March 11, 2020

Offseason Spending On MLB Free Agents Hits All-Time High In ’20

SBJ Atlas

During the ’20 MLB offseason, the average salary per unrestricted free agent (UFA) reached an all-time high, according to Spotrac. However, despite the influx of cash to free agency, the number of players signed each offseason has seen overall declines. In ’15 and ’16, the final two seasons before the league’s current CBA was signed, a total of 487 UFAs were inked. Over the past four offseasons, including ’20, that number is 422.  

In ’15, teams spent an average of about $7.1M per UFA. That number has increased every year since, with more than $18.5M per UFA paid out by teams in advance of the ’20 season.

NOTE: Total money spent on each UFA per season in each of the past five years, including the upcoming season.  

The ’20 offseason concluded with some of the largest per-year UFA contracts in MLB history. Contracts signed by Cole (Yankees) and Rendon (Angels) each exceeded the previous record of $34M set by Zack Greinke in ’16. While the ’20 offseason was record-setting for starting pitcher and third base, other landmark UFA contracts were signed as far back as ’12, with Pujols (Angels) and Reyes (Miami) landing historic deals for their positions. 

NOTE: Highest paid UFA at each position in MLB history. The numbers are based on average money per year.