Bad New York baseball contracts
For every Reggie Jackson, there's a Carl Pavano. Here's a look at some of the free-agent contracts or contract extensions that didn't pan out for the Mets and Yankees, in order from least expensive to most expensive.
KYLE FARNSWORTH, Yankees pitcher
Signed a three-year, $17.5 million contract before the 2006 season
The Yankees were looking for a reliable reliever to get the ball to Mariano Rivera. Farnsworth was not that guy. In two-plus seasons with the Yankees, Farnsworth was 6-9 with a 4.33 ERA and seven saves in 181 games. He was traded to Detroit for Ivan Rodriguez on July 30, 2008.
KAZ MATSUI, Mets shortstop, second baseman
Signed three-year, $20.1 million contract before the 2004 season
Matsui actually supplanted a young Jose Reyes at shortstop for his debut season, but the Japanese import never lived up to expectations and finished out his Mets career at second base. He hit just .256 with a .308 on-base percentage and 11 home runs in over two seasons with the Mets before he was shipped to Colorado for Eli Marrero on June 9, 2006.
JARET WRIGHT, Yankees pitcher
Signed a three-year, $21 million contract before the 2005 season
When he wasn't injured, Wright was ineffective. Or he was turning in five-inning performances. Over the life of his Yankee contract, Wright was 16-12 with a 4.99 ERA in 43 games (40 starts) — or $488,372 per appearance. He averaged just 4.74 innings per game. Wright was traded to Baltimore for Chris Britton on Nov. 12, 2006.
LUIS CASTILLO, Mets second baseman
Signed a four-year, $25 million contract before the 2008 season
Castillo's time in New York is most remembered for his inability to catch a would-be game-ending pop-up against the Yankees. His jaw-dropping gaffe allowed the winning run to score and forever doomed him in the eyes of most Mets fans. He hit .270 with a .366 on-base percentage and just four home runs during this contract. He was released before the start of the 2011 season.
DANNY TARTABULL, Yankees RF/DH
Signed a five-year, $27 million contract before the 1992 season
Tartabull, right, had hit .290 with 124 home runs during five years in Kansas City, but his contact seriously slumped upon coming to New York. Tartabull hit just .252 with 88 home runs in parts of four seasons with the Yankees. He wouldn't finish his contract in New York, as he was traded to Oakland for Ruben Sierra and Jason Beverlin on July 28, 1995.
OLIVER PEREZ, Mets pitcher
Signed a three-year, $36 million contract before the 2009 season
The mercurial lefty capitalized on strong 2007 and 2008 campaigns before turning into a disaster during this contract. He was just 3-9 with a 6.81 ERA in 31 games (21 starts) during the deal — that’s $12 million per win! He walked more batters (100) than he struck out (99) and suffered from injuries — or was supposed to have had injuries — that allowed the Mets to not have to pitch him. Perez was released before the 2011 season.
CARL PAVANO, Yankees pitcher
Signed a four-year, $39.95 million contract before the 2005 season
Pavano was 9-8 with a 5.00 ERA in only 26 starts during his time with the Yankees. He was placed on the disabled list several times for a variety of ailments, missed the 2006 season entirely and started only nine games after 2005. Pavano earned $27,425 per inning pitched for the Yankees (145.2).
KEI IGAWA, Yankees pitcher
Signed a five-year, $46 million contract – including posting fee – prior to the 2007 season
Igawa, a successful Japanese starter, was acquired via the posting system from the Hanshin Tigers. But he proved unable to transition to Major League Baseball. Igawa went 2-4 with a 6.66 ERA in 16 games (13 starts) in the majors over the life of his contract — or $2.875 million per big-league appearance. He spent most of his time in the minor leagues, bouncing between the Yankees' Class AA and Class AAA affiliates, and going 36-25 with a 3.83 ERA in 107 games (83 starts).
BOBBY BONILLA, Mets right fielder
Signed five-year, $29 million contract before the 1992 season, plus a buyout that netted him $1.2 million per year for 25 years
Bonilla's on-field performance wasn't the reason his first go-around with the Mets was largely a dud. After struggling in his first season, Bonilla posted an .874 OPS in 1993 and further improved that mark the next two years. But off the field was another story. He threatened a sports writer and called the press box during a game to argue an error. He was traded with a player to be named later to Baltimore for Damon Buford and Alex Ochoa on July 28, 1995. He was traded back to the Mets on Nov. 11, 1998, but hit just .160 with four home runs in 141 plate appearances. Bonilla was no more a model citizen during his second tour and the Mets released him in 2000. In order to defer the $5.9 million still owed to Bonilla, the Mets agreed to pay him $1.2 million for 25 years starting in 2011.Counting his original contract, the deferred payments and the $5.9 million they paid him in 1999, the Mets gave Bonilla just under $65 million.
A.J. BURNETT, Yankees pitcher
Signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract before the 2009 season
Burnett, a talented pitcher with Florida and Toronto, was known as streaky and injury-prone. With the Yankees in need of high-end pitching, Burnett was brought aboard. He proved durable, but his inconsistency was his undoing. After a solid 2009 season during which he helped the Yankees win a World Series, Burnett posted two seasons of .500 or below with ERAs over 5.00. He was traded to Pittsburgh for two minor-leaguers on Feb. 19, 2012. During three seasons with the Yankees, Burnett was 34-35 with a 4.79 ERA. He was 2-2 with a 5.08 ERA in seven postseason starts.