Big FA Signings Season 1
I decided to go back and look at “Big” FA signings starting in Season 1 and see how the signings turned out for the teams. My definition of big was a yearly salary of 7M or more and the player had to be a Type A FA (meaning a lose of draft pick).
In Season 1 there were 4 players who fit the description above
Ivan Miller SP
Contract: 5 year 59 Million dollars (Mutual Option)
Signed by: St. Louis (Now Augusta) Former Team: Baltimore
Miller played in St. Louis for the duration of his contract. At the time the contract was the largest contract ever given to a player or pitcher. Over his 5 years in St. Louis he went 59-25 with approx. 3.3 ERA. He appeared in 3 All-star games, won a Cy young in Season 2 and was a two-time pitcher silver slugger.
The biggest knock on Miller was his poor health for his career he had 7 DL stints (5 of the 60 day variety). During his time in St. Louis his missed almost all of season 3. He left St. Louis following the end of season 5 and finished his career with NY after season 8.
Baltimore as a result of losing Ivan Miller received two comp picks #18 & 61. Baltimore took Pete Whiteside a 3b at 18 and Stevie Flaherty a SS at 61, unfortunately Baltimore was unable to come to terms with either player.
Needless to say the Miller FA signing can be counted as a success for St. Louis as they made the playoffs every season during Miller’s run
Al Castilla 3B
Contract: 5 year 43 Million dollar with a 10 M bonus
Signed by: Honolulu (Now St. Louis) Former Team: Seattle (now Scottsdale EDIT: Honolulu)
The 53M-dollar deal including bonus was the 2nd largest deal ever and was the largest ever given to a position player.
Castilla played 4.5 seasons in Hon/Tuc/Santa Cruz (all the same franchise) before being traded to SF part way through season 5. For the five seasons this deal covered Castilla averaged 29.4 HR 104 RBI and .277 batting average. Clearly respectable numbers however probably less than was originally hoped for.
Castilla was traded to SF for Shawn Pulpisher who played 243 games for Tucson (now St. Louis) before retiring. Over that stretch Pulpisher posted a stat line of 33 HR 154 RBI .345 AVG and .900 OPS. He retired after season 6.
Seattle (now Scottsdale) as compensation received picks 32 and 60 in the draft. With the 32nd pick Seattle (Scottsdale) selected Bernie Marreo who went on to play 1218 games at the ML level with 367 HR 935 RBI .254 AVG .808 OPS. During that time he made 3-Allstar teams and won gold gloves at SS, LF and 3b. He was a member of Scottsdales until season 12 when he signed with SF.
With the 60th pick Seattle (Scotts) selected Max Saenez LF who had a cup of coffee in the majors playing 162 games hitting 13 HR 68 RBI .272 AVG and .705 OPS. He retired following season 8 with LA.
Based on the monster contract and the fact Marrero outperformed Castillo directly this is probably one that the St. Louis franchise would like back.
Mario Giles C
Contract: 5 year 42.5 M with 5M bonus
Signed by: Atlanta Former Team: Mexico (Now Richmond)
Mario played all fives seasons of his deal in Atlanta over that time he averaged 86.2 R 25.4 HR 103 RBI and batted .288. During that stretch he also made one All-star team. He left Atl following season 5 and last appeared in the ML as part of Colorda in season 11 (played 60 games). The last two seasons he’s bounced around the minors of Lou and SF.
As compensation for losing Giles Mexico (Richmond) got the 20th pick and the 45th pick in the draft.
With first pick Mexico (Richmond) selected Jack Wilson who pitched in 180 ML games with a career record of 24-48 5.78 ERA. Wilson last pitched in the majors for Portland in season 10. With the 2nd pick Derrick Hines (2b) was selected he played 1216 games in majors and authored a line of 116HR 624RBI .296 avg and .803 OPS, he also made 1 all-star team. His last ML season was season 12
I think both the Atlanta franchise and Richmond had to be pleased with the outcome of this signed. Atlanta got above-average hitting and fielding C for 5 seasons and Mex (Rich) got a serviceable ML 2b.
Red Powell P
Contract: 3 years 22.5M with 1M bonus
Signed by: Tex Former: Pawtuckt Green Sox (Now KC)
Of the major season 1 FA signings Red Powell received the smallest contract but may have been the biggest disappointment. Red pitched in Tex for 2 seasons posting a record of 27-23 with a 5.6 ERA before being traded to SF at the beginning of season 3.
In addition to Powell, SF received J. Gonzalez who went on to post a career record of 152-120 with a 4.6 ERA and retired with Cleveland following season 13. Powel himself retired after season 3 with San Fran. For Powel and Gonzalez Texas received K. Gomez a low control reliever who gave Texas four seasons and an ERA of 4.6, D. Ortiz a back of the rotation SP who went 9-13 with a 4.4 ERA and B. Vallarta a career minor leaguer.
Needless to say J. Gonzalez successful career always stuck in Wolfhound’s craw.
Finally we look at the compensation Pawtucket (KC) received for Powell. The draft picks were #30 and #46. With the 30th pick in the draft Paw (KC) selected Garret Bouchard, yes that was an audible groan from Wolf that you just heard. Bouchard was a 1-time all-star, 2-time silver slugger and has authored a career line of 314 HR 972 RBI .291 AVG and .895 OPS. Bouchard is still playing in the ML with Atlanta. The 2nd pick was 46th overall and was used to select Pat Martin who had a modest ML career (57 HR 222 RBI .263 AVG and .782 OPS).
In the end Powell was tied to Texas’ loss of a long-term quality SP and 1b all for 2 seasons of average work. Given a time machine this is a signing that Texas would like to undo