Indians: What Contracts Were The Worst?

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Sep 24, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians center fielder Michael Bourn (24) scores a run as Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez (13) attempts the tag in the fifth inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

I would grade Bourn’s contract worse than Swisher at the moment because speed doesn’t age as gracefully as a nice walk rate and 9 straight seasons of 20 home runs. But he doesn’t seem to receive the same criticism as Swisher, maybe because Swisher is louder, but the Indians also paid for that kind of character.

But the list got me thinking of worse contracts over the years for the Indians.

Travis Hafner would immediately jump off the page.

While he did produce a WAR’s of 1.5, 2.4, 1.6, 0.8 after his contract kicked in after his disastrously injury plagued 2008, he never again came close to his peak 5.9 2006 season.

The contract certainly handcuffed the Indians as the 2008 season went down the tubes and they traded C.C. Sabathia after they weren’t going to give him a big deal because they also gave Jake Westbrook a 3 year/$31 million deal – and he got hurt.

Hafner put together one season with more than 400 at bats after his big contract. Getting barely above average production for a $48 million dollar player handcuffed the Indians until he was a free agent and they didn’t resign him.

With that freed up money, they signed Swisher and Bourn.

Westbrook meanwhile got hurt in 2008 after 34.2 innings of work in the first year of his deal and had Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2009 and pitched average in 2010 before being traded.

He gave the Indians 921 1/3 innings in five seasons before signing the contract. After? 161 1/3 over three seasons.

More from Away Back Gone

He did give the Indians Corey Kluber, so maybe that excuses his contract financially disabling the Indians for a few years.

Matt Lawton earned $19.25 million from the Indians over three seasons. Total WAR? – 3.7. Ouch.

I don’t even want to talk about Grady Sizemore‘s 2.2, -0.4 and 0.1 WAR over the final three years of his ‘big contract’ (3 years/$21.36 million). It still depresses me.

Wayne Garland anybody? 10 years $1 million in 1976. 4.1 WAR in 1977. After, combined -0.8 in his final four seasons before dropping out of baseball.

Fausto Carmona posted a 6.2 WAR in 2007, while Roberto Hernandez had a combined -1.4 over the next five seasons after signing his deal.

What are some of the Indians worst contracts you can remember? If we consider Swisher’s contract bad, we must consider Bourn’s equally as bad.

Maybe we should do something positive, and look back at the best contracts the Indians offered. There’s been quite a few of those.

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