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10 Worst Free Agent Signings Of The Offseason

A few weeks ago we presented MLBTR's 10 Best Free Agent Signings Of The Offseason.  It's only fitting that we also name our ten worst before the season begins.  Only Major League deals are included, and the players are listed in order of contract amount.  Keep in mind that a good player can have a bad contract.

  • Matt Holliday, Cardinals: seven years, $120MM.  In terms of production, Holliday was the best available free agent.  The problem with the contract is that there was not another serious bidder, and Holliday's best alternatives at the time of the signing were in the one-year, $18MM range.  At the very least, hardball tactics with Scott Boras might've eliminated the seventh guaranteed year.  Cardinals fans might not care now, but will in 2016.  The Mets' four-year, $66MM deal with Jason Bay gets an honorable mention in the category of teams bidding against themselves.
  • Placido Polanco, Phillies: three years, $18MM.  I'd have no beef with a one-year deal in the $5-6MM range, as that'd fit with contracts signed by comparable free agent infielders.  The Phillies tacked on two more years for the 34-year-old Polanco, with plan to make him a regular third baseman for the first time since 2002.
  • Brandon Lyon, Astros: three years, $15MM.  Assuming his shoulder injury is a non-issue, most clubs would be happy to have Lyon working the seventh and eighth innings.  But similar to the Phillies and Polanco, the Astros had to have this reliever above all others.  The result: the only three-year contract given to a reliever this offseason.
  • Jason Marquis, Nationals: two years, $15MM.  Marquis takes the ball every fifth day and typically pitches like a #4-5 starter should.  I don't see what he offers the 2010 Nationals that Doug Davis and Braden Looper didn't, and those pitchers would take one-year deals at a lower salary.  I don't buy the argument that the Nationals needed to overpay to import Marquis.  Other pitchers could've provided a similar benefit for much less. 
  • Mark DeRosa, Giants: two years, $12MM.  DeRosa's last contract was a pleasant surprise, but now he's 35 and coming off wrist surgery.  He's still useful, but the Giants needed to find an impact bat with their free agent budget.
  • Fernando Rodney, Angels: two years, $11MM.  Without the 37 saves, Rodney wouldn't have gotten anything near this contract.  He's useful, but has lousy control and dealt with shoulder problems the previous two seasons.
  • John Grabow, Cubs: two years, $7.5MM.  As if Carlos Marmol's control problems weren't bad enough, the Cubs locked up Grabow and his 5.0 BB/9 for two years.  Grabow strikes out lefties at a solid clip, but doesn't offer much beyond that.
  • Jason Kendall, Royals: two years, $6MM.  The main blemish on Dayton Moore's offseason, Kendall received an extra year for no apparent reason.  The Nationals did the same with Ivan Rodriguez.
  • Coco Crisp, Athletics: one year, $5.25MM.  Crisp played just 49 games last year, and eventually needed surgery on both shoulders.  Does his projected center field defense justify this kind of guarantee?  The A's were in a risky mood this winter, also guaranteeing $10MM to Ben Sheets.
  • Alex Cora, Mets: one year, $2MM.  Scott Boras makes his third appearance on this list.  Despite a lousy season, Cora avoided a pay cut.  Instead of signing Cora in November, the Mets could've displayed patience and saved a million bucks. 


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