10 Unforgivable Acquisitions by the Baltimore Orioles

Eammon Azizi@eammonContributor IIFebruary 9, 2012

10 Unforgivable Acquisitions by the Baltimore Orioles

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    As any Oriole fan knows, the team has made a number of trades and signings management wishes they could mulligan. Some of these even date pre-Angelos.

    While almost any baseball fan can claim their team has made some bonehead moves, no one else has been in the cellar as much as the O's of late. That gives clearance to wallow in some orange and black misery. 

    On this trip down memory lane, we'll look at one-sided trades, "what were they thinking?" signings and pennant race additions that turned out to be duds.

Geronimo Berroa

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    Berroa was brought on board to add some serious "pop" to the O's lineup during the '97 postseason run. He was better known for striking out and doing next to nothing in the ALCS vs. the Indians. He ended up contributing 10 home runs with a .260 batting average in 83 total games.

Willie Greene

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    Remember failed prospect Jeffrey Hammonds? This is the guy the O's traded him for. Was Greene any better? No, he was actually worse.

    Greene was supposed to help the club's outfield during its '98 playoff run. In his short 24-game stint he batted .150 with 5 RBI. After his Baltimore adventure, he vanished into obscurity spending a year each with Toronto and the Cubs.

Kurt Ainsworth

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    Acquired via the Ponson trade in 2003, Ainsworth was reported to be full of potential. As it turned out, he was full of injuries.

    He played one and a third seasons in Baltimore, pitching in 10 games and racking up ERAs of 11.57 and 9.68 without ever recording a win. Following the 2004 season, he was out of the league.

    On the bright side for Orioles fans, he had pretty great skills in video games due to his prospect hype.

Juan Bell

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    Bell is famous for being a centerpiece in the trade that sent the Hall of Famer Eddie Murray to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Along with Bell came Brian Holton and Ken Howell.

    From 1989 to 1991, Bell never played a complete season and his career average with the team was below .170. After bouncing around a few teams later on, he was done in 1995.

Garret Atkins

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    Needing another big bat in the lineup, the O's signed Atkins to a one-year, $4 million deal before the 2010 season. After six productive seasons in Colorado, Atkins was primed to prove his batting skills weren't influenced by the mile-high climate.

    Three months later on June 27, 2010, the Orioles and fans had enough. They designated Atkins for assignment, eventually releasing him on July 6.

    During his 44 games with the O's he batted .214 with one home run and 9 RBI. He never made it back into the big leagues again.

Sammy Sosa

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    Slammin' Sammy wasn't on the juice anymore once he arrived in Baltimore. And it showed.

    While he wasn't absolutely terrible, he makes this list because his signing was a clear tactic by management to get more butts in the seats during another grueling season. He amazingly stayed healthy for over 100 games in charm city, belting out 14 home runs and hitting a pedestrian .221. (He's the guy who ended up on the DL from a violent sneeze.)

    After one more lackluster season with the Rangers, his juice-free career was finally put to rest.

Kris Benson

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    Enticed to leave the Mets for an $8.3 million deal from Baltimore, Benson was supposed to bolster a shaky rotation on the '06 club. After posting an 11-12 record and 4.82 ERA, he clearly wasn't worth the investment.

    The next season he ended up taking a huge pay cut (under $1 million) for a season with Texas before vanishing into baseball obscurity. (Note how Benson's wife wasn't mentioned in this write-up––probably a first.)

Trent Hubbard

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    First of all, you have to give Hubbard credit for bouncing around nine major league clubs during his 10-year career. Rarely starting but a handful of games during his stints, it's amazing that the Orioles thought he was a suitable piece to receive in the 2000 fire sale, a.k.a. the one-week destruction of one of the most talented O's clubs in recent memory.

    Who did the O's give up for this journeyman who only batted 27 times in an Oriole uniform? B.J. Surhoff, a fan favorite and highly productive player who was visibly upset that he had to leave the city he'd come to love. To be fair, there was a prospect pitcher in the deal as well, though within a few months the prospect was out of baseball forever.

Albert Belle

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    Because Cal Ripken already owned his beloved No. 8, Belle decided to simply add another one to his jersey, since over the time of his five-year, $90 million deal, he'd surely become just as legendary.

    Well...not so much.

    He only played two seasons before his career ended due to a hip injury. Nonetheless, the Orioles still paid him upwards of $13 million per season as part of a creative insurance deal.

    Previously in his career, Belle had routinely hit 40 or more dingers per season. With the O's he maxed out at 37, and for those who watched games regularly, most of his big hits came at inopportune times. "Clutch" was definitely not in his vocabulary.

    There's also the time he gave O's fans "the finger" for taunting him after a slow start. And the many months he refused to speak to the media. And the bat corking scandal.  Do I need to go on?

Glenn Davis

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    This classic "slugger" was acquired from the Astros in 1990. The deal is famously one of the worst trades in history. The O's gave up Curt Schilling, Steve Finley and Pete Harnisch for Davis. If you're a baseball fan, you know the rest of that story.

    Davis made nearly $4 million per season in Baltimore, producing 24 total home runs over three seasons and never batting over .280. He was also chronically injured, playing only 49 games in his first season and 30 in his last.

    Meanwhile, Schilling became an elite pitcher, Finley a consistent All-Star outfielder and Harnisch developed into a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy.