Madden: The Daily News’ annual top 10 Baseball Turkeys list

By on November 30, 2014

Alex Rodriguez is back-to-back winner of the Daily News' top Baseball Turkey.Alex Rodriguez is back-to-back winner of the Daily News’ top Baseball Turkey.

Sorry, there was just no pardoning these gobblers, even if, in a couple of cases, they were nowhere to be found in the game this year. Our annual top 10 Baseball Turkeys List:

10. STEPHEN DREW

On the bad advice of his agent, Scott (Avenging Agent) Boras, he turned down the $ 14.1 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox last winter, then proceeded sit at home waiting for the phone to ring until May 21 before re-signing with the Sox for $ 10.1 million — as clubs shied away from him because of red flags with his medicals and their unwillingness to sacrifice a first-round draft pick for him. From that point on, he had a horrendous season with a .162/.237/.299 slash line in 85 games and was dealt by the Red Sox to, of all teams, the Yankees, at the trading deadline.

Jose Canseco and Leila Knight are a pair of jokers.Leila Knight Jose Canseco and Leila Knight are a pair of jokers.

9. JOSE CANSECO

He’s been out of the game since 2001, though unfortunately never out of its consciousness — which is why he comes in only ninth this year. If he hadn’t at one time been an elite player and then the Godfather of Juicers, nobody would know or care about his off-the-field transgressions which, this year, were enough to make one think he needs to be committed. After tweeting to the world that he’d shot off his finger cleaning his gun in his house in Las Vegas, then claiming it fell off in a poker game while also expressing interest in putting it up for auction on eBay, Canseco later said the whole thing was a bizarre prank. Not long after, it was revealed his longtime girlfriend, Leila Knight, had broken off their engagement after Canseco, in a (steroids-induced?) rage, allegedly threatened to kill her and her mother.

8. MARK NEWMAN

On his way out the door, the “retiring” Yankees VP of scouting and player development makes a return appearance on our Top 10 Turkey List for the same reasons he made it last year: In 16 years on the job, he failed to draft and develop a single All-Star caliber position player or frontline starting pitcher (the Yanks haven’t accomplished either since Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte). But this year Newman had one more parting helping of turkey: For the first time in anyone’s memory, not a single Yankee farm team made the playoffs.

7. KYLE FARNSWORTH

Ah, Kyle, Mets fans hardly knew ya, but while they did, it wasn’t pretty and when you left, it wasn’t nice. Signed as a free agent right before spring training to fortify the bullpen, Farnsworth wound up getting released March 23 so the Mets could save the $ 100,000 retention bonus, and then was re-signed three days later. Then, when Bobby Parnell went down with his elbow injury, Farnsworth gradually evolved into the closer’s job whereupon he was pretty awful — 18 hits, including two homers, six walks in 17 innings for a 1.412 WHIP — which earned him his release on May 15. “I’m very bitter,” he said of the release. “I don’t understand it. Hopefully I’ll find a team to play against them.” He did find a team, though not a Mets opponent, but rather the Houston Astros, for whom he was even worse: 6.17 ERA, 1.97 WHIP in 16 appearances.

6. JOHN HENRY and TOM WERNER

Neither of the Red Sox owners would be Red Sox owners today had it not been for baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s master three-way franchise maneuver in 2002 in which Henry’s group was allowed to purchase the team from the Yawkey Trust despite not having the highest bid. At the time, Henry was stuck in Miami, as owner of the Marlins, locked in a hopeless struggle with the south Florida bureaucrats over a new stadium and vilified by the fans there. Werner, meanwhile, was totally out of baseball — and begging to get back in — after running the San Diego Padres into the ground in his term as owner, from 1990-94. Selig saved the both of them from baseball oblivion by awarding them one of baseball’s signature franchises. And how did they repay their gratitude? By being the leading opponents to Rob Manfred, Selig’s choice to succeed him as commissioner. With Henry’s blessing and full support, Werner agreed to become a candidate to oppose Manfred, even though he had no credentials for the job other than being the most hated man in San Diego.

5. SHIN-SOO CHOO

A broken wishbone here to the worst free agent contract of last winter. The Texas Rangers gave the 31-year-old Choo a seven-year, $ 120 million contract last December, after being bamboozled brilliantly by Boras into thinking they were getting a 20-homer/20-steal superstar who could hit almost anywhere from 1-6 in their lineup. A year later, they’re asking themselves: “What were we thinking?” Granted, Choo was hampered by ankle and elbow injuries, but his first returns on what is now looking like an untradeable contract were disheartening to say the least for the Rangers: .242, 13 HR, three stolen bases in seven attempts and 131 strikeouts in 529 plate appearances.

4. EDWIN JACKSON

Speaking of untradeable contracts. As if the first year of Jackson’s four-year/$ 52 million deal wasn’t disastrous enough — he led the NL in losses with an 8-18 mark and 4.98 ERA in 2013 — he was easily the worst starting pitcher in baseball in 2014, with a 6-15 mark along with a 6.33 ERA, 1.642 WHIP and .302 batting average against. All of those were highs for any pitcher with 140 or more innings. The Cubs finally had to take Jackson out of the rotation in August, but they’re stuck with him — at $ 11 mil per — for two more years. Jackson was Theo Epstein’s first big free agent signing as Cubs president and only added to the list of misguided, expensive free agent contracts he had with the Red Sox (see: Keith Foulke, Julio Lugo, Matt Clement, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Edgar Renteria, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron).

3. JOSE MOLINA

The slow-footed, weak-hitting, throwing-challenged Tampa Bay Rays catcher was easily the worst position player in baseball last year, hitting .178 with two extra base hits in 80 games. His .187 slugging percentage was the lowest for any major leaguer with at least 200 plate appearances since 1968. Defensively, he was even worse, throwing out but 12 of 50 baserunnners. But as Rays manager Joe Maddon, his biggest proponent, extolled continually: “Boy could he frame pitches!”

Orioles slugger Chris Davis tests positive for amphetamines.Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images Orioles slugger Chris Davis tests positive for amphetamines.

2. CHRIS DAVIS

The Orioles’ slugger earned his turkey wings for being the biggest disappointment — in every way — in 2014. After he led the AL in homers (53) and RBI (138) in 2013, the O’s were counting on him to be a driving force in the middle of their lineup in 2014 to get them to win their first AL East crown since 1997. Instead, they got there, for the most part, without him as he never recovered from a woeful start, with a .196 average that was lowest in the majors of any qualifier according to the Elias Sports Bureau, with 26 HR and 72 RBI. But the biggest disappointment from Davis was in September, when he was busted by Selig’s drug police for testing positive for amphetamines, which resulted in a 25-game ban that extended into the playoffs.

1. ALEX RODRIGUEZ

Even being away from the game, out of sight, out of mind while serving his year-long suspension, our man A-Rod still managed to repeat as No. 1 Turkey. Quite a feat for a guy who didn’t say one word or have one at-bat. But while he was away, A-Rod was indeed in full Turkey mode, admitting to the feds under oath all the things he vehemently denied — to his teammates, his fans, Mike Francesa, baseball’s investigators, the MLB arbitrator et al — while not under oath: He was indeed a serial steroids user and Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch’s No. 1 customer. Imagine, all that crap he put baseball and the Yankees through in 2013 — his blustering lawyer Joe Tacopina declaring he didn’t deserve one day of suspension; suing the Yankees’ team doctor; Fernando Mateo and his Hispanics Across America demonstrations in front of the commissioner’s office; storming out of the arbitration hearing — was all one big subterfuge and a lie! Who’da ever thunk it?

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Baseball – NY Daily News

Madden: The Daily News’ annual top 10 Baseball Turkeys list

By on November 29, 2014

Alex Rodriguez is back-to-back winner of the Daily News' top Baseball Turkey.Alex Rodriguez is back-to-back winner of the Daily News’ top Baseball Turkey.

Sorry, there was just no pardoning these gobblers, even if, in a couple of cases, they were nowhere to be found in the game this year. Our annual top 10 Baseball Turkeys List:

10. STEPHEN DREW

On the bad advice of his agent, Scott Boras, he turned down the $ 14.1 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox last winter, then proceeded sit at home waiting for the phone to ring until May 21 before re-signing with the Sox for $ 10.1 million — as clubs shied away from him because of red flags with his medicals and their unwillingness to sacrifice a first-round draft pick for him. From that point on, he had a horrendous season with a .162/.237/.299 slash line in 85 games and was dealt by the Red Sox to, of all teams, the Yankees, at the trading deadline.

Jose Canseco and Leila Knight are a pair of jokers.Leila Knight Jose Canseco and Leila Knight are a pair of jokers.

9. JOSE CANSECO

He’s been out of the game since 2001, though unfortunately never out of its consciousness — which is why he comes in only 9th this year. If he hadn’t at one time been an elite player and then the Godfather of Juicers, nobody would know or care about his off-the-field transgressions which, this year, were enough to make one think he needs to be committed. After tweeting to the world that he’d shot off his finger cleaning his gun in his house in Las Vegas, then claiming it fell off in a poker game while also expressing interest in putting it up for auction on e-Bay, Canseco later said the whole thing was a bizarre prank. Not long after, it was revealed his longtime girlfriend, Leila Knight, had broken off their engagement after Canseco, in a (steroids-induced?) rage threatened to kill both her and her mother.

8. MARK NEWMAN

On his way out the door, the “retiring” Yankees VP of Scouting and Player Development makes a return appearance on our Top 10 Turkey List for the same reasons he made it last year: In 16 years on the job he failed to draft and develop a single All-Star caliber position player since Derek Jeter or a frontline starting pitcher since Andy Pettitte. But this year Newman had one more parting helping of turkey: For the first time in anyone’s memory not a single Yankee farm team made the playoffs.

7. KYLE FARNSWORTH

Ah, Kyle, Mets fans hardly knew ya, but while they did, it wasn’t pretty and when you left, it wasn’t nice. Signed as a free agent right before spring training to fortify the bullpen, Farnsworth wound up getting released March 23 so the Mets could save the $ 100,000 retention bonus, and then was re-signed three days later. Then, when Bobby Parnell went down with his elbow injury, Farnsworth gradually evolved into the closer’s job whereupon he was pretty awful — 18 hits, including two homers, 6 walks in 17 innings for a 1.412 WHIP — which earned him his release on May 15. “I’m very bitter,” he said of the release. “I don’t understand it. Hopefully I’ll find a team to play against them.” He did find a team, though not a Mets opponent, but rather the Houston Astros for whom he was even worse: 6.17 ERA, 1.97 WHIP in 16 appearances.

6. JOHN HENRY AND TOM WERNER

Neither of the Red Sox owners would be the Red Sox owners today had it not been for Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s master three-way franchise maneuver in 2002 in which Henry’s group was allowed to purchase the team from the Yawkey Trust despite not having the highest bid. At the time, Henry was stuck in Miami, as owner of the Marlins, locked in a hopeless struggle with the south Florida bureaucrats over a new stadium and vilified by the fans there. Werner, meanwhile, was totally out of baseball — and begging to get back in — after running the San Diego Padres into the ground in his term as owner, from 1990-94. Selig saved the both of them from baseball oblivion by awarding them one of baseball’s signature franchises. And how did they repay their gratitude? By being the leading opponents to Rob Manfred, Selig’s choice to succeed him as Commissioner. With Henry’s blessing and full support, Werner agreed to become a candidate to oppose Manfred, even though he had no credentials for the job other than being the most hated man in San Diego.

5. SHIN-SOO CHOO

A broken wishbone here to the worst free agent contract of last winter. The Texas Rangers gave the 31-year old Choo a seven-year, $ 120 million contract last December, after being bamboozled brilliantly by Scott (Avenging Agent) Boras into thinking they were getting a 20-homer/20-steal superstar who could hit almost anywhere from 1-6 in their lineup. A year later, they’re asking themselves: “What were we thinking?” Granted, Choo was hampered by ankle and elbow injuries, but his first returns on what is now looking like an untradeable contract were disheartening to say the least for the Rangers: .242, 13 HR, 3 stolen bases in 7 attempts, 131 strikeouts in 529 plate appearances.

4. EDWIN JACKSON

Speaking of untradeable contracts. As if the first year of Jackson’s four-year/$ 52 million deal wasn’t disastrous enough — when he led the NL in losses with an 8-18 mark and 4.98 ERA in 2013 — he was easily the worst starting pitcher in baseball in 2014 with a 6-15 mark along with a 6.33 ERA, 1.642 WHIP and .302 batting average against. All of those were highs for any pitcher with 140 or more innings. The Cubs finally had to take Jackson out of the rotation in August, but they’re stuck with him — at $ 11 mil per — for two more years. Jackson was Theo Epstein’s first big free agent signing as Cubs President and only added to the list of misguided, expensive free agent contracts he had with the Red Sox (See: Keith Foulke, Julio Lugo, Matt Clement, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Edgar Renteria, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron).

3. JOSE MOLINA

The slow-footed, weak-hitting, throwing-challenged Tampa Bay Rays catcher was easily the worst position player in baseball last year, hitting .178 with two extra base hits in 80 games. His .187 slugging pct. was the lowest for any major leaguer with at least 200 plate appearances since 1968. Defensively, he was even worse, throwing out but 12 of 50 baserunnners. But as Rays manager Joe Maddon, his biggest proponent, extolled continually: “Boy could he frame pitches!”

Orioles slugger Chris Davis tests positive for amphetamines.Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images Orioles slugger Chris Davis tests positive for amphetamines.

2. CHRIS DAVIS

The Orioles’ slugger earned his turkey wings for being the biggest disappointment — in every way — in 2014. After leading the AL in homers (53) and RBI (138) in 2013, the O’s were counting on him to be a driving force in the middle of their lineup in 2014 to get them to win their first AL East crown since 1997. Instead, they got there, for the most part, without him as he never recovered from a woeful start, with a .196 average that was lowest in the majors of any qualifier according to the Elias Bureau, with 26 HR and 72 RBI. But the biggest disappointment from Davis was in September when he was busted by Bud Selig’s drug police for testing positive for amphetamines, which resulted in a 25-game suspension that extended into the first two rounds of the playoffs.

1. ALEX RODRIGUEZ

Even being away from the game, out of sight, out of mind while serving his year-long suspension, our man A-Rod still managed to repeat as No. 1 Turkey. Quite a feat for a guy who didn’t say one word or have one at-bat. But while he was away, A-Rod was indeed in full Turkey mode, admitting to the feds under oath all the things he vehemently denied — to his teammates, his fans, Mike Francesa, baseball’s investigators, the MLB arbitrator et al — while not under oath in 2012: He was indeed a serial steroids user and Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch’s No. 1 customer. Imagine, all that crap he put baseball and the Yankees through in 2012 — his blustering lawyer Joe Tacopina declaring he didn’t deserve one day of suspension; suing the Yankees’ team doctor; Fernando Mateo and his Hispanics Across America demonstrations in front of the Commissioner’s office; storming out of the arbitration hearing — were all one big subterfuge and a lie! Whoda ever thunk it?

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