#4 Pat Meares, 1-year $1.5 million
Pat Meares began his Major League Baseball career with the Minnesota Twins in 1993, where he played for six seasons as a reliable infielder. Meares had a solid career with the Twins, playing in 742 games and batting .258 with 52 home runs and 275 RBIs.
After becoming a free agent in 1998, Meares signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the 1999 season. In his first year with the Pirates, Meares played in 21 games before suffering a season-ending injury. He bounced back in 2000, playing in 152 games and batting .273 with 14 home runs and 71 RBIs. The following year, Meares played in 66 games and batted .255 before being released by the Pirates in August 2001.
Throughout his career, Meares was known for his solid defensive skills at shortstop and third base. He was also a consistent hitter, finishing his career with a .266 batting average, 68 home runs, and 346 RBIs. He did not carry this success to Pittsburgh. In 1999 with the Pirates, he batted a career-high .308 but in just 21 games. The Bucs would give him a 4-year $15 million extension before his injury that season, again money that should not have been handed out.
In 239 games with the Pirates, Meares batted .238 with 196 hits, including 37 doubles, 3 triples, and 17 home runs. He scored 97 runs and drove in 79, with 55 walks and 156 strikeouts. He stole one base and was caught twice. His on-base percentage was .294, and he slugged .352, giving him an overall OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of .647.
After his release from the Pirates, Meares played briefly in the minor leagues before retiring from baseball in 2003. He played a total of 981 professional baseball games over his career, with 742 of those games played with the Minnesota Twins and 239 games played with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Meares played his final Major League Baseball game on October 7, 2001, against the Chicago Cubs.