2. Carl Pavano: Four Years, $39.95 Million, 2004
For years, Pavano has held the top spot on any of these "worst contract" retrospectives. It took a God among Sucky Men to toss him down to No. 2, but we'd argue it'd be impossible to snub our No. 1.
Pavano's story has been told repeatedly, with other names attached, in the preceding pages. Best year of his life (2004, 18-8, 3.00 ERA, 222.1 innings). Red Sox wanted him. Yankees in desperation mode. Brian Cashman unable to identify starting pitching targets to save his life. Moderate overpay. Disaster.
Yet, somehow, Pavano ended up as the one who craved revenge, raising his game in 2009 and 2010 as a Minnesota Twin whenever the Yankees came to town. Baffling the mental pretzel these struggling pitchers turn themselves into in their repeated attempts to play the victim.
Pavano started off alright with the Yankees (3.10 ERA in March/April, lots of hits allowed), but came down with a bum shoulder and finished the year 4-6 with a 4.77 ERA in 17 starts. He was good on the road! 3-3, 2.89 ERA in eight starts. He was horrible at home! 1-3, 6.89 ERA in nine starts. How. Do. We. Keep. Targeting. These. People?!
Add in the injuries and a series of remarkable lies -- Pavano hid a car wreck from the Yankees in 2006, which resulted in two broken ribs (hard to hide, with the clear rib pain!) -- and you have an unmitigated disaster.
Luckily, although Pavano fared well for the Twinkies against the Yanks, Jorge Posada and A-Rod got him late in Game 3 of the 2009 ALDS to clinch an ALCS berth, and six innings, 10 hits and four earned runs later, he also lost Game 2 in 2010. Damn. That'll chap your behind, an injury Pavano also suffered during his years in the Bronx.