The KC Royals have made their fair share of bad free agent signings, but the worst has to be Jose Guillen.
"Guillen was a notoriously volatile performer even before arriving in Kansas City, and he failed to find consistency as he was putting up a .727 OPS in his two-and-a-half seasons with the team. The experiment finally ended when the Royals flipped him to the San Francisco Giants in August 2010."
Guillen was signed to a three-year deal worth $36 million and he was not what they were hoping for when they dished out all of that money to him prior to the 2008 season. He had batted .290 the year before when he was with the Mariners, so the Royals were hoping he could replicate that magic in Kansas City.
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What they got instead was a player who did more talking than he did performing, slashing just .256/.308/.420 during his three seasons in Kansas City and making a fuss out of everything. He got into it with the fans and heavily criticized the team, which is never a smart move no matter who you’re playing for.
The Royals ended up trading him to the Giants midway through the 2010 season and that ended the adventure of Jose Guillen as a Kansas City Royal.
Guillen is a good choice for this list, but Rymer also mentioned Alex Gordon and Ian Kennedy, both of whom were signed to huge contracts after the team won the World Series in 2015. Gordon did not do well on offense in the first three years of his four year deal, but improved mightily in 2019, enough that the team felt comfortable bringing him back for a fifth year.
Kennedy found his role as a dominant closer in 2019, but that came after a few “meh” seasons in the Royals rotation. He was signed to be a solid number two starter in the rotation, but failed to live up to that hype at all.
The KC Royals don’t typically spend a lot of money on their free agents because they’re a small market team. These three contracts and the Omar Infante deal in 2014 could all be contenders for the worst free agent signing the millennium.
Jose Guillen is probably the right choice, however, because while the other three were bad contracts, those players never caused drama. Guillen was a hot headed player who didn’t deliver on the field and was getting paid to run his mouth essentially.
What do you think, Royals fans? Who was the team’s worst free agent signing since 2000?