3. Ed Whitson: Five Years, $4.4 Million, 1984
If Kenny Rogers was the evolutionary version of "Crafty, Angry Guy Who Vowed Revenge on the Yankees Organization After Taking Their Money," Whitson was the Charmander.
He did it first, but he also probably did it better than any of the angered chumps who followed in his footsteps.
Whitson joined Yogi Berra's Yankees for the 1985 season, coming off a solid showing in San Diego, Andy Hawkins-style. Unfortunately for Whitson, Berra was replaced early in the season by (shocker) Billy Martin, and he went from a 3.24 ERA in '84 to a 4.80 mark in '85, even though his salary had been raised to triple the league average.
Oh, right, and he and Billy Martin got in a fistfight in the middle of the season, where he shattered Martin's arm while Martin busted his rib. Right.
The next year, with Martin gone, Whitson was way worse, holding onto a 7.54 ERA in the Bronx before the Yankees bailed and dumped the next 3.5 years of his contract back onto the Padres' plate. Hard to succeed if you actively hate everyone you're trying to succeed for.
Stop me if you've heard this one, but Whitson had the best years of his career in San Diego after the trade, posting a 2.66 ERA in 227 innings while the Yankees paid his salary. Would be fantastic if this stopped happening someday. Would be just electric if this stopped happening. Makes you want to crack your own rib in half.