Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, and Adrian Beltre Top the Best Free Agent Signings Ever by WAR

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Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, and Adrian Beltre Top the Best Free Agent Signings Ever by WAR

Baseball Is Fun

Even though we’re more than half-way through December, the offseason stove is still in full gear (that’s not a very cohesive metaphor, is it?) and pretty much all of the top free agents have yet to find their 2018 home. In fact, according to MLB Trade Rumors, not one of the top ten available free agents have signed a deal yet.

That’s absolutely insane:

  1. Yu Darvish
  2. J.D. Martinez
  3. Eric Hosmer
  4. Jake Arrieta
  5. (Masahiro Tanaka – did not opt out)
  6. Mike Moustakas
  7. Lorenzo Cain
  8. Wade Davis
  9. Lance Lynn
  10. Greg Holland

And with so much free agency-fun ahead of us, I thought now might be a good time to dig up this article of the best free-agent signings of all-time, from last season.

Indeed, last December, Manny Randhawa (MLB.com) dug through the history of MLB free agency and tired to come up with the best All-Free agent team of all time. Going position-by-position, these are the names of the players who performed the best (WAR/162 games) after they were acquired via free agency*.

LH SP: Randy Johnson (D-backs, 1999)
RH SP: Greg Maddux (Braves, 1993)
Reliever: Goose Gossage (Yankees, 1978)
Catcher: Carlton Fisk (White Sox, 1981)
1B: Rafael Palmeiro (Orioles, 1994)
2B: Roberto Alomar (Indians, 1999)
SS: Miguel Tejada (Orioles, 2004)
3B: Adrian Beltre (Rangers, 2011)
LF: Barry Bonds (Giants, 1993)
CF: Johnny Damon (Red Sox, 2002)
RF: Larry Walker (Rockies, 1995)
DH: Don Baylor (Yankees, 1983)

Obviously, a list of this nature (one player/position) can exclude some big-time names, but it’s a fairly interesting nonetheless. Also, damn, the 90s were a good time for free agency, eh?

Also, also, I’m surprised there’s been just one top free agent signing since 2010, but I’m not surprised by whom …

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

In any case, there’s the list. Notice anything fun/surprising? Is one of your favorite team’s free agent signings missing? Is someone else there you didn’t expect?

If you’d like to see how many wins above replacement (WAR) each player recorder and for how long after signing their free agent deal, be sure to head over to Randhawa’s article. It’s a great little peak into free agency and some nice context as the offseason rumor stove continues to blaze.

* NOTE: This list only includes players who signed for three years or more, after 1976 (when free agency began). If you’d like to learn more about Randhawa’s process (which included some tie breakers and other notable qualifications), check out his article at MLB.com.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.