Grading the 2019 MLB season free agent signings

CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 2: John Middleton, Philadelphia Phillies managing parter, shakes hands with Bryce Harper as general manager Matt Klentak looks on during the press conference introducing Harper as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday March 2, 2019 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/MLB via Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 2: John Middleton, Philadelphia Phillies managing parter, shakes hands with Bryce Harper as general manager Matt Klentak looks on during the press conference introducing Harper as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday March 2, 2019 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/MLB via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Grading the 2019 MLB season free agent signings

National League Central

As a group, NL: Central teams were the least engaged on the free agent circuit last winter. They spent a total of just $76.08 million, and only the Milwaukee Brewers were among the top half of MLB teams in raw free-agent spending.

The Brewers largely spent that cash on just two players, catcher Yasmani Grandal and third baseman Mike Moustakas. The good news is they got the division’s two most productive signees. The bad news is those two still only combined for 2.1 WAA.

The division-leading St. Louis Cardinals barely sampled the free-agent market at all. They signed only two players, Andrew Miller for $11 million and Matt Wieters to a minor league deal that eventually matriculated into a $1.5 million arrangement. Neither have materially contributed to the Cardinals’ division leadership.

Tied up financially by previous free-agent deals, the Cubs tried to work the system’s margins. They signed eight mostly low-profile players, eventually topping that class with the July signing of closer Craig Kimbrel for $10 million. None, including Kimbrel, have been positive contributors.

Pittsburgh ponied up $13.3 million for nine free agents, notably Lonnie Chisenhall, Jordan Lyles, and Jung Ho Kang. Only Francisco Liriano, with a  0.5 WAA on a $1.8 million deal, can be said to have been productive.

The Reds were a profile in the economy. They spent just $10.5 million, the costliest being Zach Duke at just $2 million. They have gotten nothing for any of the expenditures, but at least didn’t spend themselves into trouble.

Grades

  • Milwaukee – Net ROI: B-; Gross ROI: B; GPA: B
  • St. Louis – Net ROI: B; Gross ROI: C; GPAS: B-
  • Cincinnati – Net ROI: B; Gross ROI: C; GPA: B-
  • Chicago – Net ROI: C; Gross ROI: C-: GPA: C
  • Pittsburgh – Net ROI: D; Gross ROI: F; GPA: D-