MLB Free Agents 2012: 10 Players Who Are Disappointments Waiting to Happen
Every offseason there are MLB teams that grossly overpay free agents only to be extremely disappointed by their performance during the season.
Some free agents from the 2010 offseason that were huge busts in the 2011 season include: Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford, Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, and White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn.
Those players demonstrated the inherent dangers involved with free agency and long-term, big-money contracts.
When teams feel pressured to make moves, they often overpay for players that have the possibility of under-achieving.
Here are 10 players who pose said major risks heading into the 2012 MLB season.
Pitcher Erik Bedard
It has been quite a struggle as of late for Erik Bedard.
After his great 2007 season, where he compiled a 13-5 record with a 3.16 ERA in 28 starts, Bedard has had a tough time staying on the field due to injuries.
At this point in his career it doesn't seem like he will ever get back to his '07 form.
The Seattle Mariners gave him a pretty nice contract heading into 2008, but Bedard played only 15 games in each of his first two seasons with the Mariners.
He then missed all of the 2010 season with a torn labrum.
Bedard went 4-7 for the Mariners in the first half of the 2011 season, and went 1-2 in the second half of the season after being traded from the M's to the Red Sox.
This season included a stint on the DL in September at a crucial time for the Sox. he has been a burden the past few years and has hurt his teams more than helped.
Although the price probably won't be too high for the lefty, teams should still be weary of his injuries and inconsistencies.
Pitcher Bartolo Colon
It feels as if pitcher Bartolo Colon was gone from the MLB for years before randomly reappearing with the New York Yankees last year.
As the rest of the Yankees' starting pitchers struggled, Colon was able to maintain a spot in the rotation all year.
Colon has had cups of tea with numerous teams in the MLB since he had some success with the Cleveland Indians in late 90s. Unfortunately his career has not been the same since leaving the Indians.
The 2011 season marked the first season in which he started more than 20 games since '05.
Colon is old and has never been in the best shape, and at 38 years of age, teams should not expect much more from Colon at this point in his career.
Pitcher Javier Vazquez
Javier Vazquez has made a career of being pretty average; though he has had some good years, he has also had a number of unimpressive ones as well.
Vazquez had a pretty good 2011 campaign with the team formally known as the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins), but ball clubs should not expect him to fare so well next year.
He is inconsistent and at $7 million a year he is overpaid.
Vazquez can be a good innings-eater at the back of the rotation, but at 35 years old he teams should not be offering contracts lasting any longer than two years.
Pitcher Roy Oswalt
Last year Roy Oswalt had a very disappointing and injury-riddled 2011 season with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Oswalt went 9-10 and had a 3.69 ERA last year, which was his second-worst earned run average in his career.
He also has not won more than 15 games since '08, which should be a warning sign for potential suitors.
At 34, Oswalt is not getting any younger and any contract more than three years and $36 million would be a huge risk.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal
Rafael Furcal is another player with a history of injuries.
Despite being part of the St. Louis Cardinals team that won it all last year, Rafael Furcal did not nearly play up to the contract the Los Angeles Dodgers gave him prior to the '09 season—the 2011 season saw him making a cool $13 million.
Furcal has not played more than 100 games since 2009 and his offensive production is on the decline. He does not have the bat he used to, and his speed on the basepaths isn't where it used to be.
Although he is still a quality fielder and still has that rocket arm at short, his lack of offense will be a major problem.
Outfielder/DH Johnny Damon
Johnny Damon is a seasoned veteran and goes out everyday and plays hard for his team.
Despite having a pretty good season offensively last season, Damon is now 38 years old.
He has a lost a stride or two over the years, so his speed is not where it used to be. He is also a burden were he to be put in the outfield because of his very weak arm.
His leadership and his experience is invaluable, but teams will have to try and decide if he can maintain numbers at the plate.
Outfielder J.D. Drew
J.D. Drew has had an injury-plagued past couple of years. Drew has not been able to play at least 140 games since 2007.
Last year for the Sox, he only played in half the team's games, making Sox fans ever the more irate, as Drew received $14 million for his part.
He is currently 36 and his batting average has dropped each of the last three seasons.
Although Drew should still have some pop in his bat, expect his power numbers and offense to drop.
DH David Ortiz
Some might find it surprising that David Ortiz is on the list, especially after the great season he had in 2011.
In a contract year, Ortiz played hard and will likely get a good contract this offseason.
The reality is that Ortiz is 36 and his production has dropped since his five monster years from 2003-2007.
Ortiz, who made $12.5 million last year, will probably be asking for a contract around the same price range.
Despite almost never having to play the field, at his age, there aren't many players that can keep performing at such a high level.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins
Jimmy Rollins has fallen off significantly since his MVP season in 2007.
His stats in the past four years do not compare to what he did that year—hits, HRs, RBI and batting average are all down since.
Injuries have kept him out of the lineup for some games in 2011, and almost half the 2010 season.
Rollins does have some intangibles that separate him from other shortstops in the league, such as his fielding ability and leadership, but teams should not be overpaying for someone who has been on such an offensive decline the past four years.
Outfielder Carlos Beltran
Although Carlos Beltran had a bounce-back year in 2011, it is not guaranteed he will able to stay on the field as much.
Last season marked the first one since 2008 where Beltran played more than 140 games. He also hasn't had more than 30 HRs since '07.
Despite being in the top 20 in NL MVP voting the past season, there is no doubt his numbers have been declining.
Beltran has had serious injuries in 2009 and 2010 and was unable play more than half of the New York Mets' games in both of those seasons.
At the age 34, his best years are definitely behind—both at the plate and in the field. Beltran will be expecting more than $15 million a year, which could be a huge risk for whichever team decides to sign him.