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Was A-Rod’s first deal the worst free agent signing of all time?

Feb 11, 2011, 10:42 AM EDT

AlexRodriguezAP

Andy MacPhail thinks it was the first A-Rod deal. At least that’s what he told a law school seminar yesterday:

Alex Rodriguez to Texas was the worst signing in the history of baseball in my view,” MacPhail said. “Why? Because he played as well as you can possibly ask the kid to play. He had great years. And the needle didn’t move at all. … The team didn’t improve. Attendance didn’t go up. But hey, they got the lead story on ESPN. Well, if that’s what motivates you, you’re going down the wrong path. You want to put 35,000 people in the ballpark, win the games. That’s what [fans] are there to see. That’s what the Orioles need — to win some games.”

I suppose there are any number of ways to define the “worst free agent signing in history,” but I have a hard time putting A-Rod’s first deal with the Rangers in that category.  It wasn’t the right deal for that Texas Rangers team at that time — and it was certainly dumb inasmuch Tom Hicks was bidding against himself — but at least it involved a guy the Rangers were able to eventually unload when they realized their mistake.

Ask the Giants how they feel about Barry Zito or the Astros how they feel about Carlos Lee right now.  Even at way lower dollars, I’m inclined to think that those deals (and several others) were bigger albatrosses than the $250 million that went to one of the two or three best players in baseball over what would have been the length of the original deal.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Feb 11, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    Mike Hampton called. Wants his title back.

    • Roger Moore - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:01 AM

      Denny Neagle laughs at your suggestion that Mike Hampton was a worse signing than he was.

      • BC - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:14 AM

        Darren Dreifort trumps them both.

      • Dan in Katonah - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:24 AM

        Little Sarge sneers at your laughter. And didn’t Chan Ho Ho Homerun out of the Park get a sick deal? MacPhail is wrong becuase the deal itself was not bad – ARod performed as well as could be expected. But when you do not surround him with enough to win, it is the front office, not the deal, that stinks.

      • bigharold - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        And, let’s not forget Carl Pavano, .. a Yankee fan’s personal nomination. Not nearly as much money, 40 mil, but absolutely nothing in return.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:38 AM

        Adam Eaton laughs at all of you !!!!!

      • Dan in Katonah - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        Ollie Perez poops on all of you! And on the mound! [As a Mets fan, I think I blocked this one out]

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:12 PM

        DAN, you win.

    • billybeaneismyhero - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:05 PM

      Hampton at least provided 10.7 WAR for his $121M contract. Gary Matthews Jr provided -1.1 WAR for $50M.

      • anythingbutyanks - Feb 11, 2011 at 7:17 PM

        And this is probably the best metric…what was the average WAR over the length of contract per million spent? Only contracts in excess of $40M and/or 4 years should be considered. I’ll let someone else do the math :)

  2. uyf1950 - Feb 11, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    Craig – I absolutely agree with you. While A-Rod’s contract was a drain on the team. He at least did his part and that’s all you can ask of a player. Now for Zito’s contract, while the dollars are not the same (but still ridiculously expensive) Zito’s performance has been absolutely abysmal.

    • yankeesfanlen - Feb 11, 2011 at 10:59 AM

      What’s not to like? End justifies the means time folks. The Rangers through various efforts of Tom Hicks sent themselves down the garden path resulting in a franchise player ending up on a team that needed him, could afford him, and has benefitted from him. Sounds like a good business deal ultimately, maybe one of the best, not the worst.

      LAA! (condensed to save you time).

      • Professor Longnose - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:06 PM

        But MacPhail’s point is that the end DIDN’T justify the means. He’s looking at a different end than you are. To him, it doesn’t matter what Rodriguez did on the field. The “end” is that attendance didn’t go up, and the team ended up in financial trouble. That’s hardly Rodriguez’s fault, but MacPhail isn’t blaming him. He’s saying that after the signing, the team got worse, ran into financial trouble, and eventually had to be sold, in large part, in MacPhail’s opinion, because of the contract.

        There might be other times when a signing broke an ownership group, although I can’t recall one offhand.

    • jkcalhoun - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:39 PM

      This is Barry Zito, not Wayne Garland Zito’s performance hasn’t really been abysmal. He has performaned near the league average over the term of his contract so far.

      It’s a ridiculous contract and obviously the Giants aren’t getting anything like the performance they’re paying for. But they have been getting some value.

  3. terryindallas - Feb 11, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    No, the problem was how they built much of the rest of the team.

    • snowbirdgothic - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:55 AM

      Agreed. Boras used ARod as leverage to cram a bunch of his other clients down Tom Hicks’ throat.

  4. sknut - Feb 11, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    The problem is as Craig points out that they bid against themself, if the contract goes down by 20-30 million that could be reallocatted to other players they might have won more.

    • bigharold - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      In fact I think the nearest bid was the Mets and that was about 90 million dollars less. And, take into consideration that this was 10 years ago. A time when 90 million was the entire payroll for big market teams.

      Somebody will need to be stupid on an as yet unheard of scale before this contract gets eclipsed for stupid.

  5. Ari Collins - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Agree with Craig. A-Rod earned the money he got paid with his performance. His performance earned him enough money that he was not a good fit for a low-payroll team, but that doesn’t, to me, make him a terrible signing. It makes him a bad signing if you don’t supplement it with other good acquisitions, but there are far worse signings.

    A quick who-comes-to-mind-first list of 10 worse:

    Wells
    Zito
    Howard extension
    Soriano
    Helton
    Hampton
    Carlos Lee
    Rowand
    Matthews Jr.
    Pavano

    • uyf1950 - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      I’m going to assume the Soriano you are showing is Alfonso of the Cubs.

      • Matthew Flint - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:23 AM

        How can the Howard extension be on the list? He hasn’t seen one pitch in the extension time frame yet. Nor did it criple the team from other signings. I agree with everything else on your list except maybe Helton because he was their only option at the time.

        How is Aaron Rowand not on any of these lists?

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:43 AM

        Matt, you’re 100% correct ARI is Jaded. JADED!!!!!

      • Ari Collins - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:44 AM

        Yeah, Alfonso. I don’t think the Rafael Soriano was a good signing, and it probably ends up being a bad signing, but not THAT bad a signing. And certainly not 10 worst.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:55 AM

        Ryan Howard is one of four players to hit at least 40 home runs and have 130-plus RBIs in four straight seasons.

    • Utley's Hair - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:40 AM

      Where’s Bradley, who tends to send a team into a spiral all by his lonesome?

      And as a slightly bitter (just about only when it comes to these guys) Phightins Phan, I nominate Adam Eaton and Freddy Garcia—not necessarily the worst, per se, but horrible nonetheless.

    • Ari Collins - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      Howard extension did cripple them, though. They could’ve spent $125M on Werth, who’s overall a much better player. And if they had signed Werth long-term when they signed Howard, they would have gotten him for considerably less than the $125M. Probably half of that.

      Howard was a 2-win player last year and projects to be a 3-4 win player next year, depending on your projection. He’s 31 and the contract doesn’t kick in (and didn’t have to kick in!) until after he turns 32.

      The Phillies have made a LOT of great moves. Howard’s extension wasn’t one of them.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        Because it wasn’t “great” it’s on the top ten “worst” in your eyes, even though he hasn’t played a day on the contract…. hmmmm???

        JADED!!!

      • Ari Collins - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM

        Oh, I can see how you interpreted that as what I was saying. Let’s try again:

        The Phillies have made a LOT of great moves. Howard’s extension wasn’t one of them. In fact, it was one of the worst.

        Fixed.

        The not having played a day on the contract part… well, you seem to be arguing from a different viewpoint. Maybe he rebounds and is a $25M player somehow in his mid 30s, even though he hasn’t played at that level since 2006. It’s very unlikely, but it’s theoretically possible he earns the contract. If you want to only think of bad contracts as those who have played to their conclusion and proven themselves bad, feel free! But if it’s got a 95% chance of being a terrible contract and a 5% chance of being an okay one, I’m going to just say it’s a terrible deal.

        Also, what do you mean by jaded? The Phillies are one of my favorite NL teams! Again, I think they’ve made a lot of great moves, and I’m really happy to see an NL team spending like an AL East team to give the game more balance. Hamels, Utley, Victorino, Lee, and Halladay are some of my favorite players and an amazing core.

        But that doesn’t keep me from being objective and pointing out that Howard is a demonstrably overrated and soon-to-be-grossly-overpayed player.

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:21 PM

        I think it was a too much, too soon deal that has yet to pan out. I hope its “Ari’s Top 10″ list status doen’t come to fruition, but realism is a bitch.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:04 PM

        Ari, I just love our little Howard battle actually. It completes me….. I am fully aware that it was a very strange move for a team not prone to over paying players. And what is more strange yet is it was a season early. I was baffled by it. I do feel we need to wait until the contract is up though before contemplating just how “bad” it “WAS”. I get a bad taste saying how bad contract will be, ya know… But yeah, most of what I was typing earlier was no more than me messing with my favorite “Howard contract” hater. Hopefully this will continue until he’s done it.

      • Matthew Flint - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:09 PM

        “They could’ve spent $125M on Werth, who’s overall a much better player.”
        Are you serious? Werth has had exactly ONE above average year, 2009. He was absolutely abysmal last year w/RISP. That contract will go down as way worse than the extension of Howard. The Nats literally bought into overpaying for the sake of good mojo with future FA. The above statement is ridiculous, the guy platooned with Geoff w/ a G Jenkins in 08 for christ’s sake.

      • xmatt0926x - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:21 PM

        Agree with Matt Flint. If you want to say Howard’s contract is bad and he’s overrated,I, as a phillies fan won’t argue very hard. He was going to get paid, but Ruben may have jumped the gun. But to use Werth as your argument is way overboard. Werth has had 2 “solid” years in a small park, but he hasn’t been very good or great yet and he’s about 31 himself. I didnt like the Howard contract and I do tend to think he’s overrated but he does put up big #’s so Im not sure I’d label his deal as one of the 10 worst of all time. That’s saying that he will give the tam no value like a Zito or a Pavano. Lets give him a chance to be that bad first before we give him that bad of a label.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 11, 2011 at 2:33 PM

        Haha, Jonny5, fair enough!

        As to all the Phillies fans who are Werth haters: when you factor in defense, positional scarcity, and not making tons of outs, Werth has been the better player than Howard each of the last three years. Sometimes by a lot.

        Bill James has talked about this: all-around players, like Jayson Werth and the younger Bobby Abreu, tend to get undervalued, because instead of doing one thing extremely well (like hit homers), which is really noticeable, they do everything very well.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 11, 2011 at 3:45 PM

        So either Jayson Werth is better than Ryan Howard or you are a hater or Jayson Werth? LOL. Give me a freaking break Ari. This is the problem with stat nerds like Bill James. To say that Jayson Werth is, and I quote, “Overall a MUCH BETTER player [than Ryan Howard]” is simply ludicrous and not even debatable. I love Jayson Werth. I wish he would have stayed in Philly. But I would rather have Cliff Lee at what the Phillies paid him over Jayson Werth at what the Gnats paid Werth every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    • byjiminy - Feb 12, 2011 at 2:01 AM

      I don’t think the Pavano contract was a bad signing. He just happened to get hurt a lot. But everyone thought it was smart at the time, and it would have been if he’d remained healthy. Something like Zito’s or Mathews’s that was clearly batshit crazy from the moment it’s signed is more what I think of when you say a bad contract: where if the player remains healthy and plays at a reasonable projection of their (age-adjusted) abilities for the length of the contract, it is still a huge overpay. Like virtually everyone else you listed. Those are all people who are being paid for their best possible hypothetical year over and over into their declining years, even in the best case scenario. But a four-year contract at ten million a year for a good young pitcher was not projectable as a failure right from the start, in my view. I’m not even a Yankee fan. I just remember that signing at the time and thinking the Yanks had made a really enviable signing, unlike everyone else on that list, where you could immediately see they’d be albatrosses.

  6. BC - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    But if the Rangers HADN’T signed A-rod, wouldn’t they have just stunk worse?

  7. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    What was Mike Hampton’s deal with Colorado again?

    AROD
    01-04:$21M/year, 05-06:$25M/year, 07-10:$27M/year + $10M signing Bonus (thank you Cot’s)
    The Rangers got 26.7 WAR from Arod during his three years with the team (thank you Fangraphs) or 2.73M per WAR
    The life of the contract was 01-07, and $171M /(56.2 WAR) is about $3.04M per WAR

    Hampton
    01:$8M, 02:$8.5M, 03:$11M, 04:$12M, 05:$12.5M, 06:$13.5M, 07:$14.5M, 08:$15M +$20signing Bonus, plus $6MM buyout of 2009 option = $121M

    During his 2 years in Colorado they paid him 16.5M in salary plus the $20M signing bonus for a total of $36.5M, and got 4.2WAR, for a rate of about $8.7M per WAR. His total WAR during contract was 10.7, so $11.3M per WAR.

  8. Ari Collins - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/a-rods-first-contract-was-a-good-move/

    As usual, Dave Cameron takes the argument down completely.

    • Bochy's Head/Timmy's Bong - Feb 11, 2011 at 4:46 PM

      As usual, I’m way late to the party. And this is old news, but count on Dave Cameron to have all the details. But after I read this article, and before I got thru the comments, I did some quick calculating of my own (all numbers courtesy of BRef):

      ARod 2001-2003: 23.9 WAR $66M

      Juan Gonzalez, Carl Everett, Chan Ho Park, and Rusty Greer (combined) during the period of time they were Rangers’ teammates of ARod: 1.8 WAR $73.1M

      So, Hicks spent about 2.8M per WAR for ARod. According to Fangraphs, for that period of time, even tho’ Hicks spent far more than he had to, he still got almost fair market value for ARod’s services – maybe he cost about $4M more than the value he produced.

      But those other guys were paid 40.6M per WAR, a total of more than $68M right down the ol’ rathole.

      In short, obviously ARod’s contract was the problem.

  9. kenbuddha - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    I’m a Twins fan but I have to agree with this 2-part article on the worst baseball signing as being Andy MacPhail…

    http://www.goatriders.org/archives/2006/09/the_case_agains.html
    http://www.goatriders.org/archives/2006/09/the_case_agains_2.html#more

    Somehow I feel Orioles fans might have a similar article out there somewhere.

    • Panda Claus - Feb 11, 2011 at 3:31 PM

      So what you’re saying is Andy MacPhail was only a good-luck charm, fortunate enough to be in the right place during two championship years at Minnesota?

      I know that’s essentially opposite of what the articles you linked is saying, and I just put words in your mouth. As an O’s fan if he does “just that same little bit” of winning trophies in Baltimore, that’ll be good enough for me. I frankly don’t care how much he has to do with the final product, in my mind the biggest difference maker is the manager (assuming some level of talent is in place).

      Tom Kelly and Buck Showalter are good choices as managers to have run your team. Jim Riggleman (Chicago), not so much, but you can’t win them all.

      • kenbuddha - Feb 11, 2011 at 5:09 PM

        Yes, it was more like right place/right time while in MN. Andy had very little to do with the ’87 championship team. And the article talks about what changes he made for the ’91 championship team. Those teams really were built by the previous administration. How many years until you start to really see a GMs team show up? My guess is, a GM has an impact via drafts and player acquisition so once that kicked in we were beyond the ’91 championship season. And since then, what has he done in the past 20 years anywhere that showed a real progression for his teams?

  10. Ari Collins - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Also, I can’t believe we all (including me) haven’t mentioned A-Rod’s SECOND contract. Not checking the numbers, I’d say he’s probably earned it so far, but he has another 7 years left on it and he’s clearly declining. And the Yankees were very very much bidding against themselves, giving $300M when I doubt anyone else would have offered more than $200M.

    • Utley's Hair - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      Hank was representing the Mystery Team.

    • byjiminy - Feb 12, 2011 at 2:06 AM

      I agree. A-Rod’s second contract was much worse than his first. The first bought the best player in the game in his prime years. The bulk of the second will be past his prime. And it’s way more than anyone else would have paid him. You could also say that contract could cost the Cardinals Albert Pujols. He’s using it as a comp, and no one, including the Yankees, would do it again.

  11. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Heyman said last year that the Matt Holiday deal was “worst signing in the history of baseball”. And, of course, I believe him.

  12. Chris Fiorentino - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    “They could’ve spent $125M on Werth, who’s overall a much better player.”

    Ugh. Give me an f-ing break.

  13. agelardi - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    While I think they over paid for him, I think they had the right idea. I live in NYC and I don’t know anyone who was paying attention to the Texas Rangers at the time. To get a player of A-Rod’s status & marquee value seemed like a great score to me. I’m surprised he didn’t bring more fans to the stadium but if your team can’t win, why would fans bother to come out? Also, you can’t handcuff yourself with rediculous salaries for only 1 player. You need to be able to grow every year.

    • Mike Luna - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:39 PM

      You hit the nail on the head.

      A-Rod signing in Texas might have gotten ESPN’s attention, but the fans care about winning. Would Yankee fans come to watch Jeter just to watch Jeter?

      You’ve got to win and you’ve got to have more than one great player to win.

  14. Mike Luna - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    The A-Rod deal was a considerable bust. The relationship was supposed to last for a decade, but ended only 3 seasons later.

    Tom Hicks paid $100MM more than he had to for A-Rod and the Yankees got him anyway. Not only that, the team still owed him money last year when they were going through bankruptcy. Hicks’ financial troubles started with A-Rod [and Chan-Ho Park helped] and led to a very bumpy, irrelevant decade in Arlington.

    It’s not A-Rod’s fault somebody offered him too much money and he accepted it, but the deal as a whole was awful. A-Rod didn’t make the team as a better by himself and before long he didn’t want to be here [and he made that known]. When he left, the Rangers got not much of significance for him. Maybe if they’d chosen Robinson Cano over Joaquin Arias, but that’s hindsight.

    Maybe the A-Rod deal isn’t the worst in history, but it’s got to be in the Top 9.

  15. fquaye149 - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Any MacPhail’s inability to see the forest for the trees with regard to A-Rod seems to suggest why MacPhail’s Cubs and Orioles have been so lousy. A-Rod’s deal didn’t help the Rangers win, but that’s a function of the talent around him. If the Rangers couldn’t afford $25mm a year, they couldn’t afford A-Rod. That doesn’t make the deal bad, it makes their money-management bad. Fangraphs only shows 2002 and 2003 for WAR $ value, but A-Rod was worth $25 million each year. That’s not a bad deal by any means. I mean for eff’s sake, if the Pirates were to sign Pujols for $4mm a year they probably would still finish last in the NL Central. Would that be a bad deal too? Meanwhile MacPhail goes out and spends big bucks on Vlad, Lee, and Reynolds with the hopes to maybe possibly with a miracle finish in 3rd place next year? And we’re listening to his opinion on bad contracts, why? Dude has a wonderful pedigree–his family is baseball royalty and deservedly so. But he couldn’t be more off-base about this. And O’s fans wonder why their team sucks…

    • bigharold - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:51 PM

      ” If the Rangers couldn’t afford $25mm a year, they couldn’t afford A-Rod. That doesn’t make the deal bad, it makes their money-management bad.”

      WTF?? That’s exactly what it shows! Despite his play, despite him winning an MVP they neither won nor did they even attract more fans. Coupled with the fact they out bid their nearest competitor by $90 mil, factor in that the deal was ten years ago, a time when the Yankees payroll had barely surpassed $100 mil this was a monumentally profoundly bad deal that will takes generation to surpass if ever!

      • Ari Collins - Feb 11, 2011 at 2:37 PM

        They paid more than other teams were offering, by a lot, but they still got their money’s worth. By a lot. And, again, it’s not the fault of the A-Rod contract that the team wasn’t any good. It was the fault of the many other contracts they had, like Chan Ho Park, where they paid the player more than he was worth.

        See the Dave Cameron article for an excellent rundown of their team and how their other money was allocated. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/a-rods-first-contract-was-a-good-move/

      • bigharold - Feb 11, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        They only got their moneys worth with respect to A-Rod’s production inasmuch has he was at the time considered the best player in the game. Although, one could even argue that even with his stellar production they overpaid by virtue of the fact that they paid far more than the going rate as evidenced by the next best offer but that is a minor point.

        A-Rod most certainly did his part but the contract was still a bust if on considers total return on investment. Which, after all, is the point. Baseball on most levels a business, especially if one is discussing contracts.

        There are three ways to gauge return on investment: 1. Did the player in question perform to the expected standard for on field production, check. 2. Did the players presence, and added production, play a role generating more revenue by adding fans, selling tickets or increasing TV/radio revenue, no. 3. Did the players presence, and added production, play a role spurring the team on to greater winning and or championships, again no. If you add this together with the fact that his presence began to be the reason the team suffered financially and that he was traded for payroll relief and that the Rangers still ate part of his salary anyway the notion that his contract wasn’t a bust is unsupportable. The contrast to the Mariners is a false comparison inasmuch as they had players that were clearly better at more positions and more importantly the article you point to looks at only 2001. There is no mention of the following years. 2002 and 2003 when the A-Rod contract began to display some cumulative drag.

        While it wasn’t because A-Rod didn’t try or produce the contract he signed was terrible. One could argue that it was bad for the team and it was bad for A-Rod too. He did get the great big gigunduos contract but he also wasted three of his best years on a team that had zero chance of winning. And, that was despite his considerable efforts.

      • fquaye149 - Feb 12, 2011 at 12:16 AM

        Good grief. How hard is this to understand? A-Rod provided 25 million dollars of production. It’s not a bad contract just because the pieces around him couldn’t produce. At the very least, every team in an AL baseball game uses 10 players.

        I will ask this again, because I am really really interested in the response from you “TEAMS MOVING IN THE STANDINGS IS THE BOTTOM LINE OF A GOOD CONTRACT” folks: If the Pirates signed Albert Pujols for $4mm a year and still finished in last place, would that be a bad contract? According to the logic in this thread, it would be. Which is, I guess, logic that puts you in the same class of Andy MacPhail. And his success record speaks for itself.

  16. tcostant - Feb 11, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    They clearly over paid him. After all, no one appoached his annual salary before he re-signed at even higher numbers. Most times a player breaks though to “highest player in the sport”, the follwoing year it is broken. With A-Rod it hasn’t happened. Why, the highest payed player was around $20M/per when he signed and he got $25M/per. That is 25% more than the next highest guy – way to much.

    But I hear the points here – he is over piaded, but not worst contract ever. The Hampton/Zito and other are much worse.

    • fquaye149 - Feb 12, 2011 at 12:18 AM

      If you provide equivalent value to the deal you signed, how on earth are you overpaid? The Rangers probably could have had him cheaper, so to a certain they overpaid, but had they signed him for less, A-Rod would have been underpaid and his contract would have been one of the best in history.

  17. Detroit Michael - Feb 11, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    The A-Rod deal worked out fine except that Tom Hicks was too fickle, running down the deal and then traded it. A truly bad team becomes an albatross in the later years of it. In this deal, A-Rod opted out of the last three years correctly gauging that he could get an even better one elsewhere.

    Management folks like Andy McPhail like to point to the A-Rod deal though — you can see why it’s an attractive candidate from his point of view. For years, folks could repeating some nonsense about the % of payroll devoted to a single player instead of pointing to the lousy pitching free agent decisions the Rangers made.

    Can’t believe no one mentioned the Kei Igawa $55M acquisition yet, although the Mike Hampton deal still takes home first prize.

    • Kevin S. - Feb 11, 2011 at 6:16 PM

      Hey! Igawa was only $46 million! That’s ridiculous enough, no need to pile onto it.

  18. mrznyc - Feb 12, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Boy, I seem to remember the Mets signing of Mo Vaughn as a far bigger blunder in terms of value for dollar.

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