THE BLOG

Worst Free Agent Signings of 2012: Nick Swisher, Zack Greinke & More

12/24/2012 02:31 pm ET | Updated Feb 23, 2013

The holiday season is a time of giving and charity, which might explain some of the contracts being offered by Major League Baseball teams this year. Ho ho oh, boy: The 2012 off-season has produced one bad deal after another in a way that recalls the halcyon days of 2001, when general managers thought it was a good idea to sign players like Mike Hampton to long-term contracts. Ahead, the five worst deals, thus far, of the 2012 off-season.

5. Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers (6 years, $147 million)
Zack Greinke is only 29 years old. He can opt out of this behemoth deal after three years. His career ERA is 3.77. That's the good news. The bad news? The Dodgers are paying $24.5 million annually for a No. 2 starter. It's hard to knock the Greinke deal for 2013, but if any contract in recent history has a chance of being Hampton'd, it's this one.

4. Brandon League, Los Angeles Dodgers (3 years, $22.5 million)
Fun with bad management: The Dodgers are paying Brandon League more money to be a middle reliever than the Reds are paying Jonathan Broxton to be a closer.

3. Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians (4 years, $56 million)
Nick Swisher is a .256 career hitter entering his age-32 season, and if he hits some easily reachable milestones, he'll earn $70 million from the Indians over the life of this contact. The deal gets even worse when you consider that Cody Ross, arguably as good as Swisher, received $26 million over three years from Arizona. The Swisher deal is so bad, you would think Brian Cashman wrote it up.

2. Angel Pagan, San Francisco Giants (4 years, $40 million)
Mamas, let your babies grow up to be fourth outfielders.

1. Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers (5 years, $80 million)
There's nothing wrong with Anibal Sanchez, I guess; he's overcome early injury problems (thanks, Joe Girardi!) to pitch between 195 and 197 innings for three straight years. For that consistency, however, the Tigers are paying $16 million annually to a pitcher who doesn't really profile as more than a No. 3 starter. The market dictates the contract and all, but really: Giving Anibal Sanchez $80 million is like paying Porsche price for a Nissan Altima.

Dishonorable mentions: Jeff Keppinger, Chicago White Sox (3 years, $12 million); Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants (3 years, $20 million); whatever contract Kyle Lohse winds up signing.