Mandatory Credit: kvoa.com
#1 Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks (1999) 4 years-$53 million
At the end of the 1998 season, there was a lottery going around all of baseball, it was called the Randy Johnson Sweepstakes. Johnson had failed to work out an extension with the Seattle Mariners and the team had to move him at the trade deadline that year. The Mariners had talked about re-signing him, then they didn’t and dealt him at the trade deadline.
The winner of the sweepstakes was the Houston Astros. He was traded to Houston for Freddie Garcia, Carlos Guillen and John Halama. Johnson went on to be flat out dominant for the Astros in posting a 10-1 record with a 1.28 ERA. He totaled 116 strikeouts in 84 1/3 innings and threw four shutouts. He powered the Astros all the way to the playoffs until they ran into a Buzz Saw called The San Diego Padres.
In the winter of 1998, Randy Johnson agreed to a four-year contract with a fifth year option to return to his home state of Arizona and play for the new expansion team. Remarkably, Randy Johnson won the Cy Young Award all four years of the contract. An 81-27 record with a 2.42 ERA and a 1.020 WHIP during those four years.
He powered the team along with Curt Schilling to a World Series title in 2001. Randy Johnson was one of the most dominant starting pitchers in the history of the game, and more than justified his hefty price tag! Four Cy Young Awards in each year and a World Series title to a brand new franchise makes Randy Johnson the all-time best free agent signing!
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