15 worst Chicago Cubs free agent signings in franchise history
8. Gary Gaetti - 1 Year, $2 Million (1999)
For some time there in the 1980s, Gary Gaetti was a dude. From 1986 to 1988 in Minnesota, he had a 125 OPS+, earning three consecutive Gold Gloves and an All-Star selection. He ebbed and flowed from there, trending back up in the mid-90s with Kansas City, earning his first Silver Slugger at age 36 in 1995.
After the St. Louis Cardinals cut ties with him in Aug. 1998 (to make room for the signing of Fernando Tatis), the Cubs pounced and added Gaetti for their stretch run with an eye on the postseason. The then-39-year old delivered in every sense, slashing .320/.397/.594 as the club chased down the NL Wild Card in September.
His contributions led to Chicago bringing him back into the fold on a one-year contract for the 1999 season and it quickly became clear Gaetti had caught lightning in a bottle the prior summer. He struggled to a .599 OPS in 308 trips to the plate and the Cubs let him walk at season's end. At age 41, Gaetti played his final big league season the following year, going hitless in just five games with the Red Sox.