Carlos Lee and the Worst Contracts in Houston Astros History
Carlos Lee of the Houston Astros is currently in year five of a six-year deal worth $100 million that was signed in 2007. At the time, some believed that the trade would be fair value for Lee, who was coming off four straight years of 30 plus home runs and 99 plus RBI.
Pairing him with Berkman would give him even more RBI opportunities and playing the short left field in Minute Maid Park would be able to hide his defensive deficiencies in the outfield.
Well—as they always say—hindsight is 20/20 and Drayton McLane may reconsider offering the contract that he did. Lee right now is the 11th highest paid player in MLB and is having trouble contributing consistently in 2011.
He was struggling to get his average above .200 earlier this season and currently sits at .229, with three home runs and 20 RBI. Not exactly numbers you would expect from a player making $19 million.
Before 2004, the Astros were pretty fiscally responsible by not handing out ridiculous contracts but have swung and missed the past few years.
Here are five players who join Lee as receiving the worst contracts in Astros history.
Some may think that a one year, 4.5 million dollar contract is not a bad deal, but Pedro Feliz lasted less than 100 games with the Astros before he was traded to the Cardinals last year.
He averaged a little more than a million dollars per home run hit for the Astros—add in the fact that he only hit .221 with 31 RBI in his 97 games.
According to Baseball America, Pedro Feliz had a Runs Above Replacement (RAR) of -18 and a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of -1.9. It was not a good showing for Feliz in his short lived term with the Astros.
Before the 2006 season, the Astros signed Preston Wilson to a one year deal, worth $4 million. But the contract could have been worth up to $24 million over four years, with the last three years being team options.
He was another free-agent signing who could not make it through his first full season, playing only 102 games. He was released and ended up with the Cardinals to finish the season. He had a little better numbers than Feliz but were still not good at .269 with nine HR and 55 RBI. Baseball America had him at -17 for RAR and a WAR of -1.7.
Greg Swindell was one of Drayton McLane's first big free agent signing back in 1993 when he signed him to a four year, $16.4 million deal and, unfortunately, Swindell never lived up to expectations.
In his roughly three and half years with the Astros, he went 30-34 with an ERA of 4.48 before finishing the 1996 season with the Cleveland Indians.
Swindell was brought in to be a top of the rotation guy and looked like he was before he signed with the Astros. In 1992, the last season with the Reds before joining the Astros, he had a WAR of 4.9. In his time with the Astros he did not have a WAR higher than 0.4.
The winter of 2006 was a bad one for the Houston Astros as they gave out the monster contract to Carlos Lee and also signed Woody Williams to a two year, $12.5 million deal.
Williams went from a career best year in 2006 with the Padres to a career worst in 2007, his first season with the Astros. In 2007, he went 8-15 with an ERA of 5.27.
Williams only lasted one season with the Astros as he was released following the 2008 Spring Training due to a poor showing and decided to retire. Williams unfortunately had big shoes to fill as he was brought in with Jason Jennings as replacements for the loss of Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.
In 2007, Kaz Matsui was brought in with a three year, $16.5 million deal after a career year with the Colorado Rockies. He was brought in to play second base and had to replace one of the Houston Astro greats, Craig Biggio.
Matsui almost lasted the length of his contract, making it to year three before being released in May of 2010. In a little more than two years, Matsui hit a combined 15 home runs, 80 RBI and an average of .259.
I believe Matsui struggled because of a combination of injuries and too high of expectations between coming off a career year and replacing an Astro legend.