When the calendar rolls over to January, teams traditionally start to go bargain hunting in the free agent market, shopping for players in the open box section of talent. Some of these “previously owned” goods are more damaged than others, but most of them come with significant health questions, and they’re often guys who underwhelm with mediocre physical abilities. Especially on the pitching side, the bargain bin is generally full of soft-tossing contact pitchers with below average strikeout rates, often coming off some kind of recent arm surgery.
It’s generally hard to get too excited when your team starts shopping for one of these blue light specials. Paul Maholm? Jeff Francis? Kevin Millwood? No one rushes to buy season tickets when these signings are announced. However, last year, no area of free agency provided a better return on investment, and honestly, it wasn’t even close.