15 worst Detroit Tigers free agent signings in franchise history

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7. Troy Percival, 1993-95

  • 2 years, $12 million
  • -0.2 WAR, 5.76 ERA (75 ERA+)

Troy Percival had many fine years as an elite closer. By the time it was over, he racked up 358 saves and 781 strikeouts while limiting his ERA to 3.17. During his last year with the Angels, he saved 33 games and finished the year with a paltry 2.90 ERA. This is not the Troy Percival the Detroit Tigers ended up signing for $12 million across two years.

Percival ended up pitching in just 26 games total during his Tigers career. He saved eight of 11 games that year, but was anything but a shutdown finisher by then. He missed most of the month of May due to injury. Upon returning, he was not the same. From June 11 to July 9, the Tigers watched as his ERA crept up from 2.93 to 5.76. In his final appearance as a Detroit Tiger, he gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth to the then-Devil Rays to blow the game.

Percival was diagnosed with a “partial tear of his right flexor pronator muscle mass” – a forearm injury – that kept him out the rest of the year and the next. At one point, it appeared as if he were headed for retirement.

He ended up returning to baseball in 2007 with the Cardinals and closing his career out with a final two years with the Rays.