Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are still looking for all that money that MLB owners have been hoarding. While they have been busy hoarding, owners have still spent a pretty penny and some of their investments have not exactly panned out. Miguel Cabrera? Troy Tulowitzki? How about Baltimore’s Chris Davis? Each was among the top 40 highest-paid players last season. Each had a WAR (wins above replacement) that was awful – Cabrera 0.7, Tulowitzki 0.1, and Davis -2.8. Each has a contract that is killing his team. Here’s a look at the five worst contracts in baseball.
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Remember when Cabrera was the best hitter in baseball? Yeah, those days are gone. Plus, he’s getting old. The Tigers would love to have a re-do on this deal. Cabrera (5 years, $154 million) was injured in 2017 (herniated disks in his back) and last year (ruptured biceps) and he will be 36 in April. Detroit will cringe when they have to pay the aging hitter $32 million when he is 39 and 40.
Troy Tulowitzki The Blue Jays will pay $14 million of Tulowitzki’s salary while he plays with the New York Yankees this season. He missed all of 2018 and Toronto released him. The Yankees picked him up for $555,000. Oh, and the Blue Jays are on the hook for the $4 million buyout of Tulo’s contract. But wait … there’s more. If somehow, Tulo manages a good season, his salary could go up to $6 million based on MVP voting. Toronto would love to have a do-over on Tulowitzki’s two-year, $37.5 million deal.
Chris Davis, Baltimore In 2013, Davis hit 53 homers and drove in 138 runs. He was the next big thing. With a contract that has four years left and $92 million, the Orioles are hoping the 32-year-old Davis can at least be better than 2018. In 522 plate appearances, Davis struck out 192 times, hit just 16 home runs, and batted an abysmal .168. Yes, you read that right, .168. His WAR checked in at minus-2.8. Ouch. This could be the absolute worst contract in baseball.
Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels Pujols is one of the great sluggers of all time. Just not the past two years. Pujols’ average over the past two seasons is just .243 which is below average among all hitters. The once mighty slugger managed only 19 home runs and with the return of Shohei Ohtani next season it isn’t clear exactly how Pujols fits in the lineup. The three years left on his contract worth $87 million fits squarely into one of the worst contracts in MLB.
The Seattle Mariners To say the Mariners overspent on their roster is an understatement. They will pay Robinson Cano, a very talented player, $20 million … to play for the New York Mets! Seattle took on $28 million owed to Jay Bruce and Kyle Seager has three years and $57.5 million left on his $100 million contract extension. That was a bad move seeing how Seager doesn’t run well and has become less of a factor at the plate because of defenses shifting. At least Felix Hernandez can maybe go 8-14 again and earn $27.5 million!
Honorable Mention: Homer Bailey Any discussion of bad contracts has to include right-handed pitcher Homer Bailey, who spent his entire 11-year MLB career pitching for the Cincinnati Reds. When the Dodgers traded Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Reds, Bailey was part of the package sent to Los Angeles. So was his one-year, $28 million contract. Oh, and Bailey went 1-14 last season in 20 starts. As soon as the trade was complete, the Dodgers released Bailey which means L.A. will pay Bailey not to play for them in 2019.