The Arizona Diamondbacks have been busy in recent weeks. They’ve made trades and signed free agents in an effort to repeat as the NL West division champions in 2012.
Only time will tell if the moves will be successful, but looking back at some of their previous offseasons, we can say that there were definite flops.
Here are the five worst offseason moves in Diamondbacks history.
The Diamondbacks have long searched for a reliable offensive threat at third base. After Matt Williams retired, they searched for several seasons before finally landing a big-name free agent.
Troy Glaus signed a four-year, $45 million contract in December of 2004.
On the surface Glaus’ time with the Diamondbacks was far from a failure. In 2005—his lone season with the Diamondbacks—he hit .258 with 37 home runs and 97 RBI.
But Glaus’ numbers were little more than smoke and mirrors. Twenty-three of his 37 home runs were solo shots, and his average was .233 with runners on—as compared to .281 with the bases empty.
After one season Glaus was traded to the Blue Jays in December of 2005 for Miguel Batista and Orlando Hudson.
One of the Diamondbacks’ worst signings was one they didn’t make.
Randy Johnson, the best pitcher in the organization’s history (and one of the best left-handed pitchers that baseball has ever known), was allowed to walk in 2008 as he stood on the precipice of his 300th victory.
The Diamondbacks had the opportunity to sign Johnson to a one-year extension, reportedly at less than half of what he was making the previous year, but elected to go in another direction.
Despite the fact that Randy Johnson was still productive in 2008, pitching 30 games with a 3.91 ERA, the Diamondacks lowballed Johnson, offering him just $2.5 million.
Johnson left and eventually won his 300th game wearing the uniform of the NL West rival San Francisco Giants.
Ever since the Diamondbacks came into the league in 1998, they have struggled to find a legitimate first baseman.
Starting with Travis Lee in their inaugural year, the team has had a rotating door of promising players at first, only to have them all fall flat.
In 2003 the Diamondbacks traded to get the star first baseman they had been missing and sent Craig Counsell, Junior Spivey, Lyle Overbay, Chad Moeller, Chris Capuano and Jorge De La Rosa to the Milwaukee Brewers in return for Richie Sexson, Shane Nance and a player to be named.
Richie Sexson played in a meager 23 games and was limited to a .233 batting average and nine home runs before an injury ended his season.
He elected to become a free agent the next offseason and signed with Seattle.
In 2007 Eric Byrnes hit .286 with 21 home runs and played in an impressive 160 games. This prompted the Diamondbacks to give him a three-year, $30 million extension.
Byrnes signed the contract Aug. 7, 2007; Byrnes’ production seemingly fell almost immediately after that.
After batting .304 through the first four months of the season, he hit only .242 in the final two months of 2007.
The following two seasons Byrnes played in only 132 total games, batting .217, before being released prior to the final year of his deal.
Byrnes was then signed, and eventually cut, by Seattle.
He was then signed by a beer league softball team, taking his talents to a city park, all the while being paid $10 million by the Diamondbacks.
The contract was a strain on the Diamondbacks, as they worked with a limited payroll.
Perhaps what was worst about the Eric Byrnes signing is that it made GM Josh Byrnes think that the organization’s No. 1 prospect, Carlos Gonzalez, was expendable, and he was traded to the A’s in December of 2007.
Shortly after the Diamondbacks parted ways with Randy Johnson the first time, they signed Russ Ortiz for four years and $33 million.
Ortiz was awful with the Diamondbacks. In 2005 he had an ERA of 6.89 while only averaging 5.2 innings per start.
He pitched just six games in 2006 before the Diamondbacks had enough.
Ortiz was released in June of '06, with the team still owing him $22 million.