Hey baseball fans!
With the Winter Meetings fast approaching, let's again dive into some of baseball's most famous free agency moves to see their outcomes. Reggie Jackson was the topic of my last post, but now we're going to another Hall of Famer, this time a slick infielder: Roberto Alomar!
Roberto Alomar is one of the greatest second basemen in baseball history. In 17 big league seasons, he amassed over 2,700 hits and batted .300 on the dot. He began his career with the Padres in 1988, made his first All Star Game in 1990, then got traded with Joe Carter to the Blue Jays prior to the 1991 season. I could do an entire post about that trade alone, but it would be too simple to say that the Blue Jays killed the Friars in the deal. Toronto won both the 1992 and 1993 World Series, thanks largely in part to Carter's playoff heroics (particularly in Game Six of '93) and Alomar's skillful play in the regular season. In his career with the Blue Jays from 1991-1995, Alomar made five All Star Games, won five Gold Gloves, and averaged 166 hits a season.
This post will be a double-feature because Alomar signed two big free agency deals during his career. The first came in December of 1995, when he signed a three-year contract with the Orioles. The O's hadn't won a World Series or been to the playoffs since 1983 and were looking to make a push for the AL pennant in '96. Alomar had a great three years in Charm City, winning two more Gold Gloves, making three more All Star Games, and averaging 165 hits a season. He was more injury-prone during his time with the Orioles, but they still managed playoff berths in 1996 and 1997. Nonetheless, the Orioles couldn't make it to the World Series in either year and still own the longest active World Series appearance drought among AL teams that have made the World Series (sorry, Mariners).
Alomar was again granted free agency after the 1998 season and signed with the Indians. He ended up getting traded from Cleveland in 2001, so this stint was also three years. The Indians needed a boost after losing the World Series in both 1995 and 1997, keeping their World Series championship drought alive (which is still active, lasting since 1948). So they needed someone to put them over the AL giants like the Yankees, who were in the midst of a dynasty. Alomar put together arguably the best three years of his career while in Cleveland. In '99 and '01, he placed within the top five in MVP voting and set career highs in home runs, RBIs, and runs scored. However, the Indians didn't win anything with Alomar, so Roberto's only career World Series rings come from north of the US border.
It's quite tough to say, but I don't think Alomar's contracts were worth it in both Baltimore or Cleveland. Don't get me wrong: Roberto Alomar is one of the few faces of baseball in the 1990s, but the Orioles and Indians didn't win, despite Alomar's help. But what if he signed with the Braves, Mets, or back with the Padres after his time in Toronto? Would he have led those teams to championships? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."