Call it morbid curiosity or just plain old self torture, but I was again listening to the local sports radio station the other day. They came up with the idea to make a list of all the wasted contracts in the last ten years. Is this an exercise in negativity? Sure... but the part of me that loves lists loves the idea.
So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to see if we can make a full 25-man roster with all the bad signings or trades over the last ten years, and then I'm going to list the amount of money we set aside for these guys. For the record, no - Crawford will not be on my list. I happen to like Crawford, thank you very much.
Unfortunately, my definition of 'bad signing' is completely arbitrary and heavily biased, so if you've got something you'd like to debate, go ahead! I may just be swayed, you know.
I think for today, I'll stick with position players. I need time to build up my venom for tomorrow's pitchers list. Believe me, guys, we've had a LOT of really bad pitching.... as if you didn't know. Anyway... ONWARD!
Catcher: 2006's trade for Javy Lopez. The Sox traded Adam Stern to Baltimore in August of 2006 for Javy. He played in 18 games, collected twelve hits and four RBIs. He was released on September 8th after failing to live up to expectations. Though I think the O's sent the Sox money for him, I don't think he was worth the gas it took to drive from Camden Yards to Fenway.
I could try to make a case for Josh Bard or Kelly Shoppach, but Bard wasn't so bad, and I'm trying to give Shoppy a chance. It's hard, but I'm trying. So Kevin Cash, you're my (terrible) guy! I liked nothing about Kevin Cash the first time, and I liked him even less the second time. In total, I think he made $400,000 from the Sox, and every dollar of that brought resentment from me.
Total Damage: $400,000 and Adam Stern.
First Baseman: 2001's waiver signing of Tony Clark. When the Tigers were done with him, they threw Clark on waivers. The Sox were on the hook for 1 year at $5M. For that $5M, he played in 90 games and only collected 57 hits. That means he received almost $88,000 per hit during that year. His .202 batting average inspired the Sox to let him walk as a free agent at the end of the season.
The runner up is JT Snow. JT signed a 1 year, $2M contract with the Sox in January of '06. He was released on June 19th of the same year after recording only nine hits in 38 games.
Total Damage: $7M
Second Baseman: I truly and honestly cannot find a second baseman in the last ten years that was undeniably horrible. Rey Sanchez in 2002, Todd Walker in 2003, Mark Bellhorn in 2004 and part of 2005, Tony Graffanino in 2005, Mark Loretta in 2006, and Pedroia since then. No, I have no complaints. Good job on the second base choices, Sox.
Total Damage: None.
Shortstop: Julio "POS" Lugo. There is no question, no debate, no DOUBT in my mind that Lugo was probably the worst signing I've ever seen. Theo lusted after him and that misguided lust stuck us with a four year, $36M albatross. He was terrible in every sense of the word. In July of 2009, Theo finally put us out of our misery and traded him to St. Louis, where he would never be heard from again.
Very close runner up: Edgar Rentaria. In December of '04, after letting OCab walk, Theo made the brilliant decision to sign Rentaripoff to a four year, $40M contract. He lasted exactly one season. Though he hit a respectable .276, he made 30 errors and whined about the infield grass at Fenway. He was traded to Atlanta in December of 2005, and the Sox partially rectified their mistakes by giving me Alex Gonzalez.
Total Damage: $76M and lots and lots of hair clumps.
Third Baseman: Nope, sorry. I've got nothing. As much as I dislike Youk and Beltre, neither deserves to make the list. And if you think I'm putting Billy Mueller or Mike Lowell on the list, you're crazy.
Total Damage: Slight heartbreak at the retirement of Mikey Lowell.
Outfielders: To make my life easier, I'm going to group all the little outfielders together. Your candidates for the worst outfielders in the last ten years are JD Drew, Wily Mo Pena, and Mike Cameron.
JD Drew... I sort of don't want to put him on the list. He was a good little player... a little fragile, but really not terrible. He wasn't fantastic, though, and for $70M over five years, you want better than 'not terrible.' I'm sorry, JD, but you make the list.
Wily Mo Pena... we lost Bronson Arroyo because of him! I don't care what the justification was, I will never forgive him for being a major league player that Theo wanted. He spent half of 2006 and half of 2007 with the team before the Sox realized that he was not going to live up to his potential. Not for us, anyway. In the month after the trade, Arroyo actually had more home runs for the Reds than Pena did for us. Between '06 and '07, we paid him $3M. We paid cash to Cincinnati to get him, and we paid the Nationals to take him from us. Talk about a terrible ROI.
Mike Cameron. We all sort of knew this wasn't going to be a worthwhile investment. As nice of a guy as Cameron seemed to be, he just was not impressive in the field or at bat. Two year, $15.5M contract for a 38 year old outfielder? That was doomed from the start. Mike played in 81 games between 2010 and 2011, collecting 56 hits in 256 AB's. He ended up getting traded to the Marlins half way through 2011, and we paid them to take him. Wise business decision, I'm sure.
Total Damage: $88.5M and Bronson Arroyo.
Overall, I'm seeing a cumulative waste of $171,900,000, Adam Stern, Bronson Arroyo, and large clumps of hair (not to mention slight heartbreak over Mikey Lowell). Just wait. Seriously, the pitchers? So much worse.
I wonder how many of the hundreds of dollars I've spent on tickets went to Wily Mo's contract?
2 weeks ago