Last week, we took a look at some of the most successful deals that Mike Rizzo has made for the Nationals in the last ten years. Fans can look back fondly at the deals that brought in Max Scherzer, Daniel Murphy, Howie Kendrick, and more.
However, as great as these deals worked out for Washington, there have been plenty in the last ten years that have turned out to be quite the opposite. Let's take a look at some of the worst deals that the Nationals have made in the last 10 years.
Housekeeping: If you haven't read the prequel to this article, click here. The same requirements put in place there apply here too; no deals before the offseason prior to the 2013.
Stephen Strasburg (7yr, $245M)
Yep, your 2019 World Series MVP is on this list.
In case you are somehow unaware, the Nationals gave Strasburg a BIG payday after winning the 2019 World Series against the Astros, giving him a 7 year, $245M contract, which, 4 years later stands as the second-largest contract for a pitcher, in terms of total value. Only Gerrit Cole got more ($324M).
Sounds like a smart move right? Most Nationals fans would agree. But, here's the kicker, and the sole reason why he's on this list. Due to various injuries, Strasburg has pitched in 8 games since 2020.
8 Games. Unbelievable.
Nearly $250,000,000 to someone who has only pitched in 8 games in almost 3 years. Hindsight is always 20/20, and this one hurts. This is arguably the worst contract in all of baseball right now, and I don't think it's particularly close.
Patrick Corbin (6yr, $140M)
Corbin is currently the 12th highest paid pitcher in Major League Baseball, having the 7th highest valued-contract in the league today.
His first season with Washington in 2019 was very easily his best; posting a 14-7 record and a 3.25 ERA (second lowest of his career). He was also an integral part of the 2019 World Series run. If you believe that is enough to keep him off of this list, so be it.
However, the three seasons that he's played since? That's the reason why he's here. Please enjoy browsing through his notable statistics from the last three seasons:
2020: 2W, 7L; 4.66 ERA; (Led MLB in hits)
2021: 9W, 16L (Led MLB in losses, ER, HR)
2022: 6W, 19L (Led MLB in losses, hits, and ER)
I, for one, did not know that 19 losses in a season was possible in modern day baseball. I stand corrected. That number is still baffling to me.
Will Harris (3yr, $24M)
Harris signed his deal prior to the 2020 season, after spending the last five seasons with the Houston Astros, which included an All-Star appearance in 2016. However, his time with Washington was not nearly as successful.
After appearing in more than 60 games in four of his previous five seasons, Harris only appeared in a combined 28 games for the Nationals in 2020 and 2021 seasons. And to add insult to injury for Washington, Harris did not appear in a single game in the 2022 season.
When Washington offered Harris his deal, they thought they were getting a steady yet formidable bullpen arm, as Harris had posted a 1.50 ERA the previous season. However, they got quite the opposite. Harris posted a 3.06 ERA in 2020 and a staggering 9.00 ERA in 2021.
Think about it this way: The Nationals paid Will Harris over $857K for each appearance that he made over the course of his deal. That's just flat out bad.
Starlin Castro (2yr, $12M)
Starlin Castro's time with Washington wasn't particularly special in terms of on field production, his second season was much better than his first. It's this second season that gets him on this list, for other reasons.
Castro was released by the Nationals in 2021 after he was suspended for 30 games by Major League Baseball for violating their policy on domestic violence, sexual assault, and also child abuse. In a statement after MLB's investigation had concluded, Rizzo said "I don't plan on having him back". Castro hasn't played in the major leagues since.
Castro's off-the-field issues is the reason he lands on this list.
Matt Wieters (2yr, $21M)
The long-time Baltimore Oriole signed with Washington in the 2017 offseason. Coming off of an All-Star appearance, Wieters inked a $21M deal with the Nationals, and went on to appear in 199 games in a Curly W uniform.
In his time with the Nationals, Wieters didn't play terribly, but he didn't exactly play great. Posting batting averages of .225 and .238 and totaling 151 hits and 82 RBI's in his tenure in Washington.
Statistically, Wieters wasn't bad; however coming off of an All-Star season, I think were expecting more and were disappointed with what they got.