During the offseason MLB teams are willing to go out and spend big money on free agents. There have been times when these deals have not worked out for the teams.
While there have been a number of free agents that have been outstanding, there are a number of signings that teams would like to forget. Some of these signings cost teams tens of millions of dollars.
Injuries derailed some players, while others were simply not able to produce at a high level after they signed.
Contract: Four years, $33 million
Stats: 5-16, 7.00 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 87 BB, 67 K, 64 ERA+ (28 starts)
Calling Russ Ortiz's time with the Arizona Diamondbacks anything less than a failure would be an injustice. He was absolutely miserable during his time with the team.
The Diamondbacks decided that Ortiz was not worth keeping around. He was cut less than two seasons into the four-year deal.
Contract: Three years, $23 million
Stats: 8-22, 4.32 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 164 K, 89 BB, 94 ERA+ (50 appearances, 41 starts)
The Atlanta Braves signed Kenshin Kawakami with the hopes that he would become an important part of the team's rotation. Things did not go according to plan.
Kawakami ended up spending the 2011 season in the minor leagues. Atlanta was just waiting until his contract ran out.
Contract: Five years, $65 million
Stats: .289/.374/.509, 60 HR, 220 RBI, 17 SB, 127 ERA+ (302 games)
Unlike most of the other players on this list, Albert Belle played very well during his time with the Baltimore Orioles. The problem was that Belle was only able to complete the first two seasons of a five-year deal.
Belle ended his career at age 34 as a result of arthritis in his hip. The Orioles should not have given Belle what was, at that time, the richest contract in MLB history.
Contract: Four years, $36 million
Stats: .251/.319/.346, 10 HR, 103 RBI, 48 SB, 71 OPS+ (266 games)
When the Boston Red Sox signed Julio Lugo prior to the 2007 season they thought that they had found their everyday starting shortstop. It turns out that they were very wrong.
Lugo struggled throughout his whole tenure with the team. The Red Sox eventually traded him away to the St. Louis Cardinals for Chris Duncan.
Contract: Eight years, $136 million
Stats: .266/.320/.498, 132 HR, 367 RBI, 54 SB, 109 OPS+ (645 games)
For the first two years of his contract with the Chicago Cubs, Alfonso Soriano came close to living up to the high expectations that were placed on him. Since then, he has declined both offensively and defensively.
The Chicago Cubs are stuck with Soriano's contract for another three years. He has looked nothing like a player who deserves to be getting paid $54 million over the next three seasons.
Contract: Four years, $20 million
Stats: 25-43, 6.06 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 287 K, 221 BB, 76 ERA+ (102 appearances, 87 starts)
Jaime Navarro had been fairly inconsistent throughout his career, but after two good seasons the Chicago White Sox decided to give him a four-year deal. He struggled mightily once he joined the White Sox.
Navarro led the American League in wild pitches during his first two seasons with the White Sox. He was eventually traded away.
Contract: Three years, $25 million
Stats: 16-27, 5.83 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 231 K, 103 BB, 77 ERA+ (66 starts)
Eric Milton was labeled a bust because of his awful performance in Cincinnati. His 6.47 ERA in 2005 was one of the worst ever in National League history for a qualified starter. He also gave up 40 home runs that year.
The 2006 season was not any better for Milton as he struggled once again. Milton only lasted six games during 2007 as the result of an arm injury, but when he was on the mound his performance was not promising.
Contract: 10 years, $2.3 million
Stats: 28-48, 4.50 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 241 K, 200 BB, 89 ERA+ (99 appearances, 88 starts)
The Cleveland Indians got excited about singing Wayne Garland during the first years of free agency. One outstanding year in Baltimore earned Garland a 10-year deal.
During his first season with the Indians, Garland led the league in losses with 19. He then struggled over parts of the next four seasons. Five years after he signed the contract, Garland was out of the major leagues.
Photo Credit: The Baseball Cube
Contract: Eight years, $121 million
Stats: 21-28, 5.75 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 196 K, 176 BB, 88 ERA+ (62 starts)
In the seasons prior to the 2001 offseason, Mike Hampton had proven that he was a top-of-the-rotation starter. However, he was certainly not worth the money that the Colorado Rockies paid him.
Just two years after signing him to an eight-year mega-contract, the Colorado Rockies were able to find a way to trade Hampton to the Florida Marlins who then flipped him to the Atlanta Braves. Hampton pitched better in Atlanta, but he proved that he was never worth the money that was given to him.
Contract: Five years, $35 million
Stats: .258/.345/.402, 53 HR, 251 RBI, 45 SB, 102 OPS+ (537 games)
Following a season in which Bobby Higginson batted .300 with 30 home runs and 102 RBI, the Detroit Tigers decided to sign him to a five-year deal.
Higginson could never recapture the magic that he had during the 2000 season and he was seen as a disappointment for most of the deal. During the 2005 season, his last in the majors, Higginson played only 10 games as the result of injuries.
Contract: Six years, $100 million
Stats: .286/.338/.486, 128 HR, 504 RBI, 26 SB, 118 OPS+ (749 games)
Carlos Lee is one of the best players on this list. He had a few good seasons at the plate early in this contract, but he is not the type of player who deserves $100 million.
Lee has struggled defensively and is he is considered to be towards the bottom of the list when it comes towards outfield defense. The Astros have tried to trade him away, but they have not found any takers because of his salary.
Contract: Four years, $13 million
Stats: 9-13, 5.31 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 7 SV, 139 K, 119 B, 76 ERA+ (90 appearances)
To be fair to the Kansas City Royals, Mark Davis was coming off a season in which he won the National Cy Young award after he saved 44 games for the San Diego Padres.
However, that should not have been enough of a reason for the Royals to give the closer the deal that he got. With its $3.25 average annual value, Davis had at one time what was the biggest contract in baseball.
Contract: Five years, $50 million
Stats: .248/.325/.383, 30 HR, 168 RBI, 30 SB, 86 OPS+ (370 games)
There are certain players that have made a lot of money by playing well in a contract year. Gary Matthews Jr. is one of those players and his 2006 season earned him millions of dollars.
While Matthews Jr. was great defensively, he was never great at the plate. However, the Los Angeles Angels looked at what he did in 2006 and decided he was worth the investment.
They were wrong. Matthews struggled at the plate and in the field. The Angels eventually traded Matthews Jr. to the New York Mets, but they needed to send $21.5 million of the $23.5 million left on his deal to New York to have them accept the deal.
Contract: Two years, $36.2 million
Stats: .158/.256/.249, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 35 OPS+ (75 games)
Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Dodgers, there were a number of other players that could have had this spot. Kevin Brown and Darren Dreifort were considered, but Andruw Jones' deal takes the cake.
Jones had one of the worst seasons of his career at that point in 2007, but the Dodgers still thought he was worth $18.1 million a year. He struggled with weight and injury issues during his time in Los Angeles and the Dodgers released Jones before the 2009 season.
Contract: One year, $800,000
Stats: 5-9, 5.15 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 65 K, 52 BB, 85 ERA+ (21 starts)
Right after the Florida Marlins became a franchise they had problems bringing in free agents. It is interesting that they signed a 46-year-old Charlie Hough to be one of their starters in 1993.
Hough struggled throughout the year and he went 9-16 with a 4.27 ERA. Most teams would not want to bring Hough for the next season.
The Marlins apparently decided that he had something left at age 46 and decided to sign him to another one-year deal. They should not have been surprised when the knuckleballer struggled.
Photo Credit: ESPN
Contract: One year, $10 million
Stats: 4-3, 5.44 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 10 SV, 38 K, 22 BB, 78 ERA+ (50 appearances)
The Milwaukee Brewers should have known that it was not a good sign when Eric Gagne's name appeared on the Mitchell Report just days after they signed him.
Gagne struggled early in the season and blew a number of saves. He was eventually removed from the closer role.
Contract: Two years, $5 million
Stats: .229/.266/.354, 11 HR, 58 RBI, 1 SB, 62 OPS+ (137 games)
When the Minnesota Twins signed Rondell White they were hoping that he could serve as a good third or fourth outfielder.
It turns out that he was neither during his time in Minnesota. White struggled from the beginning of his stint with the Twins and his tenure with the team would be the last time he played in the majors.
Contract: Three years, $36 million
Stats: 3-9, 6.81 ERA, 1.99 WHIP, 99 K, 100 BB, 50 ERA+ (31 appearances, 21 starts)
When this contract was offered by the New York Mets, there was a feeling that the team made the wrong decision. The decision would turn out to be a very, very bad one.
Oliver Perez had more hissy fits than wins during the course of this contract. He caused nothing but problems and refused to go to the minor leagues. The Mets eventually cut him.
Contract: Five years, $20 million plus a $26,000,194 posting fee
Stats: 2-4, 6.66 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, 53 K, 37 BB, 68 ERA+ (16 appearances, 13 starts)
The New York Yankees swung for the fences and whiffed big time on Kei Igawa. After he had a good career in Japan, the Yankees thought Igawa would have success in the states.
As it turns out, the Yankees paid over $23 million for each game that Igawa won for them at the major league level. Igawa only spent more seasons in the minors than he did in the majors.
Contract: Three years, $21.4 million
Stats: 12-9, 4.62 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 102 K, 44 BB, 96 ERA+ (28 starts)
The Oakland Athletics' signing of Esteban Loaiza looked like it might be a decent deal at the time that they signed him.
It turns out that Loaiza did not even last two years with the team. He was actually close to being an average pitcher in Oakland, but that was not worth the more than $7 million a year that the Athletics gave him.
Contract: One year, $2.3 million
Stats: .000/.364/.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 6 OPS+ (3 games)
To say that the Philadelphia Phillies overpaid for Danny Tartabull would be a bit of an understatement.
Tartabull turned out to be an absolutely miserable signing for the Phillies. He got injured when he hit a foul ball off his toe and he then retired after sitting out the rest of the year.
Contract: Two years, $9.75 million
Stats: .173/.287/.288, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 48 OPS+ (46 games)
Some baseball players have big egos. Derek Bell was one of those players. Despite his ugly statline from his first season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he thought that he shouldn't have to compete for a starting job. After finding out that he would have to earn a starting position, Bell initiated "Operation Shutdown".
Bell left the Pirates and went to live on his boat. This prompted Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Mark Madden to note that Bell was a true pirate since he "lives on a boat and steals money."
Contract: Six year, $2.85 million
Stats: .275/.366/.387, 7 HR, 47 RBI, 120 OPS+
Oscar Gamble earned a big contract from the San Diego Padres after he hit .297 with 31 home runs in 1977 with the Chicago White Sox.
Gamble did not perform at that level once he was in San Diego. The Padres got frustrated with him and dealt him to the Texas Rangers. They should have held on to him because his numbers were not as bad as they initially looked.
Photo Credit: ESPN
Contract: Seven years, $126 million
Stats: 43-61, 4.55 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 587 K, 354 BB, 93 ERA+ (140 starts)
The San Francisco Giants certainly made a mistake on this one. He was a few years removed from winning an AL Cy Young award and was only 28 when he began pitching for the Giants.
Things went down hill for Zito very quickly once he crossed the Bay. Zito was supposed to be the ace of the Giants staff, but in 2011 he only made nine starts.
Contract: Four years, $46 million
Stats: 5-18, 6.81 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 79 K, 43 BB, 62 ERA+ (34 starts)
Before he entered the free agent market in the 2008 season, Carlos Silva's track record indicated that he was a mediocre pitcher at best.
The Seattle Mariners decided that they were going to pay him like a number two and gave him $11.5 million a year. Silva did nothing but disappoint in Seattle and he was eventually traded to the Chicago Cubs.
Contract: Three years, $10.8 million
Stats: 4-15, 5.78 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 92 K, 72 BB, 73 ERA+ (36 appearances, 27 starts)
Danny Jackson had a number of good seasons during his career and none of them came during his time with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Jackson did nothing but struggle in St. Louis. He was eventually traded to the San Diego Padres where his struggles continued.
Contract: Two years, $12.5 million
Stats: 0-1, 43.20 ERA, 5.40 WHIP, 3 K, 2 BB, 14 ERA+ (1 start)
Juan Guzman made one start for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and recorded five outs before he blew out his shoulder. This start was the only one that he would make for the Devil Rays.
The Rays paid $2.5 million for each out that Guzman recorded.
Contract: Five years, $65 million
Stats: 22-23, 5.79 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 280 K, 190 BB, 84 ERA+ (68 starts)
Coming off of a few good years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers were willing to offer Chan Ho Park a big deal. He took it and was on his way to Texas.
Pitching in the bandbox that is the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is not easy and Park struggled. He was traded away to the San Diego Padres when he did not live up to expectations.
Contract: Seven Years, $126 million
Stats: .275/.327/.466, 66 HR, 232 RBI, 27 SB, 109 OPS+ (423 games)
A down year from Vernon Wells in 2007 did not stop the Toronto Blue Jays from signing Wells to a massive deal. The team thought that he would perform as well as he did from 2003-06.
Wells was able to put together a few good years, but he did not perform like a player who deserved $18 million a year. The Blue Jays eventually traded Wells away to the Los Angeles Angels.
Contract: Seven years, $126 million
Stats: .232/.330/.389, 20 HR, 58 RBI, 19 SB, 97 OPS+ (150 games)
There must be something about players that get seven-year, $126 million contracts. They do not have a very good track record.
Jayson Werth is still very early into his deal so he has time to turn things around. If he does not, the Washington Nationals will be wishing that they did not make such a big splash in signing him.