10 Worst Free Agent Signings in Seattle Mariners History
As a franchise, the Seattle Mariners aren't really a very old team. Their inaugural season was in 1977, so they've only been around for 35 years whereas other teams have been around since the early 1900's.
But nonetheless, the Mariners have made some very questionable decisions in free agency. Let's go down the list of the worst free agent signings the Mariners have made in the last 35 years.
Number 10: Rich Aurilia
When the Mariners signed Rich Aurilia back in 2004, I was actually a fan of this signing. I thought it would work out well. Needless to say, I was dead wrong. He only played in 73 games, and was eventually traded to the San Diego Padres. His line with the Mariners?
.241 batting average, .304 on base percentage, 4 homeruns, 28 runs batted in, 27 runs, twenty two walks, and forty three strikeouts.
But on the plus side, if there is a plus side, he only signed a one year contract worth 3.5 million. Even back in 2004, that wasn't a whole lot of money for a starting third baseman.
Number 9: Pokey Reese
Back in 2005, the Mariners signed shortstop Pokey Reese to a one year contract with 1.2 million dollars. How many games did he play for the Mariners? 0. He suffered a shoulder injury prior to the year, and the Mariner's investment in him was completely wasted. He later signed a contract with the Marlins in 2006, but mysteriously disappeared during spring training.
Number 8: Carl Everett
So far into this list, every player mentioned had been signed by GM Bill Bavasi. Obviously, that trend will continue as we go down the list, and here is another one, Carl Everett.
In 2006, the Mariners signed Everett to a one year contract worth four million dollars. He was released later that year along with a batting average of .227, and on base percentage of .297, hit 2 homeruns, drove in 23 runs, walked 29 times, and struck out 57 times. Following being released by the Mariners, he didn't appear in another MLB game.
Number 7: Brad Wilkerson
Well, at least he played some games. The Mariners signed Brad Wilkerson back in 2008 to a one year contract worth 3 million dollars. However, he only lasted 19 games with the Mariners before being released, posting a .232 batting average, .348 on base percentage, 0 homeruns, 5 runs batted in, 1 run, 10 walks, and 15 strikeouts. Man, I sure wish I was a MLB player when Bill Bavasi was a GM.
Number 6: Kenji Johjima
Technically, this wasn't a free agent singing, but an extension. Nonetheless, when the Mariners signed Kenji Johjima to a three year contract worth 24 million, it didn't make a lot of sense, even at the time. Many believe the contract extension was due in part of the Mariner's Japanese ownership. Mariners pitchers routinely questioned his game calling skills, and he struggled at the plate. Eventually, Johjima left the Mariners to go back to Japan and finish his career there.
Number 5: Miguel Batista
Don't let Batista's first year with the Mariners fool you. He had a 16-14 record, but a 4.29 ERA. And following that year, Batista showed his true colors, going an absolutely horrendous 4-14 with a 6.26 ERA. During the final year of his contract, he was moved to the bullpen, and continued to put up awful numbers. The Mariners signed him to a three year contract worth 25 million.
Number Four: Richie Sexson
Well, it could have been worse. The Mariners signed Richie Sexson to a four year contract worth 50 million dollars. In his first two seasons with the Mariners, he managed to live up to the expections, but the last two years were dreadful. The Mariners eventually released him in 2008, and following a stint with the New York Yankees, he has yet to play in another MLB game.
Number 3: Chone Figgins
Let's be honest. When the Mariners signed Chone Figgins, everyone thought it was a great signing. There wasn't one dissent. And it made sense. He was a great player with the Angels. But what followed was a disaster. In 2010, he had a .259 batting average, .340 on base percentage, and struck out 114 times. Players who hit second in the lineup aren't supposed to strike out 114 times. The only saving grace for Figgins in the 2010 season was his 42 stolen bases. And then there was 2011.
Chone Figgins made 9.5 million in 2011. His line? He batted .188, had a .241 on base percentage, struck out 42 times compared to 21 walks, and managed only 11 stolen bases. That's what happens when you have .241 on base percentage.
There is still two years left on his 4 year, 36 million dollar contract. The Mariners seem determined to move him, but quite frankly, not one team wants him. If the Mariners do end up trading him, they'll have to eat the majority of his contract, and if they release him, they'll obviously have to pay him everything that is owed to him. Current Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik hasn't made a lot of mistakes in signing free agents, but this is certainly his worst.
Number Two: Scott Spiezio
Well, at least the contract wasn't too freaking bad. The Mariners signed 3rd basemen Scott Spiezio to a three year contract worth 9.15 million back in 2004. In his first year with the Mariners, Spiezio had a batting average of .215, a .288 on base percentage, and had 36 walks compared to 60 strikeouts. But it was his second year that was perhaps the worst in Seattle Mariner's history, even though he only played in 29 games for the 2005 Mariners.
In 2005, Scott Spiezio hit...wait for it....064. 3 hits in 47 at-bats. .137 on base percentage. 4 walks, and 18 strikeouts. He drove in 1 run. He scored 2 runs. How that was possible, I still don't know.
But do you how what hurts the most? He got picked up the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006, while still being paid by the Mariners, and in 119 games, he batted .272 with a .366 on base percentage. Thanks a lot, Scott.
Number 1: Carlos Silva
Well, if you thought I was going to be clever with my No. 1 pick for the worst free agent signing in Mariner's history, you're probably a little disappointed by Carlos Silva making it No. 1.
The stupidity of this signing still baffles me. But then again, it was Bill Bavasi who did this, so it makes a little more sense. When the Mariners signed him to a four-year contract worth $48 million, everyone was shaking their heads. In his two previous years with the Minnesota Twins, he wasn't any good. In 2006, he had a 11-15 record and a 5.94 ERA. In 2007, he had a 13-14 record with a 4.19 ERA.
And yet, Bill Bavasi still signed him to a four-year contract worth $48 million.
In Silva's first year with the Mariners, he was downright awful: a 4-15 record with a 6.46 ERA. And he pitched half of his games in Safeco Field, a very pitcher-friendly ballpark.
In 2009, he went 1-3 with an 8.60 ERA. The Mariners eventually put him on the DL, but it's unknown if he actually suffered an injury from eating too many donuts or just for sucking way too much.
The Mariners eventually traded Silva to the Cubs for Milton Bradley, in a trade that didn't work out for either team. But the Cubs did pick up the majority of Silva's contract, so there is that.
Still, the Mariners signing Silva is undoubtedly the worst free agent singing in Mariner's history.