BASEBALL: Free agent signings who were worth it?

Yankee: The A-Hole of PHÆT 2011/11/02 06:07:23
CC Sabathia
Mike Mussina
Manny Ramirez
Randy Johnson
Reggie Jackson
Greg Maddux
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Most teams get burned when they give a player a big contract worth alot of money. Most players get injured alot, don't play up to that big contract or somewhere in between. Here are some of the free agent signings however that I feel worked out perfectly.

1.) CC Sabathia: New York Yankees (7 year, $161 million)
After the Yankees failed to make the postseason in 2008 for the first time in decades... Yankees GM Brian Cashman made note that changes were to be made. Alot of players with big contracts were up and the Yankees were ready to sign new players. One was the hefty lefty CC Sabathia. Sure, the Yankees already had an ace in Chien Ming Wang but the Yankees wanted an overpowering one who can compete with guys like Justin Verlander, Tim Lincecum and Johan Santana. CC Sabathia was that. People criticized the deal at first due to CC's poor postseason track record, his weight issue and overuse by both the Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers. CC silenced his critics though... going 59-23 with a ERA just over 3 in his 3 seasons as a Yankee. During that span he logged at least 230 innings and 200 strikeouts. The guy is a workhorse who can get deep into games even when he doesn't have his best stuff. He also won the 2009 ALCS MVP award... proof that he can handle the big stage. He's also been a positive influence around the clubhouse... he's extremely well like by teammates, coaches and upper management. And it looks like CC was true to his word about wanting to remain a Yankee... he agreed to a contract extension with the Yanks last night and decided not to excercise his opt out clause. Most players can't handle New York... for Sabathia this hasn't been an issue.

2.) Mike Mussina: New York Yankees (6 years, $88.5 million)
Mussina's former team, the Baltimore Orioles were heading in the wrong direction and "Moose" knew it. He became a free agent after the 2000 season and openly said that he was interested in playing for the Yankees. Yankees took advantage of it because of Moose's track record and signed him to a 6 year, 88.5 million dollar contract. Mussina was 32 at the time he signed this contract and many believed how many good years he actually had left. Well, plenty if you ask me. Moose's record as a Yankee: 123-72 with a 3.88 ERA. He put up gaudy strikeout numbers almost every year without having overpowering stuff... the guy was just a very smart pitcher who knew what he was doing. Another reason why the Yankees wanted him so bad was because of his dominace against the Boston Red Sox... he lived up to that reputation with the Yankees as well... comming close to a perfect game against them once. 2007 was his only poor season in pinstripes... and he rebounded greatly in 2008 winning 20 games for the first time in his career... he probably would have won Comeback Player of the Year if it wasn't for Cliff Lee's monster 2008 season. The Yankees haven't won a ring in Mussina's 8 seasons as a Yankee... but that's far from his fault. No Yankee has worn the number #35 since Mussina's retirement in 2008... hinting that the Yankees might think about retiring it in the future.

3.) Manny Ramirez: Boston Red Sox (8 years, $160 million)
The Cleveland Indians will always be known as a team who can find great players but doesn't have the payroll to afford them. Once Manny hit the free agent market after the 2000 season... the Boston Red Sox blew everyone out of the water with an 8 year, $161 million dollar contract. Manny earned a reputation of being one of the more feared sluggers in the game and he lived up to that in Beantown. He hit .312 in his 8 year stint in Boston with 274 home runs and 868 RBIs. Manny also helped the Red Sox win their first World Series in 86 years... earning 2004 World Series MVP honors. He and David Ortiz would be one of the most 3-4 combinations in baseball during that stretch. Sure Manny had a bit of an attitude... and his career in a Red Sox uniform did not end well to say the least. Can't take away what he did during the contract though. I say this was a good signing for the Red Sox.

4.) Randy Johnson: Arizona Diamondbacks (4 years, $52 million)
in 1998 the Seattle Mariners thought Randy Johnson was done. They wanted to be able to try to retain their other young stars such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez (that worked out well) so they decided to trade the aging Johnson to the Astros. "The Big Unit" as they caled him went on an absolute tear in Houston and proved the Mariners wrong. He hit the free agent market after the '98 season and the Arizona Diamondbacks were looking to build a championship team. They got out their checkbooks and signed Johnson to a 4 year, $52 million contract. Experts criticized the signing due to Johnson's age but Randy proved that he still had plenty left in the tank. From 1999-2002... Randy Johnson struck out at least over 300 batters and posted an ERA under 2. Those numbers are insane. If you thought Unit was nasty in Seattle his numbers got even nastier in Arizona... taking full advantage of pitching in the National League. Randy would also help the D-Backs defeat the almighty Yankees in the 2001 World Series and shared the WS MVP award with teammate Curt Schilling. Johnson wasn't the friendliest of people, never made any friends with the media either. This deal however was far from a bust.

Reggie Jackson: Yankees (5 years, $2.9 million)
Seems like a bargain now but back then that was alot of money. Reggie had an out of control ego and was not well liked by teammates or coaches... most notably Thurman Munson and Billy Martin. Reggie caused drama everywhere he went and was pretty much a pain in the ass. But he was a superstar that's why everyone put up with it. Little did they know though that they were getting one of the best clutch hitters of all time. His 3 home runs in the clinching game 6 of the 1977 world series will always be remembered by Yankee fans. He was a 2x World Series MVP as a Yankee and his clutch hitting in the postseason earned him the nickname "Mr. October". Reggie was not an easy person to get along with, but the guy got the hits when they needed them the most.

6.) Greg Maddux: Atlanta Braves (5 years, $28 million)
Came down between the Yankees and the Braves to sign the crafty right hander... and Maddux shocked the world by taking less money to sign with the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees at the time were a bad team and Maddux wanted the best chance to win so he decided to join John Smoltz and Tom Glavine to compliment a "big three". They won the world series in 1995 but lost to the Yankees in 1996 and would lose to the Yankees again in 1999. This was hardly Maddux's fault though. He has some of his best years with the Braves. He was an excellent pitcher who got people out not relying on velocity... but changing speeds with pinpoint location. Hasn't been inducted in the Hall of Fame yet but it's obvious he's a first ballot Hall of Famer. Time will tell whether he gets inducted as a Chicago Cub or Atlanta Brave.

Those are the 6 free agent signings I felt worked out perfectly. Which one do you think panned out the best? Do you have another in mind?
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  • Jimbo 2011/11/02 16:09:06
    Look no further than what the Detroit Tigers did this year.
  • Superman Jimbo 2011/11/02 20:50:13
    Lost in the ALCS?

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