Though we're still waiting on the biggest, Aaron Judge-sized domino to fall, there have already been quite a few lucrative deals handed out in this year's MLB free-agency cycle. Eleven players have agreed to contracts worth at least $10 million per year, and there could be as many as 40 more at that price point when all is said and done.
Not all of them will be worth it, though, and we've pinpointed a few of the likeliest candidates to be overpaid in free agency.
To be clear, "overpaid" doesn't mean "worthless."
For example, Justin Verlander would probably be a bargain at $30 million per year, but will he really be worth the $40 million-plus per year that he's likely to receive?
In some cases, players were chosen because of age and/or declining production. In others, it's positional scarcity or supply and demand working in favor of the player.
But the first player we'll address is simply a colossal question mark who hasn't played in over a year.
Players are presented in no particular order.
Michael Conforto, OF
2022 Stats: Did not play (shoulder)
Michael Conforto was an All-Star in 2017. From 2017-19, he batted .257 with 88 home runs and was quietly the 24th-most valuable hitter in baseball, per FanGraphs WAR.
The 29-year-old missed the entire 2022 season after suffering a shoulder injury in January, this after sputtering through a disappointing 2021 campaign in which he batted .232 with 14 dingers. His .384 slugging percentage in 2021 was the worst of his seven-year career.
But with demand far outweighing supply when it comes to outfielders in this year's free-agency cycle, Conforto might still be able to find a team willing to pay him like they would have if he had become available three Novembers ago.
Per SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets offered Conforto a nine-figure extension prior to 2021, presumably a five-year, $100 million type of deal. And while we probably shouldn't expect to see anything close to a $100 million offer, he might get a "prove it" contract with a similar salary.
Perhaps it'll be on par with the deal Carlos Rodón signed with the Giants last offseason—one year for $21.5 million with a $22.5 million player option for a second year—albeit with a club option instead of a player option.
Even that would be a risky investment, though, for a guy who hasn't played in over a year and who hasn't been good since late in the abridged 2020 season.
Frankly, anything over $10 million feels like it would be an overpay, but one of the teams that misses out on Aaron Judge is inevitably going to spend big on Conforto.
Brandon Nimmo, OF
2022 Stats: .274/.367/.433, 16 HR, 64 RBI, 5.1 bWAR
While we're on the subject of former New York Mets outfielders who are going to benefit from the lack of quality players available at their position this offseason, let's talk about Brandon Nimmo.
Unlike Michael Conforto, Nimmo played in 2022, and he played quite well. He wasn't an All-Star, a Silver Slugger or a Gold Glove recipient, but it was the best and healthiest season of his seven-year career.
Nimmo also logged more innings in center field (1282.1) than every other player except for Cleveland's Myles Straw (1309), and he did so without committing a single error.
That is a huge plus in his negotiations with teams, because while the overall outfield market is dry, the center field market is downright arid.
The Dodgers non-tendering Cody Bellinger did at least add an intriguing name to the pool of options, but it's Nimmo, then Bellinger, then a steep drop to Kevin Kiermaier, who turns 33 in April and who has not been able to stay healthy.
And that's how you end up with Nimmo potentially getting paid like a multi-time All-Star, even though the 29-year-old has never partaken in the Midsummer Classic.
ESPN's Jeff Passan said in mid-November that he thinks Nimmo will fetch something in the vicinity of a six-year, $130 million deal. That's basically Trevor Story money, which seems mighty aggressive.