However, yesterday the Diamondbacks (run by former Red Sox assistant GM Josh Byrnes) realized that Russ Ortiz's contract was a sunk cost, that he was not performing anywhere near an acceptable level, and that they had better internal options. So they took the (obvious but rare) step of dumping Ortiz and the more than $20 million still owed to him through 2008.
Ortiz had put up the following line since signing a four-year, $33 million contract with Arizona in the 2004-2005 off-season. (Note that Byrnes was not the general manager who signed Ortiz.) Since signing with Arizona, he won 5 games in 2005 (with 11 losses) and a 6.89 ERA, and followed that up with an 0-5 record in six starts this season, along with a 7.54 ERA. The Ortiz signing was widely criticized when it happened, and it's good to see the Diamondbacks cut the mistake loose. With Arizona tied for first place in a wide-open NL West division, every start they would have wasted on Ortiz would have had the potential to cause them to miss the play-offs. Realizing that the money was sunk and that they had a better chance to make the play-offs with another starter was a positive move for the D-Backs, and a rare display of marginal thinking by a baseball front office.