Both Brian Sabean and Andrew Baggarly recently commented on that the fans spend too much time keeping score on the contracts instead of keeping score on the field.
Is this a fair?
Yes to a certain extent I think that is fair. Even the best GM's make mistakes and when you sign players to multiple year contracts that are guaranteed then you are going to have contracts that go really well and ones that go really bad.
This is especially true that the highest bidder is the one that usually gets that player. When this happens more often then not people will end up overpaying unless a player plays out of his mind above their projections. Any sort of a hiccup and things are looking bad for the contract.
More often then not the teams that win the players services end up with the winners curse. This is the biggest knock on trying to build a team through free agency. Free agency is at best a way to supplement or give the team the last little bit to push them over the edge.
The cost of adding wins through free agency is far too high and the nature of long term deals can often blow up in your face. Brian Sabean has not been a perfect GM by any means but I have to say that I have less problems with his lack of signing a big bat then most.
I don't care that much about the failed contracts just because the players didn't do well, my main problem with the way Sabean builds the team. Instead of building through the draft and developing players he has primarily tried to bring in players through free agency. This is a dicey way of building a team and can often blowup in your face which too often it has during his tenure.