Monday, April 9, 2012

Pitching Fails: Part Two Of Money Burning

Ok, admittedly, I didn't find as many position players as I hoped to actually fill out a major league roster. Two catchers, two first basemen, no second or third basemen, two shortstops, and three outfielders... That leaves me with sixteen spots open for pitching. Luckily, I have seventeen pitchers that I consider putrid! I guess I will have to make up my mind on who gets dropped by the end of the post.

Regardless, I just couldn't wait to post about the pitchers like I thought I could. Impatience will kill me one of these days, dear friends.

Here we go!

Starters: If you thought for a second that John Lackey was not on this list, discontinue that thought now. Could it really be a coincidence that we haven't reached the playoffs since Lackey inked that absurd five year $82M contract? He makes everyone around him worse. This will surely go down as the worst free-agent pitching acquisition in history. Definitely the worst in Red Sox history at least.

Daisuke Matsuzaka. Six years, $52M. His first two seasons were decent. 2007 was actually pretty good. Unfortunately, in the last three years, he's played exactly 45 games, totaling 250.1 innings. In three seasons. That means last year, he made almost $1.3M per game. For that kind of money, you better be winning every start. Even if he comes back and has a Cy Young calibur season this year, it'll never make up for the rest of that contract.

Matt Clement. I know, he got hit on the head, and that can really mess a guy up. It doesn't change the fact that he still collected every penny of that $26M/3 year contract. Over the course of the contract, he only pitched two of those seasons, posting a 5.09 ERA in 44 games, 256 innings. Yup, $101,000 per inning pitched.  He didn't have a big fan following here, but fans of opposing teams loved him.

David Wells. I always felt that "Boomer" was a undercover Yankee operative. The thing about Wells was that he actually posted a winning record in his time here, but I was MISERABLE watching him. 17-10 with a 4.56 ERA? He was so bad in 2006 that we unloaded him to the Padres in August of that year. We still paid the remainder of his two-year, $8M contract. Thank goodness he never racked up any performance bonuses. That could have left the Sox on the hook for $18M!

John Smoltz. It pains me to put him here, because I wanted SO BADLY for him to pitch well. He didn't, and the Smoltz reclamation project was deemed a failure. In eight starts, Smoltzy was 2-5 with an 8.33 ERA. Yes, Virginia, he WAS as bad as Lackey. The Sox gave him $5.5M for those 8 games, but cut him loose in mid-August of 2009, realizing that they could just go no further with him. Still, you can't blame them for taking a chance on a future hall of famer, can you?

Brad Penny. Garbage. Penny's entire Sox career was garbage. He single-handedly ruined many of my evenings at Fenway, and the Fourth of July game that I was so excited to be able to attend. That meat mound made $5M off a one year contract, getting cut ten days after Smoltz. 2009 was the year of Theo's reclamation projects, and not a single one worked out (with the possible exception of Saito.... I don't know if I consider him an exception).

Total Damage: $181,500,000

Bullpen: Let's start with the most recent.... Bobby Jenks. Two years, $12M. Had we known that $12M would include a DUI and multiple trips to the DL, would we have avoided that signing? Knowing Theo, probably not. Jenks appeared in 19 games last year, posting a 2-2 record with 6.32 ERA... but even these horrible numbers do not tell the full horror of Jenks on the mound. Granted, he only allowed 1 out of 4 inherited runners to score, but 22 hits and 13 walks in 15 innings? It makes for some tense, terrible baseball.

Eric Gagne. I would have made this trade, too. The Red Sox were the best team in baseball looking for a little extra help out of the pen for the playoffs. Gagne was pitching like an All-Star for Texas. The Sox agreed to pick up his $2.1M in performance bonuses, and they sent Kason Gabbard and David Murphy to Texas as compensation. Gagne, if you don't remember, was vomit-and-seizure inducingly bad. In 20 games (18.2 innings), he posted a 6.75 ERA. He was a huge part of the ALCS Game 2 meltdown. In his career with the Sox, he had five clean innings. Five. After the world series, Gagne was granted free agency, and that's the last I ever want to hear about Gagme.

Javier Lopez. Lopez was all kinds of awful, mostly in the last year. Acquired via trade from the White Sox in June of '06, Lopez was re-signed by the Sox twice. It was that last time that was regrettable. Of course it was his biggest payday. A one year, $1.3M bought us 14 games, 11 innings, and  a 9.26 ERA.  I would cringe, just flat out cringe every time Lopez would come into a game. I had a plethora of nicknames for him, none of them fit to print.  He was an average lefty from 2006-2008. By 2009, he was destined for the garbage heap.

Brendan Donnelly. The Angels traded Donnelly to us in 2006. Half way through 2007, he needed Tommy John surgery. He was named in the Mitchell Report (which I can't REALLY hold against him). He only appeared in 20 games but still collected $1.4M. Not the worst acquisition ever, but still not a great one.

Rudy Seanez. Rudy signed in December of '05. By August of '06, he was gone. He was part of that all-around terrible bullpen in 2006. It was the type of bullpen that made grown men cry and women faint in the streets. Rudy's paychecks apexed with the Sox, as they happily gave him $1.9M to post a 4.82 ERA in 41 games. Again, not the worst signing (that's Lackey), but generally when you release a pitcher when your team desperately needs pitching, you know it's not pretty.

Ramiro Mendoza. I bet some of you were happy when the Sox signed Mendoza, weren't you? Mendoza signed a 2 year, $6.5M contract at the end of the 2002 season after spending his entire prior career with the Yankees. Well, there was a reason they let him walk. He appeared in 64 games for the Sox, posting a 5.73 ERA. In 2003, he allowed 54% of inherited runners score. There is a reason that every bad signing results in people comparing the signing to Mendoza. Bad. Bad all around.

Joel Piñiero. Four Million Dollars. FOUR MILLION! And every time he stepped on the mound, he gave me aneurysms. I don't even want to talk about it. 31 games, 5.03 ERA. I wept for joy when we traded him away in July of '07. You think Mendoza was bad? Piñiero made a career out of making my life miserable.

JC Romero. JC signed with the Sox for $1.6M in December of '06. They released him in June of '07. Was he atrocious? No. But to pay that kind of money to a guy that you only get 23 outings out of is not right. I remember not enjoying his time here. Maybe I'm stretching it a bit here, but it's my list and I can do that.

Matt Mantei. Before the 2005 season, the Sox signed Mantei to a one year, $750,000 contract. In 34 games with the Sox, Matt could only get through 26 innings, posting a 6.49 ERA. Granted, the money wasn't extravagant, but it definitely wasn't a mistake the Sox would make again.

Wade Miller. Let's make this short and sweet. Wade pitched for one season, threw 91 innings, posted a 4.95 ERA and collected $1.5M. I wouldn't pay $20,000 per inning for that all over again.

Total Damage: $33,050,000

For the pitching staff alone, the Sox have committed $214,550,000 of essentially worthless dollars. You're looking at an extra $21M per season for the last ten seasons if these guys had never joined up with the Sox. If you add in the position players, the total wasted dollars comes to $386,450,000.

Well, I just made myself sad. At least baseball is on tv tonight, and no matter how bad it is, it's still kind of good.

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