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MLB Free Agency: Jose Valverde, Kevin Youkilis and 5 Contract-Year Disasters

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MLB Free Agency: Jose Valverde, Kevin Youkilis and 5 Contract-Year Disasters
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Whenever an athlete is playing on the last year of his or her contract, it is crucial to have a good season in order to parlay that success into a long-term deal.

No matter a player's age, if he shows he can perform at a substantial level, he will greatly enhance his chances of a lucrative extension.

Every free-agent class has its top-tier players, but for every good player that maintains their previous levels of excellence, such as Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke, there are guys who do not perform as well when the money is on the line. 

There are a variety of reasons why these players fail. Whether it is age, luck or simply an inability to handle the big moments, their stats do not live up to their expectations heading into the season.

Here are five guys who are having disastrous seasons in their contract year.

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