MLB Anti-All-Star Team: 2000-2009
These guys selected were major disappointments to their teams, who invested a lot of money with hope of continuous success. Instead their return was minimal and did not meet the expectations.
The main reason is recurring injuries, which prevented these players from contributing at the levels they were accustomed to.
But there are some situations that left fans, analysts, reporters, and other baseball personalities scratching their heads and asking WHY?
So let's remember these moments that occurred during this past decade and apologize to the fans who were affected.
Please let me know if there was another player worthy to be on this team. Due to the extensive review of stats, transactions, and contracts, I'm sure a couple fell through the cracks.
Thank you and hope you enjoy.
First Base: David Segui (Baltimore Orioles)
Contract: four years / approx. $28 million
2001: .301, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 292 AB
2002: .263, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 95 AB
2003: .263, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 224 AB
2004: .339, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 59 AB
In December 2000, the Orioles brought back the slick-fielding first baseman who just had a career year (.334, 19 HR, 103 RBI with Toronto and Texas).
Even though he only surpassed 500 at-bats for the second time in 11 seasons, the Orioles foolishly gave Segui a long, lucrative contract as if he was a durable player.
Segui only hit 18 home runs and had 670 at-bats during this long contract.
He was included in the Mitchell Report. I guess those two healthy years were enhancer-driven.
Second Base: Kaz Matsui (New York Mets)
Contract: Three years / approx. $20 million
2004: .272, 7 HR, 44 RBI, 460 AB
2005: .255, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 267 AB
2006: .200, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 130 AB
Unfortunately, Matsui never had a chance to succeed. The contract was too big, and the Mets were expecting to receive a player who was a mix between Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui.
Instead they received a player who was more like So Taguchi.
To top it off, the Mets further complicated the situation by moving Jose Reyes to second to make room for Kaz. Reyes was by far the better shortstop with the stronger arm, but the Mets were committed to have Matsui play short.
This move was quickly rectified the following season. After realizing that Matsui was not the player they envisioned, Reyes became the shortstop.
Once the fans lost their patience and the boo birds came out, Matsui was traded to the Rockies for Eli Marrero during the '06 season.
After two-and-a-half years, the "other" Matsui's NY career was over.
It's speculated that the move to second may have played a part in Reyes' early leg problems. See, the Mets' mismanagement of players is not new.
Shortstop: Pat Meares (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Contract: Five years / approx. $17.5 million
1999: .308, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 91 AB
2000: .240, 13 HR, 47 RBI, 462 AB
2001: .211, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 270 AB
The Pirates were not known for opening their purses to sign a free agent, so it was a bit uncanny for them to sign and commit to the free agent shortstop who was with the Twins.
Meares had just over 800 ABs and batted only .238 during the contract. He only played in the majors for the first three years of the contract.
Third Base: Jeff Cirillo (Seattle Mariners)
Contract: Two years / approx. $13 million
2002: .249, 6 HR, 54 RBI, 485 AB
2003: .205, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 185 AB
Seattle traded Brian Fuentes, Jose Paniagua, and Dennis Stark to acquire the two-time All-Star from the Colorado Rockies in December of 2001.
Cirillo was expected to at least match the production that David Bell, who left to San Francisco, provided.
Unfortunately, they only received eight home runs during Cirillo's two-year stint.
The Mariners traded Cirillo to the San Diego Padres for Ken Jarvis, Wiki Gonzalez, Dave Hansen, and a minor leaguer.
Catcher: Todd Hundley (Chicago Cubs)
Contract: Four years / approx. $23.5 million
2001: .187, 12 HR, 31 RBI, 246 AB
2002: .211, 16 HR, 35 RBI, 266 AB
The Cubs wanted to upgrade at the catcher position when they overspent to sign Hundley.
He was coming off two consecutive 24 home run seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Todd was not able to fill the void and became a platoon player with Joe Girardi during his two years with the Cubs.
His tremendously low batting average and all or nothing offense approach made him popular with the boo birds in Wrigley.
He even "flipped the bird" to the crowd while rounding third base after a home run.
Hundley was traded with Chad Hermansen to the Dodgers for Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek after the 2002 season.
Hundley was also mentioned in the Mitchell Report.
Outfield: Austin Kearns (Washington Nationals)
Contract: Three years / approx. $16.5 million
2007: .266, 16 HR, 74 RBI, 587 AB
2008: .217, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 313 AB
2009: .195, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 174 Ab
There are players who are tagged the "next best thing" or "can't miss", and that label sticks with that person through their career. This seems to add unnecessary pressure on those players.
Kearns is one of those players.
Kearns has been saddled with various injuries that have crept up throughout his career.
After losing patience and faced with a crowded outfield, the Reds included Kearns with Felipe Lopez and Ryan Wagner in a trade with the Nationals for Bill Bray, Royce Clayton, Brendan Harris, Gary Majewski, and Daryl Thompson.
Kearns' bad luck continued with the Nationals. Two months after the trade, Kearns collided with Nick Johnson and suffered various bruises. Johnson suffered a broken femur and missed the 2007 season.
After have a career and injury-free season in '07, Kearns was placed on the DL in '08 with elbow problems and then a stress fracture in his foot.
In '09, Austin suffered a thumb injury that knocked him out of the rest of the year.
Kearns has been invited by the Cleveland Indians to spring training to compete for a spot.
Outfield: Jeffrey Hammonds (Milwaukee Brewers)
Contract: Three years / approx. $22 million
2001: .247, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 174 AB
2002: .257, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 448 AB
2003: .158, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 38 AB
The Colorado air is the cure of all cures for baseball hitters—at least during the pre-humidor days. That was the case for the former first round player who was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1992.
In 2000, Hammonds had a career year which saw him bat .335 with 20 home runs and 106 runs batted in.
His Brewer career was so dismal, he was cut rather than traded. He was picked up by the Giants as a free agent after clearing waivers.
Outfield: Gary Matthews Jr. (Los Angeles Angels)
Contract: Five years / approx. $50 million
2007: .252, 18 HR, 72 RBI, 516 AB
2008: .242, 8 HR, 46 RBI, 426 AB
2009: .250, 4 HR, 50 RBI, 316 AB
"Little Sarge" was with his sixth team and was 31 years old when he had his All-Star season (.313, 19, 79, 102 runs) in 2006 with the Texas Rangers.
He fell a little short the first year of his contract but saw his time and stats diminish the next two years.
With Matthews no longer a starter, the Angels recently traded him to the Mets for reliever Brian Stokes. The Angels will pay all but $2 million that remains on this mistaken contract.
Starting Pitcher One: Mike Hampton (Colorado Rockies)
Contract: Eight years / approx. $121 million
2001: 14-13, 5.41 ERA, 203 IP, 122 K
2002: 7-15, 6.15 ERA, 178 IP, 74 K
After securing himself as the top left-hander in the game, Hampton signed the most lucrative contract in baseball history.
When Hampton signed with the Rockies, he cited just about everything but the eight-year, $121 million contract they gave him. His agent, Mark Rodgers, quoted Hampton as saying, "It's not about the money."
Hearing that explanation, Steve Phillips of the Mets, a skeptical losing general manager, said, "It's always about money, especially when it's not about money."
This was the best move that the Mets never made.
It only took two years for the Rockies to wave the white flag and trade him to the Florida Marlins with Juan Pierre and cash for Charles Johnson, Vic Darensbourg, Preston Wilson, and Pablo Ozuna.
He was then traded again, two days later, to the Atlanta Braves for Tim Spooneybarger and a minor league player.
Hampton went from the top of the "Big Apple" to the bottom of the Alps in just a short time. At least he had his money...err, school education that he wanted.
Starting Pitcher Two: Denny Neagle (Colorado Rockies)
Contract: Five years / approx. $51 million
2001: 9-8, 5.38 ERA, 170 IP, 139 K
2002: 8-11, 5.26 ERA, 164 IP, 111 K
2003: 2-4, 7.90 ERA, 35 IP, 21 K
From '95 to '00, Neagle was selected to two All-Star games and won a total of 89 games for the Pirates, Braves, and Reds.
The Rockies were looking to invest in their rotation and signed Hampton and Neagle to very lucrative contracts.
Unfortunately, the moves backfired, and these two contracts held back the team for years to come.
Neagle missed the 2004 season due to ligament and elbow surgeries.
The Rockies were able void his last year of the contract due to legal problems that stemmed from driving drunk and being caught with a prostitute.
Starting Pitcher Three: Chan Ho Park (Texas Rangers)
Contract: Five years / approx. $65 million
2002: 9-8, 5.75 ERA, 145 IP, 121 K
2003: 1-3, 7.58 ERA, 29 IP, 16 K
2004: 4-7, 5.46 ERA, 95 IP, 63 K
2005: 8-5, 5.66 ERA, 109 IP, 80 K
I don't think anyone saw this collapse coming. Park was only 29 years old and coming off a five-year period which he won 79 games and had over 1,000 strikeouts.
It actually made sense for the Rangers who badly needed pitching. I will chalk it up to bad luck.
With more than a year left, the Rangers swapped bad contracts and traded Park to the Padres for Phil Nevin.
Starting Pitcher Four: Jason Schmidt (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Contract: Three years / approx. $47 million
2007: 1-4, 6.31 ERA, 25 IP
2008: DID NOT PLAY
2009: 2-2, 5.60 ERA, 17 IP
The Dodgers paid over $15 million per win to Schmidt.
In '07, Schmidt was sidelined for 45 days with a right shoulder injury. After returning for three starts, it was determined that the injury was more severe than expected. He missed the remainder of the year and the following season.
In '09, Schmidt pitched poorly in spring and started the season on the DL. Returning in the end of July, Schmidt won his first start (bring on the parade) but then was put back on the DL after two additional starts.
It seems Schmidt's career is over.
Starting Pitcher Five: Darren Dreifort (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Contract: Five years / approx. $55 million
2001: 4-7, 5.13 ERA, 94 IP
2002: DID NOT PLAY
2003: 4-4, 4.03 ERA, 60 IP
2004: 1-4, 4.44 ERA, 50 IP
A free agent after the 2000 season, Dreifort re-signed and received a large contract in spite of the fact that he had had a career record of 39-45. Plus he apparently had a history of arm trouble.
Gotta love or hate agent Scott Boras, depending on the relationship, who sold the Dodgers on the right-hander's potential.
Other Starting Pitchers: Honorable Mention
No surprise that the list of pitchers was incredibly long.
Below are other pitchers who were considered to be a part of the rotation but just were not bad enough.
Andy Ashby, Los Angeles Dodgers
Mark Mulder, St. Louis Cardinals
Russ Ortiz, Arizona Diamondbacks
Sidney Ponson, Baltimore Orioles
Carlos Silva, Seattle Mariners
Dontrelle Willis, Detroit Tigers
Hideki Irabu, New York Yankees
Carl Pavano, New York Yankees
Relief Pitcher: B.J. Ryan (Toronto Blue Jays)
Contract: Five years / $47 million
2006: 2-2, 1.37 ERA, 72 IP, 86 K, 38 Saves
2007: 0-2, 12.46 ERA, 4 IP, 3 Saves
2008: 2-4, 2.95 ERA, 58 K, 32 Saves
2009: 1-1, 6.53 ERA, Two Saves
I totally loved the guy when he was in Baltimore as a lefty specialist and then a setup man.
He had all the attributes to succeed as a closer, especially being a lefty who brought the heat.
His Blue Jays tenure wasn't that bad, unlike the other players on this fictitious team, but it didn't fulfill the expectations that came with being the highest paid closer at the time.
Unfortunately, Ryan's career is over due to not successfully recovering from Tommy John surgery completed in May '07. Ryan's velocity never returned.
The Blue Jays still are on the hook for $10 million this year to complete the contract.