But that’s just to be one of the biggest disappointments. All have been hurt by injuries in the last year. Oliveira missed half a season last year and played only 30 MLB games. Davis was in on a bad contract with the Tigers. He is a free agent after this year and had surgery on his foot in June to fix it. He was the top player on the team in 2016, and could have easily been the top player in all of baseball in that time with the ability to play second base and the bat. He hit .259/.348/.492 in his 1.2 mpg playing second and .275/.371/.478 in 1.1 mpg playing third.
Olivier Vernon played well in the second half last year, but couldn’t keep up with the numbers his offense generated, although he did end up leading the franchise in average, RBI, and slugging. He is the 4th baseman on our list, and should get higher production in the offseason as he hits the open market.
Davy Drake, Carlos Delgado, and Todd Frazier all have contract options worth $10 million or more. All of them are going to be eligible for arbitration this offseason, and not playing much this winter will most likely land them with a raise at a much lower salary next year. But given that the Red Sox got a deal done between two players with far lower arbitration salaries last year (Drake and Delgado) this might not be the right move in regards to their salary demands next winter. Again, they should have higher earnings but we just don’t know how much. The Yankees got $35 million in a trade last year with the A’s, and the Dodgers got $40 million from the Athletics, so the difference between what the Red Sox get and what both teams got in the DFA is roughly $7 million.
Other notable names on the list have to be Gerrit Cole and Jacoby Ellsbury. Both are free agents after this season to the point where their contracts are almost guaranteed.
Of course they will have interest and teams will probably try to sign them before the season starts, but if our numbers are correct, those names will receive a sizable bump in pay this offseason. Hopefully we’re correct about these two, and in an ideal world we get a similar bump for those three.
I hope this clears it up for those who were confused by our rankings of the best free agents in the bigs. I believe the Red Sox are ahead of the field in terms of players to be the greatest in years to come.
But this isn’t the perfect end to the Big Dig and the team might have gone over budget in some of these areas (like the bench or the bullpen), so there is still the possibility of a big return after all.