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The worst pitcher contracts in history

Posted by Andy
With the recent record posting fee paid by the Rangers for the right to negotiate with Yu Darvish, my mind keeps turning to Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kei Igawa, two other Japanese players to have been posted to Major League Baseball who haven't performed up to expectations.

In fact, both of Darvish's predecessors have among the worst contracts in history.


Originally researched by Neil Paine and myself in June 2011, here are the worst contracts we found at that time, going by dollar per inning pitched:

#  Player            Team     Years        Value        IP     $/IP
1  Jason Schmidt     Dodgers  2007-2009   $47,000,000   43.1 $1,084,615  
2  Kei Igawa         Yankees  2007-2011   $46,000,000   71.2   $641,860* 
3  Oliver Perez      Mets     2009-2011   $36,000,000  112.1   $320,475  
4  Carl Pavano       Yankees  2005-2008   $39,950,000  145.2   $274,256  
5  Darren Dreifort   Dodgers  2001-2005   $55,000,000  205.2   $267,423 
6  Dontrelle Willis  Tigers   2008-2010   $21,000,000  123.1   $170,270 
7  Daisuke Matsuzaka Red Sox  2006-2012  $103,111,111  622.2   $165,596#
8  Carlos Silva      Mariners 2008-2011   $48,000,000  296.2   $161,798 
9  Todd Stottlemyre  D'backs  1999-2002   $32,000,00   217     $147,465  
10 Kelvim Escobar    Angels   2007-2009   $28,500,000  200.2   $142,027 
11 Mike Hampton      Rockies  2001-2008  $121,000,000  891.1   $135,752  
12 Jake Westbrook    Indians  2008-2010   $31,000,000  237.1   $130,618 
13 Chan Ho Park      Rangers  2002-2006   $65,000,000  563     $115,453  
14 Pedro Martinez    Mets     2005-2008   $51,565,585  486.2   $105,957 
15 Kevin Brown       Dodgers  1999-2005  $105,000,000 1078      $97,403  
16 Wilson Alvarez    Rays     1998-2002   $35,000,000  377.2    $92,674 
17 Jeremy Bonderman  Tigers   2007-2010   $38,000,000  427      $88,993 
18 Denny Neagle      Rockies  2001-2004   $32,200,000  370.1    $86,949&
19 Bartolo Colon     Angels   2004-2007   $51,000,000  586.2    $86,932
20 Andy Ashby        Dodgers  2001-2003   $22,500,000  266.1    $84,481
* Includes $26 million posting fee
# Includes $51.1 million posting fee
& Contract was terminated in December 2004 with $10 million in 2005 and a
  $9 million buyout of a $12.5 million team option for 2006 remaining

Interestingly, Colon was also one of the best bargains, just this past season when he threw 164.1 innings and got paid just $900,000. That's just $5,477 per inning. You won't find many veterans cheaper than that these days. (Before players reach free agency, they are a lot cheaper. For example Ian Kennedy threw 222.0 innings in 2011 and got paid $423,000--just $1,905 per inning.)

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