Free Agent Contracts Gone Sour

Imagine the amount of number-crunching, scouting reports, and intangible assessments that must occur before a team signs a free agent to a multi-million dollar contract.  Presumably, team execs dissect every angle and feel completely justified before making one of these huge commitments.  Why, then, have so many free agent contracts from the 2008-09 offseason already gone sour?  Check it out…

  • The Braves, feeling light on starting pitching, committed $60MM to Derek Lowe and $23MM to Kenshin Kawakami.  A year later neither contract could be moved, and the Braves had to part with Javier Vazquez after an ace-like performance.
  • Manny Ramirez finally signed a two-year, $45MM deal in March of '09.  He started off raking, but his PED suspension came down on May 7th.  Manny hit .269/.389/.492 after the suspension, which was considered by many as a disappointment.  He declined the chance to opt out of $20MM for 2010.
  • Francisco Rodriguez signed for less than expected, getting three years and $37MM from the Mets.  He showed the worst control of his career in '09, and now the concern has to be that he'll meet the criteria to get his $17.5MM option for 2012 guaranteed.
  • Oliver Perez signed for three years and $36MM, which Scott Boras actually preferred to the Mets' idea of four years and $44MM.  Perez was a disaster in the first year of the contract.
  • The Cubs have already dumped Milton Bradley; they were happy to save $5MM on his $30MM contract.
  • Kerry Wood makes little sense for the Indians now, not that they could move his contract.  He's begun the season on the DL with an upper back strain.
  • That's just the $20MM and up contracts; commitments to Brian Fuentes, Pat Burrell, Jamie Moyer, Damaso Marte, Koji Uehara, Kyle Farnsworth, Nick Punto, Willy Taveras, and Juan Cruz are also viewed as unfavorable.  Which 2009-10 signings will make this list after one season?  It may be a smaller group, as teams are shying away from multiyear commitments. 

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