Checking In On The Latest $100MM Contracts

Every year a few players join baseball’s exclusive $100MM club with free agent deals and mega-extensions. Last offseason was no different — eight players signed nine figure deals. The contracts were all for five years or more, so it’s far too early to call them successes or failures. As the season approaches its halfway point, let’s check in on baseball’s newest $100MM contracts:

  • Albert Pujols, ten-year, $240MM contract - Pujols had a painfully slow start, but he has raised his batting line to a respectable .270/.332/.461. His last 40 games have been legitimately Pujols-like: 11 home runs and an OPS over 1.000.
  • Joey Votto, ten-year, $225MM extension - It's impossible to have a complete discussion about baseball's best hitters without considering Votto. The 28-year-old leads the National League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, walks, doubles and wOBA, so this deal couldn't be going any better for the Reds.
  • Prince Fielder, nine-year, $214MM contract - Fielder continues to hit at an All-Star level, though he has a relatively modest total of 12 home runs. Unfortunately for Tigers fans Mike Ilitch's bold investment hasn't been enough to keep the team above .500.
  • Matt Kemp, eight-year, $160MM extension - Hamstring issues have sidelined Kemp, who was the best hitter in the National League for the first month of the season.
  • C.C. Sabathia, five-year, $122MM extension - Sabathia, now on the disabled list with a strained groin, is in the midst of yet another tremendous season. He has a 3.45 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 107 innings.
  • Matt Cain, five-year, $112.5MM extension - Cain's enjoying his best season as a Major Leaguer. He has a career-best ERA (2.27), strikeout rate (9.0 K/9) and walk rate (1.9 BB/9) through 107 innings. The Giants' decision to invest in Cain still looks like a good one.
  • Jose Reyes, six-year, $106MM extension - Reyes' offensive numbers have dropped off across the board this year, no thanks to a 60 point dip in batting average on balls in play.
  • Ryan Zimmerman, six-year, $100MM extension - Zimmerman's off to a slow start at the plate despite two home runs in his past three games. He missed two weeks with shoulder soreness earlier in the year and has just a .235/.297/.350 batting line.


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49 Comments on "Checking In On The Latest $100MM Contracts"


3 years 2 months ago

Compared to the other deals here, Matt Kemp’s contract looks like an absolute steal for the Dodgers. 

dylanp5030
3 years 2 months ago

I think the Cain deal is the biggest steal right now.

monkeydung
3 years 2 months ago

i say this as a baseball fan, not a dodgers fan, Cain is one of two pitchers on that list, and there’s a reason. long term contracts on pitchers almost never work out.

Jason_F
3 years 2 months ago

However, Cain will be 32 when his contract expires.  He has gotten better every single season.  His delivery lends itself to longevity due to minimum effort and very repeatable mechanics.  He is built like an ox and has the exact temperament that you look for in a front of the rotation starter.  There is a reason why Cain and Sabathia ARE the only pitchers on this list.

Also, you say this just as Cain is coming off of 22nd perfect game in MLB history and when he will likely be tabbed as the All Star Game starter.

jdouble777
3 years 2 months ago

How can that be a steal? He got the absolute most amount of money per season he could have, and many years of it, all gauranteed. 

Jason_F
3 years 2 months ago

He has missed 41 games so far this season, which, under his current salary, amounts to almost $2.6MM paid to him while nursing his injuries in 2012.  And this season’s salary is roughly half of what it will be under the new extension.  It’s pretty tough to call any contract a steal while a guy languishes on the DL…

3 years 2 months ago

So, why can’t the Phillies come up with the $$$$’s for Cole Hamels?  28 yrs old should get him a sweet 7-year deal.  Pitchers don’t even ‘mature’ until they’re about 30.  Trade Cliff Lee to open up salary options.

Lunchbox45
3 years 2 months ago

they also usually enter a rapid decline as they get in to their mid 30s.

erm016
3 years 2 months ago

Ryan Howards $25m/yr deal probably hurts a little bit. 

LazerTown
3 years 2 months ago

Because their payroll is already $172M and they don’t want to go over $184M.  That really doesn’t give them flexibility to get the infield that they need.

3 years 2 months ago

 Because the Phillies think Howard is worth $25 million and Papelbon is worth $13 million a year.  If they think those guys are worth that much then they must think Hamels is worth $35 million a year.  Who has the money to fit that into payroll?

3 years 2 months ago

lets not forget the Votto contract doesn’t start for another 2 years (including this year). He was already under contract for this year and next year. 

3 years 2 months ago

If I remember correctly, the new deal was 8 years, but they absorbed it into this current contract making it 10 years and for the total value that is stated above. I could be wrong but that’s how I understood the deal.

TophersReds
3 years 2 months ago

Wrong. He has 2 years left (including this year) on the 3 year deal he signed when he entered arbitration. The 10 year deal is an extension to that 3 year deal. Votto is under team control for this year + 11 more years (maybe 12 more if the option for 2024 is picked up). 

3 years 2 months ago

Lol, will Votto still be capable of playing 1B in 2020 at a high level let alone 2024?

TophersReds
3 years 2 months ago

I never said he would be, but who knows? Votto has one of the best work ethics I’ve ever seen. They had to sign him for this long to be able to experience his prime years right now. Hell, he’s only getting paid $9.5M this year and he’s already at 4.8 WAR on fangraphs. At $4.5M/WAR he’s already been worth $21.6M this year alone. He’ll pay for his contract in prime years and then some no problem, making the end of the contract not hurt so bad.

LifelongMets
3 years 2 months ago

Its a 12 year deal, as the 10 year deal he signed starts in 2 years.

3 years 2 months ago

nope…in reality it is a 12 year deal with an option…Reds 1B for life…And I love it!!! Multiple MVP and barring Injury… He will join Johnny Bench and Barry Larkin in the HOF as Lifelong Cincinnati Reds!!!

Lunchbox45
3 years 2 months ago

Seems a bit foolish to call any deal on here a win at this point..

Any GM would sign Fielder to a 1 year 22 million dollar deal, most of these contracts will become anchors at some point.

Pawsdeep
3 years 2 months ago

Fielders and cains look the best to me on this list, strictly because of their age. Fielder will be 35 when his is over and Cain will be 32. sure fielder will be an expensive DH for the last few years of his deal, but with current inflation, who knows? He may be making league average for his production by the time it starts to get towards the end. Anyone who questions his health an cites that as the reason for the contract being a boon is foolish and needs to check his track record. Cain has great mechanics and there is no reason for me to believe his health will be an issues at older age, but health of pitchers can be a bit mercurial.

I’ve never understood monster contracts for older players when the ownership all but agrees that it will look ugly towards the end…Votto 42? Albert 44? Seems foolish to me. Pay them for what they will do, not what they have done.

patburn
3 years 2 months ago

I wouldn’t go as far as call a 3.45 ERA as tremendous. 

3 years 2 months ago

 Makes you wonder what adjective is used to describe a 2.27 ERA.

$17049574
3 years 2 months ago

in the national league? About the same. Hehe

3 years 2 months ago

Maybe during the steroid era. Now, it’s just solid.

CitizenSnips
3 years 2 months ago

CC has always been consistent and very good but never worth the amount of money he’s getting.

Lunchbox45
3 years 2 months ago

Odd to even begin to judge any of these contracts now.
Any GM would take these players on 1-3 year deals for their AAV.

Where the true measure will eventually be is the longevity of some of these players. Prince Fielder, Reyes, Pujols, could all end up being high paid anchors for their respective teams.

MB923
3 years 2 months ago

Reyes did not get an extension, he got a contract

scott brooks
3 years 2 months ago

Andrew McCutchen’s 6/$51.5 is better than all of these.

ukJaysfan
3 years 2 months ago

Except it’s not in the $100+ million range, as the title states.  Otherwise Bautista’s deal would need to be in the conversation, but it’s not.

MB923
3 years 2 months ago

Is MucCutchen’s contract part of The Latest $100MM Contracts?

55saveslives
3 years 2 months ago

MATT CAIN

TophersReds
3 years 2 months ago

HE’S ON THE LIST. Dude, you know there are more teams in baseball than the Giants, right?

Jason_F
3 years 2 months ago

I think he means “MATT CAIN,” as in the guy has been nails lately.  Don’t worry, your team will get a firsthand view today.

55saveslives
3 years 2 months ago

 Nope, nothing else matters except the Giants :)  Hopefully he keeps it up tonight! Reds are one team that usually has our number.

3 years 2 months ago

You forgot to mention Cain’s perfect game

schellis
3 years 2 months ago

After Pujols signed his deal, I participated in a discussion of who you would sign to a 10 plus year deal on a Reds board.   A lot of things were taken into consideration such as age, performance up to point of deal, position, and injury history.

Some of the names that were high on most of the list were Tulo, Starlin Castro, Justin Upton, and Matt Kemp.   When it came down to it though, and yes I know this will sound complete homer, it was decided that it wouldn’t be a mistake to give Votto that kind of deal.

1.  Age, yes at the end of the deal he’ll be around 40, but thats still better then going into a players mid-40’s.

2.  Performance, Votto has been one of the best hitters since he came into the league.

3.  Position, this is what hurts Votto.  He’s already a 1B so there is no where else to go but DH, which currently the NL doesn’t have.  However he’s a very good 1B so the drop off shouldn’t make him a butcher in the contract later years.

4.  Injury history, really Votto outside of some issues in his first year has had any injury problems

5.  Work ethic, he’s routinely called one of the hardest workers on the team and his performance backs that up.  When he was in the Reds system nobody thought he’d turn into the player he has.

Yes the deal will likely end badly for the Reds, very few 12 year contracts don’t.  This however was a deal to keep Votto in one uniform for his career.  He’ll very likely be worth more then he’s getting paid in the front end of the deal, so I treat the backend as sort of a deferred payment to him.

Right now at this moment I think that Votto will be worth his contract 8 of the 12 years, and will very likely retire not only with a Hall of Fame quality career, but be labeled as the all time greatest Cincinnati Red. 

People will stay that it was Rose, maybe Bench, but if Votto does what he’s capable of he’ll likely be the Reds all time leader in most offensive categories 

CHendershott
3 years 2 months ago

“Reyes’ offensive numbers have dropped off across the board this year…”

I like how pretty much any baseball person could have told you this was going to happen, either due to his legs not holding up or a simple lack of motivation, and yet the Marlins went out and banked on him anyway. Reyes is the kind of player who already had his motiviation fulfilled. He’s set for life, but the thing that separates him from the rest of this list is a certain grinder attitude. This one has the best chance of being an albatross, despite being one of the shortest (followed by Pujols and Fielder… I don’t care who you are, 9 and 10 year deals are NEVER good for the team as a whole).

CHendershott
3 years 2 months ago

Although the Cubs signed Soler to a 9 year deal, but that was only worth about $40M and a few of those will be arbitration years. That’s a different situation altogether.

HobokenMetsFan
3 years 2 months ago

Exactly. I loved Reyes while he was in Queens, but I’m definitely glad we didn’t give him the contract he received from the Marlins and I know many Mets fans also feel the same. 

CHendershott
3 years 2 months ago

Truth be told, it looks like the Mets are better off without him regardless. They led the division there for a minute, still contending.

HobokenMetsFan
3 years 2 months ago

I think Ruben Tejada is going to be a pretty solid shortstop for us for awhile and am excited to see where Alderson takes the team in the next few years. (Assuming the Wilpons uphold their financial end of the bargain)

CHendershott
3 years 2 months ago

The Phillies and Braves seem to have fallen apart, and as far as the Marlins go there’s a saying I like to reference… if you clean and dress up a pig, it’s still a pig. Fancy new stadium and a bunch of expensive free agents, and still nobody wants to come watch, because they are still at the bottom of the division.

So the Mets have a chance to sneak in there when no one thought they would.

lefty177
3 years 2 months ago

I honestly like Ryan Zimmerman’s contract the best & yes he’s not hitting like himself as of late but he is easily in the top 5 3B in the MLB, 1 of the most underrated players in MLB & now he’s taking Harper under his wing in the bigs

ImperialStout
3 years 2 months ago

Absolutely correct.

FacelessGeneralManager
3 years 2 months ago

Ugh, sabermetrics!! hate them, just tell me the era, ill figure out how good he is with good judgement

LazerTown
3 years 2 months ago

Hamels is no Clemens.

notsureifsrs
3 years 2 months ago

this is why it’s hilarious when people call ‘stat-heads’ know-it-alls

i don’t need data! i’m an expert at judgement

CitizenSnips
3 years 2 months ago

Joe Morgan?

FacelessGeneralManager
3 years 2 months ago

Im not really sure what your saying but I’m pretty sure your being a jerk again.

I don’t need to be an expert in judgement. If i see a player often and see how he plays, i can pretty much tell if his average or era is what it should be.   I don’t really care what “it should be” anyway, i only care about what it REALLY is.

Plus, who cares, its not like i have anything riding on it, not like its my job.