Worst MLB Teams Money Can Buy
2007 New York Yankees
Record: 22-29, .431 (Through May 31) <br>Tied for fourth place<br><br>This year's Yankees are well on their way to becoming the highest-paid team ever to miss the playoffs. But at least they won't be alone in their misery. Since the era of rampant free-agent spending and payroll disparity began in the late 1980s, here are the other teams that stand out for being big-money busts.
2006 Boston Red Sox
Record: 86-76, .531 <br>Finish: 3rd place, 11 GB<br><br>They were in the race until a late-season sweep at the hands of the Yankees, and then suffered too many injuries to recover. The lack of contributions from right-hander Matt Clement (65 1/3 IP) and former closer Keith Foulke (zero saves, 4.35 ERA) proved costly.
2006 Chicago Cubs
Record: 66-96, .407 <br>Finish: 6th place, 17.5 GB<br><br>An early-season injury to star first baseman Derrek Lee sent the club into a tailspin and greased the skids for manager Dusty Baker's ouster. Kerry Wood was paid $12 million to pitch in only four games.
2003 New York Mets
Record: 66-95, .410 <br>Finish: 5th place, 34.5 GB<br><br>All-Star catcher Mike Piazza ($15.5 million) was limited to 68 games and high-priced veteran Roberto Alomar ($8 million) earned a ticket out of town in a midseason trade. Former AL MVP Mo Vaughn ($17 million) managed only 79 at-bats before breaking down for good.
2001 Texas Rangers
Record: 73-89, .451 <br>Finish: 4th place, 43 GB<br><br>Unhappy with a last-place finish in 2000, the Rangers signed Alex Rodriguez to a still-record $252 million deal ... and still finished in last place. They threw good money after bad the following winter, landing Chan Ho Park to a $65 million contract. Texas finished in last place all three seasons it had A-Rod on its roster.
2001 Boston Red Sox
Record: 82-79, .509 <br>Finish: 2nd place, 13.5 GB<br><br>They spent only $3 million less than the Yankees but didn't come close to challenging for a playoff spot as Oakland took the wild card with 102 wins.
2000 Baltimore Orioles
Record: 74-88, .457 <br>Finish: 4th place, 13.5 GB<br><br>The O's paid Albert Belle about $13 million for a subpar season, his last before retiring because of a hip injury. Brady Anderson was still around and making star money ($7 million) for a mediocre performance (.257 average, 16 steals in 25 attempts).
1998 Baltimore Orioles
Record: 79-83, .488 <br>Finish: 4th place, 35 GB <br><br>Former 50-home-run man Brady Anderson batted .236 while starters Jimmy Key and Doug Drabek faltered badly during their final big league seasons.
1995 Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 56-88, .389 <br>Finish: 5th place, 30 GB<br><br>The remnants of Toronto's back-to-back world champions of 1992-93 didn't age well. Pitchers Duane Ward (nearly $5 million salary) and Juan Guzman (nearly $3 million) in particular had rough seasons.
1993 Cincinnati Reds
Record: 73-89, .451 <br>Finish: 4th place, 31 GB<br><br>Former 20-game winner John Smiley signed for $18.4 million over four years and won only three games in his first season in the Queen City.
1992 Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 63-99, .389 <br>Finish: 6th place, 35 GB<br><br>The highly paid duo of Eric Davis and Darryl Strawberry combined for only 10 home runs and about $7 million in salary.
1992 New York Mets
Record: 72-90, .444 <br>Finish: 4th place, 24 GB<br><br>Dubbed "The Worst Team Money Can Buy" in a subsequent book written by Bob Klapisch and John Harper, these Mets featureed the bloated contracts and egos of Vince Coleman ($3 million) and Bobby Bonilla ($6 million).
1990 New York Yankees
Record: 67-95, .414 <br>Finish: 7th place, 21 GB<br><br>Featuring nearly the same cast as the 1989 Yankees, who finished 14.5 games out of first place, these Yankees added right-hander Pascual Perez for three years, $5.7 million. He would pitch only 14 innings that season before getting hurt.
1990 Kansas City Royals
Record: 75-86, .466 <br>Finish: 6th place, 27.5 GB<br><br>That's not a misprint. The Royals actually led the league in salary that year, thanks largely to a four-year, $13 million contract given to reliever Mark Davis, the reigning NL Cy Young winner. Davis would save only seven games in two-plus seasons in Kansas City.
1989 Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 77-83, .460 <br>Finish: 4th place, 14.0 GB<br><br>Reigning NL MVP Kirk Gibson played in only 71 games as the defending world champions failed to recapture their magic from '88.
1989 New York Yankees
Record: 74-87, .460 <br>Finish: 5th place, 14.5 GB<br><br>Don Mattingly was the club's highest-paid player at $2.2 million per year, and he earned it by hitting .303 and driving in 113 runs. But the same can't be said for Andy Hawkins ($933,333), Mel Hall ($925,000) or Steve Balboni ($800,000). Plus, how did they expect to win with Alvaro Espinoza as the starting shortstop?