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  1. Might as well put this here before people take it too seriously – yes, this is tongue-in-cheek. I don’t actually think this should happen. But man, it would be fun.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — October 28, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  2. This would be an awesome mini-game in all of the baseball video games out there.

    Comment by Zach Sanders — October 28, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

  3. Man that would not be a fun day to be a Twins fan. The thought of swapping Micheal Cuddyer for Alfonso Soriano or Jose Guillen sickens me.

    Comment by lookatthosetwins — October 28, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

  4. The problem with the Giants is that, yeah, there’s Zito, but there’s also Renteria, Rowand, Bochy and Sabean. As a fan, every single one of those represents an albatross contract. Since you could only get rid of one, we would be left unfulfilled. Can we throw our owner in the bag? Come on Billy Beane, you know you want to work with Bill Neukom!! That would be rad!!

    Comment by hairball — October 28, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

  5. Now that i think about it… I wonder if the Twins would even put Cuddyer up? The only other real option is Nathan. And he did have a bad ALDS this year….

    Comment by lookatthosetwins — October 28, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

  6. Dave — I love it! This should be done this right here on Fangraphs somehow. All you’d need is 28 baseball fans and a couple of threads. Let’s see how it all plays out.

    Comment by Joe D. — October 28, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

  7. This isn’t very good satire. Stick to what you do best fangraphs, good objective analysis.

    Comment by Jack — October 28, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  8. This is a pretty fun idea though, as a Cards’ fan, I’d probably rather have Kyle Lohse than risk getting stuck w/ Wells, Zito, or Soriano.

    Comment by chuckb — October 28, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

  9. Slightly annoyed that you’d toss Helton and his .416 OBP in a pile with Barry Zito and Vernon Wells. While 16.6 mil is quite a bit for Helton, he’s still a solid performer (and we have no other 1b to back him up in our farm system so yeah.)

    I guess theres no elephant in the room contract for the Rockies. Most of our terrible players are coming off the books, and those that aren’t are still relatively cheap. I should feel blessed for being a fan of a team with relatively few albatrosses round our necks.

    Comment by Bluecaboose — October 28, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

  10. This isn’t satire. It’s an amusing thought experiment. Big difference.

    Comment by Dirk — October 28, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

  11. Anyone interested in Travis Hafner? .386 wOBA! Come on

    Also, you can make a decent case that the Twins should put up arb-eligible Delmon Young, no?

    Comment by Faux Mark Shapiro — October 28, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

  12. Can you add owners and managers? The Reds could dump Baker on a division rival

    Comment by Trenchtown — October 28, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

  13. But Nathan’s doesn’t count as a bad contract (teams would line up to get him and he’s being paid about market value), NOR should you base his overall performance off of 2 games.

    The Twins don’t really have any BAD contracts. Cuddyer probably comes close, but he also had a great year and won a Twins Comeback Player of the Year award. Unless Jesse Crain is non-tendered, he’ll probably make a couple million dollars as a low-impact reliever, but that doesn’t really count either.

    The Twins have a combination of being too smart and too cheap to really make a Zito/Soriano/Helton-esque signing. All the bad contracts they have tend to be from the 1-2 year contracts they hand out.

    Comment by Bryz — October 28, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  14. No!!! I can’t even imagine the fear I’d feel knowing Brian Sabean was going into a situation like that. Somehow Barry Zito would turn into Vernon Wells, AND we’d make a trade to reacquire Zito…

    Comment by B — October 28, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

  15. You’d have to make participation voluntary. Teams that don’t have any really bad contracts (like the Twins or Rockies) would want to stay out of the game.

    But Toronto would happily trade the Vernon Wells contract for that of any other player, so they’d be in. The Giants would probably be in. Seattle might try to get away from Carlos Silva.

    This could be hilarious. You Fangraphs guy should each take a team and play out a fantasy version of this.

    Comment by Llewdor — October 28, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

  16. What, no shout out to Carlos Silva?

    Comment by BFR — October 28, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

  17. beats Cistulli at least

    Comment by agassi — October 28, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

  18. Unfortunately, it’d never work, even in jest. I’d sign Eckstein to a backloaded $100 billion dollar contract, and then…

    Comment by Andy S. — October 28, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

  19. Anything that lets the Brewers get rid of Jeff Suppan is a good thing. Maybe if you mention that to Selig he’ll take up the cause. I bet he’s still got a soft spot for them.

    Okay but really this would be hilarious and I support it.

    Comment by Ian — October 28, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

  20. This article truly made me laugh.

    Comment by Eddie — October 28, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

  21. Hey everybody, Jack doesn’t like the article — he said so in his post.

    Apparently, Jack was so disappointed with his 60 second reading experience that he thought it would be appropriate to criticize Mr. Cameron’s cheeky article and tell him to “stick to the facts.”

    I agree. Don’t have any fun, Dave Cameron; next time you have a funny idea, or are looking to have a good time and kid around, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.

    I read Fangraphs so I can learn about Felix Hernandez’s first inning pitch selection, and what Adam Wainwright’s curveball smells like; I don’t want anyone trying to push their fun down my throat.

    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

    Comment by Matt L — October 28, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

  22. SOMEBODY was on mlbtr this morning ;)

    Comment by Tyler — October 28, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

  23. Yea, this seems taken right from MLBTR.

    Comment by Eric — October 28, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

  24. This would be funny just to see if Kenny Williams would admit his mistake and throw Rios into the pot?

    Comment by HAK — October 28, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

  25. Who would Jim Hendry choose, Soriano or Bradley?

    Comment by HAK — October 28, 2009 @ 7:16 pm

  26. nice thoughts… :)

    i’ll second putting up dusty baker for the reds (though cordero probably would be nice too)

    Comment by Big Red Machine — October 28, 2009 @ 7:27 pm

  27. How about Jeff Supan at $12 million next year? Any takers?

    Comment by Barack — October 28, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

  28. An interesting corrolary article from this:

    Find the “elephant” contract for each team here and rank them in order of….elephant-ness. Might be good to try and tack some “score” to each, perhaps an “overpayment” estimator (sum of expected WARs – salary?). I’d do it but uh…I have work to procrastinate.

    Comment by John C — October 28, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

  29. I read and enjoy most of Dave’s work. Andy S. pointed out the glaring flaw, where one team signs a player to an impossibly large that they don’t intend to pay and dump it on another team.

    Haha really funny that the Yankees got stuck with a 100 billion dollar contract that they can’t pay. The post has to be satire on Bud Selig’s MLB changes, because it would be insanity if it were anything else.

    Comment by Jack — October 28, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

  30. I know the Yankees and Phillies are excluded, but just wanted to throw an idea out there.

    MLBTR, in their version, had Kei Igawa at $8M over 2 years. While any contract for him is a bad one, this is really not going to stop the Yankees from spending by itself.

    However, and I’m a Yankee fan, I think I’d view Burnett as one of the more undesirable contracts. Sure, he wasn’t far off what he was paid this year and if he were only signed for another 2 years, I wouldn’t discuss it. But he’s owed quite a bit of money over the next 4 years and I just can’t see him being effective/healthy enough to live up to his paid value.

    Comment by JohnF — October 28, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

  31. Just to follow-up: Burnett is paid $16.5M every year of the contract including this year. Fangraphs WAR valued him at $14M for this year, so not too far off.

    Comment by JohnF — October 28, 2009 @ 7:52 pm

  32. FINALLY! The Red Sox could get rid of JD Drew’s terrible contract at long last!


    Comment by Stephen Brownell — October 28, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  33. Remember, the Yankees don’t expect to get full value out of Burnett, and Cashman prbably knew full well that the contract would become a liability after a couple years. The Yanks can operate differently with their budget and write off the long-term losses to justify a short-term World Series run.

    What makes Cashman different than the GM’s in the article?
    1) He can afford to overpay long-term
    2) He is fully aware that he’s overpaying.

    Comment by Marcus — October 28, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

  34. “Pointing out that slavishly agreeing with everything Dave Cameron writes brings about the same value as disagreeing mindlessly with him? And that if Cameron feels like, he can address posts based on their merit?”

    I love it when comments work over multiple threads!

    Comment by Typical Idiot Fan — October 28, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

  35. But why? If every team did that, then you’d just end up with an equally bad contract back in return. If you can sign Eckstein to a $100 million contract, then the other teams can do the same thing. To purposely overpay a player would just come back to bite you.

    Also, you can institute a rule that requires teams to hang on to the player for at least a year after they are signed. Or if you wanted to make sure that GMs didn’t backload contracts with the intention of pawning it of on another team, you could require teams to keep a player until 50% of their contract has been paid.

    I’d also like to see revenue sharing money be distributed in part based on the contract a team ends up with from the grab bag. If the Pirates end up with Vernon Wells’ contract, they get more revenue sharing money than they would have otherwise. If the Red Sox or Yankees end up with Wells, they pay less in revenue sharing.

    Finally, all teams must participate and can chose any contract they have on their books.

    Man, I’m psyched. When does this happen?

    Comment by Sweet lou — October 28, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

  36. No because in the end no one would want to do it except the worst team. The Blue Jays would want to do it, no one would want to volunteer to be in that pool because there is no chance that the are going to be in a better position, only a worse one.

    One thing it would do in the long term is to encourage teams to take more risks signing players. They know if it is bad at worse they can always put it in the grab-bag. Teams like the Marlins who would probably put Wes Helms at 950K would start taking more risks. It would have to be mandatory to work

    Comment by Trenchtown — October 28, 2009 @ 8:48 pm

  37. I could see scenarios where teams do this. It’s game theory. If one team does it they can put him in the bucket and hope he gets dumped on a division rival. But the more teams that do it the higher risk of getting dumped on

    One thing you would definitely start seeing is backloaded contracts. It would be like the NFL where a player can reasonably expect to be cut four years into a six year contract. But instead of being cut, the player expects to be put in the bucket after the cheap years.

    Comment by Trenchtown — October 28, 2009 @ 8:52 pm

  38. Read it again then. This is not taken right from MLBTR. On that site he just simply listed bad contracts that teams might end up swapping for each other. It says nothing about a hypothetical required blind pull swap. Even if Cameron did see the post and was inspired by it which is possible, it’s not like he copy and pasted it, he added additional value to it.

    Comment by Trenchtown — October 28, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

  39. It would probably be Daisuke or Drew, I would lean towards Daisuke

    Comment by Trenchtown — October 28, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

  40. I was surprised too.

    Comment by Colm — October 28, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

  41. Poking holes in someone’s — just dickin’ around, having some fun — harebrained scheme is ludicrous.

    Bad contract white elephant is not supposed to stand up to scrutiny.

    When someone like Andy S. says that the idea wouldn’t work “even in jest,” he is 100% wrong.

    The idea absolutely works in jest — that’s the only way it works. To not laugh at this idea because it isn’t practical is like not fantasizing about (insert beautiful woman of your choice here) because she is out of your league.

    Comment by Matt L — October 28, 2009 @ 9:29 pm

  42. Marlins put Jeffrey Loria in the pot

    Comment by Nny — October 28, 2009 @ 9:42 pm

  43. It should be on TV with an audiance. Then cameras should be at each stadium so fans can come and scream and yell for their GM to keep or pass on their turn.

    I think this would be fun. On the other hand, how likely would it be that by the end of the day the Mariners get something worst then the Silva contract?

    Comment by Mark Sobba — October 28, 2009 @ 9:45 pm

  44. i was trying to figure out how to do a loser league for next year. maybe limit it to nl/al only and only take projected starters and top 4 rotation guys and draft once with no roster adds.

    who would be in on such an idea id try to run something.

    Comment by TheUnrepentantGunner — October 28, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

  45. What if a team doesn’t have a contract bad enough to risk being a part of this?

    So maybe they trade their gift spot to a team that wants to trade two bad contracts. We could see a team try to trade off 3 or 4 bad contracts in one go. Could be an amazing day for some teams.

    Comment by Mark Sobba — October 28, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  46. Eric Byrnes.

    That’s all.

    Comment by Coby DuBose — October 28, 2009 @ 10:26 pm

  47. This isn’t a very good comment. Stick to words you know the definition of.

    Comment by Teej — October 28, 2009 @ 10:51 pm

  48. Soriano by a mile.

    Comment by Teej — October 28, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

  49. Jim Hendry.

    Have fun finding $98 million over the next 5 years to pay for Soriano’s .314 wOBA.

    Comment by Will — October 28, 2009 @ 11:20 pm

  50. me?

    Comment by Matt L — October 28, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

  51. Who wants Cristian Guzman for $8mil over a year?

    The Nats just might have the best financial situation going forward. What other teams have a real lack of white elephant contracts?

    Comment by Will — October 28, 2009 @ 11:26 pm

  52. This might be the first year that the Orioles don’t have a guy on this list. Last year, for instance, we were completely spoiled for choice – Danys Baez, Jamie Walker, Ramon Hernandez, Melvin Mora, Jay Gibbons’s shadow… I guess this time around it would probably be Ty Wigginton (who has, I think, 1 year / $3 mil left) just by default.

    Comment by David — October 28, 2009 @ 11:43 pm

  53. I always that MLB should have a Chumpionship during these ridiculous off-days. The worst four teams in MLB should square off in a bracket and play 3-game series. It wouldn’t necessarily be great baseball, but it would be a lot of fun to watch and would help break up the tedium of game, rest, game, rest, rest, game that the playoffs have become.

    Comment by Matt — October 29, 2009 @ 12:15 am

  54. Probably the funniest thing I’ve read on here.

    Comment by Colin — October 29, 2009 @ 1:07 am

  55. I wasn’t suggesting that. Only that perhaps the two were connected. I agree he added significant value.

    Comment by Tyler — October 29, 2009 @ 1:17 am

  56. Twins, As. I’m sure there are more.

    Comment by lookatthosetwins — October 29, 2009 @ 1:50 am

  57. No, Matt, I liked your comment. I was responding to Jack and his misunderstanding of what satire is.

    Comment by Teej — October 29, 2009 @ 4:07 am

  58. Love the game show format idea. Have it hosted by Gedde Watanabe. It’d be a ratings bonanza.

    I imagine it playing out something like this:

    Kuni: Ahhh, Carlos Lee. Mmmmm, very tasty. Okay, Dayton, listen carefully. You can hold on to your Carlos Lee or you can go for what’s in the box that Hiro-San is bringing down the aisle right now!!! What’s it gonna be?

    Dayton Moore: I’ll take the box. The box! [the audience applauds]

    Kuni: You took the box! Let’s see what’s in the box! Soriano! Alfonso Soriano! STUPID! You so STU-PIIIIIIIIIIID!

    Comment by TomG — October 29, 2009 @ 8:47 am

  59. Was going to say something, but agreed, nny.

    That being said, if we can’t put our owner in, I think it would be Helms, sadly. But hey, we might get stuck with a better player at a decent rate in return, with our luck. I’d like our chances.

    Comment by Michael — October 29, 2009 @ 9:11 am

  60. Having Sabean be the Giant’s bad contract would triple the ratings. Does Sabean try to deal himself away from the Rays after he’s been picked and saddle the Giants with Vernon Well’s contract as well? The possibilities for suicide in SF are endless.

    Comment by Dave — October 29, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  61. I love it. It’s a damn shame it’d never work for a lot of reasons, but it’s a really fun thing to toy around with.

    And my beloved Twins would just pray they got something they could afford in return for, well, probably Cuddyer. Who, again, hasn’t been particularly bad contract-wise. (Though by all accounts, he’s a disaster of a right fielder. :( )

    Comment by Patrick — October 29, 2009 @ 9:59 am

  62. He’s making the rounds in the NL Central after starting off with the Cubs. I don’t think I could live through another round of Dusty.

    Comment by odbsol — October 29, 2009 @ 10:13 am

  63. Dave,

    A lot of people have linked Wells’ and Zito’s contract with Helton’s. Was that your intention? Helton was worth $16.2M this year (vs $16.9M).

    Or were you simply pointing out that the contract is very large/long and Billy Beane would be pretty unhappy with it?

    I think teams with a larger budget would be happy to pay Helton for his services.

    Comment by fan — October 29, 2009 @ 10:42 am

  64. A couple of features to add–

    Do a ping-pong ball style lottery (like the NBA draft) to determine draft order. I would be totally mesmerized watching the ping-pong balls with “Reds” and “Mariners” pop around in the cainster to see who comes rolling out.

    Then do it dirty Christmas style. The team that draws the second contract off of the pile can look and see who they got, and decide to keep it, or trade with the team that drew first (not knowing who they have). The team that picks third can keep their pick or trade with either of the first two teams who have already drawn. If you get a middle-of-the-road bad one (like Helton, a lot of dollars and years but a still productive, useful player), do you roll the dice and trade him in, or hang onto it?

    Plus, we get to see the initial reaction shot of whose contract they drew, but then there’s the strategy of how to react – act excited as a bluff, so that a later owner thinks you got one of the more painless contracts (like Wes Helms), only to see that you secretly had Vernon Wells all along? Act stone-faced the whole time, so that no one knows if you’ve got a good one or bad one?

    I would pay about $30 to watch this on pay-per-view.

    Comment by Jason B — October 29, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

  65. Teej, that’s probably who you’d pick and certainly who I’d pick, but I’m not so sure about Hendry.

    Comment by H — October 29, 2009 @ 2:43 pm

  66. No need to mention a loud blasting air horn because it can’t be missed.

    Comment by PhD Brian — October 29, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  67. I would rather have Zito than Delmon!

    Comment by PhD Brian — October 29, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

  68. Lets have a bad contract mock draft. LOL. Every team probably has at least one guy who qualifies. But the Royals would have to have the most guys. Guillen, Jacobs, Teahan, Kyle Davis, Bentacourt, Farnsworth…..

    Comment by PhD Brian — October 29, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

  69. Rios would a be a guy teams hoped to pull rather than Wells or Silva.

    Comment by PhD Brian — October 29, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  70. apparently you have not red the recent article here on JD Drew.

    He has been worth his contract because he is ungodly when he plays.

    Comment by PhD Brian — October 29, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

  71. Dunn was worth only 1.1 WAR this season, so he was seriously overpaid! 1.1WAR Comes to a value of $5.2 million, but he is due for $12 million next season.

    Comment by Nats Fan — October 29, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

  72. I love it.

    Comment by Samuel E. Giddins — October 29, 2009 @ 4:58 pm


    Comment by Reuben — October 29, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  74. I don’t care how little he makes, dump Chris Getz in so they have to play Jayson Nix

    Comment by AInquisition — October 29, 2009 @ 6:37 pm

  75. Scott Boras would negotiate 10 million dollar bonuses for being dumped into the elephant bucket. If Orlando Cabrera gets $ for being traded and can’t be offered arb if he’s a type A, why not get a “dumping bonus”

    Comment by glassSheets — October 29, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

  76. I’d take Vernon Wells’ contract just to be rid of Sabean. And I’d take Vernon Wells’ contract AND Alfonso Soriano’s contract to be rid of Bochy.

    Comment by quincy0191 — October 30, 2009 @ 1:52 am

  77. Shut up and stop being magic.

    -Giants fans

    Comment by quincy0191 — October 30, 2009 @ 1:55 am

  78. Sabean knew he was overpaying for Zito, and he probably knew he was overpaying for Rowand (coming off a career year of 27 dingers in a hitter’s park to the homer-eating AT&T?). He said he knew he was overpaying for Zito; I couldn’t find the quote after a quick Google search but I’m sure he basically said that.

    Comment by quincy0191 — October 30, 2009 @ 2:03 am

  79. I would put “Big Papi” David Ortiz’s contract in there 2. he’s nothing like he was 4-5 years ago.

    Comment by Eddy — November 2, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  80. Seattle and the Cubs are going to do this by themselves with Bradley for Silva.

    Comment by glassSheets — December 18, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

  81. Here is the twist that makes this happen:

    30 GMs throw in “a” contract (any one, their choice – players only, since what GM is going to admit he’s the albatross?)

    Shuffle these into 30 “trades” (i.e, draw out pairs “Wells For Zito”).

    Here is the catch: The teams trade contracts BUT the team who would have to pay more FOR THE NEXT coming year has to get the difference in cash (that year only).

    So if Guzman (8M in 2010) matches with Rowand (12M in 2010), The Giants have to put up $4M or get the trade refused.

    Comment by zenbitz — December 19, 2009 @ 2:07 am

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