Oakland Athletics: 30 Worst Players in Franchise History

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T.J. Mathews

After beginning his career as an outstanding reliever for the St. Louis Cardinals, the A’s thought they were getting a prize when they dealt for right-hander T.J. Mathews in 1997. Instead, they got someone who flopped as an Athletic.

Mathews earned a 4.78 ERA during his five year stint with the A’s, allowing more than one walk for every strikeout. He pitched 243 innings, so this was not a small sample size. If we’re talking about bad WHIPs, his was an astonishing 1.436 – no small feat for a relief pitcher.

In 1998 and 1999, Mathews allowed more than a third of his inherited runners to score. This was part of what the Athletics got in exchange for slugger Mark McGwire, making him one of the biggest disappointments of all time. How a pitcher can be so good with one club and then turn around and fail – in a pitcher-friendly park, no less – is perplexing.

After returning to the Cardinals briefly in 2001, Mathews finished his major league the following season as a Houston Astro. After that, he spent plenty of time in independent league baseball – a level much more suited to his abilities.

Next: The Worst A's Players in History: Marv Throneberry