Yankees Worst Free Agent Signings Number 4
Rich – Kei Igawa is my choice for the fourth worst free agent signing in Yankees history. The Red Sox signed Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Yankees responded by paying $25 million just to be able to talk with Igawa and then gave him a five year, $20 million deal (which in comparison to Dice-K, this was a steal). However, there is a reason Igawa didn’t get Dice-K money – he simply was not worth it. If you read Joe Torre’s book, Yankee Years, you will see a story about Igawa from the bullpen catcher. The bullpen catcher, Mike Borzello, caught Igawa’s first bullpen session with the Yankees and was basically amazed this guy was considered a MLB pitcher. The way Igawa got rocked in basically every single start he ever made for the Yankees, proved Borzello right. Igawa made 13 starts for the Yankees over two years before spending the rest of the time in the minors, and when the contract was over he went back to Japan. He went 2-4 in 71 innings pitched, with an ERA of 6.66 and a WHIP of 1.758.
Adam – Growing up in New York I loved Rogers. Roy Rogers roast beef was my favorite but Kenny Rogers is a whole other story entirely. In 1995, Rogers had a 17-7 season with a 3.38 ERA and an ERA+ of 144. The Yankees saw him as a huge veteran asset that could help the youngsters coming up and lead the Bombers rotation. They signed him to a four-year $20 Mil contract and Rogers promptly posted the second-worst ERA of his first eight years in Major League Baseball and the worst SO/9 numbers of his career.
Not to be outdone, in 1997 he was actually worse than in 1996. His 5.65 ERA was the worst of his career to that point. Even with all the horrible numbers, if he was good with teammates and the youngsters, he could have salvaged the signing as a mentor. But alas, Kenny was having none of that as he was reportedly horrible with teammates, wanted no part of the new guys, and argued with the New York media whenever he got the chance. When you are traded for nothing and your team has to throw cash in to dump you, then you check in at number four on my list of Yankees worst free agent signings.