Every off-season, teams sling piles of cash at "elite" players with dreams of banners swirling in their heads. For fans, the sticker shock is immediately overwhelmed by the fact that a celebrity is coming to town.
The 100 million dollar man is usually a "star" who receives lots of media attention in the run up to free agency. Excitement fills the air and the organization pats itself on the back for establishing a future of "playing with the big boys," all the while congratulating the fan base who helped make it happen.
All is well.
However, most of the time, these players don't live up to the hype, and fans have a hard time endearing themselves to the new kingpin in town. They would rather cuddle up to a hot new prospect. These things usually follow a cycle:
1) Team throws ridiculous money at "star" player.
2) Fans rejoice over team's commitment to winning.
3) Player starts new season with unbearable expectations
4) Player fails to meet expectations, or gets old, or gets hurt
5) Fans bemoan the stupidity of bringing in such an over-rated, over-paid guy with bad knees.
Right now, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are in stage one and that's OK. But last year's big free agency hitters, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, may already be pushing stage five. The simple truth is: these deals often don’t work out.
26 players have been given contracts worth over $100 million. Only 8 of those players have gone on to win a championship with that team. That may not sound like bad odds, until you consider the specific cases: