Before the season, the blog identified the top Free Agent signings. Through the voting process, owners narrowed the candidates down to the following group. In the end, Buffalo's signing of Ahmad Bell was voted the best.
Junior Montero - SP - Rochester, 3 years, $18.9 million.
Then: I really like this deal. Montero is a top of the rotation guy that will produce in each of his three years. A very good signing.
Now: Montero went 18-7 with an ERA of 3.34 as Rochester won their division and clinched just their second playoff spot since Season 5. The #1 SP on a very good team. He was also an all-star and silver slugger winner.
Ahmad Bell - SS - Buffalo, 5 years, $50 million.
Then - Another good signing. $10 million per year is tremendous value for a guy that will hit 40 homers at a skill position. He should hold his ratings, but will need to move to another position as early as this year.
Now - Bell batted .285 with 28 homers and 116 RBI's for a Buffalo team that made the playoffs as a Wild Card. A move to 3B could be in the cards as soon as next season.
Derrek Peters - SP - Santa Cruz, 5 yrs, $50 million with a mutual option.
Then - Peters is a better buy for me than Reed. He has better career stats and superior ratings. This is a 4 year deal as it is highly unlikely that the team will excercise the option, and I would rather have 4 years of Peters than 5 years of Reed.
Now - Peters was 11-12 for a Santa Cruz team that won its division. He finished with an ERA of 3.95 and a WHIP of 1.31.
Philip Colin - SP - Durham Tar Heels, 5 yrs, $62.5 million with a team option on the last year
Then - This is basically a 4 year deal for an aging elite SP coming off of winning the AL Cy Young. Colin should be a #1 SP for 2 of the 4 years, and contribute for another year, maybe two. I am biased, but this guy is coming off of a Cy Young, has three WS Rings, and is a six-time all-star. I'll take my chances with some dead money four seasons from now.
Now - Colin went 18-9 for a Tar Heel team that won its division for the first time since Season 15. He had an ERA of 3.45 and a WHIP of 1.25.
Alex Encarnacion - RP - Buffalo, 2 years, $10 million
Then - Signings like this one make Buffalo one of the elite teams in the league. Encarnacion is very good. His durability is a little low, but every other rating screams top notch reliever. The career numbers are distorted a bit by his one year in Colorado, but he should thrive in Dunn Tire Park. A very good signing.
Now - Encarnacion saves 35 of 45 opportunities for a playoff-bound Buffalo squad. He had an ERA of 3.59 and a WHIP of 1.20. He was an all-star and finished 5th in the race for NL Fireman of the Year.