Ortiz and other top free agents

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Dope
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As David Ortiz began his final season in Boston, there wasn't any doubt in my mind that he's the franchise's top free agent signing of all-time. I became curious about what other franchises' top signings were. The result was my first article for the .com, the first of a two-part article. The Best American League Free Agents of All Time only includes players with prior MLB experience changing teams.

The research was fun and enlightening. For some franchises, it was difficult to find a player, others had several great players to choose from. Hope you enjoy it, and if I missed someone or if your list would be different, I'd love to hear it.
 
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JimBoSox9

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That's pretty insane that Robbie Alomar makes that list twice out of 15 teams, no? Was anyone else even close to a double-nomination? I'd also be interested to know who you had as the closest runner-up for each team. Frankly, it would make it much easier to both disagree and argue with you..
 

JimBoSox9

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jnlevetoncnmt

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I would put Tim Wakefield as one of the Red Sox all time great free agent signings. Not ahead of Ortiz or Manny, but he was always one of my favorite players. I really wanted to him to get the all time Red Sox win record, so close.
 

Trotski

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I can feel the snark from Chicago when reading the section on the Blue Jays. Was a fun read. Would like to see a "Worst Free Agent Signings' as well, although we have an 80 page thread on Sandoval already, so maybe not....
 

snowmanny

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I would put Tim Wakefield as one of the Red Sox all time great free agent signings. Not ahead of Ortiz or Manny, but he was always one of my favorite players. I really wanted to him to get the all time Red Sox win record, so close.
And Luis Tiant of course. Similar to Wake, greatness followed by trash heap followed by greatness.
 

Just a bit outside

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That's pretty insane that Robbie Alomar makes that list twice out of 15 teams, no? Was anyone else even close to a double-nomination? I'd also be interested to know who you had as the closest runner-up for each team. Frankly, it would make it much easier to both disagree and argue with you..
I think Beltre for Texas could be argued as a better signing then ARod considering the money. That would put him on the list twice.
 

Marbleheader

Dope
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Alomar got the nod from me because I felt overall game was better than Tejada.

Palmeiro was probably second, Tejada third.
 
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Marbleheader

Dope
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I think Beltre for Texas could be argued as a better signing then ARod considering the money. That would put him on the list twice.
Beltre was the runner up. It was just too hard to overlook ARod's insane numbers, I tried not to let my bias against him steer my choice . It was really about the best performance, not the best contract. Palmeiro was in the mix here as well.
 

JimBoSox9

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And doesn't Cy Young count as a free agent signing? He was signed for straight cash, no trade/draft/etc.
I was sort of wondering that too, if the criteria had to be post-FA as we know it, or if straight cash sales pre-FA counted as well. If the latter, you have to throw Jimmy Foxx and his 1.000+ OPS over five years in the mix as well, maybe behind Wakefield.
 

smastroyin

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I think the narrow definition would have to be post Curt Flood.

Otherwise, you could argue that Ted Williams is the answer. He was playing for a professional team when the Red Sox signed him.
 

Marbleheader

Dope
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The point of the exercise, for me, was to focus on how free agency changed the landscape and the fortunes of some franchises from 1976-present.
 
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SumnerH

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I was sort of wondering that too, if the criteria had to be post-FA as we know it, or if straight cash sales pre-FA counted as well. If the latter, you have to throw Jimmy Foxx and his 1.000+ OPS over five years in the mix as well, maybe behind Wakefield.
Foxx was under Philadelphia control, they sold his contract to the Red Sox. That's not FA at all--the old team controlled where he went, unlike someone like Cy Young who could have signed with any AL team he wanted to.

I think the narrow definition would have to be post Curt Flood.

Otherwise, you could argue that Ted Williams is the answer. He was playing for a professional team when the Red Sox signed him.
OP specified "prior MLB experience", though.

The point of the exercise, for me, was to focus on how free agency changed the landscape and the fortunes of some franchises from 1976-present.
This makes sense.
 

williams_482

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Beltre was the runner up. It was just too hard to overlook ARod's insane numbers, I tried not to let my bias against him steer my choice . It was really about the best performance, not the best contract. Palmeiro was in the mix here as well.
I was going to say this made sense for a "best player" over "best contract/signing" list, but both Beltre and A-Rod outperformed their Rangers contracts by about $100M (including the years spent in New York under the original deal).

Both players would have been totally valid picks even if you were looking at contract values.
 

Sampo Gida

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The point of the exercise, for me, was to focus on how free agency changed the landscape and the fortunes of some franchises from 1976-present.
That was well done. But the landscape was not only changed for teams with the good signings, but those which turned out to be absolute dogs which killed the teams payroll flexibility in years to come. There seem to be more of the latter.
 

Marbleheader

Dope
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Absolutely, but you can Google 'worst free agent signings' and get a lot of content. There was very little out there for successful ones, which prompted me to do some digging.
 

chrisfont9

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The point of the exercise, for me, was to focus on how free agency changed the landscape and the fortunes of some franchises from 1976-present.
In that case you would put Robinson Cano ahead of Adrian Beltre for the Mariners entry. I suppose you could put Ichiro Suzuki there instead if you broadened the parameters to include postings from Japan, though Ichiro's acquisition definitely wasn't a "free agency" one. Still, he was available to all teams and in going to Seattle he altered the team hugely. Anyway, for now I think Cano has changed the team's attractiveness to other free agents. Beltre was good but nothing changed in Seattle in his tenure.
 

moondog80

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I don't think it's fair to compare David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez because each type of signing is such a different animal, they belong in separate categories. It's near impossible for any long-term deal to beat Ortiz' in terms of cost effectiveness. I'm not saying you need to actually do this for each team, just that I look at those types of deals very differently.

Strangely, 3 of the best 4 pitchers since Seaver (Maddux, Unit, Clemens) are among the greatest "big" free agent siginins ever, and the 4th from that group (Pedro) was a one-year-from -FA-trade-and-extend, sort of a second cousin to the big FA deal.
 

moondog80

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In that case you would put Robinson Cano ahead of Adrian Beltre for the Mariners entry. I suppose you could put Ichiro Suzuki there instead if you broadened the parameters to include postings from Japan, though Ichiro's acquisition definitely wasn't a "free agency" one. Still, he was available to all teams and in going to Seattle he altered the team hugely. Anyway, for now I think Cano has changed the team's attractiveness to other free agents. Beltre was good but nothing changed in Seattle in his tenure.
I might put Bret Boone over both of them.
 

Marbleheader

Dope
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Good catch. Boone didn't show up on the list because he was drafted by Seattle originally. It's a lot of data to filter through, but he's a rare case of a guy that went back to the team that drafted him as a FA and had more success the second time.
 

Marbleheader

Dope
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In that case you would put Robinson Cano ahead of Adrian Beltre for the Mariners entry. I suppose you could put Ichiro Suzuki there instead if you broadened the parameters to include postings from Japan, though Ichiro's acquisition definitely wasn't a "free agency" one. Still, he was available to all teams and in going to Seattle he altered the team hugely. Anyway, for now I think Cano has changed the team's attractiveness to other free agents. Beltre was good but nothing changed in Seattle in his tenure.
It's subjective, if I wrote this a year or so from now, Cano would likely pass Beltre. I set limitations, international free agents, amateur free agents, could very well be their own articles.
 

moondog80

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Good catch. Boone didn't show up on the list because he was drafted by Seattle originally. It's a lot of data to filter through, but he's a rare case of a guy that went back to the team that drafted him as a FA and had more success the second time.

So in a few years we can add Hanley to the list, right?