In Honor of Ed Reed: The Worst Free-Agent Signings in Houston Sports History
So Ed Reed's gone. It seems like just yesterday that Bob McNair was flying Reed around the country on McNair's private jet. But now, unwanted by the Texans, Reed finds himself playing for the Jets. Don't cry for Reed, though, because while he barely played for the Texans, he collected nearly six million dollars from the Texans, and he now finds himself on the roster of a team that amazingly is in the playoff hunt.
Remember the Jim Clancy era?
Reed was a pretty damn big free agent bust, but hard as it might be to believe, Reed's hardly the biggest free agent bust in Houston sports history. So I decided I'd provide some of my suggestions for biggest flops. The list is far from exhaustive, so feel free to leave a few names of your own.
Clancy was a semi-decent mid-rotation starter for the Toronto Blue Jays during the 1980s. He compiled a 128-140 record over 12 years, with a decent AL ERA of 4.10. He also had the luck of becoming a free agent following the 1988 season, the luck arising from the fact that the Astros had decided not to re-sign Nolan Ryan. Needing a new member for the starting rotation, the team signed Clancy to a three-year $3.4 million contract.
Clancy's first Astros start was against the San Diego Padres. He pitched 8.1 innings, gave up only two runs, six hits, and struck out eight as the Astros got the 6-2 win. That was the highlight of Clancy's Astros career, as he finished the 1989 season with a 7-14 record and 5.08 ERA. The 1990 season was even worse, as he went 2-8 with a 6.51 ERA. He split 1991 between the Astros and the minors, between the rotation and the bullpen, before being dealt late in the season to the Atlanta Braves where he actually got to pitch in the World Series.
Pippen technically wasn't a free agent acquisition. The Rockets instead acquired him in a 1999 trade with the Chicago Bulls, who had signed the free agent Pippen to a five-year, $67 million contract, then flipped him to the Rockets for the immortal Roy Rogers and a second-round draft pick. The sign-and-trade allowed the two teams and Pippen to play around with salary cap loopholes. But that's about all that Pippen played around with that season since he was just never able to mesh with Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley.
Pippen and Barkley clashed, with Pippen going off on Barkley at the time he was traded. Pippen averaged just 14.5 points a game for the Rockets while shooting only 43 percent from the field and dishing out 5.9 assists a game. And his tenure was further marked by a DUI arrest that ended up doing more for the career of attorney Rusty Hardin than it did for Pippen.