Who: Greg Maddux
What Team: San Diego
How Much: $16/20M
How Long: 2 years
What It Means: Maddux's first few starts as a Dodger made an impression.
Will They Regret It: Not particularly. While he's been pretty ordinary the last few years, Mad Dog has also been durable and consistent. He had two runs of brilliance last year, one right after coming over to L.A., but mostly he's an innings-eater now. That being said, a reliable innings-eater in Petco is not a bad thing, particularly if he can impart some of that old-timey pitcher wisdom to Chris Young, Jake Peavy and the like. Then again, that part didn't work out so well in Chicago, did it?
Who: J.D. Drew
What Team: Boston
How Much: $70M
How Long: 5 years
What It Means: The Red Sox have gazed too long into the Bronx, and the Bronx has gazed back into them. Spend not with the Yankees, lest ye become the Yankees yourselves.
Will They Regret It: Well, it's certainly going to keep the chowderheads on WEEI busy for a while. All (humorless, injury-prone, passionless, Boras-ized) baggage aside, he's a pretty good player, and a lineup that goes Ortiz-Ramirez-Drew (or some variation thereof) is going to put a lot of runs on the board. On the other hand, you don't want to bet the farm on an injury-prone guy who's getting older, his past battles with Curt Schilling should make for an interesting clubhouse, and the guy is going to be a lightning rod for criticism from Dennis on the Cape and his ilk. I would rate it even money that Drew is traded away before he starts year 4 of that contract in an Abreu-like salary dump.
(Side note - yes, Drew is in fact that much better than Trot Nixon. Nixon got away with a lot of less-than-optimal play on the basepaths and in right field because he's a "gamer", his injury history makes Drew's look like a Zelazny novel next to a Robert Jordan, and he's just not that good. Yeah, he's cheaper than Drew, but sometimes, you get what you pay for.)
Who: Tom Glavine
What Team: New York Mets
How Much: $10.5M
How Long: 1 year
What It Means: The Mets think they can win it all next year. That, and they think Pelfrey, Humber, and company need one more year of seasoning.
Will They Regret It: Not likely. If Glavine holds up - and at his age, you always need a caveat - he'll provide the foundation for an otherwise shaky Mets rotation. And with that offense, you don't need stellar pitching, just enough to keep them in the game until Wright, Delgado and company come up again.
Who: Jose Guillen
What Team: Seattle
How Much: $5.5
How Long: 1 year + mutual option
What It Means: We've just IDed this year's Carl Everett.
Will They Regret It: In this market, $5.5M is a relatively cheap flier to take on a guy who demonstrated decent power in a ballpark that's actually harsher on hitters than Safeco. If Guillen bounces back, he's got some sock and a gun for an arm. If he doesn't, well, compared to the anchors attached to Beltre, Sexson, Washburn et alia, his contract is an appetizer.
Who: Dave Roberts
What Team: San Francisco
How Much: $18M
How Long: 3 years
What It Means: Brian Sabean is roughly 64% smarter than Ned Colletti when it comes to speedy, punchless center fielders
Will They Regret It: Not so long as the Giants can look south and see the Matthews and Pierre contracts, they won't. Roberts is a decent player, but he's a small part of the Giants' overall problem - their inability to put anyone on the field who isn't old enough to have slow-danced to "Careless Whisper" while still in high school, is. Roberts himself is a nice enough player, a flycatcher who can hit a little and steals intelligently, but he's not a difference-maker, and if his wheels come off, they'll come off in a hurry. The same can be said, incidentally, for all of the other elderly gents whom the Giants have signed.
Who: Danys Baez
What Team: Baltimore
How Much: $19M
How Long: 3 years
What It Means: Ed Wade lives (roughly two hours down I-95 from where he used to)
Will They Regret It: The odds are, when you give a reliever a three year deal, you're going to get one year of lights-out brilliance, one year of mediocrity, and one year of Jose Mesa. The question is, which one do you get first? If you draw the Joe Table card right off the bat, odds are the reliever in question won't last long enough to give you the good stuff. Kudos to the Orioles for recognizing that their bullpen needed a serious upgrade - particularly with the progress their starters were making under Rockin' Leo - but shelling out three year deals to proven mediocrities isn't the way to do it. If they're lucky, all of these guys will get their thunderbolt years at once and the pen will improve dramatically. But looking for sustained excellence out of Baez, a good-but-not-by-any-means-great pitcher who's going to want the closer job, loudly, is not the sort of bet I'd care to make.