2013 Anti-Trade Value: The Five Worst Contracts

Last week, I went through the 50 best assets in baseball, as rated by overall trade value based on their performance, age, and contract status. Today, we finish up the Trade Value series with the five players farthest from making the list. This is the Anti-Trade Value list; the guys who would be nearly impossible to trade because of their outsized contracts and undersized performances.

The take home notion: Beware the aging slugger.

#5 Prince Fielder (1B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
29 434 11.5 % 17.3 % .269 .362 .453 .354 122 -6.6 -2.5 0.9

Under Team Control Through 2020: $24M per year

Maybe it’s just a slump.  Good players have mediocre stretches, and even in Fielder’s down season, he’s still posting a 122 wRC+.  Perhaps he finishes strong and provides a few more elite offensive seasons for the Tigers.

That’s a lot of ifs and maybes for $168 million over the next seven years.  Fielder wasn’t highly prized by many teams as a free agent because of the costs associated with a supersized DH-in-the-making and the historically poor aging curves of position players carrying that much weight.  The first year of his deal turned out just fine for Detroit, but if 2013 is the start of a trend, this deal could get ugly in a hurry.

Fielder is among the worst defenders and worst baserunners in the sport.  He’s only good if he’s mashing, and right now, he’s not mashing.  One dimension players making $24 million per year have to be among the game’s best hitters to have value, and while Fielder might get back to that level, a team would have to have a tremendous amount of confidence in a rebound in order to take him off the Tigers hands.

He certainly isn’t untradeable, especially given the lack of bats on the market right now.  I’d imagine Detroit could even get another team to pick up most of the rest of his deal.  Even coming off a mediocre season, I could see Fielder getting $120 million over seven years from a team desperate for a cleanup hitter.  But that is still well shy of what Detroit is paying him, and the Tigers would have to kick in a lot of cash in order to move his contract.

Estimated Cost to Trade: $48 million

#4 Josh Hamilton (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
32 387 6.7 % 25.3 % .223 .279 .409 .297 89 0.7 1.6 0.6

Under Team Control Through 2017: $15M, $23M, $30M, $30M

It was less than a year ago that Hamilton incited a bidding war.  In addition to the Angels, the Mariners reportedly offered Hamilton $100 million over four years, with a couple of team options that could push it to $150 million over six years.  So, maybe $103 million over four years with no team options now shouldn’t be completely immovable.

Except Hamilton has been worse than anyone could have possibly imagined.  There were warning signs, sure, but a .223/.279/.409 line that translates into an 89 wRC+? As bad as Hamilton’s plate discipline is, this is still way below any reasonable forecast coming into the season.  But it’s the kind of performance that justifies why the Rangers just showed little interest in retaining him, and the kind of performance that suggests that the end might be closer than we might have thought.

Hamilton, right now, projects as about an average player when he’s healthy, which is not something you can really count on with him.  This is the kind of season that would relegate him to a one year “pillow contract”, as he’s lost his only real valuable skill at age-32.  If he had this kind of season a year ago, maybe he ends up taking the qualifying offer and playing for $13 million to try and bounce back.

For a guaranteed four more years, I can’t see any team being willing to go over $40 million, leaving $63 million in dead money.  It’s not just how the mighty have fallen, but how quickly the mighty have fallen, that is the big surprise here.

Estimated Cost to Trade: $63 million

#3 Ryan Howard (1B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
33 317 7.3 % 30.0 % .266 .319 .465 .332 110 -1.2 -3.0 0.4

Under Team Control Through 2017: $25M, $25M, $25M, $10M buyout

You’ve probably read enough about the Ryan Howard contract by now. It’s been a running joke for years, and is probably going to go down as one of the least productive contracts in sports history. While other deals have turned bad after getting signed, this is maybe the last contract to be an obvious disaster from the minute of conception, and given the increasing education of baseball executives, it might be the last of its breed.

The good news is that the end is in sight. While it’s an utter waste of almost the entire $85 million, it will only limit the Phillies for three more seasons, plus the buyout cost in 2017. Howard is unlikely to provide much value during the remaining years on the deal, but those years are ticking away, and he won’t hamstring the franchise for that much longer.

Estimated Cost to Trade: $70 million

#2 Alex Rodriguez (3B/SS)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
37 11163 10.9 % 18.2 % .300 .384 .560 .401 144 17.3 36.1 111.3

Under Team Control Through 2017: $25M, $21M, $20M, $20M

The salary is detrimental, but the circus that surrounds him is a pretty big deterrent to other teams as well. Rodriguez’s combination of health issues and never ending link to PEDs make him just about untradeable even before you factor in the huge salary. Put those things together and there’s probably not a player in the game that would generate less interest in the trade market.

On performance alone, Rodriguez is one of the best players of all time. It’s too bad that such a career is going to end this way.

Estimated Cost to Trade: $86 million

#1 Albert Pujols (1B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
33 419 9.3 % 12.4 % .252 .325 .434 .324 107 -1.0 -3.1 0.5

Under Team Control Through 2021: $23M, $24M, $25M, $26M, $27M, $28M, $29M, $30M

If you’re wondering, that’s $212 million over the next eight years. Not only did the Angels give Pujols a massive contract, but they backloaded it, so after the first two seasons finish, they’ll still have only paid him $28 million of the $240 million he was guaranteed. Basically, the Angels borrowed heavily from the future in order to finance their 2012 and 2013 playoff runs. Oops.

Unlike some of the other names on this list, Pujols would still be in demand if the Angels made him available. He was nearly a +4 WAR player last year, and while he’s regressing, he still projects as a pretty good player in the short term. But 8/212 is so far beyond what he would actually get as a free agent, the Angels would have to send along the biggest check in sports history to make Pujols’ decline years someone else’s problem.

Best case scenario, I think a team might talk themselves into Pujols as a $15 million per year player for the next four years. I could see him getting the Nick Swisher contract, basically. There’s enough reason to think he could still hit for a few more years, and provide enough short term value to make that kind of contract a viable risk for a contender. But that’s 4/60, leaving $152 million in dead money. Rodriguez and Howard combine for about $156 million in dead money. Basically, the Pujols contract is as toxic as the next two worst contracts in baseball put together.

It’s a good thing the Angels have Mike Trout.

Estimated Cost to Trade: $152 million



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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tehzachatak
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tehzachatak
2 years 10 months ago

how the mighty have fallen…

Anon21
Guest
Anon21
2 years 10 months ago

Or in Howard’s case: how the middling have fallen.

guayzimi
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guayzimi
2 years 10 months ago

[chortle]. How very BFIB of you…

I’m with you on Pujols-ARod 1-2. But for 3-4-5 I think you have to go Matt Kemp (6.5 years and $138 million), Joey Votto (11/233), and Verlander (6.5/170). Yes they’re productive, but we’re talking 2-3 times as much money as Howard is owed.

JH
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JH
2 years 10 months ago

2-3 times the money for 4-5 times the production. You do the math.

BeantownPhilliesFan
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BeantownPhilliesFan
2 years 10 months ago

In Amaro’s eyes: Production = RBIs

guayzimi
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guayzimi
2 years 10 months ago

Howard could be a two win player if used correctly (strict platoon plus DH and PH at bats). Votto and Verlander are prime candidates for age-related ineffectiveness. Maybe I’m undervaluing how the trade market views present day wins, but I’d take the mini-disaster in the hand over the mega-disaster lurking in the bush.

The Party Bird
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The Party Bird
2 years 10 months ago

Howard’s contract is just a mini-disaster to you? I guess in the context of the entire world, it shouldn’t even register as a disaster at all. But in the baseball world, the best thing you can say about the contract is “well, at least it’s not eighty SIX million we owe him.” It’s a catastrophe.

Verlander is having a serious down season and has produced seven times the WAR that Howard has this year. And Howard is outperforming his 2012 season.

JH
Guest
JH
2 years 10 months ago

You’re undervaluing both present day wins and the value of having a star player (which Votto certainly is, Kemp likely is when healthy, and even with his decline, Verlander’s still a star, albeit no longer looking like the best pitcher alive). Remember, it’s becoming more and more difficult to sign pre-decline players to mega contracts. Votto’s trade value is still very high (likely just outside the HM level), Verlander wouldn’t be difficult to move, and neither would Kemp once he shows 1-2 months of health and production.

Maybe, as you say, Howard could push 2 wins if used exclusively against righties, but a) that’s still not all that great for a guy making his salary, and there’s an opportunity cost involved locking a guy into a power position for his decline years, and b) that also requires using bench bat for a 1B who’s only used against lefties. The ability to play every day has its own value.

Put another way: even if all 3 teams weren’t in win-now mode, do you really think the Reds, Tigers, and Dodgers would take the opportunity to trade Votto, Verlander, or Kemp straight up for Howard, with both teams to absorb 100% of their new acquisitions’ salaries? Yeah, me either.

Contracts are important, but the first question is still “is this guy a good player?”

JN
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JN
2 years 10 months ago

Kemp hasn’t been bad for long enough to call him done. Verlander and Votto are still very very good, so I don’t know why they would be on here.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 10 months ago

They definitely have the potential to be bad to very bad by the end of the contracts, but the contracts are in such an early stage that we just don’t have a great feel for when their decline stages will begin in earnest, or how fast those declines would be. Neither will be worth what they’re getting paid on the tail end of the deals (I feel quite confident) but both should produce some surplus value in the early years that may offset that somewhat.

jmac
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jmac
2 years 10 months ago

I wouldn’t call Verlander’s 2013 season “very, very good”- statistically, Chris Tillman has had a nearly identical season. I might have Verlander at #6 on this list because there is still a chance he justifies most of the money.

Votto is a beast, I’m not sure he wouldnt get something in the neighborhood of 11/233 if he hit the open market today. Kemp’s been hurt this year and isnt too old.

Baltar
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Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

I don’t see how Votto’s name could even come up in this discussion. He possibly deserves to be on the Top 50, clearly not the bottom 5.
Somebody around here is cuckoo.
P.S. I’m not a Reds fan.

guayzimi
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guayzimi
2 years 10 months ago

@Baltar He’s a 30 year old first baseman who missed 50 games last year with a knee injury and has $233 million coming. That is huge risk.

djw
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djw
2 years 10 months ago

“the potential to be bad”

Yes, but actual, definite badness is worse than potential badness. This isn’t a complicated concept.

za
Guest
za
2 years 10 months ago

Joey Votto is the 3rd best 1B in baseball and Verlander is the 13th best pitcher in baseball right now. Matt Kemp has been injured but his contract isn’t even the worst on his own team (Greinke, Crawford, and Ethier all might be worse), since he’s still a dynamic and useful player.

Basically, you’re saying you would rather have Ryan Howard on your team right now instead of Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton on your team instead of Justin Verlander. Maybe you just don’t get it?

Alexander Nevermind
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Alexander Nevermind
2 years 10 months ago

How is Joey Votto the third-best 1B? Because that is where he currently stands in 2013 fWAR? That’s a terrible method for ranking true talent levels.

abreutime
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abreutime
2 years 10 months ago

He’s might be the best 1B, if you go by rest of season projections. What’s your awesome method?

buddaley
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buddaley
2 years 10 months ago

At age 30, Pujols was a 7 WAR player according to Fangraphs. The next year he fell off to 5.4 and then was signed to the big contract.

Votto, 30 in Sept., currently has a 3.9 WAR after 3 years in which his WAR went from 6.8-6.4-5.6. He never had as high a peak, nor as long & consistent a peak as Pujols did and it appears he will end up with about the same WAR as last year. I think there should be some concern that the $150 million he is due for his age 34-40 years plus at least $7 million more to buy out his age 41 season will be a millstone for the Reds.

Similarly, Verlander is owed $160 million for his age 31-36 seasons. There is a lot of mileage on that arm. I am sure there are teams that would trade for Votto or Verlander were they available, but I hope it isn’t my team.

Alexander Nevermind
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Alexander Nevermind
2 years 10 months ago

My awesome method? Taking previous data into account. For example I could weight 2011 performance by 0.5, 2012 by 0.75, and 2013 by 1.0. Why would you ever limit yourself to less than 100 games worth of information? Votto is the best 1B in baseball (until Miggy gets moved off 3B).

To buddaley: your sample size is 1. Joey Votto is not Albert Pujols. And it seems rather safe to assume that Joey Votto is a true talent 6-win player right now. Start reducing his value by 0.5-wins per season, then multiple for the adjusted cost of a win for inflation each year, and you have a handy back-of-napkin calculation for Votto’s worth during the length of his contract. Looking exclusively at the final years of the deal fails to take the excess value of the early years into account.

Baseball Bob
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Baseball Bob
2 years 10 months ago

The calculation used in this article as cost to trade is this: if this player were a free agent, how much money would he get for how long? Then subtract what he is actually owed, and you get his [negative] trade value.

So what would Verlander get on the open market? What would Kemp get? What would Votto get?

If you think Howard should be number 3, then you think that all of these guys would get a contract within $70M of what they are still owed. That means Votto needs to get at least $164M, Kemp $69M, Verlander $101M. I think a rational argument could be made that Votto might not get quite that much, and thus becomes third. Kemp and Verlander get that EASILY even with their declines. And by the end of the year, Votto might be back to that level.

I suspect that the author is at least defensibly right, then, in that Howard is SURE not to be worth any more than he projects, while the three you mention MIGHT be (and two of them still are, in my opinion)

Anon21
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Anon21
2 years 10 months ago

Looks like the Rodriguez “box” summary should not have his age as 27, since the stats are for his entire career to date. (Although the WAR total doesn’t quite match what’s on his player page for whatever reason.)

rbt
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rbt
2 years 10 months ago

Probably a typo, since he’s 37 (at least, he is until Saturday).

John
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John
2 years 10 months ago

Has any player on the wrong side of 30 signed a $100 million dollar deal that didn’t lead to buyer’s remorse?

bill
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bill
2 years 10 months ago

Cliff Lee so far maybe?

Matt
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Matt
2 years 10 months ago

Cliff Lee and Matt Holliday I would argue aren’t regretted by their teams yet, but that could change.

Jason Giambi with the Yankees is arguable.

ssj316
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ssj316
2 years 10 months ago

Remember when the Cards signed Holliday to that big contract and everyone was like “But this means they might not be able to resign Pujols!” Cards fans must be ecstatic at how that choice turned out.

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
2 years 10 months ago

The Lance Berkman contract made it even better!

Beltran’s good contract will run out and he’ll be replaced by Taveras.

Freese’s contract will expire, Carpenter to 3rd and Wong in the IF … and the Cards are looking pretty smart.

All those young, talented pitchers dont hurt either. The Cards have done well with the mid-20’s non prospects like Ludwick, Jay, Freese, Carpenter, etc.

Nick O
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Nick O
2 years 10 months ago

There honestly aren’t as many $100 MM contracts for 30 year olds as you’d think. I’d say Lee, Holliday, and Giambi will all be worth their contracts. CC clearly was earning his Yanks contract before he opted out if you want to make that distinction. Beltran and Ramirez were 28 and 29 when they signed their big contacts. Beltre signed a $96 MM contract that’s looking pretty good.

the hottest stove
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the hottest stove
2 years 10 months ago

The Holliday contract looks especially good when placed next to the contracts of Jason Bay and Jayson Werth, which I believe were signed at around the same time….

Bill
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Bill
2 years 10 months ago

There haven’t been a lot of these deals – I though of Tejada’s deal with Baltimore in ’04, but that wasn’t even close to $100 million. Holliday is the only one I can think of. He would have to be pretty awful the rest of the way for that to blow up. Likewise Cliff Lee.

MrMan
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MrMan
2 years 10 months ago

While not $100M…..a 32-year old Adrian Beltre signed a 5-year $80M deal with a club option at $16M. He’s delivered 16.2WAR over the first 2.5 years. At a cost of $5M per WAR, he’s already delievered on the full value of the contract. Any further contributions from this point forward are giving the Rangers a discount.

Arguably the best big-money free-agent signing of the last few years.

atoms
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atoms
2 years 10 months ago

The Dodgers were absolutely stupid not to extend him back in 2004. Third base has been a black hole for them ever since.

Ben
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Ben
2 years 10 months ago

I don’t know, hindsight is always 20/20, and I remember his Seattle contract that followed being pretty widely panned. He had an incredible walk year in LA that looked pretty fluky, I don’t think anyone expected him to be as good as he’s been since then.

Dave
Guest
Dave
2 years 10 months ago

The Dodgers would have been stupid to sign him then. Beltre has been a nice surprise for Texas thus far, but between then and now, he wasn’t worth the dollars that walk season suggested. I’m a Dodgers fan and was glad they didn’t give him the fat contract.

walt526
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walt526
2 years 10 months ago

Obviously a special case for a number of reasons, but Bonds’ $90M/5 years signed before 2002 comes close (he was 36 when it was signed).

Loop D
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Loop D
2 years 10 months ago

Bobby Bonilla

Marcos
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Marcos
2 years 10 months ago

Anyone care to estimate Andre Ethier’s cost to trade?

Kogoruhn
Member
Kogoruhn
2 years 10 months ago

Probably ~20MM

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

~$47M. But the genius of that signing is that he was probably $47M overpaid the day he signed the contract, so Colletti’s standards, he hasn’t lost any value at all.

matt w
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matt w
2 years 10 months ago

I’d say he has a shot to sneak in the back end of the top 5. Due a lot of money and he seems like a tremendous risk to collapse completely. If his defensive numbers go back to his 2009-10 form, watch out.

Westside guy
Member
Member
Westside guy
2 years 10 months ago

We all have blind spots when it comes to moves made by our favorite teams – I realize that. But I do remember a few people attempting to justify the Howard contract back when it was signed… I wonder how they feel about it now?

Dionysus
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Dionysus
2 years 10 months ago

I live in the Philly area and work in a restaurant with a lot of Phillies fans.

When The Howard Contract was signed I spent days trying to explain to my coworkers that it was an incredibly awful contract for the Phils. These folks aren’t really SABR friendly to be sure – before I worked there and talked some sense into them, they still considered RBIs and Pitcher Wins to be worthwhile stats – but still, it was shocking how much they defended and LOVED the Howard deal. He was a beast, they said. He is such a nice guy, the face of the franchise, they said. He hits so many home runs, they said. The contract was going to be worth his production, they said.

I eventually gave up the fight, letting time prove my point.

And, boy, has it. Now they’ve turned on Howard, and the coworkers still there begrudgingly admit I “may have been right” all along.

rusty
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rusty
2 years 10 months ago

I think a factor running in Howard’s favor at the time the deal was signed was the way salary arbitration was run. Howard was a Super-2, and after his 2006 MVP and 51HR/162G pace through 2007, received a $10m arbitration award in his first arb-year (2008).

Another couple decent seasons + standard raises put him at $15m for 2009 and $19m for 2010; the Phillies finalized the albatross extension in spring 2010. Not that there isn’t a ton of dead money on the contract, but if a team is using the same player valuation metrics as salary arbitration, the deal was in some ways completely predictable.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 10 months ago

I understand what you are saying, but it’s still not an excuse. They could have traded him when his value was high and let someone else deal with the arbitration problems.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Going against the Howard contract was the fact that he was due to be a FA in the same year as Pujols, Fielder, and Gonzo. Philly took a two-year risk that his performance and/or health would decline, and still signed him to a $25M contract. And this was not a body type that predicted good health. He was already slow and a poor fielder, and his K/W already in decline.

jpg
Guest
jpg
2 years 10 months ago

If you look at the contract, as horrendous as it is, it’s at least a little less horrible with some context. The thing to remember is that this was a make up contract of sorts. The Phillies actually renewed him rather than buy out his arbitration years after he had his MVP season even though Howard wanted an extension. Howard ans Phillies fan were pissed over this. Then Phillies eventually went to two WS, winning one, and rewarded him with this absurd contract. Because he was blocked by Thome he didn’t come up until he was 26 even though he was ready for the big leagues several years prior. That’s why I shrug my shoulders with his contract. Had he come at 23 and signed his mega extension at the same level of service time, it probably would have been an 8/$200MM instead of the 5/$125MM that he eventually signed leaving them in the same boat. If anything that deal, like most, would have been heavily back loaded meaning they probably paying him even more now.

So in summary, the timing of the deal is what was bad because Howard had already showed serious signs of decline and as Dave said, it was obvious that he wouldn’t live up to the contract the moment it was signed. The money though is something he would’ve gotten had the Phillies followed the usual trend of extending young stars.

David
Guest
David
2 years 10 months ago

Paying for past performance is a flawed valuation method, but paying for a career he didn’t even have is simply outrageous.

Anthony
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Anthony
2 years 10 months ago

AKA, the Dodgers’ shopping list.

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 10 months ago

This is a great point. While logically the numbers above make sense, if any of these players were put on the market there is a very good chance that the actual amount of money the team would have to eat would be a bit less than these numbers, due to the theory that you only need to convince one team to buy. There’s always going to be a team willing to pay higher than the “market” price for premium talent, and each of the players above has been viewed that way recently enough to get a deal done.

Baltar
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Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

I was sorry to not see the Dodgers make the list. They may be second to the Angels in least trade value for the whole team.

I love rankings!
Guest
I love rankings!
2 years 10 months ago

That would be another interesting ranking. Teams total trade value. I’m dead serious. Not trying to joke.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Great idea.

Schuxu
Guest
Schuxu
2 years 10 months ago

You would propably need to take in account prospects and you have to think about a cut line (beeing it level, age or what else). Would take lots of work I guess.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan
2 years 10 months ago

I think the top four have to be Angels, Dodgers, Tigers, and Yankees, but what order?

Matty Brown
Member
Member
Matty Brown
2 years 10 months ago

Thinking about the Pujols contract actually made me feel sick, and I don’t even like the Angels. Imagine paying Pujols $30 million for the final year….I can’t even begin to imagine him being worthy of a bench role at that time.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 10 months ago

If thinking about it actually made you feel sick, you may need a new pursuit that is less taxing on your body.

Or you’re the bubble boy. In which case, you can see for yourself the card clearly said “Moops”.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 10 months ago

It’s the Moors you idiot!

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
2 years 10 months ago

My feeling is that Pujols will retire by then, rather than play years at a level beneath his standard.

Joe
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Joe
2 years 10 months ago

I hope he’s not dumb enough to hand $30 million back to Arte Morena for no reason other than pride.

thirty mile zone
Guest
thirty mile zone
2 years 10 months ago

You say 30 MM like it means something, but it really doesn’t without context. By that point in his career, Pujols will have earned 314 MM solely from playing baseball. That 30 MM represents less than 10% of his total baseball income and while 30 MM may seem like a lot, unless he’s developed a gambling problem or has turned into lenny dykstra, that 30 MM represents almost 0 gain in happiness, purchasing power, etc etc. even if you take out taxes and fees (offset, in part, by endorsement dollars)…it’s frankly just not that much money to him.

second, for a hypercompetitive athlete, perhaps the greatest of his generation, I don’t think it’s too fanciful to think he would step away at some point if he really stunk.

In sum, I don’t think Pujols walking away from $ on the table–or negotiating a settlement on the contract–is *that* far off base, unsettling as it is to think about someone treating 30MM in that manner.

Greg
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Greg
2 years 10 months ago

But 30 million dollars is still30 million dollars.

msg333
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msg333
2 years 10 months ago

The MLBPA would place a severed horse’s head in his bed if he even thought about walking away from that contract

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

I remember that when the Pujols deal was made about half the commenters on FanGraphs said it was good for the Angels. Some of you must still be around. Anyone want to fess up?

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Their opinions were laughable. I said he was overpaid by $75M the day he signed the contract. FG is great, and the writers brilliant, but they compare everything to anything but real contracts.

Gonzo had a 7-year $154M contract. He signed it with one year left in his previous contract, so the RS paid an implied premium for that risk, but considering his age (> 2 years younger) and the expected decline in WAR in age 37-38 for Pujols, Gonzo figured to have almost an identical level of production for the first 7 years of their respective contracts, so LA overpaid by $21M for the first 7 years (7*$3), plus maybe $57M over the final three years ($25M v a production value of $6M).

My echo and bunnymen
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

I liked it because he was underpaid based on what the market was giving players like him, however, now that we have seen it play out this much it is bad. Prince Fielder and other 1B contracts being worse than Pujols’ was no justification for saying that the contract was good.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 10 months ago

I think the consensus when the contract was signed was that, if all went perfectly, Pujols was capable of living up to the contract. But, I don’t recall many people believing it was a good deal.

Todd
Guest
Todd
2 years 10 months ago

Surprised Tex wasnt on the list. 22.5 million a year through 2016.

everdiso
Member
everdiso
2 years 10 months ago

Yeah, I’d probably prefer Fielder over Tex right now, even with the 4 extra years on the contract. 3 years at $22.5m for a chronically injured moderately above average bat whose plus defensive value comes at the least important defensive position (and one of the hardest ones to measure) strikes me as a really, really bad contract to deal with it.

Of course, if Fielder’s 120ish wRC+ is a new true talent level, then his contract is worse…but I’d bet on him getting back up to the 140+ level.

Fielder (29, $24.0/7yrs): Last 3yrs: 421gms, 148wRC+, 10.7war, 3.8war/150
Teixeira (33, $22.5/3yrs): Last 3yrs: 294gms, 118wRC+, 6.6war, 3.4war/150

ssj316
Guest
ssj316
2 years 10 months ago

True, but it’s not really fair to harp on Teixeira’s deal in quite the same way. Everyone accepts that with huge, multi-year contracts, you’re paying for value up front and conceding value at the back end. Don’t forget that Tex put up a great year in 2009 and the Yankees won the World Series. I’m sure there are many teams that could live with the Teixeira contract, knowing that they got a WS out of it.

za
Guest
za
2 years 10 months ago

Hell, I’m pretty sure that was Ilitch’s driving factor when he went after Prince.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 10 months ago

Yeah, but that has nothing to do with current value, which I think is the point of this article. If you are ranking worst contracts in retrospect, you are right – Tex deal is not that bad.

RMD
Guest
RMD
2 years 10 months ago

Tex should be on this list over Fielder because at least Prince will provide real, tangible value the next 2-3 years before his laughable overpay on the back end. Teixeira’s wRC+ has gone down in EACH of the past five years plus add on his and his power-zapping wrist injury. He’ll be worse in the forthcoming seasons. Fielder is on contract for four years longer, but he’s also four years younger.

I’d rather have a player could contribute to a playoff contender and be terrible later on than years of mediocrity.

Baseball Bob
Guest
Baseball Bob
2 years 10 months ago

For Tex’s contract to be worse than Prince, you have to assume that his market value is less than $67.5M (current contract) – $48M (estimate of Prince’s overpay) = 3/$19.5M. If Tex were on the market, there wouldn’t be brisk competition for him, to be sure, but if he were willing to sign for $6.5M AAV for 3 years, there would surely be takers.

Retirenutting
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

It will never happen but …

Pujols + $18-$20M/per for Stetson Allie, Travis Snider, and Stolmy Pimental. Garret Jones platoons with Tabata in RF. Gabby Sanchez spells both Pujols & Pedro Alvarez (against LHP). Pujols raked in PNC and most NLC parks — maybe there’s a glimmer of hope he still does. Bucs don’t give up much talent and they get a hell of a bench bat. Problem is, Russ Martin’s 2/$17M is the biggest deal the Bucs have ever had on the books…

Retirenutting
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

I’m sure everyone will hate this stretch-of-a-suggestion. That isn’t much talent * but * $60M savings is certainly worth something (figured at $19M per).

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

I don’t hate it but find it really, really boring.

Retirenutting
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Kewl. *I* think the Bucs are probably the most interesting story in baseball this year — I’m admittedly a lifelong Pirates fan so I have a bias. Someone like Pujols is far-fetched but the Rios, Schierholtz, Mourneau trades being ballyhooed are, in my opinion, much more boring than reclamation ideas like the one I suggested above.

Brandon Warne
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

wut

Retirenutting
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Haha. That’s a fair response. If a move back to NL Central didn’t improve his #s, he’d actually be the Bucs 4th best hitter by OPS+. $19M/yr for that kind of production *is* sorta insane. Forget I suggested it.

Al Dimond
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

A move back to the NL Central would mean he’d be facing the Cubs regularly again. That might bring his numbers all the way back by itself.

(Not really, of course, SSS warnings and all that, and his career numbers against the Cubs aren’t all that ridiculous. It was amusing, though, as a Cubs fan, to watch Pujols come back to Wrigley this year and tear it up.)

stretchfest
Guest
stretchfest
2 years 10 months ago

You have to remember, Pujols raked in PNC because he was always facing the Pirates. And the Pirates sucked for kind of a long time.

haslone
Guest
haslone
2 years 10 months ago

Angels on the hook for 40% of the leagues worst contracts…LOLOLOL.

Zachary
Guest
Zachary
2 years 10 months ago

Only if you cut it off at 5. Or 50% if you say top 4, or 100% if you say top 1. haha

msg333
Guest
msg333
2 years 10 months ago

if you go the other direction, Vernon Wells can’t be too far out of the top 5…

kdm628496
Member
kdm628496
2 years 10 months ago

small sample size

Johnhavok
Guest
Johnhavok
2 years 10 months ago

But in their favor, they also currently have the most valued contract as well. All or nothing for dem Angels

Jason
Guest
Jason
2 years 10 months ago

I believe Rodriguez’s age should say 37. However, as I Yankee fan, I’d much rather think of him at age 27 and prior to the second incarnation of the contract. SMH

JN
Guest
JN
2 years 10 months ago

Here is a question to ponder: Could the Angels unload those 2 horrible contracts if they offered up Mike Trout with them? I bet somebody would do it.

Kogoruhn
Member
Kogoruhn
2 years 10 months ago

I doubt it. Mike Trout, while excellent, will not produce 200MM+ in surplus value in his team controlled years.

za
Guest
za
2 years 10 months ago

He has already given the team $95 million in surplus value…

MrMan
Guest
MrMan
2 years 10 months ago

Yes, but that’s because he combined unbelievable production with absolute minimum costs.

While unlikely, he might keep up this level of production several more years. But his salary will increase tenfold soon. By 2015, his first arbitration year, he’ll likely command at least $10M per year. Meaning it will be impossible to sustain his rate of surplus value.

Still….he is the Yin to Pujol’s Yang. (Too bad the Angels don’t have another one for Hamilton.

guayzimi
Guest
guayzimi
2 years 10 months ago

You’re asking if the Dodgers would raise their payroll $45 million per season for Mike Trout (and a flyer on two potentially above average bats). I would think certainly yes, but I’m not sure about luxury tax implications.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
2 years 10 months ago

Is there some form of a deal between the LA teams that could work? Maybe with the Dodgers including Puig but some of their own bad contracts so that there’s some parity on both the talent and financial sides. Still a trade where the overall effect would be better talent for the Dodgers and financial relief for the Angels, but not as much a straight-up $50 million/year purchase of Trout.

msg333
Guest
msg333
2 years 10 months ago

Angels would need to give up more than Trout and a third team would need to be involved somehow. Maybe a team with more luxury tax headroom that could absorb a good fraction of one of the bad contracts in exchance for players from the Angels and Dodgers.

Kogoruhn
Member
Kogoruhn
2 years 10 months ago

With the Dodgers payroll obligations and the luxury tax it would be increasing their payroll by ~63 million / year plus 140% of whatever Mike Trout ends up earning in arbitration.

Somehow I doubt even the Dodgers would be willing to take on ~80 million a year in salary obligations to get their hands on Mike Trout

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 10 months ago

Maybe Magic could start a late night talk show to raise money for team.

Wil
Guest
Wil
2 years 10 months ago

Not both to the same team I doubt. Just too much dead money, even with Trout.

frivoflava29
Member
frivoflava29
2 years 10 months ago

I was going to ask something along these lines. As a joke.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

I can only think of one team that would be tempted, and they happen to be in the Angels neighborhood.

Greg
Guest
Greg
2 years 10 months ago

The Dodgers say hi.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan
2 years 10 months ago

I know this probably goes without saying, and we’re just chatting for the heck of it on these hypothetical scenarios… but are the Angels really dumb enough to consider trading Trout? If they really needed to reset financially, it seems like they are better off trying like hell to unload Pujols, and then sacrifice Wilson and/or Weaver.

Pr
Guest
Pr
2 years 10 months ago

I love the cost to trade estimate. How come for the real trade value. We can’t get an equivalent, something like the cost to acquire that contract?

rusty
Guest
rusty
2 years 10 months ago

I think we have to deal with more intangible-type factors with players who are net assets: star-value to team (e.g. attendance drop-off if the star is traded), the uncertainty of arbitration-year salaries, the fact that many stars who are traded are exchanged for prospects (with extremely uncertain valuation).

Bart Hidginstein
Guest
Bart Hidginstein
2 years 10 months ago

Whole A-Rod box looks off. No one else has a WAR > 0.9, his is 111. Calls him 27 and a 3B/SS even though he hasn’t played short since 2005.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 10 months ago

I think his are career-to-date figures since he hasn’t played in 2013 (I’m presuming).

RMD
Guest
RMD
2 years 10 months ago

If Howard would have waited until free agency or never would have received an extension offer from the Phillies, that meant his last game before free agency was when his Achilles tendon burst. Somebody probably would have given him 1 year at $5 million guaranteed with some incentives considering his obvious decline and injury. That means the Phillies overpaid $120 million in guaranteed money. Oops.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan
2 years 10 months ago

The Tigers would’ve signed him for 4 years at $15 million AAV with a player option 5th year @ $20 million, and then called it the best value at backup-to-the-backup DH in the league.

NEPP
Guest
NEPP
2 years 10 months ago

Of course, that’s a moot point because there’s an almost zero chance that Howard would have taken multiple cortizone shots into his injured ankle that season that led up to and likely caused the achilles blowout.

He would have hit the DL rather than risk such an injury in his walk year.

Matt
Guest
Matt
2 years 10 months ago

Speaking of Trout, could you ever see a situation where Hamilton/Pujols costs the Angels time with Trout? They have little in their farm system, though they seem to have a lot of money coming in through their TV deal.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 10 months ago

The Angels will always have enough money to pay whoever they want. The only way I could see these bad contracts costing the Angels time with Trout will be if Hamilton and Pujols get worse yet continue to play and this causes the Angels to lose a lot of games. Trout might then decide not to sign with them so he can play for a competitive team.

JRB
Guest
JRB
2 years 10 months ago

Was there some assumption by the Angels that some or most of the Pujols deal would get picked up by insurance? Why else would you so heavily backload such a large deal to an aging player?

olethros
Member
olethros
2 years 10 months ago

My best guess is that Moreno is secretly a Cardinals fan. And as a Cardinals fan myself, I thank him for it.

Jake
Guest
Jake
2 years 10 months ago

Imagine if that Marlins offer was actually a real thing and he took it….

Breadbaker
Guest
Breadbaker
2 years 10 months ago

He’d be a Blue Jay today.

guayzimi
Guest
guayzimi
2 years 10 months ago

Make the nominal amount of the deal look large and exceedingly respectful while keeping the real dollars as low as possible.

msg333
Guest
msg333
2 years 10 months ago

Problem with this is, AFAIK, the MLB luxury tax doesn’t consider the present-day value of contracts, it goes by the total nominal value of the contract divided by the number of years.

So Pujols at 10 years 240 million counts as $24M a year for the luxury tax even though dollars 10 years in the future are not worth as much as they are now.

If a team is expected to be paying MLB luxury tax they’d be better off giving the players a deal for fewer nominal dollars and front loaded and has the same present-day value.

Kogoruhn
Member
Kogoruhn
2 years 10 months ago

Because backloading a deal ALWAYS helps the team. Money today is always more valuable than future money.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 10 months ago

“Money today is always more valuable than future money.”

Almost always true. Such that we can just say ‘true’ and move right along.

“Because backloading a deal ALWAYS helps the team”

False. WAAAAAAY false.

db
Guest
db
2 years 10 months ago

You are wrong as a matter of finance. It costs less to backload. Every team should do it, no matter what. They can just choose to put aside a higher amount earlier and earn interest or ROI.

msg333
Guest
msg333
2 years 10 months ago

The then-present day expected value of the Pujols deal way still absurdly over the top at the time the deal was made.

Phantom Stranger
Guest
Phantom Stranger
2 years 10 months ago

The Angels basically bet that the Fed’s policy of printing money and the current debt levels of the government will lead to massive inflation, making the deal more justifiable.

db
Guest
db
2 years 10 months ago

Betting on high long term inflation is only justifiable if you are an economist looking to get a gig on Fox.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Insurance companies don’t just wait for you to come by and ask for a check. They’re smarter than the owners. I doubt they insure for age 42 at the same price at age 32, and I doubt they insure for bad performance and for stupidity.

jess
Guest
jess
2 years 10 months ago

I dont know, 111 wins at just over halfway through a season sounds fairly decent. you sure no team would take on that contract?

mickey mantle
Guest
mickey mantle
2 years 9 months ago

im more impressed with his 11000 AB’s. not easy to get that by august.

Detroit Michael
Guest
Detroit Michael
2 years 10 months ago

Looking for a silver lining, have teams gotten wiser about handing out large contracts to pitchers? No more Barry Zito or Mike Hampton or Chan Ho Park contracts. Or have teams just gotten lucky that none of the big pitching contracts have blown up lately?

rusty
Guest
rusty
2 years 10 months ago

Johan Santana’s deal is about up, so while there’s been a lot of dead money since 2008 (~$60m), there’s not much remaining payout.

And don’t forget the $20m the Yankees paid Pittsburgh to take AJ Burnett for last year and this year — although that number isn’t enough to put him on the list, NY had already absorbed a lot of the cost of his contract.

Thomas Grantham
Guest
Thomas Grantham
2 years 10 months ago

Dave,

Was B.J Upton on the fringe?

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 10 months ago

Why would he be? He’s owed 60 million over the next 4 years, and even a very pessimistic outlook projects him as at least being a viable starting player during that time. The Braves could easily move him with $15-$20 million, but of course that would be crazy as most likely he is as low a value right now as he will be.

Everdiso
Guest
Everdiso
2 years 10 months ago

But you’re also one of the biggest Braves homers on here. He’s probably seeking an unbiased opinion.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 10 months ago

Are you the real Everdiso or the fake one. I can’t remember which one is worse. One is a troll, the other a Blue Jays fan, both are worthless.

Atreyu Jones
Guest
Atreyu Jones
2 years 10 months ago

A “very pessimistic” outlook does NOT project him as a viable starting player. It can’t be called pessimistic if it calls for him to improve on his current performance.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 10 months ago

Well, I guess you could be “very pessimistic” about Joey Votto and predict he’ll completely fall apart, but it makes no sense. Upton is a mostly healthy 29-year-old in great shape with a long track record of success and one terrible half season is not enough to change him into a non-starter going forward if being reasonable.

Atreyu Jones
Guest
Atreyu Jones
2 years 10 months ago

It makes no sense with Joey Votto because he hasn’t had a half season in which he has completely fallen apart, unlike BJ Upton.

I think it is reasonable to think that BJ Upton will be viable starter going forward. But if I was very pessimistic I would predict more of what he’s given in 2013. That’s what pessimistic means.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 10 months ago

If you think Upton continuing to perform like 2013 is reasonable, fine. I disagree. If you think “not a viable starter” is even close to his median projection going forward, fine. I disagree, and I think anyone with any sense of baseball history would, too. Hell, even his current performance (which is awful) has a decent amount of bad babip luck. And while “not a viable starter” is very pessimistic, so is “just a viable starter.” “Will die in a car crash” is also very pessimistic, but it doesn’t mean that a better result than that doesn’t still fall into that category.

Too Many Uptons
Guest
Too Many Uptons
2 years 10 months ago

BJ is way out of whack, no doubt, but going forward, he will likely still be a poor man’s Mike Cameron: low AVG, good power and speed, and strong defense. That might not be worth $15M, but it’s not a disaster.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 10 months ago

This is what makes the Howard contract stand out. The other guys were very, very good players when they signed. If they continued what they were doing the contracts would have been acceptable. Of course, predictably, they did not continue. Howard’s contract would have been bad even if he hadn’t fallen off the cliff. Upton wasn’t good enough to be given a $100 million contract. Very few players are.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

Yeah, but his contract was not nearly as bad as the vast majority of $100M’s.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 10 months ago

True – If Pujols would have Howard’s contract, I don’t know that he would make the list. I think there is still a good chance Pujols is productive in three years. Howard, not so much.

Josh M
Guest
Josh M
2 years 10 months ago

That Ryan Howard contract really was/is amazingly bad.

I love rankings!
Guest
I love rankings!
2 years 10 months ago

Hi Dave. Great article! Thanks.

What about a series where we rank all the teams based on how efficiently they spend? It could be a concrete ranking going back over the last five years, or an attempt to rank them going forward the next season or for several years after. Or maybe even how well their spending has translated into wins for this season.

I love these articles.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

I’ll give you a short version of the list you asked for:
1. Tampa Bay

30. Anaheim

I love rankings!
Guest
I love rankings!
2 years 10 months ago

lol. Thanks Baltar.

However, all jokes aside, I bet the Yankees would give the Angels a run for their money.

The only two position players on the Yankees probably worth their contracts this year are Gardner and Cano. (I may have left out others).

Also, Angels do have some great contracts (like Trout’s).

I also think that Oakland might be more comparable to Tampa Bay.

But I could be wrong.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 10 months ago

St. Louis also seems to spend pretty wisely and consistently develop from within.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 10 months ago

I think if doing this you have to separate out how well a team spends with how well they spend in free agency. Of course Tampa does a fantastic job of developing and taking advantage of cost controlled assets, but that is not the same as teams that identify helpful assets on the free agent market (though I think they do a decent job at that, too).

The Rangers and Cardinals, for example, seemed to have done a wonderful job lately of using their decent sized budgets fairly wisely.

Too Many Uptons
Guest
Too Many Uptons
2 years 10 months ago

The Rockies look good, too. The Hampton/Neagle flops are in the past, and the only players signed for over $5M this year are CarGo, Tulo, Cuddyer and Jorge De La Rosa. (Helton is at $5M for 2013)

illinibob
Guest
illinibob
2 years 10 months ago

I initially had a hard time understanding how ANYONE’S contract could be worse than A-Rod’s, until I wrapped my mind around this one sentence:

“Basically, the Pujols contract is as toxic as the next two worst contracts in baseball put together.”

WOW. That’s amazingly bad. And the Angels can just say” Oh well, we add 500 million in subscriber fees so we don’t care!”

John Northey
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Well, for hope there is always the Vernon Wells deal. The Jays found a sucker to take it and actually give back something of value back when it was either the worst or close to the worst in baseball. Of course, the Angels now have many of the bad deals and might finally be getting risk adverse and regardless who else is crazy enough for Pujols or Hamilton? Hmm… Howard for Pujols – who says no?

Westside guy
Member
Member
Westside guy
2 years 10 months ago

The Angels didn’t seem to learn much from the Wells deal, since they subsequently signed Pujols and Hamilton.

Ben
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

But do any of these turds *really* prevent these teams from competing? Every one of these teams is near the top of the Payroll pile. If even a fairly well-off team like St. Louis re-signs a Pujols and he goes tits-up, it’s a major drag on performance. But Artie Moreno can just dive back into his pile of TV contract cash, Scrooge McDuck style. He knew the Hamilton and especially the Pujols contracts were bad, the calculation is just HOW bad. And what’s frustrating as a fan is that some teams can knowingly dish out these kind of contracts with little consequence, while for others they would be devastating.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 10 months ago

Yes, the Angels can probably survive these contracts. But, for the next decade, they will be trying to get value out of the Pujols and Hamilton contracts. They will not sign expensive players to play their positions for a couple of years, at least. They will give these guys at bats regardless of better options. This will hurt them. At very least, it will allow smart low budget teams like Tampa and Baltimore to compete.

My echo and bunnymen
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Baltimore smart? Sure you didn’t mix it up with Oakland there?

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 10 months ago

It surprises me too. But, they have an inexpensive team that is a perennial contender. The team is, just like Tampa, built on good drafts, smart trades, and low risk/high reward signings.
McClouth – cheap free agent signing
Machado – draft
Markakis – draft (signed to reasonable extension)
Jones – Stolen from Seattle
Davis – Stolen from Texas
Wieters – Draft
Hardy – Stolen from Minnesota
Urieta – inexpensive signing
Roberts – exception – signed to expensive, ill advised extension.

Chen – inexpensive signing
Gonzales – inexpensive signing
Tilman – Stolen from Seattle
Hamel – Trade
Feldman – Trade

Oakland is another good example, but Baltimore clearly fits into this group.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

Well, none of these teams are competing. I guess that partly answers your question.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

Oops, make that except Detroit.

hk
Guest
hk
2 years 10 months ago

The answer is that they shouldn’t? For instance, even after excluding Howard’s $25M AAV, the Phillies will spend more than ~85% of the teams in MLB. If they spend wisely, Howard’s contract should not prevent them from competing in the near future. Unfortunately for the Phillies, the GM who bestowed that contract on Howard is still employed, so the “if they spend wisely” caveat seems unlikely to come to fruition.

Hurtlockertwo
Guest
Hurtlockertwo
2 years 10 months ago

As a Giants fan, I’m really glad Barry Zito is no longer the poster boy for
bad long term contracts.

Roto Wizard
Member
Roto Wizard
2 years 10 months ago

Sorry but Barry Zito will forever be the poster boy for bad contracts. I will see to it.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

Yes, it took him a while to shed that title. He deserves a place on the list as a “roots of horrid contracts.”

FeslenR
Guest
FeslenR
2 years 10 months ago

I’d add Johan Santana’s contract to the list, despite the no hitter. Fact that he’s getting paid $25M in 2013 for not pitching a single pitch speaks volumes.

Sure, he was effective and very good while he was healthy, but that was BEFORE the 6 year contract.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 10 months ago

And the $5.5 million buyout for 2014. But still, that is $31 million dollars. It’s pretty easy to see why he missed this list.

za
Guest
za
2 years 10 months ago

All-time, it’s certainly top-10 worst. Right now, it’s not so bad since it ends with the $5.5 million buyout next year. It’s certainly not nearly as bad as any of the contracts on this list, or even as bad as Andre Ethier’s.

Flim Flam
Guest
Flim Flam
2 years 10 months ago

I wonder how even trading Pujols would work. He has a 10-year, $10M personal-services contract begins once player contract expires.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

Please tell me you’re joking.

Dave S (the original)
Guest
Dave S (the original)
2 years 10 months ago

He’s not joking.

$1 million per year for 10 years. Contingent on him still working with the team, and thus not guaranteed, and not included in the salary cap calculations.

Dave S (the original)
Guest
Dave S (the original)
2 years 10 months ago

sorry… should have said luxury tax calculations… not salary cap.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 10 months ago

Next 5:

Tex
Crawford
A. Gonzalez
Werth
Maybe Wells or Soriano?

Adam S
Guest
Adam S
2 years 10 months ago

Soriano? Alfonso Soriano?

It was a bad deal when there were 5 years or 7 years left. But he might actually earn the $27M left on the deal. Worst case if you think he’s worthless, it’s $27M over. Not top 20.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 10 months ago

Oops, I thought he had 2 more years. You’re right.

matt w
Guest
matt w
2 years 10 months ago

Ethier?

tz
Guest
tz
2 years 10 months ago

#6, just missing this list:

#what Lori explained I’m taken by surprise that a mom can get paid $7031 in one month on the internet. did you see this web site>www.Bar40.com

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 10 months ago

Bahahaha. Her mama can flat-out EARN.

cass
Guest
cass
2 years 10 months ago

Glad to not see Jayson Werth on the list!

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 10 months ago

Why? It’s still a very bad contract.

binqasim
Member
binqasim
2 years 10 months ago

I think it has moved from very bad to bad, given his contributions in the clubhouse as well. Unlike other contracts listed here, Nats do not look at it as a burden yet when the deal is ending its third season.

Richard
Guest
Richard
2 years 10 months ago

Another thing about the Howard contract, and the Phillies managing of him that has baffled me for a while now. The extension was signed early in the 2010 season. Later that year, in the early stages of the Phillies unbelievable 49-19 run to end the season, he turns his ankle horribly. He comes off the DL probably too soon, looks terrible at first.

Then, 2011. The Phillies had the division more or less wrapped up early. Yet we received numerous reports that Howard – their huge investment, remember – was being regularly given cortisone shots in his heel. Only when they clinched, with 12 games to go, was he given some regular rest. Howard’s Achilles injury tear seems inevitable in retrospect.

Howard never would have been worth his contract, but the Phillies would have been “ok” had he been able to roughly maintain his 2010 & 2011 output at the plate. Yet they did all they could to keep him hobbling out there on the field, with an enormous lead in their division. This behavior strikes me as insane.

Krog
Guest
Krog
2 years 10 months ago

The more you learn about the Phillies the more baffling they become.

kdm628496
Member
kdm628496
2 years 10 months ago

i know this complicates matters and it’s very far down in the comments section, but shouldn’t there be some consideration to present values? i know paying albert pujols $30M in 2021 is going to be ridiculous, but it’s certainly not the same value as paying him $30M now.

$30M today *should* buy you about 6 WAR, but what would $30M in 2021 buy you? 3 WAR?

in order to do this rigorously, we’d have to project WAR values for each of these players as well as assume some sort of inflation rate, then take the difference in present value.

interesting read, nonetheless.

also, bobby bonilla?

atoms
Guest
atoms
2 years 10 months ago

Ha, Bobby Bonilla came to mind for me as well. Looks like he misses the cut, though, because he’d take only take $26 million to move :)

msg333
Guest
msg333
2 years 10 months ago

Bobby Bonilla was a bad decision because the Mets basically deferred payment and paid Bonilla as if he had a savings account paying 7% interest. They figured since they were getting 10%/annum from Madoff they figured they’d make money in the end. Oops.

Dingbat
Guest
Dingbat
2 years 10 months ago

That’s a good point — it shouldn’t be hard to calculate present value equivalents for the estimates Dave has provided. Care to give it a try?

Blockhead
Member
Blockhead
2 years 10 months ago

Yes, calculating the PV of Pujols contract is easy based on historic inflation and overall economic factors.

However, MLB specific economic factors are going to have a huge effect and its a lot harder to project that.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan
2 years 10 months ago

Yeah, good luck calculating the cable TV sports network bubble’s impact on this stuff. I keep wondering when that bubble’s going to pop. It’ll be an interesting case study when it does, because it’ll be more insulated from the overall system than what happened with housing, or tech.

tz
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tz
2 years 10 months ago

but seriously,

what about Trout and Pujols for Cory Kluber? Would you do it if (a) you’re Cleveland and (b) if you’re the Angels?

MrMan
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MrMan
2 years 10 months ago

I doubt the Angels would do it.

First, they have piles of money to spend on players. Their contractual disasters don’t prevent them from fielding a competitive team. Second, moving Trout would devastate the fanbase and render the team less competitive.

I don’t see the Angels moving Trout unless someone comes up with a crazy offer.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 10 months ago

I agree, I don’t think the Angels would touch it.

Greg
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Greg
2 years 10 months ago

Imagine the blowback when they trade Pujols and Hamilton AND Trout for a bag of balls.

Michael Scarn
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Michael Scarn
2 years 10 months ago

I’d be interested in seeing this list expand as much as possible next year. We all know who the absolute worst of the worst contracts are, but I’d almost be more interested to see who slots in at the 6-15 positions rather than seeing the inevitable Ryan Howard and ARod in the top 5.

Nolan
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Nolan
2 years 10 months ago

Are there any players that could realistically be headed for this list after a new contract? Maybe the Dodgers back their money truck up to Cano and offer him something like 10/200?

Travis L
Guest
Travis L
2 years 10 months ago

Szymborski had an article on ESPN recently about Cano’s value. ZIPS has him at something like 33 wins over the next 8 years. With some inflation, that’s about $181m for the next 8 years. 10/200 wouldn’t be a bad deal, according to current projections and $/win.

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9507959/how-much-robinson-cano-worth-free-agent-market-mlb

Nick O
Guest
Nick O
2 years 10 months ago

There is absolutely no way he should be on the list, but I wonder how tradeable Joe Mauer’s contract is. He is owed a lot of money for a guy who’s not going to be doing a whole ton of catching over the next 5+ years at $23 MM a year.

Steve
Guest
Steve
2 years 10 months ago

Well, no one claimed Mauer on waivers last year, presumably fearing they’d get stuck with his contract, so pretty clear he is in the negative as value goes.

leeroy
Guest
leeroy
2 years 10 months ago

placing players on revocable waivers is a common practice, happens to pretty much everyone, so you can’t put too much stock into that. it would be much different if we heard rumors that the Twins were actually shopping him and had no bites

Steve
Guest
Steve
2 years 10 months ago

It happens all the time, and usually those players are claimed and then pulled back. The fact that no one claimed Joe Mauer, all star, is revealing. No one wanted him at the possibly cost of his full contract.

Krog
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Krog
2 years 10 months ago

If he had positive value he would have been claimed by someone. Since no team wanted to take the risk that the Twins would give them Mauer, he must have had negative value in September 2012.

leeroy
Guest
leeroy
2 years 10 months ago

but shortly after that in december 2012 peter gammons reported that the red sox offered to take on all of mauer’s contract. This means Mauer had positive value in the offseason. What changed in that 3 month period btwn September 2012 to December 2012? (somewhat rhetorical, obviously that move would make much more sense for Boston after, not during, the lost 2012 season)

Richie
Member
Richie
2 years 10 months ago

There is still a “gentlemen’s agreement” regarding claiming guys off waivers. Namely, that you don’t do it unless you’re serious about wanting to deal for him. Yes, that agreement is disagreed with more often now, but it still does govern things sometimes.

ramsey
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ramsey
2 years 10 months ago

…and a good thing the Phillies have Darin Ruf.

Julian
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Julian
2 years 10 months ago

So what would you get/have to pay for a package of Trout, Hamilton, and Pujols?

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

The trouble with the LAA contracts, and a couple of others, is that they are signed on the basis of -0- downside risk. Like I said when the original articles were still out, suppose his 2011 OPS of .906 was the true Pujols? His contract took into account almost a complete reversion, and very little aging. I doubt any team would hand out $25M for even one season of .906, let alone 10 seasons of that. Even if he reverted to 1.000, with normal decline, he was worth nowhere near $250M. If you starting point is .906, then instead of $75M overpaid, he is $152M overpaid.

On Hamilton, he played in a park made for lefty hitters, he had a weak K/W with a .288K/AB, had a .809 in his final 100 games, doesn’t hit well in LAA, and has a substance abuse issue, if you want to consider that risk.

So, if he overcomes all the obvious risks, then he is only overpaid by $25M or so. And if he doesn’t, if the .809 in his last 100 games is the new norm, or if his career .747 is the new norm, then he is overpaid by $63M.

Dirck
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Dirck
2 years 10 months ago

With the current circus going on around the Yankees ,one has to wonder if the Yankees aren’t possibly trying to set up an insurance claim to pay 80% of the remaining albatross of A-Rod’s contract by claiming that his injuries make him physically unable to play out the balance of his ridiculous contract . Maybe Jeter too ,since it seems awfully suspicious that both washed up former stars “re-injured”themselves as soon as they were supposed to be ready to play .

Dirck
Guest
Dirck
2 years 10 months ago

And now , with the Braun news. The specter of drug suspension comes up more strongly for A-Rod ,maybe HE is the one trying to get permanently disabled so he can collect from insurance .

asaenz
Member
asaenz
2 years 10 months ago

“Honorable” Mentions: Jayson Werth, Matt Holliday, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, Joe Mauer, Alfonso Soriano, B.J. Upton.
Who else?

matt w
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matt w
2 years 10 months ago

I’ve said this a couple times on the thread, but Ethier. Seems like he could see a pretty big collapse and he’s due a lot of money.

Ben
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Ben
2 years 10 months ago

Holliday’s isn’t that bad. 3 years left (’14, ’15, ’16) at 17m/per. Probably an overpay, but I don’t think that’s among the worst contracts in baseball by a long shot.

binqasim
Member
binqasim
2 years 10 months ago

I don’t think werth is either.

Phillies boy
Guest
Phillies boy
2 years 10 months ago

Stop hating on the Phillies.

Maverick Squad
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Ouch Pujols + Hamilton combined- 1.1 WAR this season. Wow A-Rod 111.3 WAR this season (oops-career). With A-Rod what about his incentives for milestone HR records? According to the contract on his FG player page. He’ll at least get Wille Mays and if he you traded for him and he had a career resurgence he could get the others.

hk
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hk
2 years 10 months ago

If a team was considering a trade for ARod, the trade-off for paying him if he reaches the milestone incentives after Mays’s 660 would be they would get more production than expected from him and an attendance boost as he approaches, then passes, those milestones.

Jim
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Jim
2 years 10 months ago

What about BJ Upton? I know it was only 5 for $75 which isn’t large compared to these five but at least the other five offer some value. BJ was a complete waste before the ink was even dry on the contract.

Also, what about Joey Votto? I know he is still one of the best players but he’s in his age 30 season and his 10 year $210 million contract doesn’t even start until next season.

Greg
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Greg
2 years 10 months ago

You honestly think a team would only be willing to pay ARod 0 for the next 4 years?

Schuxu
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Schuxu
2 years 10 months ago

I would be very interested in an analysis concerning “aging curves” of players in relation to contract status. How many old players fall off a performance cliff after signing their last big paycheck?

Brian
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Brian
2 years 10 months ago

Why isn’t Mike Scioscia on this list? That ten year contract Arte Moreno gave him is ruining the Angels.

vivaelpujols
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vivaelpujols
2 years 10 months ago

Pujols will prove all you assholes wrong.

Bill
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Bill
2 years 10 months ago

No he won’t. Even if he has 4 good seasons in the contract, it will still be a ridiculous overpay. But, even if he does bounce back and has ten more years like his first ten years, that still doesn’t prove Dave wrong. This analysis was done using his best belief of present perception of the player’s value. If Pujols goes out the next two years and is Miguel Cabrera, his trade value will go up simply because the perception of this future production would have gotten better.

Nathan
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Nathan
2 years 10 months ago

I see what you did there.

TM
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TM
2 years 10 months ago

What strikes me about this thread is the number of examples of foolish FA spending by the big clubs — leading me to believe that instead of focusing on how many front offices appear to be so poorly run by the big clubs, perhaps we need to look at how rarely a GM/exec with a deep-pocketed and/or ownership group can make decisions based on efficiency vs. expediency. Phils, LA teams, Mets, Tigers, Yankees, and even Red Sox before the Miracle on Yawkey Way last summer all fell into this trap even though Yankees and Sox successful runs were driven by avoiding this behavior being the primary response to rosters and payroll. These look like awful contracts but how much money did the stars generate for their clubs/businesses? Would love to see a $$$ over replacement player stat comparing Ryan Howard to a lesser 1B signing in terms of revenue generated…

Dave S (the original)
Guest
Dave S (the original)
2 years 10 months ago

Just wondering… how does an “insurance buyout” work?

Because, I have to think Howard is getting close to that point.

Dave
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Dave
2 years 10 months ago

If a team isn’t willing to overpay for a name guy, they’ll never sign any big-name FAs. Simple as that. By not signing any, they’ll be viewed by their fans as ‘not trying’ instead of ‘fiscally smart’. It’s sad, but true.

Travis L
Guest
Travis L
2 years 10 months ago

Is this necessarily a bad thing?

I think fans are happy when teams are winning, not whether they go for big name contracts. Ask a Red Sox fan this year.

Joe
Guest
Joe
2 years 9 months ago

I’m sorry, but you mistakenly put Fielder on this list. You might want to put Wells, Kemp, Braun, or any other of a number of guys who got paid and no longer play consistently. Fielder plays everyday–to his statistical detriment–and he’s minimally a 20-80 guy in his worst year thus far. What’s a 20-80 guy worth right now? 15-18 mil? Right. So they overpaid by 9 mil if he plays like this for the rest of the contract, which I don’t think he will but we might be seeing a downward slide here. Mauer fits better on this list, or Jeter, or Werth, or Verlander, or Crawford…

Matt
Guest
Matt
2 years 9 months ago

I hear you, Joe, re. Fielder’s consistency with power and RBIs and he is durable. I won’t argue at all with any of that. But do not ignore every other facet of the game in which Fielder is subpar just to make your point. The Tigers are playing his bad glove at 1B, and he’s a bad baserunner, and that hurts his value.

I think I might prefer Fielder on my team to Ethier, all things considered right now, but that’s just me. In that respect I agree that dropping Fielder off the list is certainly possible.

Juan
Guest
Juan
2 years 9 months ago

I have to laugh about what all these so called intellectual fans
are saying about so-called overpaid players. However, there’s
another angle to consider, as some of these overpaid players
actually atract fans to the ballpark (and actually have a
numerous following). Amaro, the Phillies’ GM, knows this;
and so, resigns the aging players to ridiculous contracts.
Sure, teams can bring in younger players with fantastic
upsides, but if their profits suffer in the process, so
does the continuity in the building of a championship
team. It’s a delicate balancing act, and the good GM’s
know how to manage it. For a while this season, the
Phillies were actually succeeding. The sad part is that
once a team has tasted a world championship, they will do
whatever necessary to return to the spot light, including
trading away most of their valuable jewels in their farm
system. Sadly this happens to most world championship
teams.

jruby
Member
Member
jruby
2 years 6 months ago

Aaaaand… #5’s been traded for Ian Kinsler, who is definitely not worth -$50 million. Goddammit I wish we had someone like Dombrowski here in Philly…

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