Every Major League Baseball team wants to have a top player on their roster. Star players help a struggling fan base grow or help a team reach the postseason. Over the past 15 years teams throughout the league have spent a fortune on free agents. However the giant investment doesn't guarantee results like a brand new car or a working furnace. The harsh truth is a majority of the massive contracts that are issued by ball clubs end up being busts.
There are a few reasons why teams often regret giving players large scale contracts. One reason is they grant these giant signings in the later part of players careers when productivity has gone down.
Another reason could be an unfavorable environment. It's not uncommon that good players are drafted and developed by a small market team. When the player is due for a large contract the small market team can rarely keep them. Though the player receives the enormous deal the big lights in a large market like New York or Los Angeles may have a negative impact on the player who was used to a small market environment.
The final reason why large scale contracts can backfire is due to poor team chemistry. Superstars are great to have on a roster. However when someone is told they're the best by everyone they'll ultimately believe it, even if their production falls short of expectations. Having an arrogant player on the roster whose overpaid can destroy team chemistry and take away the focus from the number one goal: winning.
The following are the top 15 worst MLB signings in recent memory
15 C.J. Wilson
The Anaheim Angels certainly weren't messing around entering the 2012 season, just hours after they signed Albert Pujols to a 10-year deal they signed pitcher C.J. Wilson to a five-year $77.5 million contract.
Wilson was labeled the best number two starter in the league following ace Jered Weaver in the pitching rotation. In his first two seasons he won 30 games. Since then he's been nothing but a liability. In 2015 Wilson pitched only 21 games, in mid-season he had a shoulder injury and has been on the DL ever since.
14 Jacoby Ellsbury
It was clear the Boston Red Sox weren't going to give center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury a contract extension. Instead he took his talents to their arch rival, the New York Yankees.
The Bronx Bombers welcomed the former All-Star with a seven-year contract worth $153 million dollars. The Yankees planned to groom Ellsbury for the leadoff spot after Derek Jeter retired at the end of the season.
13 Matt Cain
The San Francisco Giants three world championships in five years was built around good pitching. In April of 2012 they inked right handed pitcher Matt Cain to a five-year extension worth over $112 million.
Cain earned his money in 2012, in June he threw a perfect game and finished the season with a record of 16-5 and earned a second World Series ring. In 2013 Cain's ERA rose to nearly 5.00 and finished the season with a record of 8-10. Since 2013 Cain has won five games.
12 Joey Votto
After Cincinnati Reds first basemen Joey Votto won NL MVP in 2010 is was clear the team wanted to make him a part of their future. Just two years later the organization signed him to a 10-year $225 million contract extension.
However little did they know the deal that would pay the first basemen through 2024 would be a mistake the team would later regret. Since 2011 Votto hasn't hit over 100 RBI's. In fact in 2012 he hit 56, nearly half what he produced the season before.
11 Anibal Sanchez
The Miami Marlins dumped salary in 2012 by trading players all over the major league. One trade was Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers. Sanchez helped the Tigers reach the World Series that year but were swept by the San Francisco Giants.
The Tigers expressed interest in keeping Sanchez but at far too high a price. That offseason they signed him to a five-year $80 million contract. In his first year Sanchez went 14-8 with an ERA of 3.43, but lost in the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox.
10 Ryan Howard
One thing that teams loathe is paying a player more than $20 million a year when the team is absolutely horrendous. The Philadelphia Phillies experienced this first hand when they signed Ryan Howard to a five-year $125 million contract extension.
9 Ricky Nolasco
Heading into the 2014 season the Minnesota Twins were in desperate need of quality pitching. It seemed they lost their minds when they signed veteran pitcher Ricky Nolasco to a four-year contract worth nearly $50 million.
8 Matt Garza
Since leaving the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010 Matt Garza's career has gone downhill. Therefore is was a shock when the Milwaukee Brewers signed the veteran right handed pitcher to a four-year $52 million contract.
Garza earns more than $12 million per season but has fallen way short of team expectations as a projected ace in the rotation. In his first season he finished with a record of 8-8 and held average ERA of 3.64.
7 Matt Holliday
When the St. Louis Cardinals acquired outfielder Matt Holliday in a mid-season trade with the Oakland Athletics they hoped he would help them get back to the Fall Classic.
In the 63 games Holliday played with the Cardinals he batted .353. That offseason they brought him back on a lucrative contract, $120 million over seven years. Since being traded to St. Louis Holliday's production has dropped. The once .300 hitter barely bats his weight each season.
6 Jayson Werth
For years the Washington Nationals were at the bottom of the major leagues in every category. In the 2011 season they aimed to change that by signing veteran outfielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year deal worth $126 million.
The power hitter had just come off a successful stint with the Philadelphia Phillies where he appeared in two consecutive World Series in 2009 and 2010. To draw a crowd the Nats added Werth to the roster, only the production he had in Philly was nowhere close to what he displayed in D.C.
5 Troy Tulowitzki
The Colorado Rockies wanted to make Troy Tulowitzki a franchise player. So much so they signed him to a six-year contract extension when he still had three years remaining on his current deal.
Though the shortstop demonstrated leadership traits like Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken Jr. he failed to stay healthy. Since 2012 he's missed nearly 100 games each season. In 2015 the Rockies traded their beloved player to the Toronto Blue Jays in a multi-player deal.
4 Pablo Sandoval
After Pablo Sandoval won three World Series Championships with the San Francisco Giants he tested the free agent market and cashed in. The Boston Red Sox would be the new home for the slugger when they gave him a five-year contract worth $90 million.
3 Prince Fielder
The Detroit Tigers showed the rest of the league they were all business in 2012 when they signed Milwaukee Brewers first basemen Prince Fielder to a nine-year contract worth $214 million.
In his first season Fielder hit 30 home runs and more than 100 RBIs. However in the postseason his performance was non-existent. He hit just over .200 in the playoffs and the Tigers were swept by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
2 Carl Crawford
It was rare that the Tampa Bay Rays would keep any of their superstars when they became eligible free agents because of their small payroll. Outfielder Carl Crawford cashed in when the Boston Red Sox gave him a seven-year $142 million contract.
Crawford was viewed as a bust instantly in Boston. In his first month of the season he hit .137 and was heckled more than opposing teams. In 2013 he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a multi-player deal.
1 Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton had really been to hell and back because of his struggle with addiction. After the 2012 season, the outfielder's contract with the Texas Rangers ended and he was sure to re-sign. When he demanded too much money he went to the Anaheim Angels on a five-year deal worth $125 million.
Hamilton struggled on his new team as his power plummeted from his days with the Rangers. He hit only 21 home runs in 2013, a steep decline from the season earlier where he hit 43.
In 2015 Hamilton relapsed and was traded back to Texas. Anaheim showed their displeasure with Hamilton's actions by agreeing to take on the remaining $75 million of his salary. In 2016 Hamilton had season ending knee surgery.
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