4) Brandon League
3-years, $22.5 million
Relief pitchers can be fickle, so the fact that Brandon League turned a few solid months with the Dodgers into a 3-year, $22.5 million contract shouldn’t surprise anyone. He was a hot arm out of the ‘pen, having pitched strongly in 2011 while recording 37 saves for the Mariners, and seemingly ready to take on a permanent high leverage role with the Dodgers.
The problem with League is that he had control issues, which he was only able to really manage during his breakout 2011 season with the Mariners.
League quickly turned his high-dollar contract into a disappointment by blowing four saves in his first 17 chances to start the 2013 season. His ERA reached 6.00 before he was demoted from the closing role, only 24 games into his $22.5 million contract. League would finish the season pitching in low leverage situations, entering 20 games when the team was already losing, the complete opposite role as to what he was signed to do.
In 2014, he was given one save opportunity, and otherwise pitched late in games that were out of hand or when the team was losing. His 2.57 ERA that season misleading to the impact he made out of the bullpen. He was a non-factor, struggling with his command, his pitching independent ERA (FIPx) more telling that season at 4.09, similar to his average in 2013.
The right-handed reliever experienced a shoulder injury during the spring of the final year on his contract which kept him on the sidelines until the middle of the summer when he was designated for assignment.