Owners enjoyed another year of record attendance, passing the 75 million mark for the first time in 2006. And to commemorate their success, they went on a serious spending spree this winter. You had to figure the Yankees would up the ante and leave the rest of baseball in the dust after another early October exit. But with revenue sharing helping to spread the wealth, every GM thinks they have the cash to join the party. With that in mind, here’s a look at the worst deals this offseason. And the winner is…
Gold Medal-Kansas City Royals
What is a small-market squad thinking giving Gil Meche a five year-$55 million deal? At 28, the good news is he’s about to enter his prime and scouts like his arm coming off 2006, his best season to date. The bad news is his career year brought just 11 wins and a 4.48 ERA in 186 innings pitched. At best, that’s #4 starter production.
Silver Medal-Seattle Mariners
For signing Miguel Batista to a three year-$24 million contract. For the bargain basement price of 8 million a season, the Mariners are getting a pitcher who boasts a career record of 68-79 with a 4.46 ERA. And at 36, I’m not sure what’s a better bet, that Batista will continue to put up pedestrian numbers or that the M’s will spend the next three years out of contention wondering why they tied up $24 million in this guy.
Bronze Medal-San Francisco Giants
Dave Roberts must have one **** of an agent. A 36 year old career 4th outfielder, the Giants inked Roberts to a 3 year-$18 million deal. Roberts offers little except for great speed out of the leadoff spot. But he’s a career .270 hitter who has never walked 50 times in a season. As the old saying goes, you can’t steal first.
There was no shortage of bad deals made by owners and GM’s this offseason. but at least now we’ve reached a point where every team has enough financial flexibility to overpay for past-their-prime free agents or project young players who will never fulfill their potential.
Check back in a few days to see a few GM’s who bucked the trend this winter and spent wisely on free agents.