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Baseball’s biggest free agents, team by team
Question of the Day
Rodriguez’s $252 million deal doubled the previous richest contract in sports history, but although A-Rod was indeed terrific, he stayed in Texas for only three seasons of the 10-year agreement. Rodriguez’s deal was proof that one megastar often isn’t enough to put a team in contention. He was traded from the Rangers to the Yankees before the 2004 season.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: CHRIS CARPENTER (DECEMBER 2002)
Carpenter was coming off shoulder surgery when St. Louis signed him to a one-year deal worth only $500,000 in guaranteed money. He didn’t pitch in the majors at all in 2003, but the Cardinals signed him again after that and eventually reaped the rewards. Carpenter won 51 games from 2004-06, taking the Cy Young Award in 2005. He was an instrumental part of St. Louis’ World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.
BOSTON RED SOX: DAVID ORTIZ (JANUARY 2003)
When Ortiz signed a one-year contract with the Red Sox worth $1.25 million, then-general manager Theo Epstein said he would have a chance to be an everyday player. That turned out to be quite the understatement. Three World Series titles later, Ortiz is among the most celebrated athletes in Boston history.
HOUSTON ASTROS: ROGER CLEMENS (JANUARY 2004)
Clemens seemed headed for retirement at the end of a pennant-winning 2003 season with the Yankees, but he changed course and signed a one-year deal with the Astros. Clemens went 18-4 and won the Cy Young Award - and he’d end up pitching two more seasons for the Astros after that, helping them reach the World Series in 2005.
DETROIT TIGERS: IVAN RODRIGUEZ (FEBRUARY 2004)
Rodriguez signed a $40 million, four-year deal with the Tigers - the money was significant enough to entice the star catcher to join a team that had lost 119 games the previous season. Rodriguez gave his new franchise a bit more credibility, and his decision to come to Motown looked smart when Detroit reached the World Series in 2006 with him behind the plate.
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: JEFF SUPPAN (DECEMBER 2006)
After helping the Cardinals to a World Series title, Suppan received a $42 million, four-year contract from Milwaukee. Paid like a star, he posted a 5.08 ERA over three-and-a-half seasons with the Brewers before being released. Milwaukee will hope for better luck with right-hander Matt Garza, whom the team signed this offseason to a similar deal.
TAMPA BAY RAYS: CARLOS PENA (JANUARY 2007)
Pena joined the Rays as a non-roster invitee to spring training and ended up on Tampa Bay’s opening day roster because of an injury to Greg Norton. Pena hit 46 home runs that season, winning American League comeback player of the year honors while earning only $1.2 million. He followed that up with 98 homers in the next three years and helped Tampa Bay reach the World Series in 2008.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: ADAM DUNN (DECEMBER 2010)
Dunn had hit at least 38 homers for seven straight seasons when he signed a $56 million, four-year deal with Chicago. His first year for the White Sox was unthinkably bad - a .159 average with only 11 home runs. Dunn has bounced back with 75 homers over the last two seasons, but Chicago hasn’t been to the postseason since signing him.
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