Contenders spend big on pitching to push them over the top
The season 17 off season provided a flurry of pitchers finding new homes in The Bigs. Here's a quick recap of which big names went where and for how much:
Roy Walker -- signed 5-year, $95 million deal with Fargo: The largest and most eye-popping of the pitching contracts given out this season, Roy Walker cashed in big time to give the Dirtbags the rotation depth they lacked last season. The deal is surprising considering Walker posted a career-worst 4.74 ERA last season, his only year with Boston. Fargo hopes that Walker's return to the National League will get him back on track and that he will regain the form he showed in his days with Atlanta. The deal includes a mutual option for the final season and a no-trade clause.
Barry Rader -- signed 5-year, $53.4 million deal with New Orleans: The Voodoo bolstered their rotation by signing former All-Star Rader to a five-year deal. Rader has spent his entire major league career in the American League with Milwaukee where he has been mostly successful, but struggled last season going just 9-15 with a 5.27 ERA.The deal includes a no-trade clause.
D'Angelo Martin -- signed 5-year, $46 million deal with Minnesota: A former Cy Young winner, Martin leaves Buffalo, the only place he's ever called home, for division rival Minnesota and a big pay day. Owning a reputation as an inning-eating workhorse, Martin went 17-9 last season while posting a 3.64 ERA in 34 starts.
Pedro Limon -- signed 4-year, $37.7 million deal with New Orleans: New Orleans added to their rotation and their signing of Rader by reaching an agreement with Limon on a four-year deal. Limon went 11-9 with a 4.10 ERA in 33 starts with the Scranton Janitors last season and the Voodoo hope to get the same, if not, a better performance from Limon as they look to make a run deep into the NL playoffs. Limon's deal includes a no-trade clause and a player option for the final season.
Paul Schwartz -- signed 3-year, $15.7 million deal with Scranton: Arguably the most desirable reliever available this off season, Schwartz leaves the cozy pitcher's park in Seattle for a more neutral stadium in Scranton. The 35-year-old three-time All-Star posted a 3.25 ERA and 19 saves in a career-high 144 innings pitched over 74 appearances last season for the Killer Whales. His contract includes a mutual option for the final season worth $6.1 million.
Garry Wright -- signed 3-year, $12.6 million deal with Chicago: Coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, Wright leaves Fargo for a three-year deal with the Chicago Cows to be their top setup man. The normally lights-out Wright posted an ugly 4.97 ERA in 105 innings of relief for Fargo last season and was even more abysmal in four postseason appearances, leaving him out of the Dirtbags future plans. The Cows hope he can turn it around and help turn them into contenders. The deal includes a mutual option for the final season.
Coco Hines -- signed 2-year, $7.2 million deal with Salt Lake City: The single-season record holder for saves, Hines flourished in a setup role last season for Philadelphia (formerly Madison), posting a 2.80 ERA in 103 innings pitched. The Shakers will hope the 36-year-old can duplicate that performance this season in a setup role for Salt Lake City closer Lonny Soto. Hines' deal includes a mutual option for next season.
Felipe Calles -- signed 1-year, $5.4 million deal with Scranton: A bit of an under the radar signing, the 36-year-old former Fireman of the Year turned starter went 7-8 last season with a 4.76 ERA in 187.1 innings pitched over 42 starts. Calles moves to the AL for the first time after spending his entire career in the NL with Salt Lake City.
Lloyd Freel -- signed 1-year, $3.4 million deal with Monterrey: One of the top relievers available on the market, Freel will wear a new uniform for the first time in his career after signing a one-yeard deal with Monterrey. In his final season with the Minnesota franchise last year, Freel posted a career-worst 5.03 ERA in 98.1 innings pitched. The Sultans will hope the 37-year-old two-time All-Star can rebound and that last season was just a fluke for Freel.