Largest Contracts In Draft History

One year ago yesterday, we took a look at the largest contracts ever given to drafted players in MLB history. It's time for an update, just like our list of largest contracts by service time

Major League Contracts

  1. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (2009, 1st round, 1st pick): Four years, $15.1MM. His $7.5MM signing bonus is a draft record.
  2. Mark Prior, Cubs (2001, 1/2): Five years, $10.5MM. Prior exercised an opt-out clause that voided the final two years of the deal and instead filed for salary arbitration. He earned an extra $1.575MM by doing so.
  3. Bryce Harper, Nationals (2010, 1/1): Five years, $9.9MM. Includes a $6.25MM signing bonus that will be paid out in five installments.
  4. Mark Teixeira, Rangers (2001, 1/5): Four years, $9.5MM. His $4.5MM signing bonus was a draft record for six years. 
  5. David Price, Rays (2007, 1/1): Six years, $8.5MM. Price can opt-out of the contract and file for arbitration next season just like Prior did.
  6. Pat Burrell, Phillies (1998, 1/1): Five years, $8MM. The first of these mega-contracts for draftees.
  7. Dustin Ackley, Mariners (2009, 1/2): Five years, $7.5MM. There's another $2.5MM in incentives tied to how quickly he reached the majors. 
  8. Rick Porcello, Tigers (2007, 1/27): Four years, $7.285MM. There are club options for a fifth and sixth year. Porcello will actually collect just $7MM because he received the pro-rated portion of his salary after signing in 2007. The deal was designed to match but not exceed the number ten contract on this list.
  9. J.D. Drew, Cardinals (1998, 1/5): Four years, $7MM. Drew famously refused to sign with the Phillies as the second overall pick in the 1997 draft, as he and Boras stuck to their guarantee that he would not sign for less than $10MM.
  10. Josh Beckett, Marlins (1999, 1/2): Four years, $7MM. Beckett was the first high school player to receive a Major League contract since Alex Rodriguez in 1993.

Eric Munson's four-year, $6.75MM deal with the Tigers in 1999 dropped out of the top ten thanks to Harper. He received a $3.5MM signing bonus as the third overall pick.

Minor League Contracts

  1. Jameson Taillon, Pirates (2010, 1/2): $6.5MM
  2. Donavan Tate, Padres (2009, 1/3): $6.25MM
  3. Buster Posey, Giants (2008, 1/5): $6.2MM
  4. Tim Beckham, Rays (2008, 1/1): $6.15MM
  5. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks (2005, 1/1): $6.1MM
  6. Matt Wieters, Orioles (2007, 1/5): $6MM
  7. Eric Hosmer, Royals (2008, 1/3): $6MM
  8. Joe Borchard, White Sox (2000, 1/12): $5.3MM
  9. Manny Machado, Orioles (2010, 1/3): $5.25MM
  10. Zach Lee, Dodgers (2010, 1/28): $5.25MM

Joe Mauer ($5.15MM as the first overall pick in 2001) and B.J. Upton ($4.6MM as the second overall pick in 2002) dropped out of the top ten thanks to Taillon, Machado, and Lee. 

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10 Comments on "Largest Contracts In Draft History"

4 years 5 months ago

Great information. Amazing how much these players are paid…

Encarnacion's Parrot
4 years 5 months ago

Joe Mauer ($5.15MM as the first overall pick in 2011)

Mauer was drafted twice? Can’t believe so many teams passed on him, in the future no less..

4 years 5 months ago

mauer drafted in 2011?…no wonder he isnt playing

4 years 5 months ago

I am not sure I understand the years given to these players. Take Strasburg for example. He was signed for 4 years? Does that mean he is a free agent in what 3 more years(including this one) or does he go through the normal process of 3 pre-arb, 3 arby years, then FA?

4 years 5 months ago

It means they get a place on the 40-man roster right away, so teams have to use up their options quicker. It pretty much guarantees them a major league job within 3 years. It’s just a major incentive to get teams to give these guys jobs on the major league team.

But they still have to follow the MLB rules of team control for 6 years of service on the 25-man roster.

4 years 5 months ago

Joe Borchard, The Anti Pujols.

4 years 5 months ago

Looks like the majority of the list has worked out pretty well.

4 years 5 months ago

Stephen Strasburg worked out well? I think the best contract of the both lists is by far Buster Posey┬┤s , Giants really hit the nail on the head, for once…

4 years 5 months ago

I said the majority I didn’t say every single one

4 years 2 months ago

Even though he never specifically said he did or didn’t work out well…Strasburg had TJS….that was expected for a player that throws like he does…his career hasn’t even begun.