Money DOES Grow on Trees

Francisco Contreras, Staff Writer

After the world witnessed unprecedented levels of splurging during Major League Baseball’s last offseason, the stage was set for a terrific encore this year with what was widely considered one of the best free agent classes in recent history. This wouldn’t put a damper on the trade front, though; the trade market has been full of activity and has seen multiple superstars switch organizations.

Teams coming off bad years, or simply looking to take the next step in competing for the World Series, opened up their checkbooks and sent their best prospects packing in hopes of finding the star player that would make an impact on the upcoming season. Thus far, according to, teams have doled out a total of $1,452,907,500 dollars on this year’s offseason. This includes five contracts with over $100 million in total value, two of which exceed $200 million.

These aren’t lifetime contracts, either. The two biggest splashes of this offseason — the Red Sox’s signing of left-handed pitcher David Price and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ signing of left-handed pitcher Zach Greinke — shattered previous records for average annual value. Price’s agreement, announced by ESPN on December 1st, earns him $217,000,000 over seven years, which is a whopping $31 million a year. This broke Clayton Kershaw’s previous mark of $30.7 million a year. A mere seven days later, Greinke agreed to a six-year, $206,500,000 contract with the Diamondbacks for $34.4 million annually.

The list of big money stars changing teams doesn’t end there, though. The Chicago Cubs recently signed Jayson Heyward to an eight-year, $184,000,000 pact. The talented outfielder spurned his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals, in favor of the Cubs, who look forward to winning their first World Series since 1908. The team is coming off a trip to the National League Championship Series and hopes the move will help fend off challengers in the National League that have also made big moves. One of those teams is the San Francisco Giants, who have spent $220,000,000 on two pitchers: Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.

With so many high-profile free agents still without a home, the spending is far from over. If anything can be learned from last year’s offseason, it’s that breaking the bank isn’t always the best way to build a team. However, with so many enticing options available on the open market, it’s hard to blame teams for trying.