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The Good Phight’s Decade in Review: Free Agents

Our first stop is reviewing some of the free agent moves made in the last decade

Philadelphia Phillies Photo Day Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 2010’s are drawing to a close, which naturally leads to us looking back at everything that has happened in the past and how they turned out. You can quibble with whether or not the decade is actually ending or not, but here at The Good Phight, we’re going with it! The teens weren’t exactly good to the franchise. It started off with two playoff appearances, then quickly descended into a long, slow rebuild to where we are today. There have been good players (hello Chase and Roy and J.T.!) and bad players (Kevin Correia, anyone?). There have been good managers (Charlie!) and bad managers (Ryne....). It has been eventful at times and uneventful at times. It has been.....something.

So, we as a staff are going to look back at the last ten years and fondly recall some of the best moments and some of the worst. We’re going to start with the free agent moves that we remembered most.

Best free agent move of the decade

Bryce Harper - 13 years/$330 million (7 votes), Cliff Lee - 5 years/$120 million (2 votes)

These were really the only two that came to mind when we talked about free agent moves. There have been several more that the Phillies did that did have some positive impact. Jonathan Papelbon, though a divisive figure, was a good signing who actually produced while in the city. We just don’t want to remember the fact that it was literally days later that MLB changed the free agent compensation rules that would have allowed the Phillies to retain their first round pick that offseason. But if we want to talk about pure impact, it’s tough to beat Harper and Lee coming to Philadelphia.

It’s probably due to the fact that the signing of Harper signaled the official end of the rebuild that generated the most votes, but it’s also fair to lump the Lee signing in with Harper since it had such an impact when it happened. We sometimes forget that Lee turned down several offers for more guaranteed money in order to join the Phillies, which was a huge surprise at the time since one of the bidders were the Yankees. The move happened in the middle of the night, so many people woke up to the shocking news and celebrated a “Merry Cliffmas”.

The reason that we didn’t vault this move to the top is that Lee basically stopped pitching halfway through his fourth season of the deal, didn’t pitch in the fifth and forced the team to have to give up $12.5 million in the form of a buyout. It ended ugly.

Harper, on the other hand, has so much future ahead of him and seems like he’ll have a better ending. The first season went incredibly well, so here’s hoping that the rest of the contract goes just as swimmingly.

Worst free agent move of the decade

Michael Saunders - 1 year/$8 million (5 votes), Jonathan Papelbon - 4 years/$50 million (3 votes), Sean O’Sullivan - MiLB deal (1 vote)

It’s pretty funny that in one paragraph, you’ll hear a small argument how Papelbon was a good signing, yet he’ll get three votes as the worst. Totally justifiable. I can’t figure out for the life of my why people didn-

Oh yeah.

It’s Michael Saunders though that takes the prize here. Why? Not exactly sure, but it just feels like he embodied all that was wrong with the rebuild. While we all knew the team would be bad, it just felt a little disappointing that Saunders did next to nothing while here. He was looked at a small, low risk gamble who might provide at least something resembling an offensive spark. 214 plate appearances of 61 OPS+ ball later and we have our reason why he was hated.

And in case you’re wondering why Sean O’Sullivan was voted for, here is why.

What are your best/worst free agent moves of the decade? Let us know what you think in the comments.