When during free agency were the 10 biggest contracts in MLB history signed?
When did the 10 biggest free agent contracts in MLB history get signed?
As it stands on January 23rd, 2019, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are somehow both still unsigned for the upcoming MLB season.
Harper and Machado are two of the most attractive free agents in baseball history, and yet less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting, it's still anyone's guess where they'll be playing.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the 10 biggest contracts ever doled out to see when major contracts have been agreed to in past offseasons.
1. Alex Rodriguez: 10 years, $275 million with the Yankees
When: November 15, 2007
The biggest free agent contract in baseball history is also the earliest to be signed within the top 10. It didn't become official until a month later, but by mid-November Rodriguez had already opted out of his contract with the Rangers to hit the open market, and agreed to his record-breaking deal to stay in New York. His opt-out was clearly intended to squeeze more money out of the Yankees, and it worked.
As is a common theme among major deals, when a team makes a record-setting offer, it's difficult to turn down.
2. Alex Rodriguez: 10 years, $252 million with the Rangers
When: December 12, 2000
A-Rod is a legend when it comes to free agent contracts, as to date he's signed both of the top two largest deals in professional sports history.
His first mega-deal was a game changer, doubling up the previous record contract, making it a no-brainer for the most coveted free agent in baseball history to sign on the last day of the 2000 Winter Meetings.
3. Albert Pujols: 10 years, $240 million with the Angels
When: December 8, 2011
Not many teams were in position to afford Pujols, with the two most obvious options being Los Angeles or a return to St. Louis. When the Angels were willing to include a no-trade offer, Pujols was ready to jump on the massive deal.
The next player ended up tying his number, but at the time, Pujols was agreeing to the largest free agent contract in professional sports history for anybody not named Alex Rodriguez.
4. Robinson Cano: 10 years, $240 million with the Mariners
When: December 6, 2013
Cano, like many in the top 10, signed around the time of the MLB Winter Meetings. The second baseman with the smooth swing agreed to play for Seattle after the Mariners made him an offer tied for the third-highest in baseball history.
5. David Price: 7 years, $217 million with the Red Sox
When: December 1, 2016
Price signed his record-breaking (for a pitcher) deal early, agreeing to head to Boston at the start of December, a short time after free agency kicked off.
It's easier to sign early when a team makes a historic offer, something Harper turned down earlier this winter.
6. Prince Fielder: 9 years, $214 million with the Tigers
When: January 24, 2012
Fielder is the latest signee listed here, waiting until nearly February to make his decision. The Tigers were not considered major players in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, but came out of nowhere to shock the baseball world with their offer.
7. Max Scherzer: 7 years, $210 million with the Nationals
When: January 18, 2015
Scherzer is the second-latest signee among the top 10, with his agreement coming Sunday night during NFL Championship Weekend.
The ace is a good example of how holding out can increase the final contract, as Scherzer signed for more than had been expected.
8. Zack Greinke: 6 years, $206.5 million with the Diamondbacks
When: December 4, 2015
Greinke is an intelligent, quiet player who moves to the beat of his own drum. He could just as easily have signed in November or February and it wouldn't have been surprising.
Ultimately, he ended up taking a near-record deal to pitch in Arizona.
9. Jason Heyward: 8 years, $184 million with the Cubs
When: December 4, 2015
Heyward agreed to his deal just before the Winter Meetings, and made it official during baseball's premier offseason event. He was highly sought-after thanks to his glove, and while he may not have planned on signing early, he responded to an overly-aggressive offer from Chicago.
10. Mark Teixeira: 8 years, $180 million with the Yankees
When: December 23, 2008
Teixeira is one of the latest signees on this list, and even he was more than a month earlier in the offseason than Harper and Machado will end up signing. The first baseman ended up agreeing to a deal just before Christmas.
The Maryland native was pursued by many teams and was thought to favor the Orioles, but ended up taking the larger deal to play in New York.