Typically when there’s a Houston free agent or player to be re-signed, there will be errors made and money wasted. There isn’t a formula or exact science to it.
The worst contract conversations start innocently enough. Eventually, the debate starts. From there, the talk can turn into a full-fledged argument and maybe even a fight. Sports opinions can do this to us, especially when we are passionate. (We often forget fan is short for “fanatic.”) With that in mind, here’s our “Fab Five Flubs” in Houston sports history.
5. Carlos Lee
At six years/$100 million, Carlos Lee was money wasted by a team who tried to bandage gaping wounds with toilet paper. The 2006 version of the Astros finished 1.5 games behind the eventual World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals in the division. Jeff Bagwell retired after the team didn’t pick up his team option. Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite both left via free agency. Over his six years in Houston, Lee averaged 22 home runs, 88 RBIs, and a .286 batting average. Hardly worth the $100 million spent on him.
4. Kelvin Cato
Here’s a guy who inspired the famous line by ESG: “Tell Kelvin Cato we want our money back!” On October 15, 1999, he recorded a preseason triple double (20 points, 13 rebounds, 12 blocks in 31 minutes) vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. October 28, 1999, the Rockets signed him to a six-year, $42 million-dollar deal. At 6’11, 275 pounds, the Rockets never got more than 8 points, seven rebounds and a block per game from Cato. He was later packaged with Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley, and others for Tracy McGrady.
3. Brock Osweiller
Here’s what $37 million dollars guaranteed, and several high lost draft picks look like when you invest as much in the quarterback position and it goes wrong. Not only was the guaranteed money wasted on a guy who completed 59 percent of his passes (15 touchdowns, 16 picks), but also the draft picks given up to get out of his deal and draft Deshaun Watson to potentially replace him. Osweiller lasted one miserable 9-7 season for the Texans, but his “legacy” could take years to overcome.
2. Matt Maloney
Matt Maloney was yet another Houston athlete that benefitted from Band-Aid team building. Carlos Lee wasn’t the first. Maloney got a seven-year deal off the strength of: Brent Price being out for the season. Charles Barkley thinking he could come in and play the point guard position, and hitting about 40 percent from three point land while Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon were in the twilight of their careers. Maloney ended up making almost 90 perecent of his career $17-plus million off the foolish deal the Rockets gave him in 1998.
Read on for more of our list at our sister site, SportsMap.