The truth is, there aren’t really any terrible contracts in baseball. There are bad contracts and bad players getting overpaid, sure, but as we’ve seen in recent years, teams can still win with the most burdensome of deals on their ledger and have even been able to offload some of the worst contracts.
Remember all the mocking the Giants incurred on the Barry Zito deal? Seven years and $126 million for a finesse left-hander? Has Zito been worth the money? No, he’s barely been a replacement-level pitcher during his six years with the Giants, with a 3.9 WAR and no seasons with an ERA under 4.00. But the contract wasn’t a franchise-killer. The Giants won the World Series in 2010 (although Zito didn’t pitch in the postseason) and have a chance to win again in 2012 (with help from Zito this time).
When the Blue Jays signed Vernon Wells to a seven-year, $126 extension after his big 2006 season, it seemed like a reasonable deal for a two-way center fielder in his prime. Wells has produced a .256/.305/439 line since, but the Jays were still able to deal the final four years of his contract to the Angels.
The $142 million the Red Sox gave Carl Crawford immediately turned into a disaster, as Crawford played poorly his first season and battled injuries in his second. Still, the Red Sox managed to dump Crawford by packaging him with Adrian Gonzalez. As P.T. Barnum said ...
So you get the idea. That said, here are 10 contracts I’d rather not be paying out.
1. Alex Rodriguez, 10 years, $275 million
2. Ryan Howard, 5 years, $125 million
3. Carl Crawford, 7 years, $142 million
4. Jayson Werth, 7 years, $126 million
5. Albert Pujols, 10 years, $240 million
6. Adrian Gonzalez, 7 years, $154 million
7. Mark Teixeira, 8 years, $180 million
8. Joe Mauer, 8 years, $184 million
9. Vernon Wells, 7 years, $126 million
10. Contract of your choice, too many years, too much money: Jason Bay, John Lackey, Chone Figgins ... even if these deals have only a year or two left, if you’re a fan of these teams, you know the aggravation factor. So fill in the blank here with the contract you love to despise.