Jeffrey Hammonds is arguably the number one cautionary tale of playing in Coors field. He rode the success of one big season into one of the largest free agent contract in Milwaukee Brewers history.
Going into the 2000 season, Jeffrey Hammonds was a career .268 hitter. He averaged only 10 home runs and 34 runs batted in per season. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but Hammonds exploded onto the scene ’00. Playing for the Colorado Rockies, his .332 batting average helped entice the Milwaukee Brewers to make their worst free agent signing in history with a three-year deal worth $22.2 million.
Hammonds also hit 20 home runs while driving in a career best 106 runs in his lone season in Colorado. The Brewers brass must not have looked at his home/road splits.
In 60 games at Coors Field, Hammonds slashed .399/.465/.651 with 14 home runs and driving in a whopping 73 runs. However, in 62 games on the road Hammonds’ slashed .275/.325/.415 with only six home runs and 35 runs batted in. That’s an astronomical drop off, and a franchise altering mis-step by the front office.
Hammonds’ Brewers Career
Hammonds first year with the Brewers was a bust. He played in only 49 games in 2001 for The Crew. He hit only .247 with a pedestrian six home runs and 21 runs batted in. His numbers were a far cry from the prior year, but only the beginning of the Hammonds plague.
It didn’t get any better from there for the Milwaukee Brewers. That is unless you consider Hammonds playing in a career high 128 games in 2002 a good thing, it isn’t by the way. He hit .257 with 9 home runs and 41 runs batted in. His defensive abilities aren’t even worth discussing. It’s a waste of our time.
There isn’t a single way to justify this contract. Hammonds, along with the other players on this list, are the perfect reason GM David Stearns should tread lightly in free agency. If the Brewers can get Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta on the cheap, you have to at least explore it. However, think back on all of these players before making that final contract proposal.