COMMENTARY | The Minnesota Twins have long been a team with a low payroll. It wasn't until Target Field was completed prior to the 2010 season that the Twins could consistently have a payroll in the top half of the major leagues.
So, it's not surprising the Twins have had few ventures into free agency. Still, the Twins have managed to make deals Twins fans would rather forget.
5. Jason Marquis:Over the last six years, the Twins have tried to fill holes in their starting rotation with veteran pitchers on one-year deals to hold the fort down until their pitching prospects were ready. Rarely has this worked out.
The difference with Marquis was that the Twins gave him $3 million instead of the league minimum or even a minor-league deal. They got all of seven starts for that money.
Marquis gave up 32 earned runs in 34 innings and had a WHIP of 1.94. Marquis was pulled from the rotation after his start on May 20, 2012, and was released eight days later.
4. Mike Pelfrey: The Twins decided to gamble again on a veteran and a one-year deal in 2013, and so far it hasn't gone much better. He has a 6.03 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP through May 14 after signing a $4 million deal.
The Twins are being more patient because the team has been hovering around .500 and Pelfrey is returning from Tommy John surgery. Pelfrey also has had better results in his last few starts. However, his strikeout rate of 3.93 per nine innings would be a career low for a season, which is concerning coming off the injury, and is one of the worst rates in baseball.
3. Tony Batista: Batista was certainly entertaining with a unique open batting stance and a quirky personality. Too bad he couldn't hit or field.
The Twins signed Batista to a one-year, $1.125 million deal out of Japan prior to the 2006 season, hoping that he could replace the underrated Corey Koskie at third base and provide right-handed power for a lineup that featured two young left-handed stars in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
Instead, he batted just .236/.303/.388 with just five home runs in 50 games before being released on June 13.
2. Mike Lamb: Lamb was a relative unknown as a part-time player for the Houston Astros. However, the Twins felt they had found an unappreciated player and offered him a two-year, $6.5 million deal with an option for a third season to be their starting third baseman in 2008.
Lamb couldn't even make it through one season with the Twins. He batted just .233/.276/.322 in 81 games before being released on Sept. 5.
1. Tsuyoshi Nishioka: Apparently the Twins didn't learn from Batista, as again they signed a player out of Japan with a unique batting stance and a quirky personality. This time, it was a complete disaster.
The Twins paid a $5 million posting fee to the Chiba Lotte Marines so they could sign Nishioka to a three-year, $9.25 million deal prior to the 2011 season. At the time, it was by far the most money the Twins had spent on a free agent.
Nishioka proved to be completely incapable of playing in the major leagues. He batted a paltry .215/.267/.236 in 71 games with the Twins and his fielding at shortstop and second base was just as bad.
The biggest cheer from Twins fans for Nishioka came when he agreed to void the final year of his contract so he could return to Japan.
Darin McGilvra has been a professional sportswriter since 1997 and has been a Twins follower since Kirby Puckett's breakout season of 1986. He has been published in The Californian, a newspaper covering Riverside County, and currently writes for Demand Media Studios.
Follow Darin on Twitter at @SoCalTwinsfan.
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