BIG CONTRACTS WERE A BAD CHOICE
A look at some of the heinous big baseball contracts still on the books. First up, the American League. Quick note: all of the contract info was found at Cot’s Baseball Contracts, an absolutely tremendous resource. There you will find not only contract details, but also info on free agents, ownership, GMs and more. Amazing site.
Gary Matthews, Angels
Matthews signed a 5 year, $50 million deal with the Halos after the 2006 season. Now he is one of the highest-paid reserve outfielders in the game. The Angels thought so much of his first season that they went out and threw $90 million at Torii Hunter. They thought so much of his 2008 season–in which he posted an OPS of .676–that they just signed Bobby Abreu to a contract. Matthews will make $10 million this year, $11 million next year and $12 million in 2011, when he will be 37 years old.
Carlos Silva, Mariners
The M’s signed Silva just before Christmas in 2007. M’s fans have 3 words for this signing. Worst. gift. ever. Silva was so bad last year that he probably should have just thrown with his left arm. He was 4-15 with an ERA of 6.46 and gave up 213 hits in just over 150 innings. Lefties hit .348 off him. Righties .312. Best scenario now is that he is the M’s 4th starter. He will collect $11 million this year, then $11.5 in both 2010 and 2011. There is a mutual option for 2012 at $12 million, but you can bet that he will just be receiving the $2 million buyout.
Danys Baez, Orioles
I’d like to say that the O’s fell victim to the career year mirage, but that wasn’t even the case when they inked Baez to a 3-year, $19 million deal before the 2007 season. Baez played for 2 teams the year prior, making it 4 different teams in 6 years. He amassed some saves in the years before, but he was always a “stuff” guy. I bet scouts loved him. That 2006 season saw him give up more hits than innings pitched with an ERA close to 5. He blew 8 of 17 save opportunities; now a trend in his career path.
Still, the Orioles gave him $5 million to sign and $14 more over 3 years. Baez proceeded to reward the O’s in ’07 by going 0-6 with a 6.44 ERA and walking as many as he K’d. Then he blew out his elbow in September. He missed all of ’08 and Andy MacPhail says there likely isn’t a spot in the bullpen for him in ’09, so he’ll have to try his luck as a starter, something he hasn’t done since 2002 in Cleveland.
Kevin Millwood, Rangers
The Rangers have always had an eternal need for pitching, so it’s somewhat hard to blame them for signing Kevin Millwood to a 5-year, $60 million deal before the 2006 season. The good news is that Kevin Millwood is their #1 starter, so they’re getting their money’s worth in that sense. The bad news is Kevin Millwood is their #1 starter.
Millwood hasn’t been terrible, but for the cash they shelled out I’d bet the Rangers expected more than ERAs over 5 the last 2 seasons. The league has hit over .300 against Millwood for 2 seasons straight and he’s definitely not the Braves or even Indians version.
Julio Lugo, Red Sox
Lugo was having the year of his life in 2006 with the Rays. He had 12 homers and 18 steals in 73 games, and was hitting .308/.373/.498 when he was dealt to the Dodgers before the deadline. He didn’t hit a homer after the trade and hit .219/.278/.267 as a Dodger. That didn’t stop the Red Sox from offering him a 4-year deal worth $36 million.
Lugo’s 2007 went much the way his short stint with the Dodgers did–terribly. He hit just .237/.294/.349. Last year he played only 82 games and made 16 errors. He slugged only .330. Lugo will make 9 mill this year and in 2010. There is a $9 million vesting option for 2011 based on at-bats, but that is a long shot.
Jose Guillen, Royals
You’d think playing for 8 teams in 11 seasons would be a bright, burning, red flag. The Royals didn’t see it that way. They signed Guillen to a 3-year, $36 million deal. Just days after that came the SF Chronicle report that he bought nearly $20,000 worth of steroids and human growth hormone from 2003 through 2005.
Guillen was up there hacking in 2008. Sure, he hit 20 homers and added 42 doubles. But with just 23 walks in 598 ABs, Guillen ended up hitting .264/.300/.438. Hey, good for the Royals for going out and spending some money in recent years. Gil Meche has been well worth the money. But if you were going to spend $12 million on an outfielder, why in the world would you pick Guillen?