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The Worst Contract in Baseball

I was having a debate a few days ago across twitter with some folks and figured it worth bringing up here. Evan Longoria is likely the best contract in baseball. It’s just obscene, in a good way, for the Rays. But who is the worst? Not talking about ever, or worst at the time, just worst as it stands right now in January of 2010. Which player would you least like on your team going forward, or who do you think would be the most difficult to trade?

I would have nominated Carlos Silva, but apparently he wasn’t that difficult to trade, thank you Cubs, and it would have been more of a biased suggestion than a real one. It’s an awful contract, but it does only have two years left on it. No, I think in the debate for worst contract left in baseball, it comes down to three contenders.

Barry Zito has four guaranteed years left on his contract with a total payout of $76 million and then either an $18 million club option or a $7 million buyout for a minimum for $83 million left to be paid. He also comes with a full no-trade clause. Zito, as mentioned yesterday, has produced 5.3 WAR so far for San Francisco. At least he is sort of trending upwards?

Going back to the Cubs, Alfonso Soriano has five years, a full no-trade clause and $90 million left on his deal. He started off promising with a 5.6 win season in 2007 but fell to 3.1 wins in 2008 and then a horrendous -0.7 last year. The defense has taken about a 15-run hit each consecutive year and the offense has been trending downward as well.

Vernon Wells also has the benefit of a full no-trade clause and due to his protracted signing bonus, is actually owed a whopping $107 million over the remaining five years of his contract. Since his 5.8 win 2006 season, after which his extension was signed, Wells has been worth 0.9, 1.3 and -0.1 wins. His offense has always been sporadic, but his fielding has really taken a hit lately, being well below average the last two seasons.

So, weighing those, who is worst, Zito, Wells or Soriano? Or is there someone else that you think is even more of a dead weight?