Thursday, May 1, 2008
The Price of Lame - Mike Hampton
Big contracts carry big risks for the teams that hand them out. Sometimes they work out (or, at the very least, are justifiable)... and sometimes they go horribly wrong. The Price of Lame will be an ongoing feature highlighting some of the worst contracts in existence. Enjoy!
I love when a team signs an ordinary player to an extraordinary contract. Carl Pavano, Albert Belle, Barry Zito... the list is endless. But the first Price of Lame features the oft-injured Mike Hampton.
A Brief Background
Hampton was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 1990 but didn't debut with the big league club until '93, going a less than stellar 1-3, allowing 28 hits, 18 runs and 17 walks in 17 innings pitched. He was dealt to the Houston Astros following his '93 debut. He posted fairly mediocre numbers until his breakout year in 1999, when he went a National League best 22-4 and posted a 2.90 ERA. He was then traded to the Mets (a rare good move by the Astros) before the final year of his contract, and went on to win 15 games with a 3.12 ERA.
Enter: Colorado Rockies
It was December of 2000, and monster contracts were all the rage. Teams had money to spend, and lots of it. The Rockies needed to throw big dollars at pitchers who were afraid of the thin Denver air ruining their careers, so they offered Hampton $121 million over 8 years. Hampton (pictured; 2003 Fleer Platinum #143) had to have been giddy knowing the robbery he was about to pull off.
The Price of Lame
This is where I have some fun with numbers. He only lasted two years with the Rockies, going a combined 21-28 over that period with a 5.75 ERA. That breaks down to just over $2.25 million per win! In total, the Rockies paid Hampton 47.5 million dollars for his services. After the '02 season he was traded to the Florida Marlins where he never actually appeared in a game. They quickly (but not before eating $38 million of his salary) pawned him off on the Atlanta Braves. Not exactly the way I'd spend that much money if I had a choice. To date, Hampton has contributed 32 wins to the organization, along with a 3.96 ERA. Oh, and he hasn't made an appearance since August 2005.
Hampton has "earned" $85 million from his eight year deal so far, and has won just 53 games, breaking down to $1.6 million per win. And if that wasn't bad enough, Hampton will earn $15 million in 2008 and a whopping $20 million in 2009.
Congratulations, Mike Hampton. You are truly lame, but truly rich. You win.
Closing gig in jeopardy alert...
Kerry Wood blew his third save of the year for the Chicago Cubs, allowing three runs on three hits in the 9th inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. Let the countdown to a closer change on the North side begin.