Every season, major league baseball teams spend a lot of time, money, and energy on making sure that they are securing the best free agents to assist their team for the upcoming season. More often than not, free-agent signings end up benefiting both the player and the team, but this is not always the case. In this article, I will be highlighting five of the worst MLB free agency signings in 2021.
Worst MLB Free Agency Signings of 2021
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Jackie Bradley Jr. was signed by Milwaukee Brewers on a two-year, twenty-four million dollar contract to strengthen the outfield with consistent hitting and superb fielding. Unfortunately, his performance this year has been horrendous, with a .151/.231/.268 hitting slash in 205 at-bats that has made him hard to watch so far this year.
Bradley Jr. has been asked to step into a larger role since Lorenzo Cain has been battling multiple injuries and also has not been a hot bat with a .223/.322/.350 hitting slash. If the Brewers want to pass the Chicago Cubs to take the NL Central division, they will need Jackie Bradley Jr. to drastically increase his production.
Marcell Ozuna was one of the worst MLB free agency signings not only for his struggles on the field but also for his misconduct off the field. His contract that he signed was a four-year, sixty-five million dollar contract. Starting with his on-the-field performance, Ozuna has not great offensively with a hitting split of .213/.288/.356.
The most disappointing part of Marcell Ozuna’s 2021 campaign was his arrest. Ozuna was allegedly discovered assaulting and strangling his wife. It is unclear when or even if he will return to baseball, as the sentencing for this criminal act could be up to twenty years in prison.
Former Korean Baseball Organization star Ha-Seong Kim has had a slow start to his MLB career. He was signed by the Padres on a four year, twenty-eight million dollar contract. In the KBO, Kim had a fantastic hitting split of .294/.373/.493 and he was a great defender at every position in the infield. At the major league level, he has maintained the same quality of play on defense, but his offensive numbers are lagging behind.
So far for the San Diego Padres, Kim’s hitting split is .213/.266/.355, which is disappointing considering he was one of the biggest stars in the KBO. However, the pitching quality in the MLB is higher than the KBO, so Ha-Seong Kim might need some time adjusting to his new league.
Alex Colome was signed on a one year, 6.25 million dollar contract with the Minnesota Twins. Currently, his career ERA is a 3.09 which includes his 5.40 ERA for the 2021 season. Colome was supposed to be their reliever who could close out games and be reliable in high-leverage situations.
Colome lost that role in late April after blowing three saves, and he has shown that he is not the stellar reliever that he had been in previous seasons. Colome now pitches in low-leverage situations, so his value has dropped far below his starting expectations. Given his lack of value at this point in the season, Colome is among the worst MLB free agency signings in 2021.
Jake Arrieta’s return to the Chicago Cubs was seen by many as a chance for Arrieta to revitalize his career on a team where he was once a dominant pitcher. Arrieta has allowed 40 earned runs in 66 innings pitched, which comes out to a 5.45 ERA. His WHIP of 1.485 is also not a positive reflection on his 2021 season, and his mediocre pitching statistics make him one of the worst MLB free agency signings of 2021.
Jake Arrieta’s 2021 struggles did not come out of nowhere, as his ERA has been steadily increasing since his 2015 season with the Chicago Cubs where he won an MLB-leading 22 games and had an ERA of 1.77. Unfortunately, it does not look like Arrieta will ever return to being a dominant pitcher in the MLB.
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