QUEENS, NY- SEPTEMBER 1: Pitcher Greg Maddux #31 of the Atlanta Braves delivers the ball during the game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium on September 1, 2003 in Queens, New York. The Mets defeated the Braves 3-2. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

We name the top free agent signing of all-time


best free agent signing of all-time
Randy Johnson was an instant impact player for the Diamondbacks.

As Spring Training is approaching, the free agent class is dwindling and the last few big names are left, the debates start about who fits with which team better.

I started thinking about who was the best free agent signing ever? Greg Maddux going to Atlanta? Randy Johnson to the Diamondbacks? Maybe Manny Ramirez to Boston?

I did some digging into some of the deals and tried to determine which deal gained that team the most bang for their buck. Here are the best deals, in my opinion, based on multiple factors:

Player Duration of Tenure Team Player Signed With WAR During Contract
Greg Maddux 11 years Braves 65.2
Barry Bonds 14 years Giants 116.1
Randy Johnson 6 years Diamondbacks 49.6


Greg Maddux

In 1992, the Atlanta Braves had just lost their second straight World Series to the Toronto Blue Jays, and were looking to improve. Bring in Maddux, who would win three straight Cy Young awards and contribute to the 1995 World Series win for the Braves. In addition to this, Maddux contributed to Atlanta’s run of 14 straight Division Champs. The Braves enjoyed massive success during Maddux’s tenure.

Considering his sizeable WAR during his 11 years, Maddux would be a strong choice for best signing.

Barry Bonds

Being quite possibly the greatest overall player in history, being able to sign Bonds definitely set up the Giants for success for years to come. His WAR during his tenure was significantly higher than any of the other members of the list. His numbers during his tenure were some of the best in history, regardless of PED usage during that span. Helping the Giants win the World Series in 2002; Bonds also set the single season home run record.

Bonds numbers and greatness speak for themselves, it will be difficult to top him.

Randy Johnson

“The Big Unit” came to the Diamondbacks and would dominate the NL in four of his six years. Winning four straight Cy Young awards when he first arrived, and winning no less than 16 games in each season he was able to make 30+ starts. He also had 300+ strikeouts in four of the six seasons, and had 290 in his last season in Arizona. In addition, he had never reached 80 BB in a single season during that span.

During Randy Johnson’s tenure, any time a team played the Diamondbacks the players prayed Johnson wasn’t pitching during that series.

The Best Free Agent Signing

Two main factors were considered during the selection process: overall team success and individual performances during his tenure.

The Braves dominated the 1990’s during the time Greg Maddux was there. Winning 14 straight division titles, making three World Series appearances and winning one, the Braves franchise enjoyed massive success.

Considering these two factors, the best signing: Greg Maddux. No fewer than 15 wins, and no more than 11 losses, Maddux only missed making 30 starts twice in the 10 years. He only missed 200 IP once and walked more than 50 batters once in that time. Maddux came incredibly close to being a unanimous choice for the Hall of Fame. Maddux was the greatest free agent signing ever.


  1. I disagree. Yes, Maddux was a great signing, and he is one of my all time favorite players. But you can’t rate a pitcher, who plays only 5th day, over an everyday player. Bonds is the best free agent signing ever, at least up to now. Bryce Harper or Mike Trout might surpass him one day, but for now, it’s Bonds, hands down.

  2. The Braves lost in extra innings of Game 7 of the 1991 World Series and blew a 2-0 series lead against the New York Yankees in 1996. A new documentary “Atlanta Rules: The Story of the ’90s Braves,” produced by MLB Network, includes interviews with Hall of Famers Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Bobby Cox and several others who helped transform Atlanta from one of the worst teams in baseball into a perennial championship contender. Smoltz chatted with CBS Local Sports about how the Braves won it all in 1995, why they didn’t win multiple championships and how the Braves should’ve been the Yankees. CBS Local Sports: In the documentary, you said it was the thrill of the lifetime to play for the Atlanta Braves.


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