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<  Gary Hill - High Heat

Which team returned the most value from free agency?

By Gary Hill

Zack Greinke, B.J. Upton, Josh Hamilton and Hiroki Kuroda were just a few of the headline names who signed monster free-agent deals over the winter. Major League teams handed out millions of dollars in search of the much-needed impact bat or the elusive prized arm. The Los Angeles Dodgers spent over $185 million in the offseason, while the Mets did not shell out a dime for a player. There was a massive difference in spending, but did spending lavishly pay results in the first half of the season? The following is the list of the five best and five worst of what teams received for their investment in the first half of the season. These rankings are based on first half production only.

The Five Best

5- Boston Red Sox
Boston decided to spend lavishly after a disappointing season a year ago. They secured the services of seven players for $100 million. The price was extremely high, but Koji Uehara, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew and Ryan Dempster have provided a solid supplement to Boston's core.
Hitters: .252 (262-1,040) 52 HR 141 RBI
Pitchers: 7-8 3.86 ERA 168 IP


4- Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers dished out a jaw-dropping $185,850,000 over the winter. They spent all of their dough on pitching, and it did produce in the first half. Zack Gerinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu have fit nicely in the rotation behind Clayton Kershaw.
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 17-5 3.32 ERA in 244 IP

3- Oakland A's
The A's signed two players with very different results. Bartolo Colon is heading to the All-Star game. The A's are waiting for Hiroyuki Nakajima to head out of Triple-A. Oakland only spent $9.5 million for some serious pitching production.
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 12-3 2.70 ERA 126 IP

2- Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh landed All-Star closer Jason Grilli for a more than reasonable two-year deal. They also rolled the dice with Francisco Liriano, and he has rewarded them with a stellar first half. They also picked up starting catcher Russell Martin. They managed all of this for only $27,250,000.
Hitters: .239 (62-259) 8 HR 34 RBI
Pitchers: 9-4 26 svs 1.99 ERA 117 IP

1- Seattle Mariners
The M's can boast that they got more value for their money than any team in baseball. They only spent $19.7 million in the offseason, yet they landed an All-Star, a home run leader, and a bullpen star. Hisashi Iwakuma was sensational in the first half, and his two-year deal (with an option for a third) looks like a steal as he heads to New York for the All-Star game. Raul Ibanez signed a $2.7-million deal and currently sits with the fifth-most homers in the game. Oliver Perez signed a one-year contract for $1.5 million and has proved to be one of the most reliable bullpen arms in baseball. Jason Bay has also contributed 11 homers for the minimum.
Hitters: .236 38 HR 85 RBI
Pitchers: 10-6 2.74 ERA 167 IP

 

 

The Five Worst

5- Chicago Cubs
The Cubs have managed to squeeze some offense from some unexpected sources, but a large chunk of the $77 million they spent went to Edwin Jackson. His ERA is holding above 5.00, which is not a good sign considering he has three years left on his contract.
Hitters: .253 (121-477) 27 HR 72 RBI
Pitchers: 15-18 4.66 ERA 226 IP

4- Cincinnati Reds
The Reds spent $40 million in the offseason and have not even been able to squeeze just one homer out of the deal.
Hitters: .222 (20-90) 0 HR 9 RBI
Pitchers: 2-2 4.33 27 IP

3- Washington Nationals
Washington dished out some serious cash for a run to the pennant that has not materialized yet. Rafael Soriano has been outstanding while Dan Haren has been the opposite. They spent a total of $65 million.
Hitters: .249 (78-313) 13 HR 43 RBI
Pitchers: 6-12 5.15 ERA 153 IP

2- Atlanta Braves
Atlanta dumped most of the $77 million they spent into the lap of B.J. Upton. He has struggled mightily in the first half of the season. For the simple sake of comparison:

B.J. Upton- .177/.266/.300 8 HR 20 RBI
Jason Bay- .214/.311/.413 11 HR 20 RBI

The difference, of course, it what each player costs their current teams.
Hitters: .213 (95-445) 10 HR 41 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

1- LA Angels
The Angels thought that spending $149,500,000 in the offseason would be a really good idea. Josh Hamilton had a brutally bad start to the season. Joe Blanton has been among the worst starters in the American League. Ryan Madson has not even thrown a ball yet this season.
Hitters: .224 (76-339) 14 HR 39 RBI
Pitchers: 2-12 5.16 ERA 122 IP

 

Here is the entire list of what every team spent this offseason, by dollars, and the production they have received so far for their investments:

LA Dodgers $185,850,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 17-5 3.32 ERA in 244 IP

LA Angels $149,500,000
Hitters: .224 (76-339) 14 HR 39 RBI
Pitchers: 2-12 5.16 ERA 122 IP

Cleveland $117,000,000
Hitters: .249 (218-876) 26 HR 97 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

Detroit $106,000,000
.315 (112-356) 7 HR 44 RBI
7-6 3.40 ERA 111 IP

Boston $100,450,000
Hitters: .252 (262-1,040) 52 HR 141 RBI
Pitchers: 7-8 3.86 ERA 168 IP

San Francisco $80,000,000
Hitters: .283 (206-726) 7 HR 66 RBI
Pitchers: 1-4 3.55 ERA 33 IP

Chicago Cubs $77,900,000
Hitters: .253 (121-477) 27 HR 72 RBI
Pitchers: 15-18 4.66 ERA 226 IP

Atlanta $77,000,000
Hitters: .213 (95-445) 10 HR 41 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

Washington $65,000,000
Hitters: .249 (78-313) 13 HR 43 RBI
Pitchers: 6-12 5.15 ERA 153 IP

NY Yankees $62,000,000
Hitters: .249 (166-666) 20 HR 70 RBI
Pitchers: 16-14 30 svs 251 IP

Arizona $45,850,000
Hitters: .264 (120-454) 13 HR 60 RBI
Pitchers: 2-4 5.00 ERA 66 IP

Cincinnati $40,000,000
Hitters: .222 (20-90) 0 HR 9 RBI
Pitchers: 2-2 4.33 27 IP

Texas $30,750,000
Hitters: .256 (153-597) 19 HR 77 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

Pittsburgh $27,250,000
Hitters: .239 (62-259) 8 HR 34 RBI
Pitchers: 9-4 26 svs 1.99 ERA 117 IP

Toronto $26,000,000
Hitters: .268 (156-581) 8 HR 54 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

Kansas City $25,000,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 8-7 4.25 ERA 120 IP

Seattle $19,750,000
Hitters: .236 38 HR 85 RBI
Pitchers: 10-6 2.74 ERA 167 IP

Philadelphia $15,250,000
Hitters: .263 (56-213) 7 HR 8 RBI
Pitchers: 3-7 3.82 ERA 77 IP

Minnesota $14,000,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 10-13 4.79 ERA 193 IP

Chicago Sox $12,700,000
Hitters: .243 (86-353) 3 HR 28 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

St. Louis $12,500,000
Hitters: .157 (9-57) 0 HR 3 RBI
Pitchers: 1-0 2.18 ERA 20 IP

Tampa Bay $11,250,000
Hitters: .315 9 HR 43 RBI
Pitchers: 8-14 4.45 ERA 176 IP

Oakland $9,500,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 12-3 2.70 ERA 126 IP

Milwaukee $7,925,000
Hitters: .177 (20-113) 1 HR 8 RBI
Pitchers: 0-3 3.00 33 IP

Houston $4,750,000
Hitters: .215 (89-413) 9 HR 37 RBI
Pitchers: 0-4 3.20 18 svs 39 IP

Miami $4,350,000
Hitters: .245 (130-529) 2 HR 23 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

Baltimore $3,500,000
Hitters: .275 (87-316) 6 HR 16 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

San Diego $3,000,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 9-4 3.77 ERA 112 IP

Colorado $1,500,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 2-5 6.58 ERA 52 IP

NY Mets $0

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