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Parker was five years removed from an MVP award when the Reds landed him, and he hit a career-high 34 homers with 125 RBIs for Cincinnati in 1985. The man they called “Cobra” was a two-time All-Star with the Reds, and when he was traded to Oakland after the 1987 season, Cincinnati got Jose Rijo in return. Rijo would lead the Reds to a victory over the Athletics in the 1990 World Series.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS: DAVE STEWART (MAY 1986)

Most significant free agents are signed during the offseason - some after protracted bidding wars. Stewart, however, was picked up by the A’s amid little fanfare after Philadelphia had released the journeyman. In 1987, Stewart reached the 20-win mark for the first of four consecutive seasons, emerging as an ace on a staff that would help Oakland reach the World Series three straight years from 1988-90.

CHICAGO CUBS: ANDRE DAWSON (MARCH 1987)

Amid the collusion scandal of the 1980s, Dawson left the Montreal Expos, famously signing a blank contract with Chicago during spring training. The Cubs went with an amount of $500,000, making Dawson one of the lowest-paid regulars on the team. He hit 49 home runs that year to win MVP honors and later helped Chicago to an NL East title in 1989.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS: KIRK GIBSON (JANUARY 1988)

Darryl Strawberry and Kevin Brown are among the stars who have signed with the Dodgers over the years, but it’s hard to top Gibson’s immediate impact. The fiery outfielder was declared a free agent in an arbitrator’s collusion ruling and left the Detroit Tigers for Los Angeles at a time when the Dodgers were coming off back-to-back 73-win seasons. Gibson won the MVP in 1988 and helped Los Angeles to a World Series title with his unforgettable home run off Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley.

MINNESOTA TWINS: JACK MORRIS (FEBRUARY 1991)

Morris agreed to a one-year contract with the Twins that included player options for two more seasons. He only pitched for Minnesota in 1991, but what a memorable stint that was. The Twins went from last place to first in the AL West, then Morris delivered the performance of a lifetime in Game 7 of the World Series, shutting out Atlanta for 10 innings in Minnesota’s 1-0 victory.

NEW YORK METS: BOBBY BONILLA (DECEMBER 1991)

Bonilla became the highest-paid player in baseball when he signed a $29 million, five-year contract with the Mets, who hoped he could lead New York back to contention after Darryl Strawberry’s departure a year earlier. But the Mets flopped miserably, and Bonilla was traded during the fourth season of the deal.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS: DAVE WINFIELD (DECEMBER 1991)

The Blue Jays needed a reliable designated hitter, so they signed the 40-year-old Winfield to a one-year, $2.3 million deal. The move paid off memorably when Winfield’s two-run double in the 11th inning of Game 6 against Atlanta lifted Toronto to its first World Series title. When Winfield left after the 1992 season, the Blue Jays replaced him with another big-name free agent - and Paul Molitor helped Toronto to a repeat championship in 1993.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: BARRY BONDS (DECEMBER 1992)

There was little doubt Bonds would leave Pittsburgh after two MVPs in three years - and the Pirates remarkably did not even offer the star outfielder arbitration as they lost him to free agency and entered a rebuilding mode. San Francisco landed the slugger with a $43.75 million, six-year deal that was a record setter at the time but now seems like a bargain. Bonds would stay with the Giants for 15 years, winning five more MVP awards, leading San Francisco to the postseason four times and setting baseball’s single-season and career home run marks

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