Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Worst Contracts in Phillies' History
In the past 20 years, baseball contracts have exploded in length and dollars. When players become free agents, teams continue to shell out millions and millions of dollars to hitters who fail more times than they succeed and pitchers who only play once every five days.
Most of these bloated contracts for far too many years turn into nightmares and players are traded for guys you and I have never heard of. It's all for a pipe dream that these individuals may exceed expectations and continue their success that earned them a contract for past triumphs.
The Phillies have had their fair share of terrible contracts that have led them to eat millions of dollars. They've gone to players who have done nothing to earn the money that most people won't see in working their entire lives.
Get ready, because here are the five worst contracts in Phillies' history.
Even though Freddy Garcia's contract only lasted one season, it turned out to be one of the worst contracts in Phillies history.
Garcia made $10 million on the Phillies dime and was a part of one of the worst trades conducted by Pat Gillick in his career. He sent Gavin Floyd and 2012 Cy Young candidate Gio Gonzalez to the Chicago White Sox.
Can you imagine what a rotation would have looked like with Gonzalez and Hamels today?
I bet Gillick wishes he could get a re-do for that one.
For 10 million bucks, the Phillies got just 11 starts and only one win. He went 1-5 with a 5.90 ERA while pitching only 58 innings. He also gave up 12 home runs in his brief stint.
The Phillies paid him $172,413 per inning and a little less than a million dollars per start, making Garcia's contracts one of the worst in Phillies's history.
After two very successful years for the St. Louis Cardinals, batting .342 and .325, Gregg Jefferies was signed to a four-year, $20 million contract in the 1994 offseason by the Phillies.
Unfortunately, the Phillies never really got what the hoped for out of Jefferies. He battled injuries for most of the contract, averaging around 115 game per season until he was traded in 1998.
In his first year with the club, he managed fairly well hitting-wise with a .306 and .349 OBP, but those numbers were down considerably from his previous two seasons.
After the 1995 season, Jefferies never hit .300 for the Phillies and also never had more than 51 RBI and 11 home runs in a season.
In 1997, he only hit .256, 86 points lower than his average in 1993. He also hit just 11 home runs and drove in 48. This was a season where he made $5.5 million, which was a significant payday in 1997.
In comparison, Ken Griffey Jr. made $7.8 million in 1997, when he hit 56 home runs, drove in 147, won a Gold Glove and an MVP for only $2.3 million more. Seems like the Phils got the short end of the stick on that deal right?
During the '98 season Jefferies was traded to the Angels for Doug Nickle. Doug who?
After going to the World Series in 1993, the Phillies thought Jefferies would help them get back to defend their NL pennant, he didn't and the Phillies began to spiral out of relevancy for years to come.
The majority of David Bell's professional earnings came from the Philadephia Phillies, making $17 million over four years spanning from 2003-'06.
This was yet another case of the Phillies giving a player over the age of 30 a multi-year contract and having it backfire in their face.
After having one of the better years of his career in 2002 with the Giants (.261 and 20 HR), Bell only played 85 games and hit .192 with an OPS of .579 in 2003. The Phillies pretty much flushed the $3.2 million he made down the toilet that season.
In 2004, Bell had a bounce-back year and earned his paycheck while staying healthy. He hit .291 with 18 home runs and 77 RBI as well as boosting his OPS to a career high .821.
The success was short lived, as Bell's stats in 2005 went back into the gutter. A .248 average and an OPS of .671 was not worth anywhere near the $4.7 million he made that season.
In the middle of the 2006 season, Bell was traded for Wilfrido Laureano, who never played above Low-A Lakewood before busting out of baseball all together.
The Phillies had high hopes for Bell, but he really only gave them one-and-half seasons of quality baseball out of the four years he spent with the club.
Bell's contract was a terrible one to say the least.
Whoever decided to shell out $24.5 million dollars on a three-year contract to Adam Eaton must have been watching another pitcher (a good one) and mistaken him for Eaton.
In 2007, Eaton did nothing to earn his $8 million-plus contract. He went 10-10 in 30 starts while giving up 192 hits, 30 home runs (yeah, that's right, I said 30) and only striking out 97. He finished the season with a horrendous ERA of 6.29 and a -1.8 WAR.
2008 wasn't much better for Eaton, but the Phillies won the World Series. He only made 19 starts and was optioned to the minor leagues once the Phillies acquired Joe Blanton.
Eaton finished the year with a 5.80 ERA and was released in the offseason, forcing the Phillies to eat the rest of his contract.
He did get a World Series ring though, I guess sometimes things do just fall into your lap.
In the end, the worst contract in Phillies history will be the one that will cost the Phillies the most amount of money for the least amount of production. Ryan Howard's five-year, $125 million contract will most likely go down as the worst contract in Phillies' history.
Howard also has an option for a sixth year that the Phillies will most likely have to buy out, paying Howard $10 million for absolutely nothing.
Amaro's blunder will continue to hurt the Phillies for years to come. He also signed Howard's extension before he had to in April of 2010. His contract didn't expire until after the 2011 season.
It is hard to believe that 2012 was the first year of Howard's new, highly-overpaid contract. Howard's production has consistently dwindled from season to season and he is due a $5 million dollar raise after the 2013 season.
Don't we all wish we could get a raise at work for doing less?
Howard still has time to prove he is worth some of his contract, but after sustaining such a serious injury to his Achilles tendon, it is hard to imagine that will ever happen. His production was already consistently dropping before the injury occurred.
I still believe Howard can produce, but he will never be worth $25 million a season, which he will be earning from 2014-'16. He will be playing those season at ages 34-36.
Ruben Amaro Jr. made a huge mistake by extending Howard so early and it will continue to limit the Phillies's flexibility for years to come.
If I had to make a prediction, Howard will most likely be traded to an American League team before the contract expires and leave the Phillies to eat the majority of whatever is left at the time of the trade.