Denny Neagle, a two-time All-Star with a 3.92 career ERA, was signed for five years and $51M on December 4, 2000. Just eight days later the team would ink Mike Hampton in a spending spree the likes of which the Rockies have not seen before or since.
Coming off a World Series win with the Yankees, Neagle posted two mediocre seasons for the Rockies before his career – and life – imploded. In 2001 and 2002, Neagle threw a combined 335 innings with a 5.32 ERA, good for a 95 ERA+ and 2.0 WAR. Serviceable, if not quite worth the 14.2M he made over that time.
Then, after a brutal seven starts in 2003 (7.90 ERA), Neagle hurt his elbow and was placed on the DL for the rest of the season. He continued to languish there throughout all of 2004 as well, but then things got even darker for Neagle.
During the offseason between ’04 and ’05, the rehabbing pitcher was caught soliciting a prostitute. The Rockies used this as an opportunity to nullify Neagle’s contract by invoking a morals clause. Neagle later attempted a brief comeback with the Devil Rays, got hurt again, and was never heard from again … on the field.
He was heard from again off the field a little too much In 2007 when, in August, Neagle was caught driving under the influence. Later that year, Neagle would also be implicated in steroid use by the Mitchell Report.
Let’s just say there’s a reason that people in Denver don’t bring Neagle up much these days.