15 worst Toronto Blue Jays free agent signings in franchise history
1. LHP B.J. Ryan - five years, $47M (2005-2006 offseason)
Ryan is still one of the most expensive free agent signings the Blue Jays have ever made. He was a very successful reliever for the Orioles in the seven years leading up to his deal with Toronto and had many, many ups and downs with the Jays.
What makes this contract the most frustrating is the fact that he did very well in two of the four years he spent in Toronto. In 2006, Ryan was an All-Star and had a 1.37 ERA in 65 games, earning 38 saves along the way and posting an impressive 0.4 HR/9 rate.
Then in 2007, he made just five appearances before going down with injury. In that time, he had a 12.46 ERA in 4.1 innings, walking four batters and striking out three, no longer showing the impressive control he had shown off in the year prior.
In 2008 with health on his side, Ryan once again excelled for the Jays. He made 60 appearances of 2.95 ERA-ball and earned 32 more saves. Once again, his 0.6 HR/9 was one of the best in the league and he continued to excel at limiting the walk.
Ryan’s contract with Toronto was insanely backloaded, meaning it was cheap in the first two years but the AAV went way up in the last two before he was released. In 2006, he made $4M. In 2007, he made $7M. In 2008 and 2009, he made $12M.
His final year with the Jays came in 2009 and he was a shell of the pitcher he once was. Ryan made 25 appearances and had a 6.53 ERA and 7.60 FIP in 20.2 innings. His control was completely gone and he gave up home runs at an alarming rate.
The Blue Jays had no choice but to release him, in part from the inconsistency he had shown over the years and partly because he was that bad in 2009. At the time of his release, he was still owed the $10M he was guaranteed for the 2010 season.