9. Wayne Garland
Wayne Garland - Signed by Cleveland in 1976, ten years, $2.3 million.
When free agency came about in 1976, teams didn’t quite know how to approach these new contracts. Wayne Garland was a 26-year-old righthander coming off a 20-win season for Baltimore in his first year as a major-league starter. The Indians decided he was the answer to their pitching woes, and gave him a ten-year contract. While the money looks modest today, consider that his salary in 1976 was $19,000. Unfortunately, on a cold and windy day in Tucson, Garland injured his shoulder in his first spring training start with the Tribe. He tried to pitch through it, working 282.2 innings and losing 19 games in his one full season for Cleveland. He made just six starts in 1978 and fourteen in ’79, constantly working to try to get healthy and earn the absurd salary Cleveland was paying him. He got up to 150 innings in 1980, but was finally released by the Indians after one last injury-plagued season in 1981.