Editor’s Note: This is the original blog post. If you want to see the comprehensive list, click HERE. I update the master list semi-regularly, whenever I can find the time.
Here we are with Part 2 of the series. Look for the link in the menu bar above to be updated accordingly with my exhaustive timeline of a generation’s worth of bungling. There will likely be a Part 3 of the series, but in that one I’ll focus on supposed bad moves made by the Good Guys that I’ll end up defending as “not that bad”. It’s in this “Omissions” article where you’ll find the likes of the Randy Johnson Trade and the Ken Griffey Jr. Trade.
Of course, this is by no means a complete list. And again, I welcome any and all suggestions from the peanut gallery.
June 26, 1991 – (Sonics) – Rich King 1st Round Draft Pick: 14th overall. I don’t want to say this is the “first” in a long line of busted centers for the Seattle Supersonics, but he’s certainly the first on my list. 7 feet 2 inches of complete and utter worthlessness. The guy gave us absolutely nothing for four straight years before signing elsewhere at the end of his rookie deal. To be fair, I don’t know much about the guy – maybe he suffered through chronic injuries or something. Regardless, for a team on the rise, the Sonics really missed on this pick. The only way you could defend the team on this one is that there really weren’t any studs left once Dale Davis was snapped up 1 pick prior. Nevertheless, there’s nothing I can’t stand more than a tall, unathletic white guy who does little else than take up space.
September 1, 1993 – (Sonics) – Dana Barros, Eddie Johnson & 1st Round Pick to Charlotte Hornets for Kendall Gill & 1st Round Pick: for me, Kendall Gill is Public Enemy #2 among Sonics in the 1990s (just below Jim McIlvaine). We were looking for a solid shooting guard to play alongside GP and the boys; what we got was a dour, cancerous sideshow. Is it any surprise that he was on the first ever 1-seed to lose to an 8-seed? Is it any surprise that his play and his attitude destroyed what should’ve been another championship run in the ’94-’95 season? Not in my book. Kendall Gill was an assclown before Milton Bradley stole his crown. To make matters worse, Barros was a stud sharpshooter and Eddie Johnson was a quality all-around player. Fortunately, to make matters much better, on June 27, 1995, the Sonics traded him BACK to Charlotte for Hersey Hawkins and David Wingate. Result: Sonics team chemistry skyrockets and they go to the NBA Finals. Coincidence? You better believe NOT.
July 18, 1994 – (Sonics) – Ricky Pierce, Carlos Rogers & Two 1995 2nd Round Picks to Golden State Warriors for Sarunas Marciulionis & Byron Houston: I remember nothing about Byron Houston, probably because he DID nothing for us. Ricky Pierce, on the other hand, was a veteran guard who could come off the bench and still give you quality minutes (and, in fact, he did for a few years after this trade). The real culprit here, though, is Sarunas Marciulionis. The guy was supposed to come in and be Instant Offense. Instead, for his lone season with us (that disaster of a ’94-’95 campaign) he averaged 9.3 points per game while playing abysmal defense. If you can’t tell, there was a lot to hate about that ’94-’95 team. Fortunately, glory would shine down upon us when we flipped both Marciulionis and Houston on September 18, 1995 to Sacramento for Frank Brickowski. You know what they say: if you’re going to be an unathletic white center, you better bring the pain on your opponents (okay, so maybe they don’t say that, but they should).
July 22, 1996 – (Sonics) – Jim McIlvaine signs 7-year $33.6 million deal: the beginning of the end. This one wasn’t just a team-destroyer, this was a franchise-destroyer. First of all, McIlvaine was a nothing backup for the Bullets for 2 seasons. We sign him to this monster deal RIGHT after our run to the Finals when we should have God damned signed Shawn Kemp to a nice fat extension. Instead, Kemp is unhappy, plays another season where we lose in the 2nd round (with McIlvaine giving us no help whatsoever), forces a trade where we get 1 good season out of Vin Baker (before the strike-shortened season gets him all fat), and then the wheels come off (ultimately leading to a bunch of up-and-down Sonics teams, and finalized by those Oklahoma City chickenfuckers stealing our team). Maybe it wasn’t all Jim McIlvaine’s fault; but it was CERTAINLY the fault of Wally Walker and company. We had no business bringing in this guy, nor giving him the kind of money that would make All Pros like Shawn Kemp jealous. He broke up our golden team, and for that this sin of signing him is unforgivable. There was plenty of good basketball left with GP and Kemp; it’s a crime we didn’t get to see it.
September 25, 1997 – (Sonics) – Shawn Kemp to Cleveland Cavaliers for Vin Baker (from Milwaukee Bucks in a 3-way deal): I got into this one a little bit in the Jim McIlvaine section, but this definitely deserves to be on the list. One could argue that, in the end, it was one overweight disappointment for another, but I refuse to see it that way. First of all, Shawn Kemp wasn’t an alcoholic. Gary Payton would’ve made DAMN sure to keep him in tip-top shape during that NBA Lockout. And anyway, who could’ve seen the lockout coming (or, at least, who could have seen it costing us so many games that season)? What you COULD see coming was breaking up a dynasty. Yes, Kemp pretty much forced this trade upon us (and yes, Vin Baker WAS a quality player at the time on par with Kemp’s level of production), but since this correlates DIRECTLY with the Jim McIlvaine signing, the Sonics were doing nothing more than compounding one mistake on top of another. Had we kept Kemp happy in the first place, none of these other things would’ve happened (and, as you’ll see, the trail of tears from that McIlvaine signing will continue).
August 9, 1999 – (Sonics) – Vernon Maxwell signs 3-year $5 million deal: no, it wasn’t an exorbitant amount of money. But, we were getting a guy whose prime was CLEARLY well behind him (and, even then, what kind of a “prime” can you really call it?) and we were getting a guy who couldn’t stick with a team. He’d changed cities TEN times before he landed in Seattle! You HAVE to think something’s not quite right with a guy when he’s got that kind of background (again, see: Bradley, Milton). Sure enough, he was turmoil incarnate when he joined the Sonics. I mean, what kind of a dick throws a fucking free weight at a teammate? He injured two of our guys while battling it out with GP, and wasn’t long for the team after that (he was traded on September 20, 2000 in that collosal Patrick Ewing deal). Any shock to anyone that he was thereby waived 15 days later (and again in December of that same year)?
August 18, 1999 – (Sonics) – Vin Baker re-signs for 7-year $86 million deal: and here we are, with the zenith of Jim McIlvaine’s horrorshow. WHAT were we THINKING??? Vin Baker just finished a horrendous strike-shortened season – where of course he came back drunk and overweight – and we rewarded him with a max contract. Incredible. Un-fucking-believable. We got three full seasons of lessened production out of this schlub, then we dealt him on July 22, 2002 to Boston with Shammond Williams for Kenny Anderson, Joseph Forte, Vitaly Potapenko. I can’t imagine anyone really “won” that deal, but it’s just frustrating. From ’96/’97 onward, we squandered Gary Payton’s prime with a subpar supporting cast. On behalf of everyone in Seattle, I hereby apologize to GP for not getting you the ring you deserved when you were with us.
April 21, 2001 – (Seahawks) – Koren Robinson, 1st Round Draft Pick: 9th overall. There were plenty of other wide receiver fish in the sea in the 2001 NFL draft, but we decided to go big with Koren Robinson. He was supposed to be a Randy Moss-type of guy who would speed down the field and go up for the long bombs. Instead, we got a lush who wasted all of his God-given ability. Koren Robinson single-handedly turned me (and most of Seattle) off of drafting wide receivers high in the first round.
June 5, 2001 – (Mariners) – Michael Garciaparra, 1st Round Draft Pick: this was a guy we seemingly drafted on name alone. I mean, Nomar was such a great player for Boston, how could his brother not be equally as amazing? And at the same short stop position no less! Well, he was a dud. This was our supplemental pick for losing A-Rod, so there’s some more salt for your wounds (I better hear plenty of extra boos for Pay-Rod now that you’re thusly reminded!). Making matters worse: David Wright was drafted by the Mets two picks later. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have that third base position locked down all this time?
July 31, 2001 – (Sonics) – Calvin Booth signs 6-year $34 million deal: now HERE’S where the rediculousness of the Sonics’ search for a starting center reached new heights. I guess averaging 7.5 points per game (over merely 15 games) for the Dallas Mavericks means you’re worth a skyscraper of a deal (at long as the Sonics are the willing buyer). And, as laughable as it sounds, we would’ve RELISHED 7.5 points per game! Only for the Sonics could a suck-ass player manage to get markedly worse. In the end, we traded his final three years away on July 26, 2004 BACK to the Mavs for Danny Fortson’s final three years. You’d think after McIlvaine, we would’ve learned our lesson. Of course, you’d think after McIlvaine AND Booth, we REALLY would’ve learned our lesson. In a sense, I guess we did, since we opted henceforth (for the most part) to get our shitty centers direct from the NBA Draft.
July 18, 2002 – (Sonics) – Jerome James re-signs 3-year $15 million deal: the thing I’ll never forget about this deal was in the 2002 NBA playoffs we played (and lost to) the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. As a 7-seed, we took them to the brink of five games, and in those games Jerome James exploded for production up to that point unseen. He was a monster. Scoring, rebounding, defending. He was our MVP and almost single-handedly led us to the next round. Ignoring all of his regular season struggles up to that point, we gave him this contract and our starting center job. He went on to revert right back to his old ways, then somehow snookered the Knicks into giving him a huge payday.
December 19, 2003 – (Mariners) – Scott Spiezio Signs 3-year $9.15 million deal: we stole him away from the Angels (after their World Series win) and got nowhere near what we paid for. He batted .215 for us over 112 games (a remarkable decline). We played him for a bit in 2005 where he got 3 hits in 47 at bats, then we released him on August 19, 2005. Nearly 4 years and 4 months later the Mariners would go on to steal Chone Figgins from the Angels. Here’s a hint fellas: Angels are only good when they’re Angels and they get to play 19 games against the Mariners!
January 8, 2004 – (Mariners) – Carlos Guillen to Detroit Tigers for Juan Gonzalez & Ramon Santiago: not the Juan Gonzalez you’re thinking of. This Juan Gonzalez was a minor leaguer who never cracked the majors. Ramon Santiago was a glorified minor leaguer who SHOULD’VE never cracked the majors. Meanwhile, Carlos Guillen went on to kick ass and take names. We really missed his streaky-ass.
January 8, 2004 – (Mariners) – Rich Aurilia Signs 1-year $3.5 million deal: on the SAME DAY. We replaced a guy who went on to be a cornerstone for a quality Tigers run with a guy who’d be released 6 months later. National Leaguers can NOT hit in Safeco! Say it with me now!
June 24, 2004 – (Sonics) – Robert Swift, 1st Round Draft Pick: 12th overall. We could’ve had Al Jefferson; think HE could’ve helped out our front court? Instead, we got the 7-foot project out of high school who spent more time rehabbing knees and getting tattoos than he did playing pro basketball. What a magnificently frightening bust!
December 15, 2004 – (Mariners) – Richie Sexson Signs 4-year $50 million deal: this was the beginning of a very happy week for Mariners fans. We’d just wrapped a total collapse of a season where all of our veteran players died simultaneously. This was after an epic string of Mariners seasons where 90 wins was the norm. A lot of money was coming off the books. I mean, a LOT of money. In his first major foray with the team, Bill Bavasi was looking to both make a big splash and return the team to dominance. First: Richie Sexson. He missed most of 2004 with injury, but before that he was a home run machine with the Brewers. He had two seasons of 45 homers in a 3-year span; SURELY he’d bring that much needed bop over to Seattle! And, to his credit, he did … for two seasons. But, if you were paying attention, you’d know that was really 1.5 seasons; because in year 2 of his 4-year deal he got the bulk of his numbers in the 2nd half of the season when the team was already out of it. 2007 saw that first-half malaise push through to the full season; 2008 saw him clearly done. He was making an ass-load of money by going out there making an ass of himself. The team finally had the decency (to its fans) to release him on July 10, 2008, but by then the damage had been done. That 2008 team was a clusterfuck of epic proportions, only matched (somehow) by 2010’s clusterfuck to end all clusterfucks.
December 17, 2004 – (Mariners) – Adrian Beltre Signs 5-year $64 million deal: two days after landing the whale that was Richie Sexson, the Mariners went out and doubled down on Adrian Beltre. Most of us, over time, came to respect Beltre for what he was: a hard-nosed, inconsistent hitter with a little bit of power and a ton of defensive ability at the hot corner. We could respect the guy for playing through pain (and massive shoulder injuries) and giving his absolute all to a consistently losing effort. But, he wasn’t worth the money and it was obvious early on. Coming off a career year (steroids anyone?) in Los Angeles where he hit .334 with 48 home runs (after his previous career high was only .290 and 23 home runs – not in the same season), he’s the epitome of a Contract Year Player. Year 1 with the Mariners: .255 with 19 homers. Believe it or not, Beltre was the more loathed between him and Sexson. That went on to change, but we’ll never forget the disappointment on all our faces when we realized that Beltre would never come NEAR to approaching .334 with 48 homers again.
January 4, 2005 – (Mariners) – Pokey Reese Signs 1-year $1.2 million deal: it’s not the amount of money, it’s not the length of contract. It was the fact that he never played a GAME. Not for the Mariners in that year, not for another Major League Baseball team ever again! In his place, we were introduced to Yuniesky Betancourt. And the rest, as they say, is hostility.
June 7, 2005 – (Mariners) – Jeff Clement, 1st Round Draft Pick: 3rd overall. Out of the top 7 picks, there was one bust, one mediocre player (who could still be decent if this year’s promise means anything), and five super studs. Guess which one the Mariners drafted! Let me run down the list: 1. Justin Upton, 2. Alex Gordon, 3. Clement, 4. Ryan Zimmerman, 5. Ryan Braun, 6. Ricky Romero, 7. Troy Tulowitzki. Four of those guys have are considered All Stars and Romero is a quality starter for Toronto. We screwed up ROYAL in this draft. Where is Jeff Clement now? Probably in the Pirates’ farm system (where he belongs; the worst Major League team’s minor leagues). Who did we get in return? Try Ian Snell and Jack Wilson. I’ll give you a minute to bang your head against the wall.
July 30, 2005 – (Mariners) – Randy Winn to San Francisco Giants for Jesse Foppert & Yorvit Torrealba: or, in other words: “Randy Winn to San Francisco Giants for Nothing.”
December 22, 2005 – (Mariners) – Jarrod Washburn Signs 4-year $37.5 million deal: hey, another Angels player they didn’t want! I bet this turned out swell for the Good Guys! Except it didn’t; we got three sub-par seasons before he miraculously turned it around long enough in 2009 so we could trade him to the Tigers on July 31st for Mauricio Robles & Luke French. That was a Jackie-Z miracle if I ever witnessed one. French is a back-end starter (currently toiling for the Rainiers) and Robles has the potential to be great. Or, at least, greater than Washburn ever was for us.
January 4, 2006 – (Mariners) – Carl Everett Signs 1-year $3.4 million deal: you can point to this signing as the beginning of the Mariners suffering through rent-a-veterans on their last legs. He would be released on July 26th of that year, but not before hitting 11 homers and batting .227. Funny thing is, what WOULDN’T we give to have 11 homers and a .227 batting average out of our designated hitter in 2011?
April 29, 2006 – (Seahawks) – Kelly Jennings, 1st Round Draft Pick: undersized cornerback wanted for: giving up long touchdowns and never intercepting the ball. Must be able to occasionally ankle-tackle and make Marcus Trufant look like a Pro Bowler by comparison. Start immediately.
June 6, 2006 – (Mariners) – Brandon Morrow, 1st Round Draft Pick: 5th overall. This pick will forever be known as the time where the Mariners passed on multi-Cy Young winner (and local hero) Tim Lincecum. Odds are, we would’ve ruined him the same way we did Morrow – by fucking with his confidence, and jerking him around between starting and relieving – but you never know. Maybe not. Maybe, if we would’ve gone with the proven winner over the guy with one year’s college experience, he would’ve commanded a starting rotation slot from the get-go. We’ll never know; and San Francisco is all the luckier for it.
December 14, 2006 – (Mariners) – Miguel Batista Signs 3-year $24 million deal: in what universe is Miguel Batista worth $24 million? Well, THAT’S certainly a silly question!
December 18, 2006 – (Mariners) – Emiliano Fruto & Chris Snelling to Washington Nationals for Jose Vidro: Vidro was awesome back in his prime. You know, when he could play the field and hit well over .300. By the time we got him, he was less than a shell of his former self. Yet, he still managed a respectable batting average in the 2007 season – though, for a DH, his power numbers were attrocious. Unfortunately, in 2008, the wheels came off (like they did for Sexson and pretty much the entire team). We stuck with him for 85 excruciating games that season, then released him on August 13th.
January 30, 2007 – (Mariners) – Jeff Weaver Signs 1-year $8.3 million deal: and the hits just keep on coming for the Bill Bavasi era. Pretty much because of a single World Series game for the Cardinals, Jeff Weaver “earned” $8.3 million for the Mariners. “If he was so important to their success in 2006, why didn’t St. Louis want him back,” you might be asking yourself. I don’t have an answer for you. What I CAN tell you is that he gave us 27 of the most worthless games imaginable in 2007. And HE wasn’t even the most loathesome starting pitcher for that team (thank you very much Horacio Ramirez).
December 20, 2007 – (Mariners) – Carlos Silva Signs 4-year $48 million deal: or, The Straw That Broke Bavasi’s Back. He was awful for his two seasons in Seattle. I have nothing redeeming to say about the man. We traded him on December 18, 2009 to the Chicago Cubs for Milton Bradley in a swap we hoped would be one of those “Change Of Scenery” deals. Well, the scenery was different, but there would be no change. Yeah, Silva had half a good season in 2010, but then he reverted right back and was cut before the 2011 season. Bradley, of course, was miserable for the Mariners. The worst part of it all? Not only did we take on Milton Bradley, his contract, and all his emotional baggage (all of which the Cubs were DESPERATE to get rid of), but we ALSO had to pay them an additional $9 million. How’s that for a nice Fuck You? Wonder why the Mariners were so bad in 2010? Wonder why we couldn’t get any free agents in 2011? Look no further than the money we have on the books for both of these jack-wagons.
January 31, 2008 – (Mariners) – Brad Wilkerson Signs 1-year $3 million deal: not only did he play right field – forcing Ichiro into the uncomfortable position of playing center – but he didn’t even make it out of the first month, released April 30th. What a douche.