Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory
Rusney Castillo's latest attempt at making his seven-year, $72.5 million contract look like anything but a catastrophe isn't going great. The 29-year-old, who has played in 99 major-league games over three seasons, is now handing out double plays in spring training and giving further evidence to the argument that he could be the biggest bust in baseball history.
Even if Castillo doesn't go down as the biggest bust in the history of the league, he easily makes the list as it relates to the Red Sox. Here are the other ones from recent years.
I would say we make too big a deal out of Sandoval losing weight. But, to be honest, if I get to three spin classes in a week I won’t shut up about it.
Either way, there isn’t much Sandoval can do over the next three years to make his five-year, $95 million contract anything but a bad deal. He had the worst year of his career in 2015, posting a .245 average that sat 45 points below his career average in San Francisco, and played in just three games last season.
It's a no-brainer to put Crawford on this list. It should have also been a no-brainer for the Sox to not sign him. The logic at the time was seemingly that the Red Sox didn’t care if it was a bad contract; they just wanted to get back to the playoffs while also taking away the Yankees’ backup plan if they couldn’t land Cliff Lee.
In hindsight, it would have been quite a bit better to just let the Yankees sign him. Crawford’s average dropped from .307 in his final season with the Rays to .255 in his debut with the Sox in 2011. He was shipped to LA in the second season of his seven-year, $142 million contract.
Smoltz could be left off here given that expectations weren’t insanely high -- he was on a one-year, $5.5 million deal for 2009 with incentives at the end of his career -- but nobody could have expected Smoltz to be as bad as he was in Boston.
Coming off a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder, the 1996 NL Cy Young winner made his debut in late June and posted an 8.32 ERA in eight appearances -- all starts -- before being designated for assignment in August.
Nobody expected the then-31-year-old to be vintage Gagne when the Sox traded for him in 2007, but a 5.00 ERA would have at least been nice.
In 20 regular-season games for Boston after being acquired from the Rangers, Gagne blew three saves and allowed 14 runs in 18 2/3 innings for a 6.75 ERA. He took the loss in Game 2 of the ALCS after being called upon for the 11th inning against the Indians and giving up two runs.
I actually didn’t want to include Matsuzaka here because he was okay in his Red Sox debut in 2007 and followed that with a deceivingly good season -- hell, he was fourth-in A.L. Cy Young voting in 2008 -- but that still doesn’t mean he came close to meeting expectations.
After the Sox paid a $51.1 million posting fee and gave Matsuzaka a six-year, $52 million deal, the Tokyo native played out the entire contract without posting the gaudy numbers he’d regularly turned in for the Seibu Lions. His best major-league season was the aforementioned 2008 campaign in which he had a 2.90 ERA and won 18 games despite pitching seven innings in only 8 of his 29 starts. He led the majors in walks that season with 94.
Were it not for signability concerns (he was a Scott Boras client), Hansen may have been one of the top picks in the 2005 draft. The Sox took him 26th overall, gave him $4 million and put him on a fast track to the majors. But the 2006 season saw him post a 6.63 ERA in 38 appearances.
Hansen spent the entire 2007 season in Pawtucket and, after 32 games with the Sox in 2008, was sent to Pittsburgh in the three-team deal that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and Jason Bay to the Sox.
In defense of Renteria, he may be remembered as being worse than he actually was. In reality, he was just an absolute trainwreck in the field, but he wasn’t useless.
After signing a four-year, $40 million contract prior to the 2005 season, Renteria’s offensive numbers (.276/.335/.385/, 8 HR, 70 RBI) weren’t far off from what they were in his final season in St. Louis (.287/.327/.401, 10 HR, 72 RBI), but it was his 30-error showing at shortstop that got the two-time Gold Glover traded to Atlanta after one season.
The New Bedford native was believed to be a star in the making after being named both Rookie of the Year and Pitcher of the Year in the International League in 1997 with the PawSox. Things never quite panned out, as he posted a 5.73 ERA in 46 appearances over parts of four seasons in Boston before being traded to the Rockies in 2000.
Dan Duquette threw a shiny contract at Dominican righty and Checo threw . . . 21 innings over two seasons. Checo, who became known as the “Dominican Mystery Man,” made five appearances in 1997 and two in 1998 for a combined 7.61 ERA.
Another guy who was super hyped, Rodriguez was traded during his rookie year after allowing 18 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. At least the Sox sold high on him, getting Rick Aguilera for the stretch run of the 1995 season.