Grading Every Recent MLB Free-Agent Signing, Trade and Contract Extension

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Los Angeles Dodgers sign RHP Ryan Brasier
The Deal: 2 years, $9 million
The Grade: A
Brasier was a menace after the Dodgers picked him up off the scrapheap last summer, making 39 appearances and pitching to a 0.70 ERA. There was almost certainly unsustainability at work there, but not so much as to make $9 million look risky.
Tampa Bay Rays sign RHP Phil Maton
The Deal: 1 year, $6.5 million with 2025 club option
The Grade: A
The Rays lost an elite reliever when Robert Stephenson bolted for Anaheim. But with this deal, the hole in the bullpen suddenly doesn’t feel as large. Maton’s peripherals were off the charts last season, albeit with the caveat that he mainly dominated right-handed batters.
St. Louis Cardinals sign RHP Keynan Middleton
The Deal: 1 year, $6 million with 2025 club option
The Grade: A
It felt like St. Louis’ bullpen needed another late-inning option, and that’s precisely what it’s getting in Middleton. He put a rough stretch behind him with a solid 3.38 ERA last year, with whiff, strikeout and ground-ball rates that all placed in the 91st percentile or better.
Los Angeles Angels sign LHP Matt Moore
The Deal: 1 year, $9 million
The Grade: B
Moore has been a consistent source of quality as he’s racked up a 2.20 ERA over the last two years. He weirdly hasn’t been especially effective against lefties, but it’s not like they’ve hit him hard either. So even if $9 million doesn’t feel like a steal, it’s hardly an offensive sum.
Chicago Cubs sign RHP Hector Neris
The Deal: 1 year, $9 million with 2025 club/player option
The Grade: B
The 1.71 ERA that Neris posted last year was about half his expected ERA, so a capital-B “Beware” is in order here. Yet the Cubs did need another late-inning arm, and $9 million doesn’t sound so bad in context of the $50 million Neris was said to be seeking.
Texas Rangers sign RHP David Robertson
The Deal: 1 year, $11.5 million with 2025 mutual option
The Grade: B
Robertson is a decorated pitcher who’s still effective even in his late 30s. So, of course it was the Rangers who signed him. He did finish last year with a tough stint in Miami, but peripherals that include a whiff rate in the 85th percentile make it easy to overlook that.
San Diego Padres Sign LHP Wandy Peralta
The Deal: 4 years, $16.5 million with player options
The Grade: A
Peralta’s contract has opt-outs after 2024, 2025 and 2026, so this isn’t really a “four-year” pact. But that’s really the only nit I have to pick, as $4-ish million per year is more than fair for a pitcher with the second-best left-on-left OPS over the last two seasons.
New York Mets sign RHPs Shintaro Fujinami and Adam Ottavino and LHP Jake Diekman
The Deals: 3 years, $11.9 million
The Grade: A
To be clear, that’s three years and $11.9 million for all three deals put together. It felt appropriate to lump them together, given that they’re all worth between $3.4 and $4.5 million.

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