A good chunk of this offseason’s free agents have an affinity with the year 2015, when some of them produced their best seasons in that particular year. But if there is one year that has either enhanced or diminished the aura of this offseason’s free agents, it would have to be 2016. In particular, four players stand out. They stand on the “yin” side of our yin-yang spectrum, yin indicating that 2016 was one year to forget.

Patrick Corbin

A 23-year-old Corbin logged 14 wins and a 3.41 ERA across 208.1 innings pitched in 2013. However, his light dimmed quickly as he sat out all of 2014 and half of 2015 recovering from Tommy John surgery. Corbin hoped that 2016 would prove he had not lost a step. While time would eventually prove him right, that particular year did not. Corbin went 4-12 with a 5.58 ERA in 24 starts by mid-August of that year. After logging a 7.68 ERA in his last nine starts, his lackluster performances demoted him to relief appearances in September. Fortunately for Corbin, he bounced back. The southpaw’s 2017 was his first full season since 2013. Corbin finished 2018 with an 11-7 record, a 3.15 ERA and 246 strikeouts across 200 innings pitched. Time would heal his pitching despite that demoralizing 2016 season, and maybe it could heal another team too.

Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel has not had a bad season yet, to the point his 2016 campaign is still considered a good one. The right-handed reliever finished the year with a 3.40 ERA and 31 saves. However, Kimbrel’s 2016 remains weaker compared to his others. For starters, the 3.40 ERA and 31 saves in 2016 have been season worsts for him during his seven-year MLB career. Kimbrel also suffered career lows in other crucial pitching stats such as losses, innings pitched and WHIP. However, all these could be credited due to his situation. He was traded in the 2015 offseason from a failed post-Prellarpalooza San Diego Padres to a competitive Boston Red Sox team, who re-established playoff potential that year after a dismal campaign twelve months prior. Kimbrel also missed out on most of July 2016 due to surgery on his left knee. The good news for Kimbrel is that he has not faltered . He would regroup, have an All-Star campaign in 2017 and be a key asset for the Red Sox on their road to the 2018 World Series.

Michael Brantley

While Corbin’s 2016 may have been terrible for him due to his play, Michael Brantley’s 2016 could have been thought of as such because of time he spent out injured. Michael Brantley’s best Major League season was in 2014. The Cleveland Indians left fielder batted .327/.385/.506 in 650+ plate appearances and an MVP-caliber WAR of 6.7. Brantley would earn an All-Star nomination, win a Silver Slugger Award, and finish third in the American League MVP ballot. The outfielder’s 2015 season may not have been good as the previous campaign, but it was relatively serviceable. But in the 2015 offseason, Brantley underwent shoulder surgery. While early reports indicated the Indians outfielder would be able to return shortly after the 2016 season started, his lingering shoulder problems would prevent him from doing so. When Brantley finally returned from the disabled list, his shoulder issues became so severe that a second surgical procedure was required. As a result, he would only play 11 games that season, which he mostly spent at home recuperating. Back-to-back shoulder surgeries may have suggested Brantley’s time could have been up quicker than many anticipated his career to last. Fortunately, the left fielder would be able to play All-Star caliber seasons in 2017 and 2018, albeit with caution.

Jed Lowrie

In the same offseason that Kimbrel was traded to Boston, second baseman Jed Lowrie was sent to Oakland. Around the time the Red Sox took their closer off the disabled list from knee surgery, the Athletics abruptly ended Lowrie’s season due to a lingering issue with one of his toes. But while Kimbrel at least had the fortune to have a solid 2016, Lowrie did not. He played only 87 games and logged a disappointing .263/.314/.322 triple slash. This wasn’t the first time a Jed Lowrie season was derailed by poor play and injuries. He played fewer games and batted similarly the year prior while playing for the Houston Astros. This was the 32-year-old’s second straight abysmal and injury-prone season, and the infielder’s increasing age was not helping prove he was running out of steam. The good news was that Lowrie still had enough in the tank. Lowrie played well during 2017, batting at a nice .277/.360/.448 clip across 150-plus games. The A’s second basemen continued to play well until his 2018 contract year, when he would earn an All-Star nomination and a few votes in the AL MVP race. Time will tell if the last two years prove anything, but it could be a cautionary tale for future buyers.