Carlos Zambrano's huge contract extension brought another huge pitching contract to mind, and the comparison isn't going to make Cubs fans happy.
In 2006, Zambrano led the National League with 115 walks, and despite a big improvement in his control since the Cubs' schedule softened in late June, he's still third in the league in walks this year. While some of these stats are a function of Zambrano's big innings pitched totals, he also pitches in the worst division in baseball, one not known for its patient hitters. (The bottom four teams in the NL in walks this year are the Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers and Pirates.)
In 2000, Mike Hampton issued 101 walks, fourth-most in the National League. He followed that up by walking 65 guys in the first half of 2001. But he turned on the charm, so to speak, in the second half, parlaying that brief period of control and the insanity of that offseason's free-agent market into a seven-year, $121 million contract. The deal is now held up as a candidate for the worst free-agent signing ever.