A breakdown of offseason spending by Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan indicates that the Cubs’ home division, the National League Central, has come in dead last in terms of free agent spending this offseason – while the American League East and American League West have both dominated the market.
Free agent signings have totaled a whopping $467 million in the A.L. West – highlighted by the signings of Robinson Cano in Seattle and more recently, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in Texas. Other notable free agents signed by those five teams include Scott Kazmir (OAK), Scott Feldman (HOU), Corey Hart (SEA) and Joe Smith (LAA).
The American League East, which includes two of the highest-profile teams in all of Major League Baseball in the Red Sox and Yankees, has spent $399 million in the free agent market this winter. According to MLBTR, seven of the top eight free agents signed by A.L. East teams have inked a deal with either New York or Boston. These signings were headlined by the Bronx Bombers’ signings of Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann and their re-signing of Hiroki Kuroda.
Meanwhile, the National League Central has just one notable free agent signing to-date, according to MLBTR, and that comes in the form of St. Louis inking former Tigers’ shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a deal early on in the offseason.
Chicago has added several free agents this offseason, mostly on minor league deals. These signings include adding much-needed bullpen depth and stability, most notably with Jose Veras joining the ranks of the Cubs’ relief corps.
The next-lowest spending division – the National League West – have almost doubled the total spending of the Central, spending some $148 million in free agency this winter. These moves were headlined by the Padres’ deals with Joaquin Benoit and Josh Johnson. The Giants added former Braves right-hander Tim Hudson and the Dodgers signed Dan Haren, while re-signing Brian Wilson and Juan Uribe.
Other notable signings from around the league include the Twins’ focus on adding pitching with the likes of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, the Mets’ signing of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon and the Royals signing of Omar Infante.