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The Worst Contracts In Baseball
By Tim Dierkes from MLB Trade Rumors.
[ March 3, 2009 at 12:06 AM ] [ Comments (360) ] [ Full Story ]  [ Filed under: Features ]
[ Tagged: , ]
For this exercise I only considered current contracts (so Mike Hampton's eight-year, $121MM deal is out). Also, there are some lousy deals that were worth less than $15MM total that I chose to leave out. 2006 was a black hole for free agent contracts. Continue reading for the full list of the the 45 worst contracts, organized by team.
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  • Gary Matthews Jr., Angels.  Five years, $50MM ($10MM per year).  Signed in November of 2006.  The Halos were enticed by Matthews' career year, but at least they've acknowledged their mistake by reducing his role.
  • Carlos Lee, Astros.  Six years, $100MM ($16.66MM per year).  Signed in November of 2006.  This backloaded deal pays Lee $18.5MM per year over the last four years.  We've yet to see the worst of it.
  • Eric Chavez, A's.  Six years, $66MM ($11MM per year).  Signed in March of 2004. File this one under, "seemed like a good idea at the time."
  • Vernon Wells, Blue Jays.  Seven years, $126MM ($18MM per year).  Signed in December of 2006.  Wells has a full no-trade clause and the deal is heavily backloaded in the last four years.  He could still turn things around somewhat if he stays healthy and his center field defense bounces back.
  • Lyle Overbay, Blue Jays.  Four years, $24MM ($6MM per year).  Signed in January of 2007.  Overbay, Hall, and Inge all have the same contract; they're the type of players you'd rather go year-to-year with.
  • Jeff Suppan, Brewers.  Four years, $42MM ($10.5MM per year).  Signed in December of 2006.  Another heavily backloaded deal.  This one was widely panned at the time.  It was presumably signed based on Suppan's nice second half and playoff work.
  • Bill Hall, Brewers.  Four years, $24MM ($6MM per year).  Signed in February of 2007.
  • Chris Carpenter, Cardinals.  Five years, $63.5MM ($12.7MM per year).  Signed in December of 2006.  The Cardinals already had Carpenter under control through 2008 when they signed this deal.  In the first two years he's thrown 21.3 innings.
  • Alfonso Soriano, Cubs.  Eight years, $136MM ($17MM per year).  Signed November of 2006.  This backloaded deal includes a full no-trade clause.  Jim Hendry bought high on Soriano; he's dealt with injuries as a Cub.
  • Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs.  Four years, $48MM ($12MM per year).  Signed December of 2007.  I can't lie - I liked this deal when it was signed.  The Padres and White Sox offered similar amounts.
  • Eric Byrnes, D'Backs.  Three years, $30MM ($10MM per year).  Signed August of 2007.  Former D'Backs CEO Jeff Moorad is responsible for this one, which was not well-received at the time.
  • Jason Schmidt, Dodgers.  Three years, $47MM ($15.66MM per year).  Signed December of 2006.  The Dodgers knew of Schmidt's partially torn rotator cuff before they signed him.
  • Juan Pierre, Dodgers.  Five years, $44MM ($8.8MM per year).  Signed November of 2006.
  • Barry Zito, Giants.  Seven years, $126MM ($18MM per year).  Signed December of 2006, full no-trade clause.  Probably the worst contract on the list.
  • Aaron Rowand, Giants.  Five years, $60MM ($12MM per year).  Signed December of 2007.  He's a useful player, but the price is wrong.
  • Edgar Renteria, Giants.  Two years, $18.5MM ($9.25MM per year).  Signed December of 2008.  Signed before the bottom fell out of the market.
  • Dave Roberts, Giants.  Three years, $18MM ($6MM per year).  Signed December of 2006.
  • Jake Westbrook, Indians.  Three years, $33MM ($11MM per year).  Signed April of 2007.  The Tribe already had Westbrook under contract for '07.  Hindsight is 20/20, so Westbrook and his Tommy John'd elbow make the list.
  • Travis Hafner, Indians.  Four years, $57MM ($14.25MM per year).  Signed July of 2007.
  • Carlos Silva, Mariners.  Four years, $48MM ($12MM per year).  Signed December of 2007.  Silva raised the bar for mediocre starters with this deal, but the market corrected itself in 2008.
  • Miguel Batista, Mariners.  Three years, $25MM ($8.33MM per year).  Signed December of 2006.
  • Kenji Johjima, Mariners.  Three years, $24MM ($8MM per year).  Signed April of 2008.  Ownership-mandated - we'll let Bill Bavasi off the hook.
  • Luis Castillo, Mets.  Four years, $25MM ($6.25MM per year).  Signed November of 2007.  Castillo didn't play much worse than most would've anticipated in 2008.
  • Austin Kearns, Nationals.  Three years, $17.5MM ($5.83MM per year).  Signed January of 2007.  He was coming off a respectable 2006 season.
  • Nick Johnson, Nationals.  Three years, $16.5MM ($5.5MM per year).  Signed March of 2006.  The Nats already had him under control for '06, which turned out to be his best year.
  • Danys Baez, Orioles.  Three years, $19MM ($6.33MM per year).  Signed November of 2006.  The worst of the Orioles' ill-fated relief signings of '06.
  • Adam Eaton, Orioles.  Three years, $24.51MM ($8.17MM per year).  Signed by Phillies, November of 2006.
  • Michael Young, Rangers.  Five years, $62MM in present day value ($12.4MM per year).  Signed March of 2007.  The Rangers have fielded offers on Young and found no takers.
  • Kevin Millwood, Rangers.  Five years, $60MM ($12MM per year).  Signed December of 2005 coming off a career year.
  • Andruw Jones, Rangers.  Two years, $36.2 ($18.1MM per year).  Signed in December of 2007 by Dodgers.  Jones was so bad, the Dodgers paid him to go away.
  • Francisco Cordero, Reds.  Four years, $46MM ($11.5MM per year).  Signed November of 2007.  It's hard to understand why the Reds decided to use their limited resources this way.
  • Ramon Hernandez, Reds.  Four years, $27.5MM ($6.875MM per year).  Signed by Orioles, December of 2005.
  • Julio Lugo, Red Sox.  Four years, $36MM ($9MM per year).  Signed December of 2006.  Another Red Sox shortstop bites the dust.
  • Todd Helton, Rockies.  Nine years, $141.5MM ($15.72MM per year).  Signed March of 2001.  This beast runs through 2011.
  • Jose Guillen, Royals.  Three years, $36MM ($12MM per year).  Signed December of 2007.
  • Gary Sheffield, Tigers.  Two years, $28MM ($14MM per year).  Signed November of 2006 as part of trade from Yankees. 
  • Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers.  Four years, $38MM ($9.5MM per year).  Signed December of 2006.
  • Dontrelle Willis, Tigers.  Three years, $29MM ($9.66MM per year).  Signed December of 2007.  Dave Dombrowski has made many shrewd deals but his recent extensions have hurt the team.
  • Nate Robertson, Tigers.  Three years, $21.25MM ($7.08MM per year).  Signed January of 2008. 
  • Brandon Inge, Tigers.  Four years, $24MM ($6MM per year).  Signed December of 2006.
  • Michael Cuddyer, Twins.  Three years, $24MM ($8MM per year).  Signed January of 2008.
  • A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox.  Three years, $18.35MM ($6.12MM per year).  Signed October of 2007.  The Sox already had him under contract through '08.
  • Jorge Posada, Yankees.  Four years, $52MM ($13MM per year).  Signed November of 2007.
  • Hideki Matsui, Yankees.  Four years, $52MM ($13MM per year).  Signed November of 2005.
  • Kei Igawa, Yankees.  Five years, $46MM ($9.2MM per year).  Signed in December of '06, this was a clear and poorly thought-out response to Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka signing. 

Tim Dierkes follows the hot stove like no one else at MLB Trade Rumors and covers fantasy baseball at Roto Authority.com


360 Comments | Leave a comment

No Padres! Phew!

was going to say the same thing LOL!!

Probably why the Padres are winning so many games lately!

I disagree with Lyle Overbay

He's a very solid defensive 1B who bounced back nicely on offense after a bad 2007. He's not gonna blow you away, but it's also nice to not worry about either bad defense or bad offense at 1st.

As a Dodger fan, I hate to say that I don't see how any contract
could be worse than Jones and Schmidt. At least the Giants are getting something back for the huge Zito contract.

M

Absolutely... I'm still angry about the Schmidt and Andruw deals. I don't completely concur with the Juan Pierre deal. He was made odd man out first with the Andruw deal and then moreso with the acquisition of Manny last summer. And now he may be odd man out again this year if Manny finally signs a Dodger contract. With Ethier and Kemp rounding out center and right fields and Manny in left, look for Juan Pierre to be running the bases elsewhere come August 1st.

Wait for a day or two and see our Dodgers make the Schmidt and Jones deals pale in comparison -- ManRam is about to get $50M or more for two years, and for the first of them he'll do little more than pout about not getting $175M over six years. We need to make a trade for a classy slugger like Magglio Ordonez instead.

While Eaton is listed under the Orioles, he should really be listed under the Phillies since the Orioles only owe him the league minimum. They are not responsible for that contract.

Eric Byrnes gets $10M/year? No wonder Manny's holding out for $22M.

I really hated watching Edgar Renteria flop as a Giant.

Oh wait.. he hasnt played a game yet.

I wouldn't include Carlos Lee (he plays at an all star level every year) or Rentaria (price may be a little high but it is only 2 years).

I think the only reason he's on there is because right after he was signed, everything came down. I'd say that Orlando Cabrera was on par with Renteria last season in nearly every aspect, and he had to settle for a one year, 4 million dollar deal from the A's.

I find it interesting that you went with AJ for the Sox instead of Linebrink. I understand that he's right near the cutoff but don't you think considering the production received from each (AJ's is admittedly declining), that it would've better to go with Linebrink or Konerko?

Im in full agreement james...definitely linebrink and dotel

The Silva, Millwood and Suppan deals are why aging starters like Derek Lowe are being overpaid. He is not a true #1 pitcher at his age and is a little overpaid.

Nice list though.

Thank you for being one of the few people who don't put Beltre on lists like these.

So many idiots out there.

Hey Tim, what about Kei Igawa? Do you factor in the posting fee? moneys money, i figure.

what about Darren Dreifort or Kevin Brown?

Dodgers top the list....

No way any contract is worse than Andruw's! Homeboy was paid by LA $12mil per HR! DID YOU READ THAT??? $12mil PER FREAKING HOMERUN!!!

Perspective? Adam Dunn could smack 2 HRs on Opening Day, the mole could fall off the Lincoln Memorial and kill Dunn while touring the area after the game, and his $20mil contract would STILL be a better bargain than what LA paid Andruw per HR!

Don't get caught up in the big #s of Zito's $$, Dierkers. Perspective!

2nd worst is Posada... guy may not even be able to catch any more - those aren't $13mil DH stats!

It's going to sound like Yankee fan rhetoric, but I'd give Jorge Posada's contract more time before you called it a bust. He's one year in and still has 3 to go. At least wait to the end of this year (the halfway mark) before ranking it as one of the worst in baseball.

Carlos Silva
4 Years at $48 Million for nearly a 6.20 ERA in a FULL season last year!

AWFUL!!!

Carl Pavano???

These are present day contracts, carl pavano is on a 1 year deal for chump change right now. the 4/40 is over for him

I plain forgot Igawa, so we're gonna add that one. Also I agree that Overbay was a questionable inclusion, now that I look at it more.

Uhhhh, Carl Pavano - NYY??????????

No Torii Hunter?

uhhhhhh carl pavano isnt under control by NY anymore?!?! he is an indian who is only signed for 1.5 mil with possible incentives...so that is why there is no pavano

Holy hell I suck more than anyone else.

why is A.J. Pierzynski in this list?? Team leader for $6.12MM per year, thats a steal. why didnt they just post the NYY roster...

How is A-Rod's Deal not in there? Ops out of a 250 million $ deal and can't come close to getting that again so he comes back to the Yankees with his tail between his legs and Hank gives him more money! A lot more! It'S Obvious Cash didn't want him as every chance he gets he makes that very clear! Aweful Contract! "The Curse of A-Rod!"

Overbay isn't a bad contract? Are you serious?! You must be from somewhere deep in the US, b/c if you were from the GTA, you'd know that Overbay was balls last year. And to say you don't have to worry about bad offense, have you ever looked at his stats? He's one of the worst offensive first basemen in baseball! I'd almost rather stick a 1B mitt on the corpse of Rob Deer & tell him to have at it.

adam eaton was by far the worst deal.

As a note. Its says Orioles, But the Phillies signed that contract. The Os just signed him to a minor league deal incase injuries get in the way of their young arms.

Good to see there aren't any Yankees on there...Yet. But they're lucky you left off old contracts because you can definitely add Carl Pavano to that list otherwise and probably a few others.

JD Drew tops at least two thirds of them. Plays mediocre baseball for half a season every year, getting 14M per.

Most of these are pretty obvious. I'd like to see them divided into categories indicating why the contract is considered so bad. Some are bad based on player injury, and while most of those are pitchers and should be considered when signing the contracts, it's hard to fault a team for the terms of the deal (i.e. Jake Westbrook, Michael Cuddyer, Travis Hafner, etc.) Others are based on player injury, but the injury risk going into the contract potentially makes it a bad deal on the team's end (Nick Johnson, Chris Carpenter).

Lyle Overbay, Carlos Lee and Michael Young are productive players, even if overpaid. It's hard for me to see them listed along side Juan Pierre and Barry Zito whose contracts are simply inexplicable.

And then there's the one-year wonders (such as Eric Byrnes and Gary Matthews, Jr.) and the no-year wonders (Japanese imports, Austin Kearns, Nate Robertson).

Not all bad contracts are created equal.

(Isn't Seattle still paying Richie Sexson one more year? Maybe I missed something and '08 was the last year of the contract, but I seem to remember the length of Beltre and Sexson's contracts being the same. Perhaps that was included in the $15mil and over disclaimer, but ... man, that contract was Exhibit A. Seattle has some egg on it's face looking down this list.)

As a Giants fan, I must object to saying Zito's is the absolute worst. At least he's trying every which way he can, and from what the looks were in the 2nd half of '08 and this spring so far, he could still turn this around and get something out of that contract.

Roberts is a no-brainer, and Rowand is overpaid (But this year will tell if it's really that bad)

As for Renteria, he hasnt even played yet, and it's being based off a year in Detroit where everyone had a down year up there. $18 million is a bit much, but believe me, it could be so much worse.

It is much worse, Dave Roberts, no third or first basemen. So far Sheirholtz and Lewis are both hurt. Giants are going to have great pitching and a great ballpark. Thats it! Oh and garlic fries.

Nah bro, there is basically nothing Zito can do to justify that contract. Hes doo doo

While Carlos Lee is paid pretty handsomely, he does put up some nice offensive numbers. 30+ HR, 100+ RBI, .290 AVG year in and year out. Only part I don't like is that he has to play OF in the NL. If he had a spot to DH, I wouldn't mind paying that price at all.

how about suppans 4 for $46 i believe

How about Milton Bradley? 3 years @ 30 million. Dude can't even see 10 pitches in Spring Training before getting hurt.

Why is Cuddyer on the list?

Your Igawa numbers are wrong. He makes 4 million a season. The rest of the money was a posting fee to his Japanese team. If you're going to include his posting fee in his salary then you might as well put Dice-K up there as being a 20 million a year 5 inning pitcher.

Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones's contracts are so bad they deserve to have asterisks next to them. I'm a Dodgers fan, but I still can't deny that those two were stinkers from the start.

Sexson was 4 yr 52 mil, first year great, 2nd year meh, 3rd & 4th year - horrific.

Beltre was 5 yr 65 mil, steady bat, great glove

"Luis Castillo, Mets. Four years, $25MM ($6.25MM per year). Signed November of 2007. Castillo didn't play much worse than most would've anticipated in 2008."

Really? So most people anticipated his batting average would drop .066 points from the previous year? And that a guy who had hit 290+ for 6 straight seasons would all of the sudden hit .245? The reason most Met fans didn't like the contract at the time he was signed was because of what they thought they would get out of him the 4th year, not the 1st year.

how about the entire yankee payroll? getting way overpaid the past few years and 0 world series rings. it will continue in 09

I would say that the advertising revenue from Japanese companies Matsui has made for the Yankees has offset a lot of his contract. He could still be a decent DH this year.

ARod's deal looks even worse now than it did when he signed it. Likely $100M over what any other team would have offered. Just stupid.

Yeah, I'd add Torii Hunter here. 5/90 for slightly above average OPS and a declining defense that was overrated as it was.

As a Boston fan, I don't sleep well at night when I consider how badly Drew's contract might still go for the Sox. But even in 2007 he wasn't truly awful (too much OBP to suck that bad) and 2008 was altogether successful.

Lugo, on the other hand, was a bad contract the instant the ink dried. I didn't like it then and the passing of time has vindicated me.

The NL West is just a sad, sad place, with Coletti and Sabean trying to out-stupid each other. How many terrible contracts have come out of those two teams in the last three years? Rowand, Renteria, Schmidt, Andruw Jones, Peirre, Zito, Roberts. I'd add all the money the Dodgers have pissed away to retain the services of what's left of Garciaparra to this list, as well. If three times is enemy action, why haven't Sabean and Coletti faced firing squads yet?

Soriano's inclusion on this list is an egregious error. You say he's dealt with injuries as a Cub, but evidently not enough to preclude him from hitting 62 homers and stealing 38 bases in two seasons. Carlos Zambrano's deal would have been more apropos of this honor. He signed for 5 yrs, 91 mil in 2007, but his velocity is dwindling, he throws fewer fastballs now and his k:bb ratio has slipped below the crucial 2.0 threshold. Terrible.

Yeah, he hit 62 homers, but how many rbi and how many runs scored and how many ks and how many lob? The guy will break your heart, those stats are so hollow. They will never win with him leading off. He is an athlete not a baseball player, that's why he can throw runners out at the plate, but can't throw to the right base. Why he doesn't know how to hit to the right side when they need to move a runner, why he can't do anything in the post season. But then again, you don't get as much for your $136 million as you used to. Unload him and get a real lead off hitter and one who can play some D.

I agree with most of the names up there, but i think you can throw A.J. Burnett in there along with Nick Swisher... The Yankees team Should be on they have alot of bad contracts

K. Green from S.D. could be on the list.

How about another list. Worst contracts/signing bonuses given to draftees/undrafted free agents...
1)Emsmailyn Gonzalez.

"
Soriano's inclusion on this list is an egregious error. You say he's dealt with injuries as a Cub, but evidently not enough to preclude him from hitting 62 homers and stealing 38 bases in two seasons. Carlos Zambrano's deal would have been more apropos of this honor. He signed for 5 yrs, 91 mil in 2007, but his velocity is dwindling, he throws fewer fastballs now and his k:bb ratio has slipped below the crucial 2.0 threshold. Terrible."

If you think Alfonso Soriano's contract isn't completely, absolutely, terrifyingly horrific, you need to give up on baseball. That may go down as the worst contract of all time by the time it is said and done. Carlos Lee's defense is awful also. JD Drew is a better player then both of those guys, and is also a shorter deal, and he actually can play some defense a little bit.

Soriano's was definitely the worst on the list in my eyes. But I think Jeter's is just as bad if not a little worse.

It may go down as the best contract of all-time. Let's wait more than 2 years to see how it plays out.

"Luis Castillo, Mets. Four years, $25MM ($6.25MM per year). Signed November of 2007. Castillo didn't play much worse than most would've anticipated in 2008."

""Really? So most people anticipated his batting average would drop .066 points from the previous year? And that a guy who had hit 290+ for 6 straight seasons would all of the sudden hit .245? The reason most Met fans didn't like the contract at the time he was signed was because of what they thought they would get out of him the 4th year, not the 1st year.""


Indeed. Why would anybody predict what Castillo did last year when all he has ever done was put up .290/.370 lines? Fwiw, Castillo looks fantastic so far in the spring, he lost a lot of weight and is moving around much better. He will be good for a .360 OBP and some good baserunning this year.

I'd add Johnny Damon and Brian Giles to this list as well. For the amount the rest of the league was offering, you could add CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett as well. Helton doesn't belong here either, 15 million a year for a 20 million dollar players stats (when he signed). at the time he was a notch below only arod, manny and pujols, but better or as good as giambi, mussina, jeter and a slew of other 18 million plus per year players. if the rockies didn't decide to start using a humidor, he'd still be worth the 15 million.

As a Cardinal fan, I am not surprised to see Carpenter. For his and the teams sake, I hope he rebounds.

*crosses fingers*
*finds 4 leaf clover*
*finds rabbit's foot*
*brings out good ol' horseshoe*

He's only posting up current contracts. With that said, I'm a HUGE yankee fan but I don't see A-Rod's contract as a bust nor Posada's. We should give him more time before we call it that, Posada did pretty good last year and so did Alex. I like texiera alot but I think we overpaid just a little for him.

I'm a little perplexed as to why the beltran deal isn't on there, he's still in that one right?

Thats with posting fee correct?..Not an Igawa fan, kinda want to defend the contract though. Posting is luxury tax free...that $26 mil that went to japan, not igawa..then igawa's deal 5 yr 20 mil. 4 mil per. I always thought it was a good deal cos even if he stunk the padres or royals would take him b/c the contract of having a SP for 4 mil a year would add some value there. Hindsight being 20/20, that hasn't been the case. So I say although we paid 46 mil his actual contract is very cheap, and he's not worth that.

Beltran? Here are his averages from the past 3 seasons:
HR: 34
RBI: 113
Avg: .278
OBP: .372
SLG: .540
OPS: .912

All while running the bases well and playing perhaps the best centerfield in baseball. At $17M/yr, it's hard to call that a bad contract.

Um, that was supposed to be in response to "Greg", not "Kei Igawa's Contract"

Not a bad list, but I think you should change this to all time. There are some all timers that beat any of the current ones listed. Such as Jason Giambi's contract with the Yankees, or how about Roger Clemens (my favorite pitcher of all time coincidentally) 20+ mil to pitch a half season with a 4.00+ ERA.

I just know these two off the top of my head (and I'm sorry they were both Yanks), but I'm sure if I had a half hour I could pull up a lot more recently expired, horrible contracts.

And I don't know how Carlos Delgado is not on the current list. He's been blocking up the Mets spot at 1B for years. You cant possibly not consider him a detriment to the team do you? He was as bad as Giambi, just recieved a bit less (think 13-14MM?) Its the length of Delgado I criticize more than the salary necessarily.

what about A-Rod?

Oh and you can probably go ahead and add JD Drew to that sheet. If it weren't for his clutch performing during Ortiz's injury last season, that contract would definitely be seen as a bust too if you are considering Soriano's with the Cubs a bust due to injuries.

And I gotta agree on the A-Rod thing. Even if you want to call him the best player of all time or of our time (neither of which he is by the way), there is no defending a contract of that size and risk. I would also add CC Sabathia to that list, though like A-Rod, how bad is yet to be determined.

And yes Kei Igawa Contract, that is correct. It is a posting fee. I don't believe that posting fees are technically considered part of the players contract in any way shape or form. Thus Dice-k is valued at around 50 mil and igawa just under that at 46. There is still no defending that 5 year deal though. It was an obvious retaliation move to the Sox to stay competitive. Not saying that Igawa was a bad idea, because the thought process was the right one. They just needed to do a littttttle more scouting first.

There's a few on the list I'd rather be stuck with than J.D. Drew's 5 yr./$70 million in Boston...

So singles hitting Derek Jeter and his bloated, backloaded contract doesn't make the list? Let's show the worst defensive SS in the AL a little respect!

Wait!! Carlos Lee is on the list and Jeter isn't?? Seriously? Even A-Rod's is worse! There should be at least half of the Yankees on there. AJ Burnett and Sabathia are gonna be on next year's list.

JD Drew is like a malignant cancer that goes into remission on occasion, causing celebration, just to return to bum you out a few months later. I'd put his contract in the top 5 worst in sports history.

Jeter makes 21.5 million a year!!! Carlos Lee is better than him and made 5 million less. Just sad
http://darion.mlblogs.com/

Thats True Jeter should definitely be up there

Jose Guillen?

A.J's deal with the Yankees is going to be a flop, at least until he is in his final year again and playing for another big free agent contract

Simply put Kei Igawa is the worst contract in baseball. He's not injured, he's just not good enough to play in the Majors and yet he's making nearly 10 million a season.

NAh...they got the numbers wrong.Kei Igawa is making around 4 or 5 million a year. Still....thats 4 or 5 million he shouldn't be making.

Top 5 worst contracts in baseball:

1. Barry Zito 7/$126M
2. Todd Helton 9/$141.5
3. Derek Jeter 10/$189M
4. Michael Young 5/$80M
5. Jason Schmidt 3/$47M

Sabean and Colletti are easily the two worst GMs in the game

How on earth do u have mike young on this list?! 200 hits almost every year, can play 2nd 3rd and short. I'd take mike young over jeter or any of the players mentioned above. The guy is a stud

That albatross better known as Todd Helton's contract gets worse by the year.

did we forget about JD Drew

The guy who did this list is a moron

Well there's the kind of thoughtful discourse people have come to expect from the internet. Well done, sir.

I thought Carlos Lee was the worst contract ever signed when the Astros did it. He has definitely been worth his money so far, but backloaded contracts often start that way. I really do like him, but they'll try to trade him at some point.

I am glad that the Phillies realized their mistake in the Eaton signing and just let him go. Get the bad vibes gone from the clubhouse and the 40 man roster

what about JD Drew?

Lugo is higher up the list on "worst contracts" than Drew. Drew is one of the best defensive RFs in the game. He still doesn't merit a $70 million dollar contract, but his D makes up for his subpar performance at the plate. Fukudome @ $12M per is far, FAR worse than Drew at $14M per.

Everybody on this list with the exception of Kei Igawa is either on a major league roster or injured keeping them from playing.

Kei Igawa just sucks. He's not even good enough to pitch for Japan in the WBC.

Drew still had a OBP of .408 and OPS of .927 in 2008... 6th best among all OFs in the majors. That, and his extremely high UZR rating in RF, makes him a "fair" deal at $14M per.

I got to number 2 on the list and do not see the credibility in the list. Carlos Lee has not had a bad season since signing that contract. I would take him on my team in a second.

These deals all reflect the push/pull dynamics of MLB. A team has a good season (push) and ownership feels obligated to rewards its players for their success because more fans and ad revenue have come in to his/her cofers (pull).

Conversely, a team with a poor record believes that they must bring high priced talent, lest the lack of success on the field, if continued, will drive more customers away (pull).

So, management brings in big named talent, hopefully, to improve the teams performance; or, at the least, to convince the fans they are "trying" to field a successful team, to improve revenues. The high priced talent, and their agents, knows this, so they sell their services at a premium to the highest bidder (push).

This is all about survival, from one season to the next, without significant concern for the longer term future. Like the good promoters and politicians they are, management and player's agents deal with the issues of here and now and assume, generally, that the future will take care of itself....ultimately the fans will pay, regardless. And, we do. On a broader scale, looking at our economy's current demise, does this scenario seem familiar?

I think you've put together a good list but how is Carl Pavano's 4-year deal with the Yankees not part of it?

Gotta have A-Rod on the list for no other reason than that the Yankees paid at least 100 million more than anyone else was willing to. Also, there are 30 million dollars in bonuses for home run landmarks which will now illicit nothing but yawns. A terrible, terrible deal, regardless of his performance.

How about Carlos Zambrano? $90MM+ over 5 years for a pitcher who's starting to have arm troubles, is a head case and has thrown over 3,000 pitches for the last couple of years. Good luck with it.

Not to mention Milton Bradley. $30MM for a "power guy" who's never hit more than 22 HR's, had over 85 RBI's, got a huge benefit from playing in Arlington and never played over 122 games in a year? Oh, and going to the NL where DH is not an option.

Wow we got alot of Yankee hate in the air tonight. All of the Yankee roster.........Including Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Robinson Cano, Chien Ming Wang etc.! Shit if anything Pettite might be a bargain at 1 year and 10 mill. I dont disagree with the Igawa or Matsui mentions but Posada plays a position that is bound to get alot of money anyway since there arent that many studs who play catcher........Injury did hurt him in 2008 but in 2007 he was on an absolute tear at one point along with A-Rod.

Im surprised Gil Meche didnt make the list.....I remember his 11-12 million a year contract made tons of waves.

uh gil meche has been worth more than his contract both years. 4.02 FIP and a 3.61 FIP are definitely worth more than 10 million.

I have to agree with Eric Chavez's deal. I'm an A's fan and they must let him go. So injury proned. They can get a healthier 3rd baseman for less.

Good list - thanks.

Per Helton, right now I'd agree. But at the time he signed, he was in the middle of some terrific years as arguably one of the best 5 hitters in the game. The Rockies should have cut it short by about 4 years though.

Arod's ten year contract has got to be on this list. He's the most overpaid, non clutch, cheating, ball-slapping, HA screaming, ball player out there. He's a complete embarrassment to any ballclub he's on because of all his dirty laundry thats constantly being aired out like the strippers he's banging while married to banging old man madanna, while married (classy). He's an embarrassment to MLB.

I'm a big Pirates fan. Yet, I can't imagine a 40 worst contracts in MLB without including Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez. Not to mention that we still have to pay Matt Morris a little for his infamous time in the 'Burgh. I feel these players were over-looked plainly because many people forget there is a baseball team in Pittsburgh. Oh well. Just some thoughts on my beloved Buccos.

How about Tim Wakefield's perpetual team option for one-year at $4 million.

Danys Baez's contract does suck, but it was better to have him on the DL than paying Jaime Walker 3/$12 to be a LNOGY.

Also, the O's are still paying Jay Gibbons on a 4/$21 for hitting .230 two years ago.

Yes, Thank you for mentioning Jay Gibbons. Jay gibbons was so worthless after signing that contract extention. Duquette/Flangan at their finest. He couldnt hit or play the field. Thank Heaven for Andy McPhail

Just thought I'd add to the rational,unbiased sentiment in these comments and recommend that we add every Yankee contract to the list.

I think you will be adding the contract of Mr. A.J. Burnett in there before years end. Ask any Jays fan how much he is worth. One good season for the JAys makes him a gazillionaire. Spanks will be lucky to get 1 full seasons work out of him over his enitire contract.

as far as the Pirates go $6 million for an average 2B (good hit/bad glove) and average SS (bad hit/good glove) wouldn't be terrible contracts in today's game. below average but not "worst". If they were locked up for another 2 years i'd agree.

What is wrong with the Wakefield contract? That is a perfect contract...the team can decline the option any year. Wake gives you a bunch of innings of 4.1 - 4.6 era for 4 mil, nothing wrong with that for 4 mil.

What about Vincent Padilla?

I never said it was bad for Boston. It is definitely bad for Wakefield, but it looks better every year as he ages.

Andruw Jones says hi.

Where is J D Drew in this list?

The Nick Johnson one could be much worse if the Nats waited until after 2006 to sign him. He would have commanded more money as he was worth almost $20 million according to FanGraphs that year.

As a Cubs fan, I am obviously biased, but Soriano has played good defense and I will take his stats even at the reduced rate. If he is healthy and/or moved to the three-hole, his stats will only go up from 122 games, 31HRs, 73 RBIs,.290/.340/.547, 87 runs and 19 SBs. Grady Sizemore has that year and people call him a star.

And Zambrano is the same sort of deal where if you take a look at his first half stats last year, he was amazing. Everyone has injuries but here is a workhouse who is re-defining his game as he gets older. He is still a guy you pencil in to pitch 200 innings, win 15 games with a sub-4.00 ERA and sub-1.30 WHIP. Not to mention he is a beast as a hitter and wants to win as badly as anyone.

sizemore is so much better than soriano it's not even funny. don't even try to compare them. sizemore's offense+defense combo in CF blows away soriano's contribution in the corner spot. sizemore is one of the best all-around players today (along with beltran).

check the stats...even as he has been injured, Soriano keeps putting up the offensive stats. And his play in the OF is great. yes, he makes a bonehead play every once in awhile but he covers ground and anyone who runs on him gets cut down. He is obviously older than Sizemore, but still a comparable player.

I've got to defend Soriano as well (see my full answer below). When he's not injured he always produced offensively. If fact when he goes on his hot streaks he can carry the offense almost by himself.

I really dont agree with byrnes... he was injured in 08... Why is bill hall on this list?... keep the guy at one position maybe he would play better...

After 09 you can probally add...
Josh beckett
cc sabathia
aj burnett
derek lowe
johan santana
k-rod
torri hunter
milton bradley
jd drew
derek jeter...

Hi Tim,
I'd say this is a fairly accurate list. The Vernon Wells contract haunts the Blue Jays now, and for many years to come. I don't know what they were thinking when they inked Wells to that deal.

Derek Jeter. a 300/363/408 line while making 20+M a year and has played below avg D every year since '02

No David Dellucci?????!!!!! How can he get a 3! year deal and not make this list, and he is only making a million less than Bobby Abreu this year!!

Are the Dodgers still paying Kevin Brown? Has to be the worst contract ever!!!

Cuddy's contract sucks, but if his is the only bad one we have, I'm happy haha.

And we can even cut him a year early if we feel like it.

I would also add A-Rod's signing with the Yankees in 2007 for $275 million. Good player (even though he is roided up), but they bid against themselves there

Not sure I agree with the Carlos Lee deal being bad. It's pretty expensive but he's produced. Same for Juan Pierre. It's the flavor of the off-season to bash that contract, but he's never had a "bad" season. His defense is bad but so is the guy the Dodgers are ultimately going to throw 45 million at. Pierre scores runs, his wheels are still in good condition, he gets on base (via the single) at an average clip. David Dellucci needs to be on this list. Yuniesky Betencourt's extension. Every one year contract the Minnesota Twins have given an aging veteren (granted they're all expired, worth noting though) and Derek Jeter's albatross. Just because that contract isn't crippling the Yankees, doesn't mean it's not deplorable. He's not as productive as Carlos Lee and he made the list.

Is Matt Clement in a current contract with Boston?

How about AJ Burnett? He has one healthy year and parlays it into 80+ Million

Totally agree with Fukudome. He is everything that is wrong with the all-star game!

Ohh, and not only did you leave Jeter off. He could easily be the worst right after Zito. And if you do this list next year... go ahead and put A.J., Tex, and CC at the top.

The Clement contract was fine. 3 years at 8 per for a youngish pitcher with good groundball rates. There's just not that much risk there. He fell apart, of course but I prefer to evaluate signings based on a 'what did we know at the time' basis rather than using hindsight. Clement, at the time, looked like a very sage signing, especially considering that that's the same offseason the Yankees signed Pavano and Wright. Boston probably got more wins-above-replacement out of what innings Clement did throw than the Yankees got out of Pavano and Wright.

I still don't think Drew belongs on the list. He's expensive, but he OBP'd 400 and SLG'd 500 last year and is defensively superior.

Yeah, guys that are vastly overpaid should be on the list. What is their value? However, you need to look at it from a broader point. I questioned the Carlos Lee signing a little bit when it was made, but Lee has been awesome for the Astros. He never goes into a month long slump or anything. He is Mr. Consistent!!! Yes, the Juan Piere's and the Jason Schmitt's and the Zito's are bad contracts and always were. BUT, Carlos Lee? Come on! And comparing to Drew? Lee was consistent before he signed the contract. Drew did not show consistency before he signed his deal and he was also injury prone. Lee plays in 162 games a year and does his thing. Only reason he was out last year was because he got hit by a pitch that shattered his pinky finger. Oh yeah, and he was on his way to a top 5 MVP finish when that happened. He was on fire!

Overbay was coming off $8M and $9M value years when he signed his deal. He was paid $6.8M in 2008 and was worth $7.7M. Should the Jays have magically known his hand would be broken by a pitch in 2007?

You should not worry about any contract that a team can easily afford-so all Red Sox and Yankees should be off list.

The real bad deals are those that kill the team by limiting what they can do -- like Zito!

If a contract really limits the ability to compete that is a bad deal- winning is what counts. A-Rod et al have produced 95 wins or more so they win. If anything it is the bad pitching deals that would earn a Yankee mentionA fine line between 95 wins and a WS ring.

I'm a Big griffey fann.. but how is his contract he signed with the reds in 2001 i think it was not on there? considering he didnt play one season with out dl trips for extended periods of time..

How about J.D. Drew for the boston Red Sox?
5 years $70 million ($14 million per year)to do what? play 109 games (100 of which he complained about being hurt) and hit the very occasional home run. I think this contract is much worse than Hideki Matsui who I am not saying is performing better but at least he is getting paid less and is locked into the payroll for a year less than Drew

how many of these bad contracts are scott boras clients?

Where's the J.D. Drew contract with the Sox? Five years and $70 million for a guy that has missed 75 games over the last two years due to injury. That's terrible! Even when healthy he's been less than a superstar.
AVG HR RBI R SB OBP SLG
2007 - .270 11 64 84 4 .373 .423

2008 - .280 19 64 79 4 .408 .519

Very pedestrian numbers for a $14 million per outfielder.

how does JD Drew not make this list?? I mean how as in how on earth??

great question Ed.. I can tell u the all time worst (barry zito) definitely u can throw in Drew as well.. also Andruw Jones.. my question is doesn't that make Boras a great agent? or does it say something larger about large multi-year veteran contracts that GM's get conned into.

Using fangraph's numbers Bill Hall has been underpaid overall the last two years and it isn't hard to imagine him improving slightly and the contract being a bargain.

Sure his bat has been a let down but his glove has made up for it so far.

Any contract with Adam (DON'T)I mean Dunn, has got to be a BAD CONTRACT!

Lets start being fair on here:
Looking at guys who had no problems before signed then breaking down isnt fair. Travis Hafner hit .300+ with 30hrs for 3 years in a row, not fair to criticize his contract.

Get Igawa's contract right or dont mention it at all.

JD Drew has yet to hit 20hrs for Boston for $14m

How is Burnett being mentioned before he even PITCHES? If people say him then say Derek Lowe too.

And if you say Matsui say Lowell too.

Aaron Rowand overpaid? How much is a gold-glove CF who can hit is worth? $10m? Look at Torii Hunter, dude gets $18m.

"Also, there are some lousy deals that were worth less than $15MM total that I chose to leave out"

Haha- come on be fair. Dont mention Drew (14m) but mention Igawa (only 4m), Posada (13m), Matsui (13m)

Inge, really? I don't think he is a bad deal at 6M/year. He can play defense all over the field. He went from everyday third base (and a very good defensive third base) to catcher. Who else can do that?

Might not be the star player in Detroit, but he should not be in this list.

.205 avg, 11hr, .303obp? I'm sure there are lot of guys who can do that, but arent given enough playing time because their contract doesnt say 6million

$19,000,000 for the worst fielding shortstop in baseball?

It's actually $20m, but we all know what he means to the club but if you want to add him here you can.
Just remember, Ichiro is getting $18m until 2012 and his teammates want to knock him out so add him too.

What's with all the J.D. Drew haters? The guy isn't a super slugger, but he will hit his share of home runs and doubles and posts great OBP and SLG every year. His injuries are a problem, but he's gotten over 800 ABs so far in his contract and done very well. THe only thing he doesn't do well is get those overrated context related things called RBIs. He's worth his $14MM.

Zack -- Be fair. The article considers total guaranteed money over the length of the contract, not just 2009 salary. JD Drew's total guaranteed money is 70 million, as opposed to Igawa's 47 million, or Posada's and Matsui's 52 million each. Drew is, in my opinion, considerably overpaid -- an .850 OPS over two seasons, in one of which he only played about 110 games, is not worth what he's paid -- but it's not one of the worst contracts in baseball. Not like Julio Lugo getting 36 million for historically bad performance (I believe there was a stretch where he went a calendar month without a base hit). It might be a worse contract than Matsui's -- Matsui is essentially useless, but 2009 is his last year, while Drew has three more to go -- but it's a better deal than Posada's, since he's washed up but is still signed through 2011.

As a Tigers fan, it sucks to see 5 of the club's albatrosses got mentioned. I kinda disagree on Bonderman, though. Provided health, he'll pitch his way off this list in 2009. The other ones are gross, though. At least Sheffield's gone after this season.

In defense of Bonderman, many other teams were willing to pay that much and more for his talent...

I do say in a year or two, Sabathia will def be making this list. He is on the wrong side of 300 pounds.

Jeff Francis' contract with the Rockies is not looking good right about now.

Neither is Todd Helton's

Jarrod Washburn from my M's should be on the list. He's getting $10 MM this season. Way overpriced for an average major league pitcher.
Maybe Dierkes had a limit of two pitchers per team on the list.

where's pedro?

Dsmn you Julio Lugo!

You forgot A-Rod's 10 year contract!!

Absolutely the worst of them all! Yanks are stuck with this choke artist for 9 more years and he choked with men on base before all the steroid attention. Cannot imagine how he'll choke this year too!!!

There's no way you can put Edgar Renteria on this list without including Raul Ibanez, an objectively much worse signing.

Using a simple 3-2-1 weighting of the last three seasons (which is what GMs tend to do, actually), Renteria projects to be worth $11.3 million a year according to FanGraphs, less some for age, so two years at $9.25 AAV with a team option for a third was simply a failure to read the market.

Using the same weighting for Ibanez, you're taking a guy who projects to be worth $8.1 mill a year, less a much steeper age adjustment, and you're giving him 10.5 mill a year for three years. It's just massively worse.

My agent and I appreciate that you forgot the 4yr/$41M absurdity that Mo agreed to in November. Even I have to admit that looked absurd BEFORE the entire market went to hell in a handbasket.

What about JD Drew's awful contract???

Torii Hunter should be added to the list. 5 years at 80 million. Year one 21 hrs, 78 rbi ... very average stats.

I concur on Sorry Torii

C.C. (let´s be honest 1 half of Spahn like pitching doesn´t make up for a pedestrian 3.83 ERA in the first half when you are talking about 23MM per year), Alex (30MM and 10 years, without steroids would be a horrible contract, with steroids means his down-turn in the next few years will be significant AND he makes x2.5 what Beltre makes while hitting 15 more HRs, similar 2Bs, 20-30 more RBIs, 15 more steals, and a much worse 3B defensively, WOW SOME PERSPECTIVE FOLKS!), Jeter (his numbers were comparable to Renteria and O-Cab, yet he makes twice their combined salary almost, hmmm I could see why he didn´t make the list!), Tex (good yes, but not 22.5MM x 8 years good, try 6 years at 15MM is more what he should have signed for), Damon (the guy literally throws like a girl and his speed is down-shifting, making him overall very unworthy of half his contract!), Burnett (league average pitcher, abover-average Ks and DL time, should have signed for 10MM x 3 with his history, not 16.5MM, J.D. Drew (14MM x 5 abd he can´t stay healthy doesn´t make the list, but Carlos Lee the All-Star does?), Ichiro (18MM for a singles hitter, I just can´t get past this, I want him to finish his career as a Mariner, but not when we are paying him twice his value, he´s the best singles hitter in the world, but at his age should only get him an Ibañez deal), Kelvim Escobar (he throws 6 pitches and gets 44MM or 55MM, exageration yes, truth, yes)?

I would disagree with the AJ Pierzynski contract. While I think the "team leader" moniker is virtually meaningless, you have to consider that the White Sox did not have a viable catching prospect, that the free market rarely provides a surplus of viable catching options, and that backup catchers are so putrid offensively that a career .750 OPS catcher is worth $6 million.

A glaring omission -- Bobby Crosby

the phils finally got rid of him but how about adam eaton? 3 years, $24.5 mill for that stiff... horrible pitcher, but didn't stop the phillies from becoming world phuckin champions!

If this is a a list of the "worst contracts" in baseball, then you are completely wrong. If it's a list of which teams can, in your opinion, afford the contracts they have these players signed to, then maybe you're a bit closer.

For the real "worst contracts" list, you'd need to add about 1/4 to 1/2 of the Red Sox, 1/2 to 3/4 of the Yankees, and most definitely drop Carlos Lee from the list, and possibly a couple of others.

Lee consistently plays, day in and day out, and consistently puts up All-Star numbers. He was awesome last year, and only missed the last month and a half due to a fluke broken finger. His defense is not stellar by any stretch, but he covers the short porch in Minute Maid adequately. He's good, and his contract is just fine.

I'd much rather have Lee with that contract than most of the Yankees/Red Sox contracts.

What about JD Drew of the Red Sox?? The only thing he ever did for Red Sox Nation was hit a grandslam against Cleveland in 2007 ALCS! Oh sorry he was also MVP of the 2008 All-Star Game...

What about every player the yankees are going to sign? If every player they signed this year (CC, AJ, Tex) are already some of the worst contracts in baseball before they have even started, so should every subsequent contract they will inevitably have ad infinitum.

You guys suck at reading. 90% of these comments are calling for contracts that aren't even in effect anymore. The article was for current deals.

As for the actual article, I'm not sure I agree with a bunch of these. Bill Hall wasn't a good signing but one of the worst in baseball at only 6 mil? A lot of these are recent contracts with only 1 bad season under the belt. One bad season can happen all the time so not really sure that is WORST CONTRACTS material. Then again, that's just me..

I like how you limited this to "current contracts" as this is the first free agent list I've seen that didn't include the infamous Mike Hampton contract. (Worst ever? Depends on what Zito does for the next five)

We couldn't tell at the time but it looks like the free agent market may have peaked in 2006. Since then not only has the economic situation changed but some GM's apparently put down their crack pipes and actually thought about what they were doing before they offered some more of these seriously ridiculous contracts.

Being delusional, I have to defend Soriano's contract a little bit. Is he overpaid? Hell yeah, and it's only going to get worse. Are they a better team with him? Yes, and their win-loss record with/without him starting couldn't be more clear in this matter. Have they made the playoffs every year since he joined the Cubs? Again the answer is yes. Will the Cubs be regretting this deal in years 6,7 and 8 of this contract? Time will tell but it's a real possibility. Will any of this matter if he helps the Cubs win the World Series? Not one bit. GO CUBS!!!

The only reason I'd keep Carlos Lee on here, is Houston was the only place Carlos wanted to play. He even hired and fired Scott Boras in a span of a weekend after Houston said they wouldn't deal with Boras. You don't pay top market value for a guy when your the only player in town.

But dude has mashed for Houston, other than that tid bit, he's been worth it for Houston.

wheres the darren dreifort deal..... or the carl pavano... or kevin brown??

Kei Igawa’s contract is 5 yrs/ $20M.

The other $26M was paid by the New York Yankees as the posting fee PAID TO HANSHIN TIGERS, not Kei Igawa.

And at the time, signing him to a salary hit of $4M/yr a year removed from having more strikeouts than DiceK Matsuzaka, I’d say that’s not too much of an investment. However, unless your last name is Steinbrenner, then you can complain about the $26M. But since it doesn’t go into Igawa’s pocket, it’s not on their payroll, and your 5 yrs/$46M is completely incorrect, and therefore, probably NOT one of the worst contarcts. It may be in hindsight, but when these contracts were signed, they weren’t bad at all.

Rushing to give Cano a contract where he has salaries of $9M and $10M in 2010 and 2011, respetively, on top of a ridiculous $14M club option in 2012, is bad. Chase Utley didn’t get a contract that quick! But that was completely overlooked because it’s “not a lot.” A contract is a contract. And relative to his peers, this is riiculous. This is one for a guy who played 2 years and had an unusually high BABIP. Should have went through arbitration. Wang is making $5.5M after winning 38 games in back to back years.

Knocking Young? What an idiot. Michel Young is worth 3 times his salary to the locals.

Schmidt and especially Andruw Jones are awful deals for the Dodgers, but how can you mention them without including Juan Pierre. Did anyone in the entire universe like that deal even when it was announced?

How is JD Drew not on this list?

Now it looks like renewing AROID could be the worst contract ever! Injured in 2nd year @$32mill. yeowwwww!

This guy must not know baseball. Guillen led the Royals in three categories (Homeruns 20, Rbi's 97, and Doubles 42) and you call that a bad contract. Wow some people amaze me. Not to mention he has one of the best arms in the outfield in all of baseball and played hurt all last year.


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The Dodgers have the two by far worst contracts on this list, the fact that they were only 2 and 3 yr deals makes it a little less painful, but schmitt started 10 games in 3 yrs with 4 wins. So 45 million divided by 4 is 11 million per win 4.5 million per start, jones got 35 million for free, this guy was the best centerfielder ive ever seen and a big hitter, i guess he got his money and said i will gain 30 pounds and stink. He is still young so i think when he plays for 1 mill next year he may have a comeback. The zito and wells deals are horrible too since they are so long but there is time for these guys who are 30 tops to turn it around. The dodgers have to cringe when you even mention schmitt or jones, Kevin Browns contract looks like pujols deal compared to these two bums. Cardinals got a hometown discount cuz if arodddd is worth 30 mill puji is worth 50

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What about JD Drew's awful contract???

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