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These 6 Under-The-Radar Free Agent Signings Have Worked out Great in 2016

When baseball season is over and we have nothing to look forward to except a long, cold winter, who doesn’t love watching a team get the Hot Stove going with a huge splash via trade or free agency?

Nobody, that’s who. Even if it negatively impacts your favorite team, it’s at least entertaining to hop on social media and watch everyone freak out for a short period of time. But as we’ve seen over the past couple winters with the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks, the offseason winners don’t always end up being the actual winters in October.

Actually, it seems like that almost never happens.

There’s nothing wrong with going after top-tier free agents once winter rolls around – especially if a team has a glaring need at that particular position. Sometimes it seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not that easy. The smaller deals that don’t grab as many headlines for one reason or another can end up having just as much – or even more – of an impact on a team’s ultimate success or failure in the following season.

Here are six free agents from last winter who mostly flew under-the-radar compared to other higher-priced ballplayers, but have worked out very well in 2016. 

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Odds To Win The American League Rookie Of The Year

The American League has some young talent, however about only half of the guys on this list will even break camp with their parent big clubs,and others will be blocked for various reasons -including against each other on their own squads. There is really only one good bet and one bad for entire 15 guy list.

The American League has some young talent, however about only half of the guys on this list will even break camp with their parent big clubs,and others will be blocked for various reasons -including against each other on their own squads. There is really only one good bet and one bad for entire 15 guy list.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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1st off the Twins have the top 3 players listed for the category in Buxton, Ho-Park and Berrios.

All Minnesota youngsters could make the squad, although Buxton is posting just a .567 OPS  in Spring Training –  after only putting up a .576 OPS in his 129 AB for 2015. He will be given the starting job to either make it or not, after the trade of Aaron Hicks.  Don’t like the favorite status for most of these categories, this will ring true one more time.

Ho-Park has looked solid at the dish so far with a 3 Slash of .283/.306/.543 – with 3 HRs and 13 RBI in his 46 AB, and at 29 years of age – coming over from the KBO, he has years of experience next to his classmates.

Jose Abreu and Ichiro Suzuki both came over as later in life rookies to the Junior Circuit and took the honors  Ho-Park was a beast in Korea – blasting over 50+ HRs in each of the last 2 years there for his club team Nexen.

While you have to temper expectations coming overseas to North America from there, what I love is that the guy improved his numbers in each of the last 5 years.  This bodes well for him in Minny.

With a 4 year deal in his back pocket, Park will and should remain on the big roster based on his early success.

I am not sure he will win the Award, and I am not placing any cabbage on him too, but at least he won’t be subjected to service time restrictions like other rookies. Read the rest of this entry

Orioles Setting A Dangerous Precedent With Physicals (Circa Gallardo): Fowler Leaves To The Cubs

Dexter Fowler re-signed with the Cubs for a minimum 1 year deal of $15 MIL in 2016 (with a mutual option for 2017) if he or Chicago don't want to opt out after the upcoming season.) Fowler had been said to have a 3 YR/$33 MIL in place with the Orioles before this happened. Maybe Fowler didn't act 100% in good faith with Baltimore - however the O's don't exactly have a great track record with treating players in regards to physicals anyway.

Dexter Fowler re-signed with the Cubs for a minimum 1 year deal of $15 MIL in 2016 (with a mutual option for 2017) if he or Chicago don’t want to opt out after the upcoming season. Fowler had been said to have a 3 YR/$33 MIL in place with the Orioles before this happened. Maybe Fowler didn’t act 100% in good faith with Baltimore – however the O’s don’t exactly have a great track record with treating players in regards to physicals anyway.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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Wow, didn’t see that coming did you Orioles brass?  Dexter Fowler leaves his deal with you guys and re-signs with his old team in Chicago.

I have to wonder if the way things went down with Yovani Gallardo didn’t weigh on Dexter Fowler’s mind.  The track record for Free Agent’s having deals going south is about a 50/50 proposition with the O’s.

In one way I am disappointed that Baltimore didn’t land Fowler, because I think that deal would have definitely narrowed the gap in the AL East. Read the rest of this entry

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