Four weeks after the Chicago Cubs bested the Cleveland Indians in seven games to clinch their first World Series crown in more than a century, the MLB landscape has seen a number of changes.

Brian McCann and Josh Reddick are now members of the Houston Astros. Taijuan Walker is no longer part of Seattle’s rotation, having been shipped off to Arizona in a deal that bought infielder Jean Segura to the Pacific Northwest.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Yoenis Cespedes, baseball’s most sought-after free agent, has reportedly decided to stay put in New York and re-sign with the Mets, as Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported on Twitter.

Nearly every move that’s been made thus far has had some sort of impact on the landscape of the offseason market. Some, like Cespedes re-signing, have had a bigger impact than others. How have things changed?

Let’s take a look.


The Corner Outfield Market Remains Crowded

As one slugging corner outfielder comes off the board, another one hits the market. With Cespedes sticking around Citi Field, Jay Bruce, whom New York acquired from Cincinnati as an insurance policy against the Cuban-born slugger departing, has now become expendable.

And it hasn’t taken long for teams in need of outfield help to notice.

That’s not good news for former Blue Jay Jose Bautista, arguably the best free-agent corner outfielder left on the market.

If you were the general manager of a team in need of a corner outfielder, would you rather trade some mid-level prospects for one year of Bruce, who is due $13.5 million in his age-30 season, or make a longer, more expensive commitment to Bautista, who will be entering his age-36 campaign?

And it doesn’t stop with Bautista. Colby Rasmus, Michael Saunders and Mark Trumbo, he of the MLB-leading 47 home runs, could all find themselves knocked down a peg or two on the wish lists of teams looking for an outfielder due to Bruce joining the market.


It’s Not Such a Great Winter to Be a Free-Agent Starter

‘Member Chewbacca? I mean, remember the notion that halfway decent starting pitchers were going to wind up being overpaid this winter due to the lack of quality free-agent options available? We can toss that notion aside, for things simply haven’t played out that way.

Consider the deals that these four veteran hurlers have inked:

That works out to a combined five-year, $52 million deal—$18 million less than it cost Kansas City to sign Ian Kennedy last winter when the likes of Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke and David Price led a deep class of free-agent starters.

So while four teams are “in full pursuit” of Rich Hill, the best starter remaining on the open market, according to’s Jim Bowden, the injury-prone 36-year-old isn’t likely to spark a massive bidding war. That’s especially true when there are still plenty of options potentially available via trades.

Aside from Arizona’s stockpile of arms, Chicago’s Jose Quintana and Chris Sale, Oakland’s Sonny Gray, Washington’s Gio Gonzalez and Tampa Bay’s stash of starters, including Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi, could all find themselves on the move before Opening Day.

That’s only going to further limit the earning power of the free-agent starters still on the market—and increase the return teams with quality pitching to spare can expect to receive in a swap.


Relief Pitching Is More Expensive Than Anticipated

With all due respect to Brett Cecil, it’s hard not to look at the four-year, $30.5 million deal he got from the St. Louis Cardinals as something of an overpay. 

After all, Cecil isn’t a closer and is coming off his worst season since becoming a full-time reliever, pitching to a 3.93 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 36.2 innings of work for Toronto. 

If Cecil is worth that much, then what are setup men with significant closing experience going to command?

Take 28-year-old Neftali Feliz, who put up similar numbers to Cecil’s last season in Pittsburgh (3.52 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 53.2 IP) as an example. Not only is he two years younger than Cecil, but he’s got nearly 100 saves under his belt, having been named an All-Star and the American League Rookie of the Year as Texas’ closer in 2010.

It’s hard to argue that he’s not worth more than Cecil.

What about actual closers? It’s been a foregone conclusion for months that the elite options available—Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon—would all shatter Jonathan Papelbon’s record for a free-agent closer (four years, $50 million).

Could one (or more) of them double Papelbon’s pact? If nothing else, Cecil’s deal makes it just a bit harder to discount the notion of a nine-figure closer.


Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of

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