There were a lot of crazy moves made this offseason. The free agency pond was full of talent which sounds great, but sometimes too much of a good thing can be frustrating.
Still, guys found new homes. Some were reunited with old teams and hope to repeat a power-surged season and a few guys may end up retiring with the team that signed them this offseason.
While not every free agent will end up rewarding the teams that signed them, many will.
On that note, here are ten MLB players who will make their new teams proud in 2017.
Dexter Fowler, center field, St. Louis Cardinals
The Cubs did not have a lot of changes that needed to be made when it came to offseason moves. There was one, however, that could be considered a bigger loss than the team is willing to admit.
Dexter Fowler was a free agent following the World Series win, and the Cardinals signed him to a five-year, $82.5-million deal. The two teams have a rivalry, but I would be shocked if any booing came from either side of the field.
Last season, Fowler finished an All-Star year slashing a .276/.393/.447 line with 13 home runs and 48 RBI.
The Cubs have replaced the position with two platoon players, but this scenario is certainly a bigger gain for the Cardinals than a loss for the Cubs, especially if he can continue to steal bases.
Ian Desmond, first base, Colorado Rockies
Don’t let the injury fool you. Two-time All-Star Ian Desmond has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, which is not the way most players want to start their season. But that doesn’t take away his value and upside.
Desmond was very successful in 2016 with the Rangers hitting a .285/.335/.446 line with 86 RBI, 22 homers and swiped 21 bags. That’s why the Rockies signed him to a five-year, $7o million deal.
He’s not going to walk a lot, but he also dropped his strikeout percentage by six percent last season.
Once he is healthy enough to play he will have the backup of Coors Field, which always gives a little bit of oomph to an offensive situation.
Mark Melancon, relief pitcher, San Francisco Giants
The last few successful years for Mark Melancon definitely paid off. That’s meant literally and figuratively.
In December, the San Francisco Giants signed the reliever to a four-year, $62 million contract.
That’s what happens when you finish with a 1.64 ERA with 75 game saves across two teams in 2016 . And against 270 total batters faced last season, he only relinquished 52 hits. Not too shabby.
He’s a groundball pitcher, and not many hitters are going to reach base on him. So the high risk will certainly be high reward for the Giants who simply fawned over the 32-year-old. And the team has every reason to have those feelings, he’s an amazing addition to the Giants.
Edwin Encarnacion, designated hitter, Cleveland Indians
When it comes to Edwin Encarnacion’s numbers, the projections regressed slightly. That has a lot to do with his age and the fact that his home field was being relocated from a hitter’s park at Rogers Centre to Progressive Field with the Indians. But in his first game with Cleveland, the 34-year-old managed to hit a home run in the defeat over the Rangers Monday.
Losing him was detrimental to the Blue Jays, and many fans of the team have said that. Especially after spending eight seasons with the club, snagging three All-Star spots and being a constant in MVP talks.
In 702 plate appearances last season, E.E. had a league-high 127 RBI with 42 home runs. He was hitting more ground balls, which could be the case with the Indians, but nonetheless, the team is beyond happy with the signing.
Welington Castillo, catcher, Baltimore Orioles
Welington Castillo is not only a powerful bat, but he’s one of the top bats at the catcher position.
He signed a two-year, $13 million contract with the Orioles, which meant saying goodbye to the high-altitude, hitter-friendly park in Arizona. But Camden Yards still has the hitter-friendly atmosphere, even if it’s more towards lefties.
Castillo has a tendency to, how do you say, not play in a lot of games. But last season he had a career-high 457 plate appearances in just 113 games. He hit a .264/.322/.423 slash line with an increase in walks and hit in 68 RBI.
As mentioned previously, the team is full of power in the batter’s box. Hitting in between Mark Trumbo and Hyun Soo Kim will definitely benefit him this season.
Bartolo Colon, starting pitcher, Atlanta Braves
Bartolo Colon, or as he is so properly nicknamed, “Big Sexy,” seems to be unstoppable. The fact that he’s 43 years old and still dealing on the mound makes him extra special.
He wasn’t throwing his slider that much last season, but he was throwing more ground balls. Fewer balls were getting hit in the air, so he wasn’t showing any signs of regression.
That ended up making the Braves signing him to a one-year, $12.5-million contract.
FanGraphs Steamer has him increasing ERA slightly in 2017, but it’s a brand new field he’s throwing in. And even though his groundball rate tends to increase as time goes on, that’s not a bad thing considering he has a possible National League Rookie of the Year behind him in Dansby Swanson.
Chris Iannetta, catcher, Arizona Diamondbacks
Remember how we mentioned Chase Field?
Balls seem to fly there so naturally, and that should help the 33-year-old. He has 12 years of playing experience to his name so he knows a thing or two about the game. He hasn’t played in more than 115 games in a season, and despite uncertainties about whether he would make the big league club, he’s wearing a Diamondbacks uniform at the moment.
Over the last couple of seasons, he has been a roller coaster in regards to his pitch-framing but still rather successful in the box against lefties.
He’s slashing a .252/.380/.464 line against southpaws. But let’s be honest, that only makes up for a small percentage of most pitchers in the bigs. That still puts him at a valuable spot.
His fly ball rate decreased slightly last season, but that was when he was with the Mariners and still trying to bust out in the American League West. His numbers should increase as time goes on this season and he will want to leave on a good note if he decides to hang up his cleats soon.
Brandon Moss, designated hitter, Kansas City Royals
There was a lot of excitement behind the Royals’ signing of 2014 All-Star Brandon Moss. He has a lot of power. But at the age of 33 if a guy has a strong bat, it’s more than likely time for him to finish his career in the American League, which isn’t a bad thing.
Moss signed a two-year, $12 million contract with Kansas City during the offseason and it seems to be the perfect fit.
He comes off of a season hitting 28 bombs in which his power seemed to increase. He won’t be able to repeat the power-surged season he had in 2015 with the Athletics, but there are still positives there.
There could be some apprehensions around his strikeout numbers in 2016 (30.4-percent rate) but in 128 games he still tapped 93 hits. And when it comes to hitting at Kauffman Stadium, the Royals do not struggle in the home run department. He should end his career on a solid note with the team if that’s where his mentality lies.
Daniel Hudson, relief pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates
Besides being just the coolest dad ever, Daniel Hudson left a lot of people sad when he left the Diamondbacks to play for the Pirates during the offseason.
— Daniel Hudson (@DHuddy41) February 9, 2017
Tony La Russa even mentioned the team was upset they couldn’t hold on to him, but he will do great things with his new home.
Hudson has had two Tommy John surgeries, but at this point in the game you aren’t considered a major league pitcher if that hasn’t happened. While that is a bit of a facetious statement, Hudson really has a chance to prove himself this year.
Playing with the Diamondbacks last season, he was throwing fewer fly balls than the previous year which is impressive considering half of his games are at Chase. He was tossing his slider more and his velocity still stayed in the 95 mph range.
Don’t expect much of a difference for him this season with the Pirates — it’s the perfect fit.
Jon Jay, center field, Chicago Cubs
Jon Jay signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Cubs in the offseason after a stellar season with the Padres.
The 32-year-old had a .291/.339/.389 line with 26 RBI. He’s not going to hit for power so the home runs aren’t something we need to go over, but in 373 plate appearances last season he still had 101 hits.
He has a bit of pressure on him this season having to replace Dexter Fowler, who is now with the Cardinals. But even with him platooning with Albert Almora this season the lefty can still provide plenty of options for Joe Maddon and the entire Cubs roster.