Thursday, April 16, 2009

Roster of the Worst Free Agent Contracts (2005-2009)

It's a tough economy out there. We all know that by now. But it's obvious to note that baseball is completely different than the real world. I thought it would be fun to make a roster comprised solely of terrible free agent contracts. Contract extensions need not apply.

My original intention was to create a roster made up of the worst free agent contracts of the decade (2000-2009). But teams have given out so many horrific contracts over the years that the only way for me to comprise a 25 man roster was to limit the number of large contracts to choose from. Thus, we have broken this down over the course of 5 years, and in the upcoming days, we will be showcasing a second 25 man roster from the years 2000 through 2004.

Without further ado (don't mind the 6 man rotation):

2005-2009 Worst Free Agent Contracts Roster

C-Ramon Hernandez, Orioles
(4 years/$27.5 mil)
1B-Richie Sexon, Mariners
(4 years/$50 mil)
2B-Ray Durham, Giants
(2 years/$14.5 mil)
SS-Julio Lugo, Red Sox
(4 years/$36 mil)
3B-Vinny Castilla, Nationals
(2 years/$6.2 mil)

OF-Andruw Jones, Dodgers
(2 years/$36 mil)
OF- Juan Pierre, Dodgers
(5 years/$55 mil)
OF-Gary Matthews Jr, Angels
(5 years/$50 mil)

Bench- Dave Roberts, Giants
(3 years/$18 mil)
Bench- Edgar Renteria, Red Sox
(4 years/$40 mil)
Bench-Bill Mueller, Dodgers
(2 years/$9.5 mil)
Bench-Cristian Guzman, Nationals
(4 years/$16 mil)
Bench-Mike Matheny, Giants
(3 years/$9 mil)

SP-Barry Zito, Giants
(7 years/$126 mil)
SP-Jason Schmidt, Dodgers
(3 years/$47 mil)
SP-Kei Igawa, Yankees
(4 years/$20 mil)
SP-Adam Eaton, Phillies
(3 years/$24 mil)
SP-Carl Pavano, Yankees
(4 years/$39.95 mil)
SP-Russ Ortiz, Diamondbacks
(4 years/$33 mil)

Long man-Carlos Silva, Mariners
(4 years/$48 mil)
RP-Miguel Batista, Mariners
(3 years/$25 mil)
RP-Kyle Farnsworth, Yankees
(3 years/$17 mil)
RP-Danys Baez, Orioles
(3 years/$19 mil)
RP-Eric Gagne, Brewers
(1 year/$10 mil)
CL-Armando Benitez, Giants
(3 years/$21 mil)

(DIShonorable mention: Jarrod Washburn, Kevin Millwood, Reggie Sanders, Adrian Beltre (debatable, eh), Tony Womack, Matt Morris, Jaret Wright, Eric Milton, Luis Castillo...for now)

So where was I correct? And where was I wrong?

(Note: Is it me, or did lots of Giants, Dodgers, and Mariners make the list?)

Make your voice heard...in the comments.

(Edit: replaced Beltre with Vinny Castilla (Jim Bowden!) and Womack with Cristian Guzman (2005-2008). What do you think?)

49 comments:

Bill said...

Good list...the one I'd take issue with is Beltre. Looked crazy at the time, but he's the best defensive 3B in the majors and salaries took a big jump right after that, so he ended up being worth every penny. I can't find any other alternatives among 3Bs, though...apparently as underpaid (or maybe just fairly paid) as they are underrepresented in the Hall.

Zach Sanders said...

Bill took the words right out of my mouth. Beltre's WAR says he has earned his contract, mainly through his defensive contributions.

And yes, my hometown Mariners do seem to have quite a few on the list. F$#%ing Bill Bavasi.

Josh said...

Defensively, Beltre is perhaps the best in baseball. But the production the Beltre has given the Mariners at the plate leaves much to be desired. The contract is not crazy, but I have a tough time believing that the Mariners got their value in Beltre.

And I'll be honest with you, besides Bill Mueller, third base was awfully hard to fill.

:)

Anonymous said...

I was going to make a comment about Beltre being good for the money, but I see that it's been covered. Bill Hall might be a better choice.

Josh said...

How about Vinny Castilla?

Jason B said...

Guzman was decent last year, and has started well again this year (small sample size, I know). By no means will he carry a team, but he's been league-average, which is worth $4MM per these days (sadly).

A $4MM per year mistake won't cripple or hamstring a strapped franchise in quite the same way a $10MM per year mistake will.

Can't believe I just defended Christian Guzman...today, my life has fundamentally changed.

Probably not for the better.

Josh said...

jason b- I was referring to Guzman's contract that he signed in 2005 with the Nationals that ran through 2008...even though his 2008 season was quite good, the three seasons prior were absolutely terrible and injury ridden. He got an extension last summer because of his fantastic 2008.

Anonymous said...

Yea beltre made up for it in his defence. Bad contract is jeff cerillo. Also al martin jose mesa and jarrod washburn & keji johjima. Bavasi also screwd up draft picks. Drafted a guy with diabetes that was supposed to be close to a staff ace (brandon morrow) over tim lincicum a cy young winner! Now morrow wants to be a closer. Right after we drafted josh feilds. Wow!

TeacherHst said...

It is pretty sad that Luis Castillo's contract doesn't even make the list. That shows how money is just thrown out to some of these guys.

One other player I would consider is JD Drew. However, looking at that list, the Dodgers have done a fabulous job of just giving away money for little (or no) production

Bill said...

I think Farnsworth may deserve to be on there twice - once for the Yankees and once for the Royals.

Anonymous said...

Third base? Duh. How about A-Rod and the $275-plus million contract the Yankees handed him after the 2007 season.

Josh said...

A-Rod's contract is absurd, there is no doubt about that, but when he is on the field, healthy, and productive; he is a great player. It's easy to say that the Yankees now regret giving him that contract...and they should especially given all the tabloid garbage and steroid nonsense. But I have a tough time putting him on this list because he is still one of the most productive players in baseball (if not the most), when healthy.

Josh said...

Cirillo is a horrible contract, but that was given in 2002. Stay tuned for his appearance on the next roster. :)

Anonymous said...

How about Bill Hall and Jeff Suppan? Pretty awful contracts. Suppan got paid like a number 2 when he's barely a number 5 starter, and Bill Hall can't hit right handed pitching, strikes out too much and makes a ton of errors.

Josh said...

Suppan was a terrible contract. Definitely honorable mention material. As for Bill Hall, who do you think deserves it more, him or Vinny Castilla?

Mike said...

Jaret Wright 3yrs-21million HAS to be on this list.

I'm a cashman defender, and even the Pavano deal made some sense at the time.

Jaret Wright's contract was abysmal and inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

How can you not have Jason Marquis' signing with the Cubs on here? That was a 4 year $40 million mistake.

Anonymous said...

As a Giants fan, I agree with the inclusion of so many Giants on this list and fear that it's almost time to add two more - Aaron Rowand and Edgar Renteria. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Ray Durham doesn't seem to fit. 7.25/year isn't nearly enough for me to think it was a terrible waste, especially considering one of his most productive years came during that contract. Similarly, at 4/year Guzman isn't that terrible. He had a awful first year and was often injured, but that price is a fair gamble for a top of the order bat at and he did perform much better than 4mil. last season.

Bill said...

This would be the first Bill to comment here, not the second. Someone stole my completely original handle!

Anyway. Guzman was already mentioned--he was absolutely terrible for three of the four years of the contract, and had been almost as bad for the Twins for two or three years before that. He's resurrected his carer nicely, but that was a terrible signing.

Durham isn't outrageous, but it wasn't good, and second basemen don't really get overpaid often--power gets you overpaid, and defense, baserunning, etc. are systematically underrated. So if there's going to be an overpaid 2B, it's going to be one like Durham--one who can hit a little but really wasn't a second baseman in any sense of the word anymore by the time he signed that one.

the-daily-something.blogspot.com

Zero said...

The contract the Red Sox gave to Varitek this past off season(when they had him on the ropes at that) could prove to be pretty terrible. Time will tell on that one though.

Van said...

dude - Jason Marquis was only 3 years $21 million, not 4 years and 40 million. Not bad for a No. 5 pitcher who picked up an average of 12 wins while he was there. The Phillies paid $8 million for Adam Eaton who couldn't pitch more than 3 innings a start.

Josh said...

Mike: Jaret Wright needs to be included on the DIShonorable mention list..was he worse than any of the other 6 starters I have already? I don't think so.

Anon: Marquis got a 3 year/$21 million dollar deal from the Cubs...bad deal, but not terrible.

Aaron Rowand and Renteria have some potential to be on this list in the future...as does Varitek.

Matthew said...

I'd probably remove the following guys from the list b/c there salaries certaintly didn't cripple the team.

1) Vinny Castilla (I think this was actually a good risk/reward signing that just didn't pan out. 2yrs for $6.2 really isn't that bad)

2) Mike Matheny (Same as above, any veteran catcher that is expected to contribute regularly will get a contract similiar to that)

3) Bill Mueller (Ok, this one is hard to explain, but $9.5 spread out of over 2 years isn't going to kill you.)

4) Dave Roberts (I think the contract was a little high, but given this guys upside and the way he could help manufacture runs, I don't think this was terrible. They should have been able to get him to a 2 year deal though)

5) Cristian Guzman (I actually think this was a pretty fair contract, dude just couldn't stay healthy)

The rest of the list seems pretty fair. I'm not sure if the following guys were aquired from free agency, or during the 05-08 time period, nor exactly how poorly they actually did. Can someone get back to me on the following guys?

1) Adrian Beltre
2) Jeff Kent
3) Nomar Garciaparra
4) Will Mo Pena
5) Mike Cameron
6) Koske Fukudome
7) Kaz Matsui
8) Mark Loretta
9) Jose Guillen
10) Pedro Martinez
11) B.J. Ryan

John said...

How about the Reds signing of Eric Milton a few years back? The guy was AWFUL for them!

Josh said...

Eric Milton needs to be on this roster. But can I include him in the 6 man starting rotation? debatable.

John said...

You could argue that Jason Schmidt's contract was more unlucky than bad. He was just injured a ton (and I guess Carl PAvano, for that matter, although he does kinda just suck). Eric Milton had his share of injuries, but he played a significant amount and was never even remotely serviceable. I think a few of those DL stints were made up just because he was so bad. Who knows. A great post, regardless. I agree with all of it

Anonymous said...

What about Eric Chavez at 3B?

Juan said...

No Vernon Wells? 7/$126

Anonymous said...

Oh, wait, you excluded extensions.

Josh said...

If I made a roster of just horrible extensions, both of those guys (Chavez, Wells) would be on the top of my list.

Not a bad idea....I like it.

Anonymous said...

Mark Mulder

Anonymous said...

Extensions are even more egregious errors, as you would think the teams already know these guys pretty well.

It be interesting to look at extensions doomed by injury vs. nonproductivity.

Anonymous said...

I'm not seeing any tigers...interesting to see. Maybe Dombrowski just gets duped in trades? I guess Sheffield and Willis were extensions.

Josh said...

I thought for sure that some Tigers would be there, but the terrible contracts, as you noted, came from trades followed by extensions.

Terrible extensions are looking more and more like an interesting roster to create

Anonymous said...

Where's Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton? Also, worst draft pick signing may belong to Travis Lee, but that is for another discussion

Josh said...

Neagle and Hampton signed their deals in 2001...they will be featured on an upcoming roster though...

eddaddy said...

you should add mulder, hampton, denny neagle, derek jeter and his 22 million a year, griffey jr., kaz matsui, nomar, and eric chavez. take off beltre, castilla, pierre, roberts and guzman. entertaing article thanks.

Josh said...

-Hampton and Neagle were in 2001
-Jeter and Chavez were extensions
-Mulder and Griffey were traded and then given extensions

Kaz Matsui is definitly one that I missed. Hmmm, where should he go?

Matthew said...

Guillen - 2008 salary $12 mil, he posted these #'s.

66 R's
20 HR
97 RBI
2 SB
.264 AVG
.300 OBP

That's a lot of money for a guy with a .300 OBP and average power for a corner outfielder. Not positive if he was aquired through free agency though.

Matthew said...

Beltre has got to be on this list. Seatle wouldn't have paid him 13 mil a year to post these OBP's and OPS's

05' - .303 .716
06' - .328 .793
07' - .319 .801
08' - .327 .784

I'm sure they were thinking he had finally turned the corner in 04' when he posted an OBP of .388 and an OPS of 1.017. I don't care how good of defense he plays and that the rest of his offensive peripherals are ok for a 3rd Baseman. He's not even close to earning such an elite salary.

Matthew said...

I'll take Jeff Kent off my list. Although paid a bit too high if you ask me (9 mil per year), he was productive when healthy. 2008 was pretty bad though.

Matthew said...

Garciaparra needs to be on the list, if he was ever aquired through FA. He was good in 06', was worthless in 05, 07, and 08 and was paid about 9 mil a year to do so in those years

Matthew said...

Willy Mo Pena - only makes about 2 mil a year to not produce anything, not sure if he was ever a FA.

Mike Cameron - He actually has done a lot better than my memory has served.

Fukudome - Doesn't deserve 7 mil a year for the numbers he posted last year, but it may be to early to put him on this list. If he doesn't improve this year he needs to be put on here.

Kaz Matsui - Fairly productive when he doesn't have anal fissures. Posted a respectable .354 OBP and provided 20 SB's last year. Salary at 5.5 mil. If he ever puts together a full season he'll be well worth that.

Mark Loretta - Produced better than I thought for about 2.5 mil a year.

Pedro Martinez - Needs to be on this list. 05' was good, but he was either bad or hurt, or both in 06, 07, and 08 and was paid 14 mil a year.

B.J. Ryan - I cut him some slack because he was hurt in 07' and posted 32 saves in a partially injured 08'. Probably too early to call, but it doesn't seem like he's a lock down closer this year.

Josh said...

Matthew,
Thanks so much for your analysis. It was a good read!

Pedro should at least be honorable mention here...I definitely agree. But I just cant justify putting him in the rotation because he was nowhere near as bad as the rest of those guys...plus Pedro changed the culture of the Mets...for whatever that's worth.

And I did consider BJ Ryan, but like you, I think it's too early to tell.

George Veitengruber said...

what about clemens $28 mil last season and mediocre record.... Suzie Waldman still freaking out with the surprise announcement *shakes head*

Eric said...

How about Mark Mulder? Not sure exactly the numbers, but he contributed next to nothing after 2006 for the Cardinals, yet managed to hamstring their budget through 2008.

As much as I hate to say it, but Chris Carpenter's extension that he signed after '06 has not looked very good yet either.

Anonymous said...

David Dellucci for 3 years for 12million.

one of the worst signings the Indians have made in recent history

Anonymous said...

Can we get a second Renteria on that list for the contract the Giants just gave him...boy that has to be a record to get 2 crappy contracts over a 4 year period...