the nine best, but we’ll give it a shot.
Aaron Judge set a position-player record and didn’t even make our list, since we figure he’s worth every penny — all 36 billion. (He took less to keep his Yankees legacy.) Carlos Correa certainly would make it for either of his deals — the $350 million Giants deal that’s off or the $315 million Mets deal that’s pending — but he’s still officially a free agent.
All four shortstops will have great deals once a Correa deal finalizes. Trea Turner also took less when he got $300M from the Phillies, and Dansby Swanson likely could have gotten a bit more elsewhere, too (possibly with the Twins). But he wanted to be a Cub, and he is for $177M — not bad off one superb season. But of the four great shortstops, only Xander Bogaerts cracked our top 10.
1. Masataka Yoshida ($90M, five years, Red Sox): This guy has one fantastic swing, but other teams viewed Yoshida as a $50M player.
2. Jacob deGrom ($185M, five years, Rangers): Some Mets people believe he needed to be 100 percent to pitch, and if so, it obviously turned out to be the right strategy to win the big deal he sought.
3. Xander Bogaerts ($280M, 11 years, Padres): The outlay represents about $100M more than his own team offered. Hard not to love this player though.
4. Jace Peterson ($9.5M, two years, A’s): His career looked like it was on the brink of nowhere a year or two ago, so his deal is like a godsend.
5. Jameson Taillion ($68M, four years, Cubs): He even turned down the very $72M deal Taijuan Walker wound up taking from the Phillies to be a Cub.
6. Taijuan Walker ($72M, four years, Phillies): Similar to Taillon, though Taillon’s stuff seems better at this stage, thanks to the splitter he learned from Carlos Carrasco.
7. Kenley Jansen ($32M, two years, Red Sox): Few saw a two-year deal coming for closer, 35.
8. Willson Contreras ($87.5M, five years, Cardinals): It felt like no one else was close for the longtime Cub.
9. Robert Suarez ($44M, five years, Padres): By going to Korea then returning as a free agent, he avoided the arbitration years. The trend is to pay guys with big stuff, and few innings.