The Seattle Mariners are obligated to pay outfielder Milton Bradley $12 million in 2011, or $8,534,370 more than the entire payroll of the Seattle Sounders. Jack Zduriencik’s experiment didn’t work out, so the Mariners designated the outfielder (a terrible one, at that) for assignment Monday earlier this week, likely meaning the end of his major league career.
Among players who made Seattle’s Opening Day rosters since 1995 and figured to have everyday roles with the club, Bradley’s “designation” is the fifth quickest by calendar date. Also, we have listed below the most wretched contracts handed out by the Mariners since 2000, and would like you to vote below on what you consider to be the worst.
QUICKEST TO GET DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT
|1997||4/8||Salomon Torres||RHP||27.00 ERA in two appearances|
|2006||4/23||Joe Borchard||OF||Cashiered after just six contests|
|2004||4/26||Kevin Jarvis||RHP||Cut after allowing 3 straight HRs at Texas|
|2008||5/9||Brad Wilkerson||OF||Had a .232 batting average in 19 games|
|2011||5/9||M. BRADLEY||OF||Had a .218 batting average in 28 games|
|2004||5/28||Q. McCracken||OF||Hit .150 with no RBIs in 19 games|
|2005||5/31||Wilson Valdez||INF||Opening Day SS hit .198 in 42 games|
|2010||6/15||Ian Snell||RHP||0-5, 6.41 ERA in 12 games (8 starts)|
|2004||7/10||Rich Aurilia||INF||Starting SS hit just .241 in 73 games|
|2004||7/15||John Olerud||INF||Had a .245 batting average in 78 games|
|2006||7/26||Carl Everett||OF||Hit .227 with a .292 on-base percentage|
The following is a chronological list of disastrous Mariner contracts since 2000. Vote below — and add your comments — on the most wretched:
Cirillo earned $6.375 million in his first year (2002) with the Mariners and returned a .249 batting average. He made $6.75 million in 2003, when his season went south so fast that he actually spent part of it in the Arizona Instructional League. In 133 games with the Mariners, Cirillo hit .234 with a .295 on-base percentage.
The Mariners envisioned Aurilia, who had a decent career in the National League, as their everyday 2004 shortstop when they signed him to a one-year contract. But Aurilia made it through only 73 games with a .241 batting average and four home runs when the Mariners decided he wasn’t going to work out.
The third baseman hit .198 during his 141-game stint with the club (2004-05). By contrast, Mario Mendoza (he of the infamous Mendoza Line), the all-time poster player for inept batting, compiled a .218 average in his 262-game Seattle career (1979-80). Spiezio hit .064 in 2005 when the Mariners had to eat $3 million of his salary after releasing him. Besides being a waste of roster space and a cash drain, Spiezio and his girlfriend assaulted a Chicago taxi driver not long after the Mariners got rid of him.
Reese did not contribute one negative statistic to the Mariner cause during his one-year stint with the team. That’s because Reese never appeared in a game. Injured prior to the season opener, Reese went on the 60-day disabled list and, essentially, never came off it. The club released Reese, a million dollars richer for time in the Northwest, after the season.
Jurassic Carl came to the Mariners with a well-deserved reputation for harboring strange thoughts. He lasted through a good part of the 2006 season, but hit only .227 with a .297 on-base percentage and two home runs, one of them a three-run walk-off shot against Texas on April 19.
Batista pitched for the Mariners from 2007 through 2009, delivering mixed results. He went a surprising 16-11 as a 36-year-old in 2007, but just 4-14 with a 6.16 ERA the following year. Batista ended his Seattle career 27-29 with a 4.84 ERA, hardly what the Mariners expected for an outlay of $25 million.
Few pitchers have had worse starts to a career in Seattle than Weaver. In his first two games, he allowed 17 hits and 14 earned runs, en route to an 0-6 start. He allowed 10 or more hits in a game five times in 27 starts, and six or more earned runs in eight starts. Weaver didn’t last long enough in Seattle to become as loathed as Bobby Ayala, but he gave Ayala a good one-year run.
Ramirez came to the Mariners in what seemed at the time as a rather dubious trade for reliever Rafael Soriano. That now has been certified to be a major blunder. Ramirez made 20 starts for Seattle in 2007 and finished with an 8-7 record with a 7.16 ERA. Remarkable about that: Ramirez became just the 13th pitcher in Major League history to make as many as 20 starts in a season and post an ERA above 7.00.
Wilkerson started in left field for the 2008 Mariners and figured to see a lot of playing time as the season progressed. Instead, Wilkerson made it through only 19 games before the club decided to cut him and swallow his contract. Wilkerson hit just .232 and had an on-base percentage of .348 during those 19 contests.
Due to a bankrupt farm system, the Mariners tried to re-tool for 2008 by signing Silva to a four-year, $48 million contract. The Mariners saw fit to do this after Silva had compiled a 24-29 record and 5.28 ERA over the previous two seasons. Naturally, the Silva signing became one of the most expensive mistakes the Mariners ever made. After starting out 3-0 in 2008, Silva went a Magooish 1-15 the rest of the way as batters pounded him like a pinata. In nine of his 28 starts, Silva surrendered at least five earned runs, enabling him to finish a botched season with a 6.46 ERA. Silva finished his 36-game Seattle stint with a 5-18 record and 6.81 ERA.
When the Mariners lavished this deal on Johjima, no one outside the Mariner organization could figure out why the club would squander so much money on a 31-year-old catcher batting .200 — unless Japanese ownership demanded it. Johjima, signed to serve as a bridge to 2005 No. 1 draft pick Jeff Clement, put up pallid numbers — and didn’t call a very good game — during his Seattle tenure. Clement, meanwhile, has already established himself as one of the biggest draft busts in club history. The Mariners traded him to Pittsburgh in 2009, he batted .201 in 2010, and is now recovering from knee surgery.
Figgins had to hit .286 in the second half of 2010 just to bat .259 for the season — 32 points lower than the average he posted over eight seasons with the Angels. With a .220 batting average so far this season, Figgins is morphing into one of the worst free-agent signings in franchise history.
The Mariners came into possession of Bradley in an exchange of headaches with the Chicago Cubs, sending the North Siders Silva. Bradley’s first year became more about his emotional outbursts than anything he did on the field, and his second simply confirmed that Bradley could no longer perform to a Major League standard.