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Craziest one year contracts


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All this talk about Atkins and how bad his signing turned out to be got me thinking about finding insane one-year contracts. Everybody can name the Zito, Matthews Jr., Hampton, Dreifort, Schmidt, Park contracts as being terrible long-term deals but I am wondering if anybody remembers any particularly outrageous one-year contracts.

I will start with a doozy I found when I stumbled on his Wikipedia page - Prior to the 2005 season, then 39-year-old starter Al Leiter signed an $8 million one year contract with the Marlins. Yes, the same franchise that cut their entire team payroll to $15 million the following season thought it would be a good idea to pay Al Leiter $8 million to pitch at age 39. Surely Leiter must have been fantastic in his previous couple of seasons to merit such a contract. Indeed, he had a 3.21 ERA in 2004 but it was one of the flukiest ERAs I have ever seen. Leiter had a K/9 of 6, a BB/9 of 5 and a BABIP of .240. Oh, and a strand rate of 81%. His FIP in '04 was 4.76 and his xFIP was 5.20. All of his stats had been going the wrong way for the previous three years. And he was 39. Needless to say he suffered another slight regression with the Marlins, his FIP and xFIP increased by about .4 and his ERA went up by about 3 runs. Somehow the Yankees thought he still had something in the tank and he went to NY at the deadline and pitched in the ALDS, allowing 3 runs in 3 and 2/3rds innings.

I know Sabermetrics weren't as widely appreciated then as they are now but it was only 6 years ago. I googled "Al Leiter" + Marlins + contract, expecting to find somebody bashing the deal at the time but I found no columns to that effect and the only fan discussion I found of the deal was generally positive, though one astute poster noted that his increase in walks might be a concern. There is also some speculation on the Marlins board that his deal included an offer to be a Marlins broadcaster after he retired.



Can anybody else think of one-year deals worse than the Atkins deal?

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Carl Everett put up a .254/.314/.423 line between 2004 and 2005 as a corner outfielder. He was then a free agent at age 35, and Seattle thought he was worth 1 yr @ 3.4 Million.

He was released in July with 308 ABs and a .227/.297/.360 line.

Not the most obscene dollar figure, but still a terrible one year contract.

EDIT: Jurassic Carl also put the "crazy" in Craziest contracts.

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I have a fairly comprehensive database of contracts 2005-2010, a few of the worst 1 year deals I've found, based on monetary values of fWAR:

-Worst relief contract: David Weathers at the age of 39 was signed in 2009 by the Reds for nearly $4 million; as a reliever he produced -.8 WAR, for a sum value of -$7.5m.

-Worst starter contract: Though 44-year old Roger Clemens produced a positive value of 1.8 WAR in 2007 for the Yankees, his $18.7m contract meant that in monetary terms he came up -$11.32m short of his expected production.

-Worst position player contract: Pedro Feliz was signed to play 3B for the Astros last year for $4.5m and accounted for -2.1 WAR (!), costing the team nearly $13m.

In other words, no more complaining about Garrett Atkins. :)

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