Monday, December 31, 2007

The Top 10 Worst Baseball Contracts

10 - Richie Sexson, 1B Seattle Mariners

THE DEAL: Four-years, $50 million (2005).

THE FALLOUT: After swatting 39 and 34 home runs in the first two years of the deal, Sexson slumped to just 21 taters and 63 RBI while batting .205 in 2007. We think it's fair to say the Mariners expect more than a .205 average for a $12.5 million cleanup hitter on a team with playoff aspirations. The good news? Sexson is a free agent at the end of 2008.

9 - Bobby Bonilla, RF New York Mets
THE DEAL: Five-years, $29 million (1991).

THE FALLOUT: 'Bobby Bo' finished third and second respectively in 1991 and 1990 NL MVP voting for the Pittsburgh Pirates while batting behind his good buddy Barry Bonds. So when the Mets made Bonilla the highest-paid player in team sports, they expected more of the same. What they got instead was a .249 average and 70 RBI in 1992, numerous run-ins with fans and New York media and a poster boy for the disaster that was the Mets of the early '90s.

8 - Albert Belle, RF Baltimore Orioles
THE DEAL: Five-years, $65 million (1998).

THE FALLOUT: In the winter of 1996 Albert Belle signed a 5-year, $55 million deal with the Chicago White Sox as a free agent, making him the highest paid player in baseball. But the deal had a clause allowing Belle to demand that he would remain one of the three highest paid players in baseball. Belle invoked the clause in 1998 and again became the game's highest paid player after signing with the Baltimore Orioles. But two seasons and 60 home runs later, a bad hip forced Belle to retire at age 34.

7 - Mo Vaughn, 1B Anaheim Angels
THE DEAL: six-years, $80 million (1998).

THE FALLOUT: Vaughn hit 30-plus home runs and knocked in over 100 runs in both 1999 and 2000, but he didn't play a single game in the 2001 season. He was traded to the New York Mets on December 27, 2001 for Kevin Appier, but retired following a 2003 season in which he played in only 27 games due to a knee injury.

6 - J.D. Drew, RF Boston Red Sox
THE DEAL: Five-years, $70 million (2007).

THE FALLOUT: J.D Drew's talent has never been questioned. His desire and ability to stay healthy have. Before joining the Red Sox, Drew hit .283 with 20 HRs and 100 RBI with L.A. in 2006. During his first season in Boston Drew hit .270 with 11 homers, and 64 RBI in 28 fewer at bats, making him an easy target for fans and media. And when you get benched in September for Eric Hinske, that pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

5 - Roger Clemens, SP New York Yankees
THE DEAL: One year, $28,000,022 (2007).

THE FALLOUT: A 6-6 record and a 4.18 ERA aren't bad numbers for a 44-year-old starting pitcher...if you're Jamie Moyer. But when you're paid a prorated salary of more than $28 million a lot more is expected from you than a .500 record. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner gave up three runs in 2 1-3 innings in his only playoff start before leaving with a strained hamstring.

4 - Kevin Brown, SP Los Angeles Dodgers
THE DEAL: Seven-years, $106-million (1999).

THE FALLOUT: Kevin Brown became baseball's first hundred million dollar man, at age 34. Brown won 18 games in 1999 and led the league in ERA in 2000, but injuries and poor performance (predictably?) resulted in him being shipped to the Yankees in 2003. Yankees fans remember him for starting and losing Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS at home to Boston, lasting less than two innings.

3 - Chan Ho Park, SP Texas Rangers
THE DEAL: Five-years, $65 million (2001).

THE FALLOUT: Chan Ho Park and his super agent Scot Boras managed to parlay a 15-11 season with the Dodgers in 2001, into one of the highest paid contracts for a pitcher at that time. In his first season in Texas, Park returned owner, Tom Hicks' faith by going just 9-8 in 25 starts, with a 5.75 ERA. The following season, he only started seven times going 1-3 with a 7.58 ERA. At the end of 2007 Park was pitching for the Triple-A Round Rock Express in the Astros' system.

2 - Alex Rodriguez, SS Texas Rangers
THE DEAL: 10-years, $252 million (2000).

THE FALLOUT: Has A-Rod produced the numbers at the plate? Yes he has. Has he delivered the playoff success the Texas Rangers, and later New York Yankees, were paying him for? Absolutely not. When you sign a guy to a 10-year deal, and essentially dump his salary in a trade three years later, if that's not a quarter-million dollar mulligan we don't know what is.

1 - Mike Hampton, SP Colorado Rockies
THE DEAL: Eight-years, $121 million (2000).

THE FALLOUT: Mike Hampton was a 22-game winner in 1999 with Houston and the NLCS MVP for the Mets the following year. Then the pitching-starved Colorado Rockies came a knocking. He went 14-13 with a 5.12 ERA in 2001 and then 7-15 with a 6.15 ERA in '02. The Rockies shipped him to Florida in '02, and later he was sent to Atlanta. After rebounding with 14 wins in 2003 and 13 in '04, Hampton made just 12 starts in '05 before Tommy John ended his season. He hasn't returned to the majors since.


Marc said...


You left out Kaz Matsui!

Year in Review:

Anonymous said...

Yeah I left out a few...
Carl Pavano comes to mind as well.

Joshua Z said...

J.D. Drew and A-Rod? Boy did you call those ones wrong.

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