June 23, 2021

Which Types of Teams are Signing Free Agents? An Update (FanGraphs)

Last month, I set out to investigate whether the 2019-2020 offseason was a sea change in terms of teams outside the playoffs signing free agents. I can save you the click on that link — it wasn’t. At the time, things were leaning toward the less-egalitarian end of the spectrum; weighted by WAR, the average free agent was joining a team with a .545 record in 2019.

But that was a month ago, and many more signings have happened since then. All kinds of bad or in-the-middle teams have been getting into the act; the Blue Jays signed Hyun-Jin Ryu, the White Sox continued their bonanza, and the Diamondbacks signed Madison Bumgarner. There were smaller moves as well — Tanner Roark also joined the Blue Jays; Julio Teheran is an Angel now. Even the Tigers signed a few veterans.

Of course, playoff teams from 2019 added free agents as well. The Nationals fortified their bullpen with Will Harris and Daniel Hudson (plus bonus Starlin Castro action), and the Twins added Rich Hill and Homer Bailey. The point is, it’s not obvious whether the haves or have nots have done better since then.

Let’s look at a quick update first. First, there’s the rough cut; the total wins acquired…

Read “Which Types of Teams are Signing Free Agents? An Update” at FanGraphs