The A-Rod era is over. With a little perspective, it doesn’t seem terribly different from other raucous periods in the history of the New York Yankees. Star comes to New York; star fails at first and becomes hated; star succeeds and wins championship, along with the adoration of Yankees fans; repeat. Along the way, A-Rod sold lots of tabloids, won a title, and gave people plenty to talk about on the radio. Mission accomplished, a cynic might say.
Yet this period in modern franchise history was anything but ordinary. Coming off a stretch of four World Series in five years — a fifth was actually within Mariano Rivera’s grasp in 2001 — the Yankees machine was focused solely on claiming titles. A few years without a victory parade seemed like an eternity. The front office, egged on by ownership and investors, traded well-regarded prospects for veterans and bought whatever free agents it could to feed the beast.
As so many teams learn, this strategy almost never works. In the 13 seasons following the acquisition of A-Rod, the Yankees only hoisted one more championship banner. During that span, some contracts started out great then fizzled out late (see: Mark Teixeira); some contracts returned solid value throughout (see: Hideki Matsui); and some were total flops.
The total flops are the subject of this list. Here are the seven worst Yankees contracts of the A-Rod era, which began at the start of the 2004 season. Rankings progress from the bad (No. 7) to the worst (No. 1).