The turn of the century brought much anticipation for the New York Yankees. One being a birth-right, another World Series title, which would have made five in the last six years, and of course, four in a row.
However, after losing a heart-breaking seven game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who deserved to win just as much as the Yankees did, we hit a period where results were not matching the insane contracts that were not justified with the play on the field.
As I relive these contracts, please just remember, we applauded these contracts as they were given out. =[
Contract: Seven years, $120 Million
As one of the few Yankees that are not only still on the team, but actually still hit the field, I can't be as hard on Giambi as other Yankee free agent signings. However, that being said, Giambi was paid a ton of money, and was expected to anchor the middle of the Yankees lineup.
In the first two years, he averaged .282 with 41 HR's and 115 RBI's. Then came the first sign of trouble, as Giambi got hurt and played only 80 games the next season, hitting only .208 with 12 HR's and 40 RBI's. He rebounded nicely in the next two seasons, averaging .262 with 35 HR's and 109 RBI's.
However, trouble followed him every step of the way as the steroid scandal that rocked baseball hit home as Jason Giambi admitted to using steroids, even apologizing for it. Once again, he struggled, hitting only .236 with 14 HR's and 39 RBI's while playing in only 83 games.
He's never been even an average defensive first baseman, which further weakens his value. He's once again rebounded nicely this season, hitting .250 with 25 HR's and 77 RBI's thus far this season. His stat line as a Yankee reads:
Eight seasons, .254 BA, 29 HR's and 84 RBI's. Decent, but not what we expected, especially with the weight of expectations in New York City.
Contract: Four years, $39.95 Million
What can I possibly say about the "American Idle" that has not already been said. He's been the most effective example of "bust" in the free agency era. The thing that disturbs me is that he had one good year, and he is suddenly worth $40 million????
Not only has Carl Pavano proved that he has not been worth the investment, even his own teammates have called him out, including Mike Mussina, who has never been the spokesman for his own team.
His first year, in which he appeared 17 times, he compiled a 4-6 record with a 4.77 ERA, not exactly what we were expecting from a guy coming off a 18-8 season with an ERA right at 3.00.
Since that opening season, a flurry of injuries, including shoulder, back, butt, and elbow injuries, caused him to missed all of the 2006 season, and appear in just three games since 2005. Not to mention the broken ribs, which were broken in a car accident that he told nobody about. His stat line as a Yankee reads:
Four seasons, 20 appearance, 6-6 record with a 4.98 ERA. Completely HORRIBLE!!!!
Contract: 5 years, $20 Million, plus $26 Million paid to Hanshin Tigers
Kei Igawa was once regarded as one of the better pitchers in the Japanese baseball league, and considered one of the good to great Japanese baseball exports. Sad to say, that has not been the case, as this guy as been horrible every time he has stepped on the mound.
This guy has been so horrible, when the discussion of who to bring up from Triple A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he is no where near consideration, even as horrible as the health of the Yankee pitching staff has been.
He's almost as horrible as Carl Pavano, expect for his reasons for being off the roster have been pitching-related, not injury. His stat line as a Yankee reads:
Two seasons, 16 appearances, 2-4 with a 6.66 ERA. Pathetic!!!!!!!!
Contract: Three years, $21 Million
Jaret Wright was once a highly touted prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization and a key cog for the team's run to the 1997 AL Pennant and World Series berth. After two bad years and five injury plagued ones, Wright found what seemed to be his niche during the 2004 season in Atlanta, going a solid 15-8 with a 3.28 ERA.
He parlayed that success into a freshly minted contract and a newly stitched Yankees jersey. However, Brian Cashman should have taken the hints from the Atlanta scouts when they didn't extend a contract offer to Jaret, as he returned to his previous form.
He hit the mound for the Yankees just 13 times in 2005, going 5-5 with 6.08 ERA. He followed that with some improvement, going 11-7 with a 4.49 ERA. However, after that season he was no longer able to call himself a New York Yankee, as he was traded to division rival Baltimore. His stat line as a Yankee reads:
Two seasons, 43 appearances, 16-12 with a 5.29 ERA. Run out of New York!!!!
In the end, there are plenty more infamous blow-ups that involve bad players(Hideki Irabu, to give one example) But the point of the matter is there have been no World Series championships won since 2000. In New York City, that is unacceptable.