Turn Back Your Calendars: Top MLB Free Agents of The Offseason...Five Years Ago

Brad WolffContributor IDecember 22, 2010

Turn Back Your Calendars: Top MLB Free Agents of The Offseason...Five Years Ago

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    Cliff Lee 2005
    Cliff Lee 2005Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The off season was full of dramatic free agent signings including the Phillies swooping in and signing former Cy Young Cliff Lee to add to their Big 4. Many of these free agents were no names five years ago, so let me turn the calendars back 1,825 days with you and show you how these free agents played five years ago and where.

10. Aubrey Huff, Devil Rays

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Aubrey Huff #19 poses during Tampa Bay Devil Rays photo day February 23, 2006 at the Raymond A. Naimoli Baseball Complex in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    In 2005, Huff had his worst full-season as a member of the G-d awful Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Huff hit .261, 22 home runs, and 92 runs batted in. At 28, Huff was a member of another 90 (95) loss season for Tampa under Lou Piniella. Huff had his best range factor in right field during that season.

    During this offseason, Huff got his payday after a World Series victory. Huff is now signed through 2012 being paid $12M. 

9. Derek Jeter, Yankees

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    TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 07:   Shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees talks to the media during a press conference to announce his new contract with the club on December 7, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Tim Boyles/Getty Images)
    Tim Boyles/Getty Images

    In 2005, Jeter was of course a member of the New York Yankees. That season Jeter hit a superb .309 and hit 19 home runs. That wasn't a good postseason for the Yankees, as they lost to the Angels 3 to 2 in the ALDS. Jeter lead the Yankees to 95 wins after losing to the Red Sox the season before in the Championship Series, and losing to Florida two years prior in the World Series. 2005 was Jeter's fourth year of leading in plate appearances and won a Gold Glove.

    After his worst season of his career, Jeter received a 3 year deal worth $51M after a long and annoying negotiation for Yankees fans.

8. Paul Konerko, White Sox

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 10: Paul Konerko #14 of the Chicago White Sox hits a double against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field on August 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Twins defeated the White Sox 12-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2005 was Konerko's best year until this season. Konerko lead the ChiSox to their first World Series championship in 88 years. After hitting his second 40 home run-100 RBI season in a row, he made the All-Star team and finished 6th for American League MVP. Konerko's 2 home runs in the ALCS which lead to him being the series MVP as they beat the Angels. 

    Konerko's agent, Craig Landis, negotiated a three year deal with Chicago for $37.5M. Konerko's new deal is $3.75M more than his contract in 2005.

7. Rafael Soriano, Mariners

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    PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 27:  Rafael Soriano of the Seattle Mariners poses for a portrait during the Seattle Mariners Photo Day at Peoria Stadium on February 27, 2005 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    At 25 years old in 2005, the man who had 45 saves this season, had no saves. Soriano pitched just 7 and one-third while playing for the Mariners that season. The next season, Soriano pitched 53 more innings leading him into free agency where he signed with Atlanta for $10M over 3 years. 

    Just a half-decade later, Boras' client has yet to sign sign a new contract. Soriano has been rumored to sign with the Angels. It is thought that Soriano is asking for a three to four year deal. 

6. Victor Martinez, Indians

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 14: American League All-Star Victor Martinez of Cleveland Indians stands with his son during the lineup before the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
    Pool/Getty Images

    In 2005, Martinez finished 18th for AL MVP after having his RBI total go down with his home run total, but his average went up 20 points. As a member of the Indians, V-Mart hit 20 homers, 80 RBI's, with a .305 batting average. V-Mart also was fifth in caught stealings in the American League with 29.

    Martinez was the first of big name free agents to cash in. Martinez signed with the Tigers for $12.5M a year over four seasons. Victor adds to a powerful Tigers lineup on paper, not on the diamond.

5. Adrian Beltre, Dodgers

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    ST LOUIS - OCTOBER 5:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a single in the first inning of Game one of National League Division Series during the 2004 Major League Baseball Playoffs against the St. Louis Cardinals on October 5, 2004 at Busch
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    2005 proved the Beltre point: Adrian Beltre performs at his best in the last year of his contract and then nothing the next year. Finishing second for NL MVP, Beltre hit 48 home runs (National League leader), 121 runs batted in, and a stunning .334 batting average in 2004. In 2005, Beltre became a member of the Mariners. Beltre's stats dramatically dropped as he hit 29 less home runs, 34 less runs batted in, and shaved 79 points off of his batting average. 

    Beltre is another free agent yet to sign. After the BoSox traded for Adrian Gonzalez, Beltre's was off of their radar. Beltre will probably sign a multiyear deal with the Angels, meaning he will stink this season. Too bad for the fans in Los Angeles.

4. Adam Dunn, Reds

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    MILWAUKEE - APRIL 10: Adam Dunn #44 of the Cincinnati Red connects with a pitch during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 10, 2008 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Five years ago, Dunn was first in strikeouts in the National League. Look how far he's come. That season Dunn obviously hit in the .200's, but also hit 40 home runs and 101 RBI's. 2005 was the second out of five seasons in a row where Dunn hit 40 with the Reds. That season Dunn was making $4.6M and now, in a White Sox jersey, Dunn will make $14 per year for 4 seasons with Konerko. 

3. Jayson Werth, Dodgers

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    LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 29:  Left fielder Jayson Werth #28 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws to third but can't get Luis Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacks after diving for a single by Chad Tracy on September 29, 2005 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, C
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Your in for a surprise! In 2005, J-Werth hit .234 with 7 dingers as a Dodger. That season people began to think that Werth was a bust for a first round draft selection. Should've held onto him Dodgers! Jayson Werth was making $337,000, and now as a National, Werth will be making....

    $126,000,000 over 7 seasons! That's $18M per season. Things change in a five year span.

2. Carl Crawford, Devil Rays

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    NEW YORK - JULY 17:  Carl Crawford #13 of the Tampa Bay Rays bats against the New York Yankees on July 17, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2005 was a good year for Carl Crawford. As a Devil Ray, Crawford lead the American League in triples, but couldn't continue his two year streak with 50+ stolen bases. The next two seasons, Crawford stole 50+ again. Crawford hit .300 by one point and knocked in 81 runs. In 2005, Crawford became the third Devil Ray to hit .300.

    In 2010, Carl Crawford made the massive bucks. After his agency, Legacy Sports, sent iPad's with Crawford videos pre-loaded to all interested teams, Crawford signed a seven year deal worth $142M with the Red Sox. Crawford will be making over $20M per year! Wow!

1. Cliff Lee, Indians

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 16:  Cliff Lee #31 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the New York Yankees during opening day at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. This is the first regular season MLB game being played
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    In 2005, Cliff Lee distinguished himself as a Cy Young pitcher. Lee won 18 and lost 5 games in Cleveland. In the past five years, Lee has played for 4 teams, played in two World Series, and won a Cy Young. 2005 was also Lee's first 200 inning season while he lead the American League in pitcher winning percentage. Lee and CC Sabathia lead the Cleveland Indians to 93 wins, two games behind the Red Sox for the Wild Card. A year later, the tandem would take Cleveland to the ALCS.

    If you are reading to this point of the article, you know the conclusion of the Clifton Phifer Lee tale. Lee signed a five year deal worth $120M with the PHILLIES, turning the Yankees and Rangers, who offered more years and money, down. Lee joins Roy Halladay, Cy Young, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels in Philadelphia. 

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    Me and Jeter
    Me and Jeter

    Comment below if you disagree with my free agent order and which free agent, five years prior, is the most different to you in 2010.

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