There’s always a worry, regardless of the sport, the player, or the size of deal, that the contract is going to be a bust. Maybe the player will get hurt. Maybe they just won’t be good. Maybe it was a straight overpay that the team never should have handed out. The Mariners haven’t had a ton of awful contracts in their history, but they’ve had their fair share.
It’s why I thought it would be fun/interesting/sad to take a look at the five worst contracts that the Mariners have handed out in recent history. Take note that I say recent history. I’m trying to keep this to the last 10-15 years. It can be hard to track numbers accurately before then, and guys making $1 million and having a bad season make it a bad deal, but not an all-time awful one. Before I get to the top 5 though, I wanted to go through some of the honorable mentions.
Let’s look at some of the worst contracts ever signed by the Seattle Mariners
The one that first came to mind was Evan White. He won a gold glove his first year, but the bat just hasn’t been there at all. He’s hit .165/.235/.308 so far in his career, but it’s only through 279 ABs. He’s got plenty of time to figure it out, and if he does, not only could his contract be worth it, but it would still be a fantastic deal.
Richie Sexson came to mind as well. However, he still had a pretty darn good two seasons to start his time in a Mariners jersey. He had a combined 6.6 WAR those first two years with 73 HR and 76 2B.
I almost put Miguel Batista in, as his 3-24 was pretty bad. However, his first season was good, and he racked up a 2.8 WAR season. He would go -2 and -0.1 after that, so it was still pretty bad. If i had to put one more person on the list, it would probably be him. Marc Rzepczynski almost made the list too with a 2-11, but he was decent his first year, and hardly pitched the second (7.1 innings).
Lastly, there is Paxton. I couldn’t take putting Big Maple on here, despite the $8.5 million the team had to pay him for 1.1 innings, but i’ll give him a pass since he had surgery, and it’s not like he was bad… he just got hurt.
For those who wanted Cano on here, prepare to be disappointed. He was actually pretty good for the Mariners, with a 23.5 WAR in 4.5 seasons. They paid him $108 million during that time, which comes in at $4.6 million per win, much better than the market rate of around $7 million per win.
Those are who I have as honorable mentions. Whether they just weren’t quite bad enough, had good stretches, or didn’t hurt the payroll enough to make the list, they still all deserve recognition as a (dis)honorable mention. Here is the real list. Coming in hot at #5 is…