Worst Signing Ever?

As Barry Zito takes the mound tonight in Pittsburgh, it will bring to end his tenure in the Giants bullpen. This stint totaled exactly zero appearances and one missed start. The fall from grace for Mr. Zito has been astronomical. He was the 9th overall pick of the Oakland A’s out of USC in 1999. He was in the majors the very next year, starting 14 games for the A’s, compiling a record of 7-4 with a 2.72 ERA. In 2002, he went 23-5 with and 2.75 ERA and 183 strikeouts, narrowly winning the Cy Young over Pedro Martinez. It looked like Zito would become one of the premier pitchers in all of baseball for a very long time. Then, after a few more okay years in Oakland, Zito signed a 7 year, $126 million dollar contract with the San Francisco Giants.

Since moving across the Bay, Zito has put together an 11-19 record with an ERA over 5.00 and since that Cy Young year his record has fallen to a very mediocre 66-65, including a dreadful 0-6 start with a 7.53 ERA this year. That’s when the Giants demoted him for a few days. I guess they decided that an 18 million dollar per year long reliever wasn’t worth it.

Back when Zito signed the contract I mentioned that it was an awful deal and that the Giants were tying their own hands for a long time. I didn’t figure it would be this bad. This got me wondering what the worst contracts in Major League history were, because I think Zito’s will top them all when it’s finished.

After going back through some pretty bad contracts, I came up with my Top 5 Worst Contracts in Baseball History.

5. Albert Belle – 5 years, 65 million, Baltimore Orioles. Belle had 49 homers and 152 RBI the year before for the White Sox. He had a history of behavioral problems and a bad attitude, which didn’t change any for the O’s. He did have two productive years before being forced to retire because of a degenerative hip.

4. Chan Ho Park– 5 years, 65 million, Texas Rangers. Park had some productive years with the Dodgers before cashing in big with Texas in 2002. Once he got to Arlington, Park went 22-23 with an ERA around 6.00 in three and a half years. Then, he was shipped to the Padres for fellow disappointment Phil Nevin in 2005. Park’s 22 wins for the Rangers averaged out to be about $2.2 million per win.

3. Carl Pavano – 4 years, 40 million, New York Yankees. Pavano was coming off a career year where he went 18-8 with the Florida Marlins. He was only 28 years old and had been showing flashes of brilliance throughout his time in South Florida. Pavano’s career in New York was marred by injury, bizarre love triangles, and great fictional blogs, and he left the Yankees having started 19 only games with a 5-6 record and a 4.77 ERA. This equals roughly $8 million per win making him the third worst contract in baseball.

2. Barry Zito – 7 years, 126 million, San Francisco Giants. As we discussed earlier, Zito has apparently lost all ability to pitch. Even though we’re only 2 years into it, this contract has potential to top the #1 contract, which is…

1. Mike Hampton8 years,121 million, Colorado Rockies. As if giving a pitcher an eight year contract in Colorado weren’t crazy enough, giving a pitcher an eight year contract in Colorado with one good year in his career is even worse. Hampton saw exactly two years of this deal with the Rockies where he went 21-28 with an ERA around 5.75. In 2002, Hampton was traded to the Marlins and then to Braves along with several million dollars in cash. When healthy, Hampton hasn’t been too terrible for the Braves, but he has not pitched for them in over two years, all while collecting around 28 million dollars from both the Marlins and Braves. Since signing the contract in 2000, Hampton has gone 53-48, meaning each one of his wins has cost these three teams around 2.3 million dollars.

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3 Responses

  1. Solid. For me though. Zito is 1, I’m not waiting to see if he turns it around. He won’t. Hampton’s is easier to judge since it’s almost done but fuck it…Zito is terrible.

    Simply because at least Hampton had a few things going for him.

    For One, he was a good pitcher actually. He had a Zito-esque Cy Young season I believe with the Mets right? Or was it with the Astros? Regardless, he had been having great seasons. Zito’s weren’t bad, era wise they were good but his decline in veloctity was well documented and he had just not been remotely near the same guy for years. Hampton stilled looked like an Ace.

    Secondly, Hampton’s salary was managed to get split up over 3 teams rather quickly. I see 0 chance someone is willing to bite on Zito.

    I guess Zito actually sees the mound as opposed to Hampton and Pavano, but is that really a good thing?

    Maybe the Giants can just get some sick satisfaction of his deal…I would. Seeing him embarrassed on a nightly basis would be well worth the money.

    I also would like to throw some other names at you. Driefort needs to be on the list. He got what? 55 million and was never under 4.5 or something for his era…In the NL. Making matters worse, I remember seeing he only won like 6 or 7 games…something like that….so he got what what? nearly 9 million per win. Chan Ho made peanuts per W.

    Scotty Rolen. Just simply cuz I hate that fuck. What’d the Cardinals give him? Almost 100 million or something and he had a good 03′ and 2004 season but for 90 million? haha no way.

    Kevin Brown…He got 100 mill right? I was a big fan but 100 million when the guy was like 62 made no sense.

    A personal favorite. One I am not ashamed of. Bobby Bonilla. I was a big Bobby Bo fan. Granted I was too young to care but I remember him being on the Best Damn countdown for his contract. It was like early 90’s and he got like 5 mill a year to hit .250 for the Mets. Which 5 million in 93 was a lot.

    I am surprised to that no one mentions the Clemens contract in these conversations. I wouldn’t go as far as saying he sucked I guess but for 3+ months and like 20 million or whatever? Come on…thats gotta count for something.

    Idk good call on the post Bryan.

  2. O. I’d like to add Mark Buehlre to the list.

    If you don’t know, I used to the this guy because he was vastly underrated for years.

    I had nicknames for him such as “the Bounty Hunter” and “Cy Buehrle”.

    But now I like to refer to him simply as Mark “the bitch” Buehrle…Here is why…

    For one he is a bitch.

    2 fuck him and his no-hitter.

    3 he should’ve been dealt but has to have groupie love from Sox fans. Fuck him. He sucks. I hate him.

    I know the Cardinals and their STL obsession with him could’ve netted a lot in return. Probably not Rasmus like I wanted but a Jaime Garcia, Chris Perez, Ankiel, or even Wainwright based deal I am convinced would’ve happened…

    The STL media loved him and the story of him coming home was marketing at it’s best. He was pitching well in a tough division, you needed an ace with Carp down, the list continued. It made too much sense and I thought the Cards were the only team willing to overpay for him.

    Instead the White Sox resigned him instead of going with the youth movement as I and others have suggested.

    Since he signed the contract last July…He has an era over 5.5. His record is 5-9 and the Sox record when he throws is 8-12.

    Didn’t mean to turn your forum into a venting place but my feelings grew stronger after the idea for Buehrle popped into my head. Sorry Bry.

    You gotta admit though…

    So far the 4/56 contract isn’t looking pretty.

  3. […] by Sports Illustrated.  I have no problem with this, actually, though I’d have voted for Barry Zito, who finished right behind Jeter.  The Yankee shortstop is a great player, but everything but his […]

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