By Drew Cameron,
Sports Business Writer
As spring training continues to draw closer and closer opening day rosters are becoming more and more clear. The vast majority of offseason trades have been completed and free agents signed. Trades have been relatively minimal this offseason while free agent signings were common and at times downright shocking.
Some major free agent signings that surprised the industry include ace David Price signing with the Boston Red Sox, and Zack Greinke signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Justin Upton reached a deal with the Detroit Tigers this past week which spans six seasons.
Locally speaking the New York Yankees remain the only team not to sign a free agent this offseason. However, they did acquire hard-throwing reliever Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for a handful of prospects. Across the bridge in Queens, the Mets have also been relatively quiet. However, this past week Yoenis Cespedes re-signed with the Mets, where he spent the second half of the 2015 campaign after being dealt from the Tigers. Cespedes signed for three years with a contract value of $75 million. The deal also includes an opt-out option that Cespedes can take advantage of after the 2016 season. The Mets also inked pitcher Antonio Bastardo to a two-year deal. Bastardo has experienced success out of the bullpen and could definitely help tighten up late inning relief for the Mets.
Looking ahead to the 2016 trade deadline, which has been moved to August 1 for this season only there are a number of potential pending free agents that could be moved.
North of the border sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion both are playing their final seasons in their contracts. Also likely hitting the free market would be Carlos Gomez and there already has been plenty of discussion of where he may land. Perhaps the most interesting player could be Stephen Strasburg, the young ace of the Washington Nationals staff who has been flat out dominant for long stretched of his young career.
As always the trade deadline this season could see some very impactful players suited in new uniforms.
This past off-season has certainly shown which teams are serious about contending in 2016. The Diamondbacks, Red Sox, and Cubs have all made moves that suggest they are ready to be involved with October baseball. However clearly what appears good on paper does not always pan out the way it is expected to, so speculate as we may it is still a few months until we have any real evidence of who will be in the running this season.
Actions from the Braves, Reds, and Phillies point out that they are committed to rebuilding and are shipping away almost all their stars to acquire large prospect packages.
The countdown is on, only 26 days until spring training gets underway and we have a better who is healthy, and who is ready to make a difference this upcoming season.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 26th print edition.
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