The free-agent market has been a complete mud bog to this point, with many teams determined to wait for the sheer volume of available players to drive the prices downward -- inevitably -- and some agents still devoted to the idea of getting what they perceive to be fair value for their clients. In the midst of that standoff, the Phillies' signing of Andrew McCutchen was an oasis of money.
The former MVP got $50 million over three years, with a club option for a fourth year. Last winter, only two outfielder-DH types got deals of greater value -- Lorenzo Cain, who signed for $80 million with the Brewers, and J.D. Martinez, who worked out a $110 million contract to play for the Red Sox. For the other free agents -- for Michael Brantley, for A.J. Pollock -- the McCutchen deal seems like a well of hope.
But it might also be a case of a team spending heavily to make sure its winter doesn't evolve into a disappointment.