COMMENTARY | As a small-market team, the Milwaukee Brewers have never been a team that comes to mind when you think of destinations for big-name free agents. This was especially true for the team's first 30-plus years of existence, as the Selig family owned the Brewers through the 2004 season.
Since Mark Attanasio bought the Brewers from Wendy Selig-Prieb, more money has been available to spend on free agents, which is why a majority of players on this particular list were signed within the last eight years.
5. Alex Gonzalez: 1-year, $1.45 million (biggest bust of 2013)
Not only did Gonzalez wind up being a bad signing last season ($4.25 million) because of his torn ACL, but the Brewers also brought him back for another go-around to help mentor Jean Segura. Instead, injuries forced Gonzalez to be the opening-day starter at first base. In 29 appearances, Sea Bass is hitting .200 and leads the team in errors despite defense being considered his strength.
4. David Riske: 3-year, $13 million (signed: 2008)
This spot could have gone to a number of people -- Randy Wolf, Braden Looper or Doug Davis -- but due to the length of the deal and how much Riske was being paid as a reliever, he makes the cut. Coming off a strong year with Kansas City, Riske was expected to be a late-inning relief man for the Brewers, but he never put it together in Milwaukee. He pitched just 66 2/3 innings in three years due to poor performance and injury, finishing with a collective 5.40 ERA.
3. Jeffrey Hammonds: 3-year, $21.75 million (signed: 2001)
With Wendy Selig-Prieb as owner, money was not exactly at the ready, yet the opportunity to seize a player coming off a .335/.395/.529 split with 20 HRs and 106 RBIs seemed too good to pass up. The thin air at Coors Field appeared to aid Hammonds at Colorado, as he didn't even last the duration of his contract with Milwaukee. His best year in a Brewers uniform? A .257 average, 9 HRs and 41 RBIs.
2. Eric Gagne: 1-year, $10 million (signed: 2008)
The 2008 season was the year of wasting far too much cheese on relief pitching, and, my goodness, Eric Gagne was no exception. Inked for $10 million to become Milwaukee's new closer, Gagne didn't last long in the role, only earning 10 saves and blowing seven while sporting a 5.44 ERA. It didn't help that steroid talks surrounding Gagne picked up almost immediately after his signing. Chalk this one up as an all-around disaster for Milwaukee.
1. Jeff Suppan: 4-year, $42 million (signed: 2006)
This selection was a no-brainer. Whatever the opposite of a Christmas miracle is, that was this, as before the 2006 season, the Brewers inked Suppan to the richest deal in team history. Like Hammonds, Suppan didn't make it through the length of his deal. He went 29-36 with a 5.08 ERA in three-plus years with the Brewers, making him the biggest free-agent bust in team history.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who contains an unhealthy amount of knowledge about Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline and as a featured columnist among other sites and publications.
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