Minnesota Twins in Free Agency - A Glance with WAR

It seems safe to say that Josh Willingham won't have to squint too much to find his place on the Twins free agent signing WAR leaderboard when his time in Minnesota is up. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

As Josh Willingham smacked his fifth longball of the year last night -- a monumental blast, one might say -- I got to wondering just where he’ll end up among all-time best Twins free agent signings.

So today, let’s take a look at Twins free agent signings spanning the first Terry Ryan Reich to the current one. Andy MacPhail left the Twins at the end of the strike-shortened 1994 campaign, so any signing from that point on qualifies, with one caveat: No player re-signed, even if granted free agency, counts. That is, if Joe Mauer were to have tested free agency and re-signed, he would not count. However, if Paul Molitor had signed for two years, tested free agency, and re-signed again, he would count under the initial rule. Also, if a player left mid-season -- like Rick Aguilera in 1999 -- we’ll just extrapolate his WAR out and give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s too semantic-y to do it otherwise.

Confused yet? Good.

So let’s take a look at these players in terms of fWAR (I work at f, after all) over the period which they played with the Twins (minimum of 1.0 WAR as a Twin):

Player fWAR (w/Twins) fWAR (total) Percent w/ Twins
Bob Tewksbury 6.9 33.1 0.21
Rick Aguilera* 5.4 21.5 0.80
Jim Thome 4.5 71.3 0.06
Dave Hollins 3.7 15.2 0.24
Terry Steinbach 3.7 31.1 0.12
Orlando Hudson 3.5 24.2 0.14
Kenny Rogers 3.3 50.6 0.07
Hector Carrasco 3.1 6.5 0.48
Paul Molitor 3.1 75.2 0.04
Rich Robertson 3 2.7 1.11
Jason Tyner 2.8 2.1 1.33
Roberto Kelly 2.6 20.3 0.13
Greg Swindell 2.1 34.9 0.06
Greg Myers 2 9.2 0.22
Mike Redmond 2 8.8 0.23
Dennys Reyes 1.8 7.1 0.25
Tom Prince 1.8 1.9 0.95
Matt Guerrier 1.7 2.2 0.77
Juan Castro 1.6 -4.9 -0.33
Jerald Clark 1.1 5 0.22

These free agents 'missed the cut' (among countless others): Rondell White, Tony Batista, Jeff Cirillo, Ramon Ortiz, Sidney Ponson, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Mike Lamb, Greg Harris, Henry Blanco, Todd Jones, Mike Morgan, Orlando Merced, Otis Nixon, and Greg Colbrunn.

So let’s break this chart down with some bullet points:

*I'm absolutely STUNNED that Bob Tewksbury is the best free agent the Twins have signed in the TR era.
*Dave Hollins fourth, despite spending less than a full season in Minnesota, is pretty depressing.
*Similar to Hollins, there are some pretty good one-year Twins on the list. Rogers and Hudson, especially.
*Would you have ever equated Hector Carrasco's accomplishments as a Twin to Paul Molitor's?
*With Aguilera, the first part is his WAR in his second tenure with the club, whereas the percentage I used was during his two tenures combined.
*I was, but at the same time wasn't, surprised that Tyner and Robertson garnered more WAR in Twinstripes than they did over their entire respective careers.
* A couple surprising names were Castro, Clark, and Swindell, at least in my view.

Since this blog says it's "For Minnesota Twins Fans" in the banner, let's hear what you have to say, TwinkieTown Nation. What stands out to you from the chart above?

As for Willingham, he's had 7.7 WAR his past three years, and since he’s entering his age-33 season, it’s probably fair to suggest he’ll decline a bit. Assuming he dips to 2.0-ish wins over these three seasons, he should still battle for one of the top spots on this list.

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