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.