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Hey, Buyer Beware

With Jayson Werth breaking the Nationals’ bank, we take a look at the most ridiculous contracts over the past decade.

Mike Hampton
8 years, $120 million
Hampton was a 15-game winner with the 2000 Mets, but not enamored with the N.Y. school system. During the winter of 2000-01, the Rockies gave him a contract that would have taken him to his 35th birthday. But he was gone after 21 wins and a 5.75 ERA, as the Rockies paid the Braves to take the lefty.

Kevin Brown
7 years, $105 million
Brown signed this deal with the Dodgers after leading the Padres to the 1998 World Series. Then, he failed to get the Dodgers into the playoffs and won 58 games before being traded to the Yankees, where the righty was best known for his flop in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.?He was named in the Mitchell?Report.

Mo Vaughn
6 years, $80 million
Vaughn was a fearsome left-handed bat for the Red Sox but was a disaster the rest of his career. In 1999, Vaughn tripped in the dugout in his first game with the Angels, and missed the entire 2001 season. The Mets acquired him as part of one their big-ticket makeover in 2002, but he was gone after May 2003 due to a chronic knee injury.

Carl Pavano
4 years, $39.95 million
Pavano signed this deal after beating the Yanks in the 2003 World Series and winning 18 games in 2004. The “Carl-a-polooza” free-agent tour soon followed, and the Yankees bit. It produced few wins, numerous injuries, no respect from teammates and terms in the New York Post such as “Carl Pavano Memorial MRI Tube.”

Darren Dreifort
5 years, $55 million
A year after signing Kevin Brown, Kevin Malone was at it again, this time giving Dreifort a multi-year contract despite a 39-45 lifetime record and suspect arm. During that contract, Dreifort was 9-15 with a 4.53 ERA over 86 games and 205 2/3 innings. Not bad for an injury-prone guy who was 48-60 in a nine-year career.

Gary Matthews Jr.

5 years, $50 million
The L.A. Angels gave Matthews this deal after he batted .313 in 2006 for Texas. In three years there, Matthews never hit better than .252, and was named as a player who took HGH. He was so bad that L.A. paid to trade him to the Mets, who made him the opening day center fielder before releasing him.

Albert Belle
5 years, $65 million
Belle clearly had Hall of Fame talent. Unfortunately, he also had a 10-cent head. He almost became a Yankee following the 1998 season, but New York correctly let the Orioles sign him, where he feuded with his manager and was forced to retire — after just two somewhat productive seasons — due to a hip injury.

Andruw Jones
2 years, $36 million
For years, Jones was a standout defensive and offensive player for Atlanta. But in his final season (2007) there, he slipped to a lowly .222 batting average. The L.A. Dodgers still signed him but Jones reported overweight, appeared in just 75 games, batted a measly .158 and was released before the 2009 season.

Jason Schmidt
3 years, $47 million
Schmidt led the NL in ERA in 2003, when he was 30 years old. Had the Dodgers signed him then it might have worked out, but they waited until after the 2006 season. Their reward? L.A. received just 10 starts and three victories. So, if you compute that, those come out to $4.7M per start and $15.7M per victory.

Vernon Wells
7 years, $126 million
The Blue Jays gave Wells this deal before the 2008 season, but in 2009 the hulking center fielder turned into a disaster. Worst of all, his contract made him an immovable object and might have cost the Jays a chance to re-sign ace Roy Halladay.






 
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