Adrian Beltre has announced his retirement recently, ending a career that will surely take him to the Hall of Fame Major League Baseball.
Beltre built his excellent resume over 21 seasons on the major, but probably his two best campaigns (2004 and 2010) had something in common. Both were in the last year of their contracts, shortly before Beltre arrived at the free agency.
The idea that players always raise their level in such a situation, using a potential millionaire contract as a motivation, is far from reality. It is usually a simple coincidence or the reflection of a player's normal ascent.
But there is an exceptional record of great seasons before the free agency. These are the best.
1. Alex Rodriguez, Mariners 2000
Numbers: .316 / .420 / .606 (163 PAHO +), 41 homers
Contract: 10 years, $ 252 million with the Rangers
A-Rod turned 25 in the mid-2000 season when he finished with more than 10 WAR, according to the Baseball-Reference. The result was a record contract that remains among the highest in history.
2. Barry Bonds, Pirates of 1992
Numbers: .311 / .456 / .624 (204 OPS +), 39 stolen bases
Contract: Six years, $ 43.75 million with the giants
Bonds entered the market after his second season of 30-30 (stolen homers) and his second National League Most Valuable Player in three years, in addition to his third consecutive Gold Glove. He did even better in his first year at Bay by adding another MVP award.
3. Adrián Beltré, Dodgers, 2004
Figures: .334 / .388 / .629 (163 PAHO +), 48 homers
Contract: Five years, $ 64 million with the Mariners
Only Bonds prevented Beltre from being the MVP of the Old Circuit because the 25-year-old exploded at the perfect moment. The Beltre 9.6 from WAR remains the best for a third base since Mike Schmidt in 1974.
4. Alex Rodríguez, Yankees, 2007
Numbers: .314 / .422 / .645 (176 PAHO +), 54 homers
Contract: 10 years, $ 275 million with the Yankees
A-Rod broke his own record in terms of the dollar's value after leaving his original contract. He came from winning his third MVP in the American League in five years and leading the Young Circuit in scoring, home runs, RBI, slugging and OPS.
5. Zack Greinke, Dodgers 2015
Numbers: 19-3, 1.66 EFE (222 ERA +)
Contract: Six years, $ 206.5 million with D-backs
The effectiveness of the right was better for a starter since Greg Maddux in 1995, and he turned 45.2 innings in white between June and July, the longest since the record of 59 of Orel Hershiser in 1988.
Andrew Simon MLB.com