MLB hot stove: Tracking free-agent signings during the 2018 offseason

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Christmas has come early for MLB front offices, and in a big way.

The 2018 free agent list is unlike any we’ve seen in recent memory. With superstars like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper on the open market, the balance in MLB power could drastically shift in any directions.

But it doesn’t end with Machado and Harper: Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel and others headline this season’s greetings of stars on the market.

Sporting News will keep track of all the latest signings this offseason below.

MLB hot stove tracker, completed deals

Nationals sign catcher Kurt Suzuki

Deal: Two years, $10 million.

Analysis (Rivera): Kurt Suzuki has aged like a fine wine, hitting to a 128 OPS+ in 2017 and a 108 OPS+ in 2018. Previously with Washington (2012-13), he hit .237 with eight home runs in 122 games. Suzuki has only gotten better with age and helps fortify defense behind the dish for the Nats.

Yankees bring back Brett Gardner

Deal: One year, $7.5 million.

Analysis (Rivera): Gardner was slated to make $11 million in 2019, but the Yankees bought out his deal ($2 million) and paid him a new, $7.5 million contract, essentially saving a few million bucks.

Gardner is an aging outfielder who had his worst season in pinstripes, but much like Sabathia, the Yankees value his veteran presence and leadership in the clubhouse. He’s also very good at working counts, which adds something to a lineup.

Dodgers re-sign David Freese

Deal: One year, $6 million.

Analysis (Rivera): Freese provided a proven, veteran bat throughout the playoffs for the Dodgers. Declining his deal and bringing him back was the smart thing to do, and they save about $4 1/2 million in doing so.

Yankees, CC Sabathia agree to one-year deal

Deal: One year, $8 million.

Analysis (Rivera): Admittedly, this signing was a bit confusing, but when you dig into the numbers a bit deeper, it makes some sense. Sabathia had good fifth-starter numbers in 2018, and his leadership means a lot to the club.

While the signing came as a surprise to some, the numbers are there, and Sabathia and the Yankees feel like they have unfinished business.

Trevor Rosenthal signs with Nationals

Deal: One year, $7 million. Option for 2020.

Analysis (Rivera): Rosenthal last pitched in 2017, throwing to a 3.40 ERA in 50 games (2.17 FIP). He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017, spending 2018 rehabbing the injury. It’s a low-risk move for the Nats, who give Sean Doolittle a little bit of help in the back end of the bullpen should Rosenthal rebound. 

Red Sox re-sign Steve Pearce

Deal: One year, $6.25 million.

Analysis (Tom Gatto): The 2018 World Series MVP, who will turn 36 on April 13, could become the right-handed half of a first-base platoon with Mitch Moreland, but he’s versatile enough to also make spot starts at the corner outfield positions, second base and third base. One thing seems certain: Pearce will face a lot of left-handed pitching; he owns an .852 OPS in 908 lifetime plate appearances vs. southpaws.