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Assessing All 30 MLB Teams on Key Free Agency Skills of the Past Decade

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Assessing All 30 MLB Teams on Key Free Agency Skills of the Past Decade
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Teixeira was one of several free agent acquisitions to make a big impact during the Yankees' championship run of 2009.

Whether it's acquiring players on the free agent market, letting players depart as free agents, re-signing their own free agents to keep them off the open market or signing them to contract extensions prior to free agency, one thing is clear. Free agency plays a major role in how a roster is assembled and is likely to have played a factor in a team's success in just about every single season.

Some teams are good in one or two of those areas. Some are bad in all facets. Some are relatively solid across the board. 

For this study, which assesses each of the 30 teams back to the 2003-2004 offseason, I've separated an organization's free agency skills into four categories: 

1. Long-term contracts: How much success has a team had when signing a free agent who last played for another team to a contract that is at least three years in length.

2. Short-term contracts: How much success has a team had when signing a free agent who last played for another team to a contract that is either one or two years.

3. Re-signings/Contract extensions: How much success has a team had when re-signing one of their own players who is eligible for free agency or signing a player not yet eligible for free agency to a contract extension that goes beyond when that player would've first been eligible for free agency?

Note: If a player with three years left of club control, for example, signs a five-year contract extension, their performance for the first three years of the deal aren't given much weight for this assessment.

4. Free Agent Departures: How did a player who signed elsewhere perform after signing a free agent contract with a new team?  

Each category has been rated on a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best). The total of the four categories for each team is tallied up and teams are then ranked by overall score. In the case of a tie, of which there are several, I have used my best judgment to adjust the rankings. 

The slideshow starts at No. 30, the team that has exhibited the worst free agent skills in baseball over the past decade, to No. 1, which is the best. Enjoy! 

I've utilized Baseball Prospectus and Baseball-Reference, two great baseball resources, to research and compile this information. 

 

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