Completed $100MM+ Contracts

The nine-figure contract is still a relatively new phenomenon in baseball. There have only been 26 contracts worth $100MM or more given out in baseball history, and we're just now starting to see the first wave of those deals expire. Here are the eight such contracts that have expired…

  • Alex Rodriguez (ten years, $252MM) – A-Rod originally signed this deal with the Rangers, then opted out of the last three years and $81MM while with the Yankees. He hit .304/.400/.591 and won three MVP awards during the seven years of the deal, then landed another ten-year contract worth $275MM.
  • Derek Jeter (ten years, $189MM) – The Yankees' captain hit .310/.380/.445 during this contract, then signed another three-year pact worth $51MM this past offseason.
  • Manny Ramirez (eight years, $160MM) – Manny spend the vast majority of this contract with the Red Sox, hitting .315/.415/.595 in the process. He then signed a two-year deal worth $45MM.
  • Mike Hampton (eight years, $121MM) – This deal didn't go as well as the first three; Hampton pitched to a 4.81 ERA in 147 starts, missing time with numerous injuries. He spent most of the contract with the Braves after originally signing it with the Rockies.
  • Jason Giambi (seven years, $120MM) – Giambi's time with New York was tainted by injury and PED controversy, but he still hit an impressive .260/.404/.521.
  • Ken Griffey Jr. (nine years, $112.5MM) – Another big money deal marred by injury, The Kid hit .269/.361/.510 almost entirely with the Reds during the contract.
  • Kevin Brown (seven years, $105MM) – Brown dealt with some injuries during the life of the contract, but pitched to a 3.23 ERA for the Dodgers and Yankees before retiring.
  • Albert Pujols (seven years, $100MM) – The guaranteed portion of this deal is over,though the Cardinals exercised their $16MM club option to keep him around this season. Pujols hit .334/.443/.635 with three MVP awards during the first seven seasons of the contract.

Carlos Beltran's seven-year, $119MM deal with the Mets will expire after season. Todd Helton's nine-year, $141.5MM deal with the Rockies would have expired as well, but he agreed to a restructured deal last March that tacked on two guaranteed years in exchange for a lower salary in 2011. 

Cot's Baseball Contract was used for this post.

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43 Responses to Completed $100MM+ Contracts Leave a Reply

  1. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    in 5 years, there will be some very bad baseball players on this list.

  2. aNYthing6 4 years ago

    Mike Hampton? Wow, fail.

    • Rabbitov 4 years ago

      Hampton is pretty much the worst contract in baseball of all time and would be the worst in every major sport if not for Jamarcus Russell.

      • RahZid 4 years ago

        but…… Zito. I feel like it’s at least close.

        • Rabbitov 4 years ago

          Zito at least is pitching. Sometimes, even pitching well. Imagine giving that money out and getting nothing out of it at all.

          • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

            Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa and Darren Dreifort say hello.

          • TrueYankeeFanNYC 4 years ago

            WhO on that list had a contract close to hamptons?

          • None of those guys did absolutely nothing productive on the field. Literally nothing, pretty sure you know that about 2 of them at least.

          • TrueYankeeFanNYC 4 years ago

            Pavano was slightly productive but hey you’re favorite team had a guy break his leg during a celebration.

          • bjsguess 4 years ago

            Slightly productive?

            He was paid $40m and generated a grand total of 1 WAR over those 4 years.

            Unless your definition of slightly is “worse than a guy that we could pick up by holding open tryouts at Yankee stadium”, Pavano was not slightly productive.

            Pavano lived up to his contract to the tune of approximately 10%. But even that is giving him too much credit. The fact that the team built around Pavano, expecting him to be a #2/#3 starter hurt them as well.

            Hampton provided significantly more value as a ratio to his contract. 11.5 WAR is nothing to get excited about but at least his contribution was in the 30% range. In overall dollars Pavano is the better of the two simply because the total dollars committed was so much less.

          • TrueYankeeFanNYC 4 years ago

            Atleast you acquired Vernon wells right?

          • RahZid 4 years ago

            If Zito had been cut as was speculated, he would have only made 131 starts (16 fewer than Hampton). I will say after just looking up the numbers, Zito was better in ’09 and ’10 than I thought (’09 4.03 ERA, ’10 4.15 ERA).

      • TrueYankeeFanNYC 4 years ago

        Chan ho park, Oliver Perez And Gary Matthews JR say hello.

  3. lakersdodgersyankees4life 4 years ago

    Looking at the list, most of these actually weren’t that bad. Yes, injury hit them, but it is expected. But it seems if you have an elite guy, especially a hitter, you don’t need to hesitate much signing them to big money

    • RahZid 4 years ago

      At least not while steroids are common place.

      To be clear, that’s not meant as an accusation towards anyone, but we know about Giambi and Manny. Jeter certainly doesn’t scream steroids to me, but he had a very different skill set than everyone else on this list, thus he aged well. Pujols was (is) young during that deal, therefore no/minimal decline.

      • lakersdodgersyankees4life 4 years ago

        Its a fair point. Absolutely. But we also have to look at how the players did during the contract to evaluate it. And most of the players did well. And if you look at the elites that did well without roids, Jeter Albert and we don’t know for how long Manny and Giambi used, they prove that if a player is in that upper upper percentage of players, they can live up to an $100M contract
        Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

        • RahZid 4 years ago

          I agree with you there. My comment was meant in response to this part of your statement:

          “But it seems if you have an elite guy, especially a hitter, you don’t need to hesitate much signing them to big money”

          While that may have been the case then, I don’t believe it to be true any more. At least not for pure slugging types, unless they are very young. I mean, Pujols signed his deal going into his age 24 season.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 4 years ago

            That’s a good point. I think I feel this way because my definition of elite, on this level, is someone like Matt Kemp has the potential to be. 5 tools and young. He has the potential to be in that 1 percent. But guys other than that level don’t really deserve these contracts, even if they are getting them regularly.
            Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

          • RahZid 4 years ago

            That makes a lot of sense. I will say though, that I wouldn’t advise anyone to give out $100M+ contract based solely on potential. There has to be a body of work to support it as well. The pitfall there is that by the time the player has a body of work to merit the $100M deal, you start having age concerns towards the end of the contract. There are always exceptions to this with very young players coming up to MLB (King Felix comes to mind), but in the majority of cases, by the time someone is into their late arb years, they are already in their late 20’s. While it may be fine to sign someone through their age 34 season, you can only really pull that off if they came through your system, or if you got them via trade. Elite FA’s typically don’t reach FA until ages 30-32, in which case even just a 5 year $100M deal would take them to age 35-37, which can be a somewhat dangerous long term commitment. At least that’s my take on it.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 4 years ago

            That is a very good point. The idea is though with the very elite guys, either A. they will age well enough that the last year is only a slight overpay or B. The value they give during the start of the contract offsets the decline in the last few seasons.

    • tacko 4 years ago

      Coming from a Yankees fan.

      • lakersdodgersyankees4life 4 years ago

        Does that matter? Does how I feel about a deal matter about what team I root for? In fact, three of the most productive deals are Yankee deals. So what? If Jeter, Arod and Giambi had played on the Twins would you be complaining about my statement?

        I don’t remember your name so I assume you have started posting since my posting became more irregular, but its fairly well known that I am more of a dodger fan than anything else, and my Yankee roots come from me being from NY. Sorry, you need a different assumption about me
        Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

        • tacko 4 years ago

          Wow, you need to calm down. I mean, I don’t post on this site everyday so sorry if I don’t know every regular’s personality and roots.

          I didn’t assume anything about you. I inferred you were a Yankee fan from your username and the fact that you said: “But it seems if you have an elite guy, especially a hitter, you don’t need to hesitate much signing them to big money.”

          Of course Yankee fans would think this way. They play with a seemingly limitless payroll, so of course huge contracts don’t seem like as big a deal as it does to other fan bases.

          Fact is, you have to be hesitant of signing even elite players to ridiculous contracts. Most big contracts usually don’t live up to their worth, and the ones that have have usually been tainted by steroid use. With steroid use on the downfall, clubs now have to be especially hesitant to sign players to huge contracts. If you’re a team not named the Red Sox or the Yankees, signing a huge bad contract to even an elite player can cripple your team for years to come.

          Learn how to take a joke, man.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 4 years ago

            I didn’t take it personally, sorry if it came off that way. You have to realize how much ridicule I’ve gotten because of the name.

            However, your post you just sent plays directly into the stereotype I was trying to point out that I’m not part of. You saying that of course I wouldn’t mind the contracts because I’m a Yankee fan is point out that I feel that way because of my team affiliation.

            And if depends what you call elite. Albert, Jeter and Arod were elite. Soriano, Zito and Hampton were above average guys. That’s why people are so hesitant now. Teams went from giving them to 5 players in the whole league to any player that is above average. If you stick to the top 1 percent and give them those contracts, most will work out very well.
            Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

          • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

            I think you’re missing a major point though.

            a) Most baseball players don’t hit the majors until about 23 to 25.

            b) Most players don’t hit the fa market until 6 to 8 years after their first full year so most are between 29 on the low end to 33 on the high.

            c) Most elite FA are good enough to warrant a deal w/ a minimum of 5 years or greater.

            Based on those facts most GMs go into a mega $100 + mil deal knowing that some of those years towards the end are going to be below average relative to the elite years they’ll get on the front end of the deal. Most GMs now it and are willing toaccept it so long as the fall of is at a catostrophic rate. I don’t think anyone expects a Ryan, Clemens or Bonds like performance towards a players 36 to 40ish years. For that reason, I don’t even think the Yanks expected Arod to be a 35-40 hr guy but were willing to accept a 25-30 hr guy and reap in the benefits of his HR title run. The fact that the steoids scandal came out and the subsequent hip injury simply made the deal look all the more ridicuolous. It’s quite obvious Cashman didn’t want it for on field production reasons whereas Levine and others saw the marketing opps instead.

  4. YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

    .269/.404/.521 w/ an AVG of 30 hrs and a .925 OPS….

    Hard to really call that dissapointing but as a Yankee fan it sure felt that way. I think the steroid issues, the two years lost to injuries and the fact that he went from being adequate to being a liability at 1B just made the deal seem like a disaster. That and the fact that he was probably overpaid by $20-$25 mil.

    • lakersdodgersyankees4life 4 years ago

      I guess that was what i was trying to say with my post. These contracts are so long that the fans seem to remember the bad and forget the good by the end. If its a 10 year contract, can you take at least 8 years of productivity at an elite level? That seems to be what most of these guys are producing

    • 0bsessions 4 years ago

      That’s the risk you take on a long term deal. Once in a very great while, you get a guy who lives up to the whole thing (I’d call the success rate of this list at about 50% with A-Rod, Jeter, Manny and Pujols all earning their deals), but there’s so much potential for the tail end to turn into a disaster.

      Personally, I’d love it if Mike would add in the ages each of these deals were signed at. I don’t really feel like expending the energy to look them all up right this minute, but I have to assume most of the deals that worked out were made when the player was in their mid-twenties at the latest while the deals with issues were probably closer to thirty.

    • baseball33 4 years ago

      Was it terrible no. It certainly could have been worse but the Yankees did not get the production that they thought they were getting. Aside from what you already said the Yankees signed him to be a hitter, not just a slugger. Other than his first year that he hit .314, a .260 life time Yankee batting average was not what we were supposed to get.

      • 0bsessions 4 years ago

        A .260 BA is practically irrelevant when he’s getting on base at a .404 clip and slugging 30 homers a year anyway.

        I hate Giambi a whole lot, but that’s some solid production. I’m not sure I’d pay $100MM+ for it, but there’s not a whole lot of room for complaining about Giambi’s body of work for the Yankees outside of the steroid allegations.

        • baseball33 4 years ago

          I don’t want to dismiss you because you are a MLBTR regular and I do agree with a large portion of what you have to say but this is outlandish. It makes me wonder about how you actually rate a player so I will try and help you. A .300 is not the same as a .260 hitter. I don’t care how many home runs he gets or what his on base percentage is. When the Yankees signed him they wanted Oakland numbers. Not Adam Dunn numbers. I think in his first year he had around 175 hits and his next best year for hits I think he had around 135 hits. Well think about what another 40 hits a year could have done for Giambi’s production. You become another player when your batting average drops 40 points from a .300 hitter that your supposed to be. I find that many of the younger generation of fan-graph die hards and war watchers while knowledgeable in their own right, many don’t know the difference between a slugger and a slugger that is also a hitter.

        • baseball33 4 years ago

          And yes there is plenty of room to complain about Giambi’s body of work as a Yankee. He was injured for two of his seven years, at the end he had to be stashed as the DH because he couldn’t play anywhere, and somebody who either hits a home run or strikes out shouldn’t be paid that much. Besides I thought you were a Red Sox fan. What do you really remember about Giambi?

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            “Besides I thought you were a Red Sox fan. What do you really remember about Giambi? ”

            Being terrified of him a large percentage of the time.

          • baseball33 4 years ago

            Oh you shouldn’t have been that afraid at the end. He couldn’t touch anything on the outer half of the plate unless he got lucky and most of the inside stuff he pulled foul. He was much scarier on the juice.

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            And yet he always. got. lucky.

            Take it from me, I am well versed in how awful Giambi was at the tail end of that deal and for a while I revelled it. But even then, when Papelbon was good, I’d see that crazy eyed, thong wearing goon come to the plate down by a run in the ninth with a man on second and hide under my couch cushions.

          • baseball33 4 years ago

            Well a broken clock is right twice a day

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            I don’t even know where I’m getting this recollection either. His last year with the Yankees, he was downright terrible against us overall. He had four home runs (Mostly in key spots), but by and large, he was awful.

  5. phoenix2042 4 years ago

    It amazes me how Arod actually earned that contract. and Pujols… just wow.

  6. Hampton’s deal turned out to be the worst by far, but as a Rockies fan, I was stoked when he signed. Opening day he pitched 8 1/3 shutout innings and I thought, “Definitely worth it.” Unfortunately he couldn’t maintain for very long here. It would’ve been interesting to see what he could have done at Coors with the humidor.

  7. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    best swing in baseball.

  8. TrueYankeeFanNYC 4 years ago

    Definitely the prettiest swing in baseball.

  9. baseball33 4 years ago

    Mattingly in his prime

  10. YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

    Will “The Thrill” Clark would like to add his name to the list.

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