Bad contracts are one of the biggest ways for a Major League Baseball player to become a villain. It’s not always their fault as the team has to agree to the deal too. But when a player is unable to live up to the contract, putting up poor numbers by comparison to the amount he’s making, he gets a bad reputation and ends up on a list with the word “worst” in the headline.
Every team has at some point experienced a bad contract and at any given time you can find one. The deals pay for the past, present, and projected future. The future projections for a player tend to be the one they get paid for the most as MLB deals are handed out years in advance with little adjustment along the way after arbitration. Unfortunately nobody knows for sure what someone will do and often favorable deals backfire.
Searching through the payroll of all 30 MLB teams you will find players getting overpaid everywhere just as much as you will see some earning hardly anything when compared to their teammates. For instance, Dallas Keuchel made $524,500 in 2015 to win a Cy Young Award. Meanwhile, Cliff Lee was paid $25 million to spend the entire season on the disabled list. MLB contracts don’t work the same way it does in DraftKings or FanDuel where they are adjusted toward performance. These guys make what they were promised and there’s very little teams can do along the way to get out of it even when they stink up the joint.
Included in this list are players who are on bad deals because their on-field performance has declined or never was very good. There are also a few potential All-Stars on contracts we know will get worse along the way. Whatever the situations, these are the worst contracts for every MLB team.
30 Arizona Diamondbacks: Aaron Hill
29 Atlanta Braves: Nick Swisher
28 Baltimore Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez
27 Boston Red Sox: Rick Porcello
26 Chicago Cubs: Edwin Jackson
25 Chicago White Sox: John Danks
24 Cincinnati Reds: Homer Bailey
23 Cleveland Indians: Chris Johnson
22 Colorado Rockies: Jose Reyes
21 Detroit Tigers: Victor Martinez
20 Houston Astros: Colby Rasmus
19 Kansas City Royals: Omar Infante
18 Los Angeles Angels: Jered Weaver
17 Los Angeles Dodgers: Carl Crawford
16 Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton
15 Milwaukee Brewers: Matt Garza
14 Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer
13 New York Mets: David Wright
12 New York Yankees: CC Sabathia
11 Oakland Athletics: Coco Crisp
10 Philadelphia Phillies: Ryan Howard
9 Pittsburgh Pirates: Mike Morse
8 San Diego Padres: Melvin Upton Jr.
7 San Francisco Giants: Matt Cain
6 Seattle Mariners: Robinson Cano
5 St. Louis Cardinals: None
4 Tampa Bay Rays: None, They’re Too Cheap
3 Texas Rangers: Elvis Andrus
2 Toronto Blue Jays: Russell Martin
1 Washington Nationals: Jayson Werth
Washington Nationals’ outfielder Jayson Werth got a huge deal from the ball club before the 2011 season after punishing them plenty as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. It started poorly then got better once he was healthy. Sadly, Werth has continued to get injured frequently and it has slowed him down significantly. Coming off a year where he played in 88 games with just a .221/.302/.384 slash line, Werth will play 2016 as a 37-year-old with a guaranteed $43 million left on his contract over the next two years.
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