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Best and worst MLB free-agent signings

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Forget crying: there are no bailouts in baseball either. The free-agent silly season of throwing Monopoly money at available players is in full force.

It was launched last week as the two New York teams committed a hefty $280.5 million to three arms (and one belly); the Phillies gave $30 million to a 36-year-old outfielder who has never made an All-Star team; Cleveland bet $20.5 million on Kerry Wood's health; and Kansas City gave $9.5 million to Kyle Farnsworth, a set-up man with a 4.47 career ERA. And it shows no sign of slowing.

Signing free agents is often a crapshoot (just ask those teams who found themselves on the wrong end of our Top 10 worst free-agent signings), particularly when a player's best year coincides with the ideal time for it – when his salary can skyrocket on the open market. There are rarely bargains available, and no sure things, though some of the players signed to the biggest deals have made it seem that way. We put together a list of the 10 best and 10 worst free-agent signings.

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In Pictures: The best and worst free-agent signings

At the lower end of the spectrum are players who quickly were discovered to be poor investments. Does Colorado wish they had kept the receipt on those Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle signings? How much does Anaheim regret handing over $50 million to Gary Matthews Jr.? And really, what was Texas thinking when they signed Chan Ho Park?

It’s safe to assume that those players made our Top 10 worst MLB free-agent signings list, but read on to see who was completed our list for most embarrassing franchise blunders.

Some of the best:

1. Barry Bonds (Giants): Slideshow
2. Kirk Gibson (Dodgers): Slideshow
3. Reggie Jackson (Yankees): Slideshow
4. Jack Morris (Twins): Slideshow
See more of the best signings

Some of the worst:

1. Chan Ho Park (Rangers): Slideshow
2. Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle (Rockies): Slideshow
3. Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones (Dodgers): Slideshow
4. Gary Matthews Jr. (Angels): Slideshow
See more of the worst signings