4. Wes Helms (277 appearances)
Despite his position at number four on this list, Wes Helms was the definition of a “replacement level” player. 13 major league seasons would see him complete his career with a WAR of minus-1.7. In fact, he didn’t finish with a positive WAR for any of the four franchises he spent time with.
The biggest cut of Helms’ career was spent with the Florida Marlins. After getting picked in the 10th round of the 1994 MLB Amateur Entry Draft by the Atlanta Braves, Helms made it to the majors with the franchise in 1998 for the first time. He played four years for the Braves, then spent three seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Granted free agency following the 2005 season, Helms signed on with the Florida Marlins. Speaking back to Helms’ WAR figure, 2006 was his best major league season, by far. In fact, his one-year WAR output of positive-1.7 matched his overall negative figure through his whole career. In 140 games for the Marlins, he hit .329/.390/.575 with 10 homers and 47 RBI. Mostly a first baseman for the season, he also played in 24 contests at third base.
Despite his solid showing, the Marlins granted free agency to Helms, who went on to play the 2007 season with the Philadelphia Phillies before returning to Florida in 2008.
In 132 games for the Marlins that season, Helms hit .243/.299/.347 with only five homers and 31 RBI. Defensively, he was a rock star at third, with a .989 fielding percentage in 325 innings of work and 12 runs saved above the “average” third baseman. Collectively, however, Helms was worth -0.1 WAR.
In 2009, Helms fielding percentage at third base regressed to a figure of .935, although he finished the year 15 runs better than average. He also hit .271 in 113 games.
Helms productivity took a sharp turn to the south in 2010, which saw him hit just .220 in 127 games. His negative-0.9 WAR was the second worst mark of his career, and despite a solid .952 fielding percentage at third base, he was 16-runs-below average in Rtot/yr.
Despite a 13-season career, Helms only once collected enough plate appearances to qualify for the League leaderboard, in 2003 with the Brewers, when he had 536. He never had more than 287 with the Marlins, and that was in his 2010 season. Even so, the guy spent 13 seasons in the majors, and that’s really something, isn’t it?