With Chase Utley close to signing an extension for the Phillies, a contract for two years and — wait for it — $27 million, many Phillies fans are wondering the obvious: Will the rest of the underachieving 2013 lineup be wearing red pinstripes next season, too? But here’s a reminder that things could be worse — and have been worse. Here are five of the worst Philadelphia sports contracts.
5. Adam Eaton
Although he got a 2008 World Series ring, pitcher Adam Eaton did little to earn it — let alone his $24.5 million, three-year contract. In 2007, Eaton gave up 30 (yep, 3-0) home runs, finishing the season with an ERA of 6.29. The next year produced similar results, with Eaton being optioned to the minor leagues after the acquisition of Joe Blanton. As for the rest of his contract? Well, he was released during the off-season, meaning the Phillies literally paid him $8 million to go away.
4. Ilya Bryzgalov
If his job was cracking jokes or getting into fights with the media, maybe we could make sense of Ilya Bryzgalov‘s 9-year, $51 million ontract with the Flyers in 2011. But seeing as he was being paid to stop the puck from going into the goal, it’s a bit harder to justify. Given he’s taking up 10 percent of the Flyers payroll, Bryzgalov has been largely unimpressive (save single-handedly winning against the Red Wings with 37 saves out of 39 shots back in March 2012.) The Flyers bought out his contract in June, meaning that, under NHL rules, they’ll have to pay him $23 million, two thirds of the remaining $34.5 million, over the next 14 years.
3. Nnamdi Asomugha
Nnamdi Asomuga arrived in Philadelphia in 2011 as an All-Pro and an All-Decade cornerback from Oakland. Though he’s had some good games, his okayish-to-awful Eagles career makes it hard to imagine a time when he was ever a consistently useful professional football player. Of course, we discover this only after he’s signed a 5-year, 60 million dollar contract. At least “only” $25 million of it was guaranteed.
2. Shawn Bradley
For being 7’6″, second overall pick Shawn Bradley sure did manage to disappear on the Sixers team. While he did register eight blocks in his 1993 Sixers debut, getting all of our hopes as high as, well, him on tippy-toes, he managed to dash them quickly. After signing an 8-year, $44 million contract (the richest in Philadelphia history at the time) he was relative nonfactor in two-plus unsuccessful seasons here. Two years later, Bradley was traded to the Nets for Derrick Coleman, which is another kind of ignominy. We’ll forever remember The Stormin’ Mormon as the guy our opponents loved to dunk on.
1. Ryan Howard
Utley’s $27 million seems like Monopoly money when we compare it to Ryan Howard‘s 2010 five-year, $125 million extension for the Phillies — signed when he still had two years left on his existing contract. Mere months before his extension began, Howard suffered a career-altering injury to his Achilles tendon. Now, Howard is out six to eight weeks with a torn meniscus. Come 2016, one of the Phillies’ highest-paid players will be a 37-year-old, declining first baseman.