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Worst Free Agent Signings


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Ingraham looks at the best and worst in Indians history.


The Garland signing is forever huge, but it's a disservice to the man to point at his 19 loss season as an example of his suckitude. He wasn't what they paid for that season - and never would be - but his loss column had more to do with playing for this team - http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CLE/1977.shtml - than it did his performance.


The Martinez/Murray press conference was just freaking delicious. That was a "holy hell, they want to be in Cleveland???" moment:


The good, the bad and the very ugly

Saturday, November 8, 2008 1:51 AM EST




As the Indians begin to circle the free agent pool, trying to decide when, where, and how far they will stick their toe in, it's a perfect time to take a loving stroll down memory lane and revisit the best and worst free agent signings by, to borrow a pet phrase of former Indians president Peter Bavasi — not much of a free agent signing himself, come to think of it — this once proud franchise.




1. WAYNE GARLAND, 1976:Baseball's free agent era was just beginning and the Indians wasted no time in doing a cannonball off the high board. They lavished an unheard-of $2.3 million over an unheard-of 10 years on Garland, a 20-game winner with Baltimore the previous season. Garland promptly lost 19 games his first year in Cleveland AND THEN blew out his arm. He never won more than six games in any of the next four years, during which he was a combined 15-29.


By 1981 his career was over — but he remained on the Indians' payroll for another five years.


2. KEITH HERNANDEZ, 1989: On Pearl Harbor Day, fittingly enough, star-struck Indians general manager Hank Peters inexplicably signed the broken-down, 35-year-old Hernandez, whose career had been in decline for several years, to a two-year $3.5 million contract. Hernandez spent most of his only spring training with the Indians playing catch with the trainers.


He rarely played in 1990, and played poorly when he did. In 130 at bats he hit .200. In exchange for that $3.5 million he produced 26 hits, 23 of them singles. It was the worst bamboozling of a Cleveland sports team by a washed up New York superstar since Walt Frazier allowed the Cavaliers to call him theirs in the late 1970s.


When the Indians played in New York the Tribe's team bus would literally drop Hernandez off at his apartment on the way back from Yankee Stadium. Now THAT'S star power. By 1991 Hernandez couldn't play at all, and didn't. The Indians paid him $1.75 million that year to sit at home.


3. DAVID DELLUCCI, 2006: The list of platoon outfielders who have somehow managed to wrangle a three-year $11.5 million contract from a team is a short one. It consists of one name: Dellucci, who in his first two years with the Indians has hit .235 and averaged seven home runs and 33 RBI per year.


4. JASON JOHNSON, 2006: In January of 2006 somebody from the Indians phoned the agent for Jason Johnson, career record: 52-86, and said, "We'll give him $3.5 million to pitch in our rotation this year.'' After reviving himself, Johnson's agent said "OK!'' Johnson was 3-8 when the Indians traded him to Boston. He was 0-4 with Boston. Every two weeks that season Jason Johnson received a check for $134,615.


5. BRADY ANDERSON, 2002: The tipoff here for the Indians should have been that Anderson's salary the previous season was $7.2 million. The Indians got him for $200,000. For the Tribe, Anderson hit .163, with 13 hits, all but 12 of them home runs.


DISHONORABLE MENTION: " Lance Parrish 1993: In his last game before being released by the Indians he was charged with a walkoff passed ball on an intentional walk. Think about that.




1. ROBERTO ALOMAR, 1998: All he did in his three years in Cleveland was hit .323, while AVERAGING 21 home runs, 103 RBI, 35 stolen bases, 38 doubles, and 121 runs per year. And he won Gold Gloves at second base all three years. Any questions?


2. DOUG JONES, 1985: The Indians signed him as a MINOR LEAGUE free agent, meaning they got him for next-to-nothing. Five years and three All-Star selections later he held the club record for career saves.


3. DENNIS MARTINE,Z 1993: Although he was 38 when he signed with the Indians he was still fairly close to his prime, and proved it by being the team's No. 1 starter in 1995, maybe the best Indians team EVER, even though it lost the World Series.


4. EDDIE MURRAY, 1993: The Indians signed Martinez and Murray on the same day in 1993. Murray was a towering presence of production and professionalism on that '95 Indians team, for whom he picked up his 3,000th career hit.


5. OREL HERSHISER ,1995: In 1995 EVERYBODY wanted to play for the Indians, because everybody could see they were the most powerful team in the American League, if not all of baseball. From March through December of that year the Indians signed as free agents Jim Poole, Gregg Olson, Dave Winfield, Jack Armstrong, Bud Black, Paul Assenmacher, Julio Franco, Jack McDowell, and Orel Hershiser. Hershiser signed just prior to opening day, then went 20-7, counting the post-season.


HONORABLE MENTION: Juan Gonzalez 2001: They gave him $10 million, he gave them a .325 average, 35 homers, 140 RBI. Call it even.


the Indians he was arguably the best non-closer reliever in the league), Mike Jackson 1996 (in his three years in Cleveland he had 94 saves, which still ranks fourth on the team's career list), Kevin Millwood 2006 (one year in Cleveland, one ERA title), Joe Borowski 2007 (only two Indians have ever led the league in saves, Borowski is one of them), Tom Candiotti 1986 (in his six years with the Tribe he was six games over .500 while pitching for a team that was 132 games under .500), Casey Blake 2002 (over the last 50 years only nine players have hit more home runs for the Indians).


http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/ ... 215252.txt



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