BY Steve Rudman 01:00PM 05/13/2011

Six Pack: Vote on the worst contracts

To no surprise, the Mariners released Milton Bradley after he struggled to hit .218. / Ben Van Houten, Mariners

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

Year Date Player Pos. Skinny
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:

JEFF CIRILLO

  • Position: Third Base
  • Signed: 2002
  • Deal: 4 years, $29 million
  • General Manager: Pat Gillick

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.

RICH AURILIA

  • Position: Shortstop
  • Signed: 2004
  • Deal: 1 year, $3.5 million
  • General Manager: Bill Bavasi

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.

SCOTT SPIEZIO

  • Position: Third base
  • Signed: 2004
  • Deal: 3 years, $9.15 million
  • General Manager: Bill Bavasi

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.

POKEY REESE

  • Position: Shortstop
  • Signed: 2005
  • Deal: 1 year, $1.2 million
  • General Manager: Bill Bavasi

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.

CARL EVERETT

  • Position: Designated Hitter
  • Signed: 2006
  • Deal: 1 year, $4 million
  • General Manager: Bill Bavasi

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.

MIGUEL BATISTA

  • Position: Right-handed pitcher
  • Signed 2007
  • Deal: 3 years, $25 million
  • General Manager: Bill Bavasi

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.

JEFF WEAVER

  • Position: Right-handed pitcher
  • Signed: 2007
  • Deal: 1 year, $8.325 million
  • General Manager: Bill Bavasi

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.

HORACIO RAMIREZ

  • Position: Left-handed pitcher
  • Signed: 2007
  • Deal: 1 year, $2.65 million
  • General Manager: Bill Bavasi

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.

BRAD WILKERSON

  • Position: Outfield
  • Signed: 2008
  • Deal: 1 year, $3 million
  • General Manager: Bill Bavasi

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.

CARLOS SILVA

  • Position: Right-handed pitcher
  • Signed: 2008
  • Deal: 4 years, $48 million
  • General Manager: Bill Bavasi

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.

KENJI JOHJIMA

  • Postion: Catcher
  • Signed: 2008
  • Deal: 3 years, $24 million
  • General Manager: Bill Bavasi

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.

CHONE FIGGINS

  • Position: Third Base
  • Signed: 2010
  • Deal: 4 years, $36 million
  • General Manager: Jack Zduriencik

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.

MILTON BRADLEY

  • Position: Outfield
  • Signed: 2010
  • Deal:
  • General Manager: Jack Zduriencik

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.

[poll id="5"]


YourThoughts

  • Abc123

    Kevin Jarvis was pretty dang bad too.  And he made big $$$.

  • Abc123

    Kevin Jarvis was pretty dang bad too.  And he made big $$$.

  • Dan

    Why is this called worst contracts. If anything it should be worst decisions. 3 of the players on the list were traded for. The GM did not sign them to that contract, the context of the trade greatly influences what your perception of the decison should be. In the case of Cirillo and Ramirez the Mairners traded away future All Star closers. We were able to dump Silva for taking on Bradley.

  • Dan

    Why is this called worst contracts. If anything it should be worst decisions. 3 of the players on the list were traded for. The GM did not sign them to that contract, the context of the trade greatly influences what your perception of the decison should be. In the case of Cirillo and Ramirez the Mairners traded away future All Star closers. We were able to dump Silva for taking on Bradley.

  • Ptdog

    It’s a tough call between Cirillo and Silva. Both set back the M’s for years with huge contracts and little production, While I hated the Cirillo signing at the time, at least he had had some good numbers at Colorado. To give Silva the money they did given the numbers he put up in Chicago is criminal. Bill Bauvasi may be the worst thing that happened to Seattle sports this side of Clay Clay and his redneck buddies in OKC!

  • Ptdog

    It’s a tough call between Cirillo and Silva. Both set back the M’s for years with huge contracts and little production, While I hated the Cirillo signing at the time, at least he had had some good numbers at Colorado. To give Silva the money they did given the numbers he put up in Chicago is criminal. Bill Bauvasi may be the worst thing that happened to Seattle sports this side of Clay Clay and his redneck buddies in OKC!

  • Rocketdog

    How about signing Bavasi as GM.  If they paid him $1 a year, it is still the worst contract the M’s ever signed anyone to. 

  • Rocketdog

    How about signing Bavasi as GM.  If they paid him $1 a year, it is still the worst contract the M’s ever signed anyone to. 

  • Grandsalami

    Carl Everett was indeed terrible, but not quite as terrible as he’s made out to be here — he actually hit 11 home runs in his only Mariner season, not two.

  • Grandsalami

    Carl Everett was indeed terrible, but not quite as terrible as he’s made out to be here — he actually hit 11 home runs in his only Mariner season, not two.

  • jafabian

    Zunino is 21 years old?  So he’s leaving college early?  

    By drafting him I guess the M’s either project Montero as a DH, plan to at least entertain trades for either him oor Zunino sometimes down the road or have concerns that Montero just can’t seem to hit at Safeco.  Kind of hoping for Stanford pitcher Mark Appel but the M’s have a pretty full cupboard on pitchers right now.  Hope they end up stocking up on some leadoff hitter types.

    • Artthiel

      He’s a third-year player, which is the case with most baseball draftees out of college. He was drafted by Oakland in 09 and chose college. Baseball rules stipulate that a player is not eligible to be re-drafted again for three seasons, a smart agreement between MLB and NCAA. As I wrote above, he’s insurance against Montero’s failure as a catcher.

  • Tian Biao

    Seems like catchers learn to hit later than other positions; I suppose the Ms are hoping he can be a solid defensive catcher and game-caller, and progress as a hitter later. Time will tell, I suppose; odds are against him, but you never know. of course ya gotta have a catcher, otherwise the ball rolls to the backstop on every pitch, or hits the umpire, which would not be a bad thing, given their general lameness.

    also, yeah, as jafabian says, did the kid graduate, or what?

    • Artthiel

       The positions demands 1) game management 2) defensive skill 3) hitting, in that order. That’s why Olivo hangs on. He’s good at No. 1. Zunino’s baseball IQ is off the charts.

  • RadioGuy

    I think 21 is a fairly average age for a college senior.  I was 21 when my college class graduated…without me (I had a good time in college, which was ultimately the problem).

    I think the choice of Zunino over Appel means management isn’t sold on Montero as an everyday catcher.  The description of Zunino doesn’t remind me of Dan Wilson as much as Jason Varitek, but the point is that defensively Zunino has to be considered ahead of Montero, perhaps even right now.  They’ll keep working with Montero behind the plate, but I do think his future is at DH.

    • Artthiel

       Zunino is an insurance policy in case of Montero failure behind the plate — or if the Mariners can’t keep him as he nears FA in five years. But the Mariners have not done well in drafting catchers. Could be that they are overmatched — or overdue to hit one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1599001255 Adam Lewis

    I was certainly surprised at the press conference when McNamara said, “He’s not going to wow you.”  After watching a bunch of video on him, I do think he has more upside offensively than a Dan Wilson.  The kid has 18 home runs in about 70 games at Florida this year.  Considering college’s move to the new BBCOR bats, (which basically are like wood) that is pretty impressive.  

  • Artthiel

     This may prove to be one of the weakest drafts in recent memory. Zunino’s ceiling is probably major league average, which for the Mariners is great relative to their post-Wilson history.

  • Artthiel

     I think McNamara is willing to undersell a bit so there’s no threat to Montero, who’s nearly the same age but has much more Mariners treasure invested in him.