12/03/2012 04:07 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2013

Have Baseball GMs Wasted $1 Billion in Bad Contracts?

S.F. Astrologer's 3-Year Research Study Concludes

I've been a baseball fan all my life and I'm an astrologer. It's also time I came clean and admitted I'm a "recovering" Chicago Cubs fan. In fact, I'm in a special support group for losers -- with other die-hard Cubs fans like George Will, Jimmy Buffett, John Cusack, and Bill Murray.

After 35 years of studying astrology and observing the business of baseball, I began to notice that the worst player contracts were consistently signed (or negotiated) during a planetary event known as Mercury Retrograde.

My three-year research study shows:

  • There is a 90 percent probability that a player signed during Mercury Retrograde will not perform to the expectations of his contract.
  • Over the past three years, GMs have wasted1 billion in bad player contracts, "signed" during Mercury Retrograde.

You may ask, "How do sharp, intelligent baseball executives who are responsible for annual player budgets of $100 to $200 million make such bad signing decisions?" As an astrologer I have the answer for you: During the 3-week period when Mercury goes Retrograde, they are not thinking clearly and have bad judgment. Just as you wouldn't drink a 1/2 bottle of Jack Daniels and hop in your car for a drive, you shouldn't sign, even a great player like Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million dollar contract during Mercury Retrograde.

The planet Mercury rules your thinking, how well you formulate ideas, and overall communications. When Mercury goes retrograde, communications go awry, are undependable, and the data you receive cannot be relied upon. But worse, your critical mental faculties become cloudy and mistake-prone.

For a baseball executive, this is a horrible time to negotiate contracts or make decisions. Something about the player is unknown. And what is unknown could cause a GM to buy a "lemon"! In their analysis, the player's performance and statistics looked excellent. However, after the deal is completed, the player no longer resembles the player they thought they signed. Something unexpectedly goes wrong! Eventually, the GM finds himself looking at the team owner, saying: "Gosh... what did we miss?"

Answer: You missed the fact that you signed that player during Mercury Retrograde.

No doubt, signing players is a tricky business. We all have watched a great player perform well for three to five years, sometimes for seven to 10 years. Then the very next year, their career unexplainably goes downhill quickly.

Because of this reality, a prudent GM doesn't make a player contract decision during Mercury Retrograde. By ignoring this warning, the GM risks signing a player to a long-term contract, after his best (and last great) year. That's precisely what the Cubs did when they signed Alfonso Soriano.

In 2006, Soriano was playing for the Nationals in his ninth and best year ever, a member of the elite 40-40 club (40 HRs/40 Steals). The Cubs proceeded to sign him on Nov. 11, 2006 for eight years for $136 million. This not-so brilliant deal was put together during Mercury Retrograde.

My research showed $1 billion dollars of bad contracts signed over the past three years during Mercury Retrograde. In all cases, the player signed, subsequently was injured during the beginning of his contract or performed way under expectations:

Jason Bay: Signed on Dec. 29, 2009 by the Mets for four years for $66 million. In his first season with the Mets, Bay played in only 95 games suffering a concussion and finishing the season with a .259 batting average, only six home runs (he hit 36 the year before), 47 RBIs, and scored 48 runs. He began 2011 on the disabled list.

Carl Crawford: Signed Dec. 8, 2010 by the Red Sox for seven years for $142 million. Despite having been a fabulous and dependable ballplayer for years -- after signing with the Red Sox, Crawford struggled at the beginning of the 2011 season, batting .137, stealing only two bases in his first 12 games. For the season, he batted .255 with an on-base percentage of .289. Crawford subsequently had wrist surgery in January 2012. He had a horrible year in 2012, ended up on the 60-day disabled list and on Aug. 23, 2012, underwent a season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Ryan Howard: Signed his extension on April 27, 2010 with the Phillies for five years for $125 million. He was one of the most dependable power hitters in the league with amazing offensive numbers. That changed after his signing during Mercury Retrograde. On August 1, 2010, he injured his ankle and began having his health problems. In 2011 he tore his Achilles tendon. His ankle problems continued with him finishing the 2012 season with a .219 batting average, 14 home runs, and 56 RBI in 71 games.

Many other disappointing signings during Mercury Retrograde include: Albert Pujols ($254 million), C.J Wilson ($77.5 million), Mark Buehrle ($58 million), Cliff Lee ($120 million), Jayson Werth ($112 million), Adrian Gonzalez ($154 million). Even signing a manager during Mercury Retrograde is likely to be a failure. Just ask Bobby Valentine who signed with the Red Sox under that planetary jinx.

Were any good contracts signed during Mercury Retrograde? There have been very few exceptions. However, even in the case of a good contract signing, there is some fact that might not be revealed until Mercury goes direct. For example, Ryan Braun signed a five-year, $105 million extension on April 22, 2011, during Mercury Retrograde. He finished the season, winning the 2011 MVP. Then, in December, he was accused of testing positive for illegal use of drugs (again, during Mercury Retrograde). He was eventually exonerated even though questions remain as to whether he got off on a technicality.

Many of the worst contracts were negotiated during Mercury Retrograde even though the physical signing may have occurred a few weeks later. For example:

Adam Dunn: Signed Dec. 2, 2010 by the White Sox for four years for $56 million. On April 6, 2011 he underwent an appendectomy, proceeding to have the worst season of his career, ending the season with a .159 average, hitting only 11 home runs and recording 42 RBIs.

John Lackey: Signed Dec. 16, 2009 by the Red Sox for five years for $82.5 million. He was 14-11, with a 4.40 ERA in 2010, and in 2011, Lackey was 12-12 with a 6.41 ERA. Then, at the end of the 2011 season he underwent Tommy John surgery and was the disabled list for the entire 2012 season.

The Best Advice:

Astrology 101: Never sign a player to a contract during Mercury Retrograde! To appear like a GM genius, sign successful player contracts ONLY when Mercury is Direct.

Remember, there is a 90 percent chance that signing a player during Mercury Retrograde won't work out. Don't let the fear of losing a great player to another team cause you to sign an expensive, long-term contract at a disadvantageous time. Let the competition waste millions.

GMs involved in a player negotiation during the Retrograde should delay the signing date until after Mercury goes direct. By then, they are more likely to discover any problems that might change their interest in signing that player.

One more thing: It might be time to put an Astrologer on the team payroll.

To visit Larry Schwimmer's website, go here.

For more by Larry Schwimmer, click here.

Larry Schwimmer is President of, a San Francisco-based consulting company. The firm uses astrological analysis to counsel individual and corporate clients on picking the "best dates" to make successful decisions of all types: personal, marketing, financial, and political. The firm currently advises a diverse client base that includes Politicians, Presidents of major corporations and a MLB Baseball Team. Schwimmer, an internationally known Astrologer (with a FORTUNE 500 M&A background) has been a practicing Astrologer for 35 years. Visit his website: