Two starters and a 1B are the first big-name free agents to sign this year.
Cookie Prieto SP - Coumbus, 5 years/$56MM. Needing to improve their 10th-ranked pitching and sensing an opening in the AL North, the Criminals went after the guy they thought was the best SP available. Prieto has 95 wins/4.11 ERA over 9 seasons; his best year was Season 9, with 17 wins and a 2.95 ERA for (now) Madison. Fairly steep price, but this FA class isn't filled with top pitching talent. Grade: A
Larry Keisler 1B - Augusta, 2 years/$10.4MM. Meanwhile, the defending AL Champ Polar Bears countered by bolstering their 10th-ranked offense. Keisler has been a steady producer with 395 career HR's, but it's a tossup whether he can top Bogar's (the departed 1B) numbers in Augusta's pitcher-friendly park. Due to the favorable contract, we give it Grade: B.
Javier Mendoza LR - Toledo, 1 year/$5MM. The Mud Hens are loving this deal. They look around their division and see Jacksonville and Indy in all-out rebuild mode. They see that 79 wins took the NL East last season. They had a 4.88 ERA last year (13th). And one of the very few quality arms in FA comes to them on a 1-year deal. The Hens have the best training and med staff money can buy, so I'm betting they can keep Mendoza glued together for another year. Grade A+