The MLB offseason is one of the most important times of the year because it is the time when teams are constantly pushing towards improving their futures. This is a time when teams aggressively pursue free agents and most of the time, there is always at least one ball club who is willing to overpay players to help with a specific need. However, in these type of circumstances, there are plenty of times where these contracts end up hurting the team immensely because these players simply cannot reach the expectations that come with it. This is sadly becoming more and more common as each year passes.
With all that has been stated thus far, in this article, we will be looking at ten hitters and pitchers who are just wasted cap space. As you will see with a handful of these players, a lot of them were simply given contracts that provided them with too much term because of the fact that they are aging. It is quite apparent that Father Time will always catch up with veterans, no matter how spectacular they were during their prime years in the league. At the end of the day, contracts such as these will likely result in long-term ones to decrease these upcoming offseasons.
Nonetheless, let’s look at the ten hitters and pitchers who are just wasted cap space!
20 Hitter: Jason Heyward
Jason Heyward was signed by the Chicago Cubs in hopes that he would be the star player he was with the Braves and Cardinals. However, since the team signed him to his extremely large contract, the veteran has not been able to handle the pressure of playing for the Cubs.
Heyward’s statistics are league average at best, but even saying that is a bit generous to him. Although he does have some fairly solid defensive skills, there is no question that the team expected far more from him with the immense amount of money he is making each season.
19 Pitcher: Tanner Roark
Tanner Roark is definitely a significant reason behind the struggles of the Washington Nationals this season and this can be seen by his ridiculously high loss total. There is no question that Roark has taken a major step backward this season and the future looks a bit concerning.
Perhaps Roark can turn it around, but it is likely that the team will opt to move on from him this off-season. He simply is showing too many signs of being on the decline and the team just cannot accept that at this point. They should use his salary to look to bring in a different starter.
18 Hitter: Chris Davis
Chris Davis is having one of the worst seasons in the history of the MLB. To make matters worse for the Orioles is that he currently has one of the biggest contracts in all of baseball. Gone are the days of his immense power and now he is essentially better suited to be a depth player.
At the end of the day, this is a contract that is going to haunt the Orioles one way or another. It would be wise for the team to at least consider parting ways with him because it is clear that he will never live up to that contract. The rebuild is needed in Baltimore and moving Davis could be the start of it.
17 Pitcher: Homer Bailey
Homer Bailey is definitely not the pitcher that he once was with the Cincinnati Reds, yet he is one of their most expensive players. This is largely due to the fact that he once was their ace, but it is quite clear that injuries have completely derailed his career by impacting his velocity.
There is absolutely no question that the Reds will opt to move on from him as soon as they can. Bailey has had one of the worst seasons in the history of the MLB and clearly does not deserve a spot in this league anymore. Perhaps they can try him in the bullpen, but don’t count on that.
16 Hitter: Troy Tulowitzki
Troy Tulowitzki has not been able to play at all this season and it is quite clear that his career is in jeopardy as well. This definitely is disappointing because he was an electrifying player for the Blue Jays during their short stint as contenders just a handful of seasons ago.
However, the hardest part of all of this is that Tulowitzki is signed under the Blue Jays until the end of the 2021 season and is making a ton of money in the process. This is bad news for a team that is rebuilding and looking to transform their entire roster. However, injuries can happen and this is a prime example as to why long-term deals are dangerous.
15 Pitcher: James Shields
James Shields has struggled immensely since being traded to the Chicago White Sox and this obviously is disappointing when seeing how he was supposed to be their ace. However, he has been absolutely horrible in his three seasons with the team while making huge amounts of money.
Thankfully for the White Sox, this is the final year of Shields’ deal and they are going to be able to save a lot of money next season. However, it is quite clear that he has been a horrible waste of money since his arrival to the team and he easily had one of the worst tenures from that team this decade.
14 Hitter: Miguel Cabrera
During his prime years, Miguel Cabrera was easily one of the best players in all of baseball and due to this clear fact, he will end up in the Hall of Fame without any question. Due to his immense success during his prime years, the Tigers would give him an eight-year extension in 2014.
There is a bit of concern at this point when it comes to his contract because ever since last season, there have been some clear indicators that the veteran is starting to fall off in skill. When seeing how he is under contract until 2023 at a minimum, this could truly hurt them for years to come.
13 Pitcher: Felix Hernandez
Felix Hernandez was one of the most dominating starters in the MLB during his prime years with the Seattle Mariners and that is what got him his massive five-year, $135.5 million extension. At the time of the signing, this made a lot of sense because he was one of the best in the game.
However, this season has shown that Hernandez is clearly on the downswing of his career. He has lost his spot in the rotation at times and has not shown any signs of improvement. Thankfully the Mariners only have him for one more year after this one, but he still will be making over $20 million.
12 Hitter: Jacoby Ellsbury
The Jacoby Ellsbury contract was once seen as a marvelous decision by the Yankees because it gave them a five-tool player from their biggest rival. However, Ellsbury has done nothing but disappoint since signing his massive seven-year deal and even missed the entire season this year.
It is truly scary to see that the Yankees will be paying over $21 million until the end of the 2021 season and he may never even be able to play again if his injury worsens. Even if he does return, it is clear that he does not even have a spot with the team, so this is clearly a waste of cap space.
11 Pitcher: Drew Pomeranz
Last season, Drew Pomeranz showed the MLB that he could be a spectacular starting pitcher with the Red Sox. This resulted in the expectations set for him to be much higher than in the past, but he has not delivered at all. In fact, everything has gotten to be far worse than ever.
Pomeranz pitched so badly this season that he has now been moved to the bullpen where he is still struggling immensely. When seeing how Pomeranz is now essentially a waste of roster space, it is clear that the $8.5 million he is making this season should have been used elsewhere.
10 Hitter: Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols is easily one of the best hitters in the history of the league and there is no question that he will end up in the Hall of Fame. When the Angels signed him to his massive ten-year deal back in 2012, it made a lot of sense because he still was a superstar and overall gamechanger.
However, this contract would quickly be seen as a horrible one because Pujols would start to drop off and he no longer was his consistent self. Now, as Pujols is continuing to age and injuries are becoming far more common for him, the team has to have him in their budget until 2021 when he will be 41.
9 Pitcher: Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright was once the ace of the St. Louis Cardinals, so it does make a lot of sense that the team gave him a 5-year, $97.5 million extension. However, although this would end up being the case, Wainwright would soon begin to drop off because of the injuries he kept receiving.
Thankfully for the Cardinals, they are in the final year of this contract and they will soon be able to move forward from this. It is very likely that Wainwright will retire at season’s end because of his older age and fatigue. Although the end of his tenure has seen a lot of struggles, he still deserves a plethora of respect.
8 Hitter: Ian Desmond
The Colorado Rockies thought that they were getting a very good addition to their roster when they gave Ian Desmond a five-year, $70 million deal. However, ever since he has joined the team, he has had a very tough time adjusting to the ballclub and it shows in his overall statistics.
Desmond simply has not lived up to this contract and it is one that definitely is hurting the team at the end of the day. As Desmond is getting older, it is likely that it will only get worse from here and his numbers will only continue to drop. At the end of the day, this is easily one of the worst contracts in all of baseball.
7 Pitcher: Jordan Zimmermann
When the Detroit Tigers signed Jordan Zimmerman to a five-year, $22 million deal back in 2016, they expected to get a quality starter to add some depth to their rotation. However, Zimmermann has performed poorly since signing this contract and it is quite clear that it is now a waste of money.
Zimmerman simply has not been able to adjust himself to the American League and it shows how badly his statistics have gotten since joining the league. Perhaps he can salvage himself in his last season with the club for 2019, but at the end of the day, that truly seems to be a long shot.
6 Hitter: Dexter Fowler
Dexter Fowler definitely was a top notch player when he was with the Chicago Cubs during their 2016 World Series run, so it does make a plethora of sense as to why the Cardinals gave him such a large contract. He seemed to be the perfect leadoff hitter for them to use for years to come.
However, since arriving at St. Louis, Fowler has fallen off dramatically and now easily has one of the worst contracts in all of baseball. Fowler has been playing so poorly that he has lost his spot in the starting lineup and is now batting under the Mendoza line as well. He is signed until 2021 as well.
5 Pitcher: Jason Hammel
Jason Hammel is another player on this list who had a very solid tenure with the Chicago Cubs during their time at the top. As a result of this, Hammel was awarded a very solid two-year deal with the Royals and they envisioned to be a solid option near the top half of their rotation.
As this contract is coming to a close as the team will definitely not be bringing him back next season, it is quite clear that it was an absolute bust. Hammel’s statistics have gotten far worse and he has not been able to keep his ERA under 5.00. At the end of the day, he is one of the worst starters in the majors now.
4 Hitter: Matt Wieters
When the Washington Nationals signed Matt Wieters back in 2017, they thought that they were getting a star catcher for their postseason runs. However, Wieters has completely fallen off since signing with the team and now is used as a backup instead of the All-Star he once was.
Although this contract is set to expire at the end of the season, it definitely is quite irritating for the team that he was making $10.5 million per year to play well below the league average. The Nationals will look to rebound this offseason by bringing in legitimate top-notch talent with the extra cash.
3 Pitcher: Wei-Yin Chen
The Miami Marlins were hoping that they had landed a solid piece to their starting rotation when they handed Wei-Yin Chen a five-year, $80 million deal. However, it is absolutely clear that Chen has not pitched well at all since coming to the team and the signing is one of the worsts in the league.
With the Marlins currently being in a rebuilding period, this contract makes it even worse. They definitely wish they could move him to bring in a few prospects, but obviously, this contract is an immovable one. At the end of the day, this is just a huge burden on their budget and one they have to deal with for multiple years.
2 Hitter: Alex Gordon
When the Kansas City Royals extended Alex Gordon with a four-year, $72 million deal, everyone was ecstatic. Gordon had just been a huge reason behind their World Series win because of the fact that he was one of their most effective players. Also, he, of course, was a fan favorite.
However, ever since signing this deal, Gordon has fallen off dramatically each year and now many consider his contract as one of the worst ones in all of baseball. This makes a lot of sense when seeing how he has dropped off in his offensive totals each season. Thankfully, there is only one year left on it.
1 Pitcher: Alex Cobb
The Baltimore Orioles thought they had found their ace when they signed Alex Cobb to a four-year, $57 million deal this past offseason. Cobb had just come off a very solid tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays and seemed to be someone that could carry the team moving forward.
However, in his first season with the team, Cobb has pitched absolutely horribly and it is a troubling sign when seeing how they have three more years of his contract left. Cobb had his worst season by far this year and now looks like a problem moving for the ball club. If he can turn it around next season, it will be a lot better.