Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet.ca asks MLB agents about the best free-agent deals of the offseason, and they list A.J. Burnett's deal with the Phillies, which guarantees him $22.5 million over two years, as being among the top five. Joining them are Ervin Santana and Nelson Cruz, whose salaries were depressed by the qualifying offer, plus Dodgers starting pitchers Paul Maholm and Dan Haren.
Nicholson-Smith also suggests that pre-free-agency extensions for Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons and Matt Carpenter have helped drive up prices for long-term deals for young players. That's a double-edged sword. The Pirates will, obviously, have to pay more for young players they wish to sign to extensions in the future. But this recent set of deals makes the Andrew McCutchen extension, a good one for the Pirates from the day it was signed, look even better.