We are mere weeks from the free agency signing period in baseball. Let’s take a look back at last year’s free agents and see which ones were the biggest busts…
6. Jason Marquis, Washington Nationals — Marquis signed a two-year, $15.0 million deal with the Nationals. They would have been better off signing some scrub for league minimum. After only three starts, Marquis was shelved with bone chips in his elbow. He wouldn’t return until August and made only 13 starts all year. He finished 2-9 with a 6.60 ERA.
5. Rich Harden, Texas Rangers — Harden signed a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Rangers this past off-season. That was quite an investment for a team with a payroll south of $60 million. 18 starts later, he had a 5-5 record with a 5.58 ERA and was left off the postseason roster. Of course, Harden’s failures may have led to the Rangers trading for Cliff Lee. So maybe this was a blessing.
4. Nick Johnson, New York Yankees — Johnson signed a two-year, $11.0 million deal and was supposed to be the on-base machine to slot in at the #2 spot in the lineup. The risk was that Johnson tends to end up on the DL a lot. And in that respect, he didn’t disappoint. His season was over in May, hitting .167 with 2 home runs. He played only 24 games and was paid more than $150K for each of the 36 times he reached base.
3. Mike Cameron, Boston Red Sox — Cameron signed a two-year, $15.5 million deal and was a key component in the Red Sox defensive revolution. But it is hard to cover centre field from the DL. Cameron played just 48 games thanks to an abdominal injury and his season was over in July. He hit .259 with 4 home runs.
2. Chone Figgins, Seattle Mariners — Figgins signed a five-year, $45.0 million deal with the Mariners and was supposed to be a key member of a playoff contender. Instead, Figgins hit .259 with 1 home run. His .340 OBP was the second-lowest of his career. And in the end, the M’s finished 61-101 with the worst record in the American League.
1. Jason Bay, New York Mets — Bay signed a five-year, $80.0 million deal with the Mets with the hopes that he could actually tame the cavernous outfield at Citi Field with his bat. Umm, not so much. After hitting 36 home runs with Boston the year before, Bay hit 6 with the Mets. At this rate, the Mets should get about 30 home runs for their $80 million investment, or about $2.7 million per home run.
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