With the 2018 MLB playoffs underway some teams will be looking to shed some dead weight this offseason.
The Boston Red Sox finished the season with the best record in the American League, ending their regular season with a 108-54 record. In second place the defending World Series champions, the Houston Astros finished 5 games behind the Red Sox with a 103-59 record. On the flip side, the Baltimore Orioles finished with the worst record in the AL, 47-115 to be specific, marking a significant drop from their 75 wins last season.
In the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers wound up taking the first seed, finishing one game ahead of the Chicago Cubs, who snapped their World Series drought two seasons ago. The Brewers finished with a record of 96-67, while the Cubs finished with a 95-68 record, with the LA Dodgers not too far behind. At the bottom of the NL, the Miami Marlins finished with a 63-98 record, marking the fewest wins for the young franchise since 2013.
While some franchises, like the Chicago Cubs, have seen a drastic turnaround since 2000, others have seen significant drops in production thanks to some poor front office decisions. Some front office deals are of course more notorious than others, such as the Chicago White Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays' infamous "Shouldergate" deal.
In this article, we're going to be counting down teams in alphabetical order, listing off the least effective player on every franchise post-2000, taking into account contract size, stats, and innings played.
30 Arizona Diamondbacks - Matt Kata
Matt Kata played from the Diamondbacks for just three seasons, from 2003-2005 Kata played second base, third base, and shortstop for the Diamondbacks, posting 12 errors in just over 100 games played with the franchise. In addition, during his three seasons with the team, he never posted above a .260 hitting average. After bouncing around from team to team from 2006-2009, Kata was relegated to the minor leagues.
29 Atlanta Braves - Jordan Schafer
Jordan Schafer was drafted by the Braves in the third round of the 2005 draft, after which he showed promise. Unfortunately for the 32-year old after showing promise in his first two seasons, he was disciplined for some off-field issues, resulting in a 50-game suspension. Following his suspension, Schafer saw a significant drop in his stats, with his batting average never returning above .300, with his OBP also seeing a significant drop. Currently in the minors, Schafer plays in the outfield as well as pitching, unable to excel in a position and unable to find a permanent spot on an MLB roster.
28 Baltimore Orioles - Chris Davis
When looking at the least effective players in Baltimore Orioles history, Chris Davis stands out. This season, Davis finished with the worst batting average in MLB history: .168. To make matters worse, the Orioles committed $161 million to Davis in 2016. Since then, however, his batting stats have seen a drastic decline, having the lowest on-base percentage of his entire career. While he's been reliable in the field, breaking the record for the worst batting average in MLB history is certainly cause for concern, and lands him in our least-effective player spot for the Orioles.
27 Boston Red Sox - Pablo Sandoval
In 2015, the Boston Red Sox signed Pablo Sandoval to a five-year, $95 million contract. After playing in 126 games his first season with the Red Sox, Sandoval played in just 3 games the following season, and then 32 in 2017 before being traded back to the San Francisco Giants. During his 2015 season with the Red Sox, Sandoval had a .245 batting average to go along with a .292 on-base percentage. In the field, he committed a total of 15 errors in just 123 games, which is almost exactly how many games he has played in since then over the past three seasons. With that being said, the Red Sox are still on the hook for his contract, taking up a significant portion of the team's cap room.
26 Chicago Cubs - Milton Bradley
To say Milton Bradley was ineffective during his time with the Cubs is an understatement. In 2009, Bradley joined the team on a three-year, $30 million deal in hopes that the Cubs could become NL contenders. Bradley played in just 124 games for the Cubs, with his season coming to an end early after he was suspended by the front office for the remainder of the 2009 season for criticizing the Cubs front office before then being traded. Bradley's most notable moment with the team wasn't necessarily a good one either, as the outfielder tossed a ball he caught to a fan, thinking the team had three outs when in reality they only had two.
25 Chicago White Sox - Jeff Keppinger
Jeff Keppinger was another one-and-done player, joining the Chicago White Sox in 2013 from the Tampa Bay Rays where he played 115 games the previous season. After joining the team on a three-year, $12 million deal, Keppinger's batting stats saw a drastic decline, with his hitting percentage dropping from .325 to .253, a career low. In addition, his OBP dropped from .367 to .283, another career low for Keppinger. Keppinger's troubles weren't limited to the batter's box however as he struggled in the field during his lone season with the White Sox as well. Ultimately, the team decided to buy Keppinger out of his contract at the end of the season, and he never played in another MLB game.
24 Cincinnati Reds - Homer Bailey
When the Cincinnati Reds offered their 2004 7th overall pick Homer Bailey a six-year, $105 million contract in 2014, no one could have predicted the sharp decline his pitching stats saw. In 2014, Bailey had a 3.71 ERA to go along with a 9-5 record that saw him pitch 145.2 innings, a drop from the 200+ he pitched in the two previous seasons. Unfortunately for Bailey, following the 2014 season, his ERA dropped to a 5.56 before then dropping to below a 6 the following season. Since then his ERA has never recovered, as he posted an ERA of 6.65 in 2016 before then posting a 6.43 ERA the following season. This season, Bailey gave up 23 home runs, the most since his rookie season, placing him tied for seventh for most runs given up in the NL. That's not the kind of stat you want for a player on a $105 million contract.
23 Cleveland Indians - Nick Swisher
While Nick Swisher certainly wasn't the worst Indian of all time, his four-year, $56 million contract is hard to overlook. After an All-Star season in 2010 with the Yankees, the Indians signed Swisher in 2012. Unfortunately for The Land, Swisher was already on the decline, and his stats reflected it. Swisher's batting stats dropped slightly during his first year with the Indians before then dropping considerably the next two seasons, with his batting average finishing at .198 his final season with the Indians compared to a .260 in his final season with the Yankees. After parting ways with the Indians, Swisher played in just 46 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2015 before retiring.
22 Colorado Rockies - Denny Neagle
Signed to a five-year, $51 million contract by the Colorado Rockies in 2000, Denny Neagle played in just 72 games over the course of three seasons, posting an average ERA of 6.18 over the three seasons, while giving up a combined 67 home runs over the three seasons. Between injuries, his runs allowed, and some off-field troubles during his time in Colorado, Neagle never found another team after the Rockies parted ways with him after terminating his contract in 2004.
21 Detroit Tigers - Gary Sheffield
Gary Sheffield had a historic MLB career. The nine-time MLB All-Star won a World Series in 1997 largely thanks to his dominant batting. Unfortunately for the Detroit Tigers, they signed Sheffield to a two-year, $28 million contract at the end of his career, where he underwhelmed during his two seasons with the team, posting a .225 batting average in his final season with the team before joining the New York Mets for the final season of his career in 2009.
20 Houston Astros - Jon Singleton
When he joined the Houston Astros in 2011, Jon Singleton was a highly touted prospect. Unfortunately, two failed drug tests over the course of seven months landed him a lengthy 50-game suspension that extended through the 2013 season. After recovering from his off-field issues, he was offered a large five-year, $35 million contract by the Astros. Singleton spent most of his time in the minor leagues before playing 95 games with the Astros in 2014. During that time, he finished with a .168 batting average over 310 at bats. The following season Singleton played in just 19 games before then being relegated to the minor leagues.
19 Kansas City Royals - Jose Guillen
Jose Guillen joined the Kansas City Royals in 2008 after an 11-season MLB career that saw him bounce around from team to team every few seasons. Upon joining the Royals on a three-year, $36 million contract, Guillen had an average first season, hitting 20 home runs, and finishing with a .264 batting average. Things began to decline from there, though, as he had just half the at-bats in the following season as he did in his first season. After being traded to the San Francisco Giants midway through his third season with the Royals, he finished the season before retiring.
18 Los Angeles Angels - Gary Matthews Jr.
After eight seasons in the league, Garry Matthews Jr joined the Los Angeles Angels on a whopping five-year, $50 million contract. Unfortunately for the Angels, after acquiring Matthews, his hitting percentage dropped from .313 to .252. Furthermore, Matthews' first season with the team wasn't just growing pains; in his second season with the team, his hitting percentage dropped once again, and he hit just 8 home runs, his lowest since the 2003 season. Ultimately, after the 2009 season, the Angels were disappointed in his performance and wound up buying out the rest of his contract. After playing just 36 games in the following season, Matthews wound up retiring.
17 Los Angeles Dodgers - Andruw Jones
Andruw Jones is currently on the verge of finding himself in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Unfortunately for the L.A. Dodgers, all of his All-Star caliber seasons were with the Atlanta Braves. At 31 years old, Jones accepted a two-year, $36 million contract from the Dodgers that ultimately saw him play in just 75 games in the 2008 season before the team bought him out of the rest of his contract in order to release him. Needless to say, it was a colossal waste of money that didn't pay off for the Dodgers.
16 Miami Marlins - Wei-Yin Chen
At 33 years old, Wei-Yin Chen is currently in the second year of a back-loaded five-year, $80 million contract with the Miami Marlins. Chen has been with the team since 2016 and has seen a decline in his ERA over the years, posting the second-worst ERA of his career this season with a 4.79, winning just 6 games in 26 starts. At his age, it's unlikely that Chen will experience a sudden resurgence, and the Marlins will be on the hook for quite a bit of money tied up in his contract.
15 Milwaukee Brewers - Jeffrey Hammonds
Jeffrey Hammonds just couldn't put anything together as a Brewer. After being signed to the largest contract in Brewers history at the time, a three-year, $21.75 million contract, Hammonds only played 49 games his first season due to injuries. After bouncing back slightly in his second season with the team, batting .257 over 128 games, he played in just 10 games his third season thanks to injuries once again. Ultimately, Hammonds was traded and wound up playing in 53 games over the next two seasons before retiring.
14 Minnesota Twins - Sidney Ponson
Prior to the Minnesota Twins offering Sidney Ponson a wasted $1 million contract, he had a 6.25 ERA in the prior season, which saw him pitch just 19 games. Ponson's career was plagued with controversy, as he racked up a number of off-field incidents in his career. The Baltimore Orioles were quick to release Ponson before he bounced around from team to team throughout the remainder of his career. One of those teams was the Minnesota Twins, where Ponson played in just 7 games and finished with an ERA of 6.93, which comes out to about $142,000 a game.
13 New York Mets - Oliver Perez
After starting for the Mets in several seasons following his acquisition from the Pirates in a trade, the New York Mets offered left-handed pitcher Oliver Perez a lucrative three-year, $36 million contract in 2009. Unfortunately for the Mets, Perez' stats instantly saw a decline as he started in just 21 games over three seasons, finishing with an ERA of 6+ in his first two seasons before sitting out the entire final year of his contract due to an injury. Those are not the kind of stats you want from a player making about $12 million a year.
12 New York Yankees - Kei Igawa
Japanese pitching sensation Kei Igawa was signed to the New York Yankees on a five-year, $46 million contract back in 2007. Unfortunately for the Yankees, he played in just 16 games, finishing his first season with an ERA of 6.25 over 14 games, before then seeing his ERA drop to 13.50 the next season, his final in the league. After the season, Igawa was regulated to the minor leagues, but never managed to work his way back up to the MLB.
11 Oakland Athletics - Vin Mazzaro
Drafted by the Oakland A's in the third round of the 2005 draft, pitcher Vin Mazzaro entered into the league with high hopes. Unfortunately, he played in just 41 games over two seasons, giving up 31 home runs. Ultimately, given his inconsistency, the Athletics wound up trading him away. Fortunately for Mazzaro, while he was ineffective for the A's, the Pittsburgh Pirates put him to use as a reliever, where he found more success, posting a 2.80 ERA in 57 games as a reliever.
10 Philadelphia Phillies - Adam Eaton
Drafted as the 11th overall pick to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1996, Adam Eaton didn't play for the Phillies until his return to Philadelphia in 2007, when he was signed to a three-year, $24.5-million contract. In his first season with the team, he had a painful 6.29 ERA that saw him give up 30 home runs in just 161 innings pitched. He pitched in just 21 games the next season, posting an ERA of 5.80 to go along with a record of 4-8. After the Phillies found a replacement, Eaton was relegated to the minor leagues, ending his tenure with the Phillies.
9 Pittsburgh Pirates - Akinori Iwamura
While Akinora Iwamura certainly wasn't the worst player in Pittsburgh Pirates history, he certainly was one of the most disappointing, and the least effective. An infielder joining the Pirates from the Oakland Athletics after five seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays to start his career, Iwamura experienced the worst batting of his career with the Athletics, posting a batting average of .129 to go along with an OBP of .250, Iwamura wasn't a star in the field either, committing 3 errors in just 341 innings. His season with the Pirates was his last in the MLB.
8 San Diego Padres - Matt Bush
Drafted as the first overall pick of the 2004 draft by the San Diego Padres, Matt Bush never stepped onto the field in a Padres jersey. Bush's stint in the minor leagues was plagued by off-the-field issues from the very outset. The last straw came in 2009, while he playing with the Padres minor league affiliate team, as another off-field incident led the team to trade Bush to the Toronto Blue Jays. For the Padres, he was a wasted No. 1 overall pick, though he has played decently as a reliever since making his long-delayed MLB for the Texans in 2016.
7 San Francisco Giants - Barry Zito
A Cy Young Award winner with the Oakland Athletics, Barry Zito saw a painful drop in his stats after he was signed to a whopping $119-million deal with the San Francisco Giants in 2007. While he helped the team win a World Series in 2012, Zito continued to post career-worst ERAs nearly every season with the Giants over the course of his seven-year tenure with the team. While he certainly isn't the worst player in franchise history, he was largely ineffective when taking into account his $119-million contract that tied up significant amounts of the Giants cap room.
6 Seattle Mariners - Chone Figgins
After a successful five-season stint in Los Angeles, the Seattle Mariners offered All-Star Chone Figgins a fairly lucrative 4-year $36 million contract. It was almost as if a switch flipped for Figgins, as his batting average declined to .188 in just his second season with the team after posting a .298 average in his final season before joining the team. In addition, his OBP fell to below .250, the worst of his professional career aside from his rookie season. After just three seasons, the team traded him to the L.A. Dodgers, where he finished his career.
5 St. Louis Cardinals - Mike Leake
Back in 2015, the St. Louis Cardinals offered pitcher Mike Leake a massive five-year, $80 million contract that saw him earn $16 million a year. It took just two seasons for the Cardinals to trade Leake after he posted a 4.69 ERA in his first season, allowing 20 home runs and 203 hits over just 176 innings played. Things continued the next season, as he posted a 4.21 ERA over 154 innings played, giving up another 19 home runs. The team traded Leake to the Seattle Mariners before the season ended, marking a colossal waste of money.
4 Tampa Bay Rays - Dewon Brazelton
Drafted as the third overall pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2002 draft, Dewon Brazelton played in just 54 games for the Rays, giving up 36 home runs over the course of his four-season stint with the team. Brazelton's best ERA with the team came in 2004, where he finished with a 4.77 ERA over 120 innings pitched, giving up 121 hits and 12 home runs that season. His worst season was his final with the team, where he finished with a 7.61 ERA over 20 games played, giving up 12 home runs and 87 hits.
3 Texas Rangers - Chan Ho Park
Upon joining the Texas Rangers on a five-year, $65 million contract in 2002, former All-Star Chan Ho Park posted the worst ERA of his career (5.75) with the exception of his rookie season where he pitched just 2 games. The next season, Park pitched in just 7 games, finishing with an ERA of 7.58 as gave up 34 hits and 5 home runs in just 29.2 innings pitched. After three seasons with the team, they traded him in his fourth to the San Diego Padres after he posted a 5.66 ERA to start the 2005 season.
2 Toronto Blue Jays - Mike Sirotka
Mike Sirotka goes down as our least effective player post-2000 for the Toronto Blue Jays for the simple fact that the franchise traded away Matt DeWitt for four players, with the left-handed pitcher Sirotka being the main piece sent to Toronto from the Chicago White Sox. Sirotka went on to never pitch a game for the Blue Jays, leading the Blue Jays front office to accuse the White Sox front office of withholding medical information regarding Sirotka. The entire situation was dubbed "Shouldergate," and Sirotka never wound up suiting up for the team.
1 Washington Nationals - Dan Haren
In 2013, the Washington Nationals committed $13 million to Dan Haren for just one year, and what an absolutely brutal year it was. Posting the worst ERA of his career with the exception of his rookie season, Haren gave up 179 hits over just 169 innings, posting a record of 10-14 that saw him give up a near career-high 28 home runs. After the season was over, the Nationals unsurprisingly moved on from Haren, as he simply wasn't producing the way the young franchise had hoped.