With 60 games left, there is still time for some of this past off-season's free agent signings to work out in the club's favor. However, most of them are going to be stuck with the bust label they have worked so diligently to earn.
For a contract to be truly awful, it would have to be more than two years. At this point in the season, teams have already suffered through almost half of a two-year deal. Should the Dodgers feel trapped by Nomar Garciaparra's remining season at $9.25MM? Or the Yankees with Mike Mussina's $11.5MM? Even the Astros can see the light at the end of the tunnel of Woody William's $12.5MM/two-year deal.
This applies somewhat to three year deals as as teams and their fans know there are two more years of the same stink in their futures. The Phillies' Adam Eaton comes to mind as does the Rangers Vincente Padilla, but even these contracts are not so burdensome as to limit the club into the next decade. Maybe this is why Jason Schmidt's three-year contract is not as awful as it's average annual value would imply.
The contracts that hurt the most are those that extend beyond three seasons. Are the Red Sox and their fans feeling good about three more seasons of Julio Lugo or four more of JD Drew? Can Yankees' fans believe they have four more seasons of Kei Igawa? How about the Giants, and their $126MM/seven-year investment in Barry Zito?