Below is our list of the 20 largest contracts in MLB history. Please note that if a player was already under contract and signed an extension, only the new money counts.
1. Mookie Betts, Dodgers: 12 years, $365MM. Extension signed July 2020. Present-day value due to deferrals: $306,657,882
t-2. Mike Trout, Angels: 10 years, $360MM. Extension signed March 2019
t-2. Aaron Judge, Yankees: 9 years, $360MM. Free agent contract signed December 2022
4. Francisco Lindor, Mets: 10 years, $341MM. Extension signed March 2021. Present-day value due to deferrals: $332,394,479
5. Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres: 14 years, $340MM. Extension signed February 2021
6. Bryce Harper, Phillies: 13 years, $330MM. Free agent contract signed March 2019
t-7. Corey Seager, Rangers: 10 years, $325MM. Free agent contract signed November 2021
t-7. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: 13 years, $325MM. Extension signed November 2014
9. Gerrit Cole, Yankees: 9 years, $324MM. Free agent contract signed December 2019
10. Rafael Devers, Red Sox: 10 years, $313.5MM. Extension signed January 2023. Pending physical
t-11. Manny Machado, Padres: 10 years, $300MM. Free agent contract signed February 2019
t-11. Trea Turner, Phillies: 11 years, $300MM. Free agent contract signed December 2022
13. Xander Bogaerts, Padres: 11 years, $280MM. Free agent contract signed December 2022
14. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 10 years, $275MM. Free agent contract signed December 2007
15. Alex Rodriguez, Rangers: 10 years, $252MM. Free agent contract signed December 2000
16. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 8 years, $248MM. Extension signed March 2014
t-17. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals: 7 years, $245MM. Free agent contract signed December 2019. Present-day value due to deferrals: $228.9MM
t-17. Anthony Rendon, Angels: 7 years, $245MM. Free agent contract signed December 2019
t-19. Albert Pujols, Angels: 10 years, $240MM. Free agent contract signed December 2011
t-19. Robinson Cano, Mariners: 10 years, $240MM. Free agent contract signed December 2013
Prince would’ve finished his contract out just last season if he was still around… that just made me real sad… One of my favorites.
Fever Pitch Guy
Rangers – I agree, Prince was fun to watch.
I think #10 should have an asterisk for now, as it hasn’t been signed yet … correct?
Definitely, big fan of his
How about a fan of his bigness
That may have been his main problem. He was TOO big.
Agreed, miss watching him play. Was a shame his that one injury cost him his career he was easily one of the most fun to watch players in baseball.
tom brunanskys black sock
Mlb needs more Prince Fielders
They have one his name is Vladdy Jr
As long as he is not on my team! Too much death money clogging up the payroll for way too long.
I was sad when he left Milwaukee…..were small market so we’re used to it, especially when he seligs owned the team, but it was still sad.
Instead we invested in Ryan Braun….we chose “poorly”. Although I guess neither was worth investing in long term. One was a cheater the other got hurt.
Speaking of Milwaukee, shouldn’t Christian Yelich be on this list? He signed a new 9 yrs/$215M (20-28) & 29 mutual option contract (a seven-year extension to his previous deal) with the Brewers last March. https://www.mlb.com/news/christian-yelich-contract-extension
Perhaps there is semantics here in regards to the article qualifier regarding new money that Yelich will earn in this deal, seven years and $188.5 million. However, because the extension required adding a no-trade clause to the final two guaranteed years on his former deal (and nixing a 2022 club option) it technically required a new nine-year contract.
Btw: The new Yelich contract also put him among the 20 highest-paid players in Major League history by average annual value when it was signed last March.
Nope. As the first paragraph states, this only counts new money. Yelich was already under contract for 2 more years, so the original money from that extension does not count in this list.
@Ry, yes; otherwise and similarly, Trout’s total would be $426.5MM as he had two additional years under his prior deal.
That’s pretty incredible to think about. He’s been gone a long time.
His smile and joy of playing are definitely missed.
Same that his body quit on him. Absolute beast when healthy.
Yes sad, but if he was still around they’d be delivering him to the batters box with a Hilo.
Ya made me miss both Prince the Fielder and Prince the artist…
He still got paid until then
Definitely a sad thought
Watching him announce his retirement was heart breaking. MLB needs more guys like that who have a love affair with the game.
Miggy is another one. Even though he’s a shell of his former self, I still enjoy his smile on the field after an 0-for-4 game.
I once saw his dad Cecil, against the Mariners, hit a gapper and stretch it into a double by executing a perfect hook slide around the tag. Just a reminder of the skill set it takes to be a major leaguer. A guy that size and the perfection of execution was amazing. He hooked around and reached back to grab the bag. SAFE!! And he hit a monster home run in the Kingdome that day too. Too bad Prince’s career was cut short and too bad for the Rangers who had to eat the rest of that contract.
Prince was a lot faster, he stole 9 times as many bases as Cecil.
I’m sure the Rangers had insurance on Prince’s contract which would pay off most of the contract.
His contract was insured. All paid by insurance company
Texas was still on the hook for 30% I think
75% paid by insurance for any season he missed 100% of the games.
That insurance policy was not free….lol…
He still got paid even though he hasn’t picked up a bat in 4 years. Highest paid player in 2020. Garbage
You mean it’s garbage that baseball contracts are guaranteed and that his career tragically ended 4 years ago even though he was still a great player? k bro.
ended 4 years ago even though he was still a great player? k bro.
Are you referring to Prince Fielder? He stunk in his last three years.
Joe, only in his final season. In 2015 he put up a 126 OPS+ and played in 158 games. Before that the only season he didn’t hit above league average was his rookie season.
His problem was the weight hurt him badly as he got older. He needed to loose some of it to keep himself in better condition. Sad because he was a talent
Prince Fielder was an amazing ball player always smiling
Its crazy to think Jose Canseco was the highest payed player ever when he signed at 5/23.5 million
You are 4
Crazy to think A-Rod got not one , but TWO of these mega deals !
Crazy part only the Nationals and Dodgers won a WS with any of those highest contracts.
The yankees won with arod in 2009
Crazier to think that 8 of those were signed in the last 2 seasons and the small market Padres signed 3 of them.
A-Rod (Rangers) and Scherzer really worked out.
Unless I’m missing a joke here (you are including Scherzer here), ARod did not work out for the Rangers. He was traded to the Yanks for Soriano because they couldn’t afford him He worked out well for the Yanks until he opted out and re-signed.
I am sure he is talking solely about the contract.
Yeah, ARod was “good” for the Rangers and they did save some money when he opted out.
A-Rod put up quality numbers consistently for the Rangers. They got what they paid for. The fact that they ended up bailing on the later years was on them IMO.
Wasn’t he the guy who was tipping pitches for his opponents as long as they returned the favor?
He played in Texas 3 years. 1 mvp. Came in 2nd once and 6th once. 3 all stars. 25 war in three years is crazy good. It’s not his fault Texas changed plans. Still a good return for the contract.
He was very good up till he reupped with his second contract. His numbers were off the charts.
One thing I admired about him when he came over to the Yankees (before the latter drama in his career) was his willingness to move to 3rd despite the fact he was a better shortstop.
ARod won an AL MVP award for the Rangers. He was expensive, but he did play very well for them,
World Series won:
*Kershaw re-worked his deal, I think
If you’re looking to show “value” by showcasing World Series titles, I think a more important (for the teams handing out the contracts) area to look in would be how much revenue did they generate. For the most part, baseball teams/ownerships care about one thing…the bottom line. Winning is secondary.
Winning generates revenue. A WS win has been worth an average of $100 million over the past decade. One player doesn’t ensure a WS appearance in the playoffs.
Signing a marquee player also generates revenue. It creates buzz around a team, ticket sales, merchandize sales, etc. History has shown that when teams sign a big free agent that there is almost an immediate uptick in sales. Of course winning a title generates revenues, but there’s only one team that can win a title in a given year, while there are millions and millions of tickets, concessions, merchandize, etc., that is sold to people who want to come out to see a player, and usually a star player.
agreed I think that was the main reason Phillies signed Harper and Miami extended Stanton
For the Braves the playoffs and WS win added $145 million in revenue for 2021 and additional ticket sales and other gate related revenue for 2022.
Shut up Tom
Why should TOM shut up, cause he proved a good point by using facts to back up his argument and you didn’t like it?
Yeah, why should Tom shut up? Be civil.
Looking at this list of 20, only 7 contracts have been or will be completed with the same signing team. 6 are early in their contracts, which means 7 have been traded. Wow.
no such thing as an untradeable contract
Well, teams have traded players and not the contracts: see Hosmer, E.
Six were traded on that deal. Stanton, ARod, Arenado, Fielder, Cano and Price. Did I forget someone?
Trout and Betts should be flipped I thought it was 12/426 for trout?
This only counts new money since Trout was already under contract.
Trout had two years and $66 million remaining on his previous deal. They extended that with 10 years and $360 million totalling 12 years and $426 million
Miggy. The only contract to make Pujols look OK.
I never understood the rush to extend him years before free agency.
Nah. Both Miggy and Pujols deals look good compared to Chris Davis’. It’s just not as much cash, but it’s the worst contract in the history of professional sports.
I think I would have trouble finding evidence to build a case against that. As a Nats fan, though, I am happy to wish a (baseball) plague on the Angelos family for their spite against DC. I would love to root again for the Orioles as my favorite AL team someday.
Wasn’t Angelos ire mostly for MLB and Selig?
You can spite the Angelos family all you want. They are the only ones living up to the original agreement. They knew another team in the market could severely drain their fan base and guess what it did.
For allowing the nationals to move into their market, they wanted to keep the financials on their side at the beginning with the split that was agreed upon by MLB and the Lerners and the Angelos family and Selig. The split would eventually would even out down the road but that timeline and original calculation did not meet the Lerners new timeline. Was it an unfair split probably (and thats why the panel ruled against the orioles) but it is what the Orioles felt was right to lose more than half their market originally. Also the Orioles did say they would budge on it some but it was not enough for the nationals.
You can say supreme court ruled against them but in reality they ruled to send it back to the mlb and the panel that already ruled in favor of the nationals because in the end if the most popular team gets more money they will probably make the league overall more money not necessarily what is right and legal. So your feeling are more in favor of the league and the nationals doing the orioles dirty and not living up to their side of the original bargain.
Washington DC never belonged to the Orioles! That’s like saying New York City belongs to Newark! The Senators were an original American League team. The farce is that Washington had no team for more than 30 years, not that the Nats moved there.
The DC TV market did belong to the Orioles or MLB would not have signed a contract giving MASN perpetual control of it.
Local TV deals came into being with the advent of cable TV in the 1980s. There was no team in DC then and Baltimore built that TV market.
The farce is that you don’t understand the history of why the Orioles do own that market.
This is one of the most fascinating cases. It is affecting the sale of the Nationals and its value to the Orioles is in the billions.
After the first MLB panel decided that MASN needed to pay the Nationals $298.1 million. MASN appealed because it was not an independent arbitration panel and that was struck down by a NY appellate court.
The 2nd panel ruled that MASN had to pay the Nationals $296.8 million or 25% of a market value for the TV broadcast rights which comes out to a market value of $237 million per year. That $296.8 million was $100 million more than the $197.5 million MASN had paid the Nationals over the 5 year period from 2012-2016 or $20 million per season more.
That panel was also made up entirely of MLB owners/execs, so MASN appealed again.
In 2019 an appellate court judge ruled that the panel was correct in their valuation of the DC market TV deal and that MASN owed the Nationals $100 million. MASN still will pay the Nationals just 25% of that valuation.
MASN appealed to the full NY Supreme Court and the case is still awaiting a hearing.
Let me explain a bit more.
Under the agreement MLB signed when they wanted to move the Nationals into the DC/Baltimore TV market, the Orioles get 75% and the Nationals get 25% of the combined revenue generated in the DC/Baltimore market by the MASN TV broadcasts. MASN broadcasts both teams games.
The 2 different MLB panels in essence said that the 25% of the total combined revenue that the Nationals were due was valued at around $60 million per year give or take a few hundred thousand dollars.
The total value for the 2 markets combined according to the MLB panel was $237 million per year for the years 2012-2016.
In 2016, DC was the 7th largest TV market and Baltimore was 26th.
Today, DC is the 9th largest TV market and Baltimore is 28th.
Hope that gives you a little more insight.
And the crazy thing is that it was so obviously a terrible deal the day it was signed.
Did anyone other than the Orioles front office ever think this deal was going to work out?
The signings of Davis (BAL) and Hosmer (SD) to me were the most obvious ones as soon as the ink dried. Miggy and Pujols was OK but their declines happened quicker than most expected. They still put up a few good seasons.
I think the Davis contract was Peter Angelos meddling.
Although smaller in total contract value, the Pablo Sandoval and Carl Crawford deals in Boston were complete disasters, as was Rusney Castillo and to a lesser extent, Hanley Ramirez. If not for the 2018 WS, the David Price contract was no prize and Chris Sale’s extension is not looking too great up to this point either. And then there was the Dice-K misfire too. Just goes to show you how big market teams have such an advantage over smaller market teams. All these bad contracts total over $800M and Boston has still won 4 championships during this time in spite of all these mistakes.
Why not include Edgar Renteria in 2005…he lasted 1 year out of a 4 year contract? Followed by Julio Lugo who I think lasted 2 years out of a 4 year contract? The list goes on and on…only now salaries have escalated!!
Maybe one day mlb scientist will discovery a theory or formula that shows giving 30 somethings hundreds of millions is not a smart thing to do.
Yeah, but then the same fans who comment and talk about how horrible those contracts are will spend their time complaining how older players aren’t getting those contracts.
@Tom Lol, I definitely do that. I cringed when the Brewers gave Yelich his extension (so risky!), but I always talked about how he was getting screwed on the team friendly deal he had before it (so unfair!). As I think you are saying, you can’t have it both ways.
Might’ve had something to do with the triple crown
Have you ever heard of Chris Davis, the man who was the recipient of one of the worst contracts in sports history? He has drastically underperformed through out his contract and has ham strung the Orioles for years with more to come.
Not that Davis wasn’t an issue but I would put 1) only spending $’s on Davis and Alex Cobb, 2) developing little MLB talent except for Mancini, and 3) building a park that no one could or wants to pitch in as bigger factors in BAL’s struggles of late.
Crazy that 3 of the top 13 were signed by the Angels for players who are still active on their team in 2021. With no post season success to show for it.
You think Arte would have learned his lesson by now. He also took a bath on Josh Hamilton.
People with the egos like Arte take their egos to them with the grave. They never learn. Way too full of himself to ever say he was wrong or even imply it
The angels never seem to understand the need for an ace. They have been treading water with 3 & 4 types forever.
Is Jered Weaver the last pitcher they gave a big contract to?
Seems like it. But Jered had a massive ego too. Makes sense that Arte liked him
Cj Wilson+Nolasco are latest pitchers to make even more than 15M a year
Lad has fairly consistently had 2-3 guys making that much in their rotation since 2013. Not hard to see why the teams have gone different directions
Its crazy that ARoid is on this list twice. What’s the saying; “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”
Actually, he performed really well consistently for the Rangers. I know people tend to judge these things on WS success, but the Rangers got what they paid for with A-Rod. It’s one of the big contracts that really worked. Same with Scherzer.
I think Greinke has been worth his as well.
Yea. That’s fair.
Is Greinke on this list somewhere?
vonpurplehayes – a-rod admitted to using enhancements during his Texas time.
So sure a good drug performance. He said he was nervous about the contract
and used drugs. Total hockey puck punk.
Well yeah. I don’t respect A-Rod for cheating, and I’m not arguing his stats are legitimate. I’m just saying, Texas gave him a huge contract hoping for A-Rod’s big numbers, and A-Rod delivered and then some. Texas then bailed on the hefty contract, but A-Rod continued to deliver until his 2nd contract with the Yanks. So from the mega-contract standpoint, I think it was a success.
But didn’t ARoid admit that he was using while he was with Texas? Many contracts would have worked out better if the players were still allowed to cheat?
Most of them were using, they just haven’t admitted it or been caught. His numbers were still among the best in baseball at a time when PEDs were rampant.
And he carried the Yankees in the 2009 playoffs in a time where they were failing every year to make it back to the WS. He’s an easy guy not to like, but his performance over the years was pretty remarkable.
A-rod was amazing, worth every cent
Cruz was in that group, and you never here him getting trashed!
Max’s time in DC has been an utter joy for us Nats fans. I know that anything he provides in his last year of the contract is gravy, but I would love to see him dominate again. If he does, though, should the Nats re-sign him for the number of years he would want, knowing they would be paying with house money for what he has done for the team?
Scherzer has been an absolutely incredible pitcher for the Nats, however they’ve got a long way to go before they pay off that deal. 8 years left before they finish paying it off. (It was $210M/7rs, but they structured it to pay $15M/yr for 14 years.) It made signing the contract in 2015 easier, but in 2022 when they have to pay his annual $15M salary, along with however many other deferrals—I believe Strasburg will be getting double checks during his newest contract—they have on the books, the Nats are going to be strapped for cash.
It is true, but the Lerners are super wealthy and also played out what it would be worth to them to extend it over many years. I don’t see it keeping them from flirting with or at times going over the CBT in the future, especially if they keep Rizzo as GM.
If I remember right he has a lot of deferred money. While he has lived up to his contract even if you don’t resign him you’ll still be paying him for like 7 more years.
Paying him in weaker money. Makes the contract even better. Would much rather have money to invest in the present and delay paying employees as far off as possible.
Deferred payments are inflation proofed – and usually this “proofing” in terms of an interest rate favours the player not the team – so it’s not weaker money. See Bonilla, Saberhagen et al. It’s a false & foolish economy….
The owners aren’t worried about that. They want money right now. Their returns on investment will destroy the interest rates the players receive. I am sure they don’t mind spreading out the payroll as well.
Pretty sure the billionaire owners arent too worried about any deferred payments
Then why do it? Why set up a contract like this?
Neither argument above makes any sense – financial or otherwise – whatsoever?
Then why defer the payments in the first place? The Nats likely do it because their revenue stream does not cover the amount they want to pay players to compete. My assumption is they were doing this until they work out their deal with MASN (which seemingly is taking longer than they anticipated).
However, while the Learners’ are extremely wealthy, they like any other MLB owner, is not going into their own pockets to finance the club’s operations. Despite being easily able to afford the deferrals, when they come due and you’re paying twice for several players, and for players till on their roster (Rafael Soriano is still earning money every year), and a significant portion of their current payroll is slated for players no longer on your team it’s going to impact the team at some point.
So, ends up being cheaper.
Crazy Yankees 3 of the worst contracts in history on tap, 2 of which are still in effect now. Judge potentially a 3rd?
Not sure worst is the best wording. They could afford to give out these player friendly contracts.
I can see them paying judge. I was a life long Yankee fan until they signed Ellsberry. My businessman core just couldn’t handle it anymore.
So you let your real life come in to play when trying to decide to root for your team or not? And if you’re no longer a fan because of your “businessman core” then why are you on MLB trade rumors commenting on the Yankees?Sorry but I’m just trying to make sense of your comment. Seems completely ass backwards to me. Maybe you’re a fan of a different team now, I don’t know. I’m a Mariners fan and we haven’t made the playoffs for 20 years but I would never ever even consider changing my fandom
Tampa Rays, Cleveland Cheapskates, and now Pittsburgh Pirates. It was easy to switch teams. My team kept making terrible decisions that I hated so I found teams with a similar philosophy as mine. I am just on here to get my trade news in a single place and I have 3 friends on here as well. We will grade trades and such and look back and see who was right. I seen my team win 7 world series so I am good. Really just enjoy watching any baseball. Can care less if “my teams” win a championship or not. I like how they operate and think they all can win in the next dozen years. I love what Seattle has done with trading away all their talent. Especially with mets padres. Hopefully they don’t blow it by signing bad free agent contracts.
Why not let Cole’s contract develop before you deem it a bad contract? He’s had a third of a season and three pretty solid playoff starts.
I heard Aaron’s unmarried sister can’t catch a fly ball.
If Judge stays healthy and produces as his usual self, he’ll probably be looking at a Springer-like contract at best. Therefore, I don’t think it would make this list.
This comment didn’t age well.
Hard to say cole is one of the worst contracts after 1/9 years played. He pitched overall pretty well last year and they have 8 more years to win a ring with him. Seems like you are prematurely calling that a bad contract especially for a team with the means to pay it. Stanton to me isn’t worth his contract but I also wouldn’t call it one of the worst contracts ever. He’s obviously too often injured and strikes out a lot but he also brings a ton of power to the lineup and if he plays like he did last postseason during a WS run that contract all the sudden doesn’t look too bad. I’d still say he’s overpriced but I think calling it the one of the worst contracts is a bit dramatic.
9 through 16 scream what were they thinking. Last 3 pitchers all turned out to be fantastic. They were safe bets with track record and excellent mechanics, but still wow they really panned out. Arod had an amazing agent. Took a long time for others to get that money.
It will be interesting to see how many wind up in the Hall of Fame. Some choices are clear (yes vs. no) while some need the test of time to sort out.
I think that Scherzer is clear, although another good year or two would help the counting stats in wins and strikeouts. This is why I really hope the Nats re-sign him after this year, even if it isn’t as spectacularly successful. I want to see him inducted with a Curly W on his cap. Another contract to the end of his career would cement that, for sure.
Most of them are or will be. Arod and cano severely hurt their chances with positive tests. Fielder is the only definite no.
Only one pitcher has 200 wins. Pujols and Miggy are in and Trout will almost certainly be in. There are definitely players who won’t be in and not just the cheaters. And a bunch of maybes.
This is not the 60’s where everyone knew who the superstars were and who was a Hall of Famer. Free agency has turned salaries into the lottery. It’s all about timing and desperate deep pocket teams. A big contract does not translate to a timeless player.
Mike Trout locked down a HOF spot on Opening Day last year when he played in his tenth season, a HOF requirement.
“Trout will almost certainly be in”?
If he never played another inning he is a unanimous first ballot.
Betts needs a few years at least – he’s been one of the best in the game certainly but it’s been too short a career yet. Of all the Hall of Fames in sport, MLB probably has the most onus on a long career.
Mike Trout will almost certainly be in because there are no guarantees. Certain hall of famers have managed their way out of the hall of fame by various means. Not saying Trout is going to do that but you never know until it’s over. So yes, almost certainly in.
Couldn’t that logic also apply to Albert and Miggy?
Worse 5 on here id say are…random order.
Stanton is 30 and isn’t even close to being cooked. If you want to rag on the Yankees, the Ellsbury contract is currently the worst. Fielder’s teams got payouts from insurance companies so I don’t think it even qualifies for being a bad contract.
I think it’s fair to insult the Stanton contract. Injuries make it a bust. Not necessarily the Yankees fault, but it is what it is.
Why is the present value listed only if there is deferred money? Why not take everything back to the present value? I get PV is calculated for luxury tax but if we are looking at the value of money Cole’s 324/9 is more present value at signing than Stantons 325/13.
The deferred money is a little like a pension while the paid on time part is like a salary. That’s my simple explanation.
I can see your point. But I’m kind of just trying to say, what was this worth at the time of the signing.
The PV of A-Rod’s first contract is something like $500M.
The owners have been winning the battle over money pretty much every since.
PV does not impact the luxury tax. They still account for the total contract value over the life of the contract. The deferred money only helps the bank accounts of the owners but not the CBT.
Deferring money in a contract does impact the luxury tax, this is why guys like degrom and scherzer have a lower luxury tax number than their “salary”.
How many teams are sorry after 6 years?
I felt bad for a lot of teams the minute it was announced. Poor clueless bastards.
I feel like most of them are win now moves, which almost never work out. Had they won a title in the first few years with one of those players then it might be worth it.
Strange and crazy deals abound in MLB.
Mike Hampton was the biggest free agent deal in 2001 for $121MM and it was deferred to end of year 2018. Rockies made one of worst deals ever.
Bobby Bonilla is infamous for his deal that the Mets pay til 2035, however Bret Saberhagen is longer still. Saberhagen will be paid until he’s 64 years old and 35 years past hanging up his cleats. 2029 has checks with his name on them.
And the Braves set up Bruce to take the crazy contract cake all for himself. In 1993 he signed for $9.1MM deferred until 2022! This is the last year of paying him $1.12MM annually. This year he turns 69 and is due the $1.12MM and the original principle $9.1MM at the end of year!
Bonilla isn’t bad. Mets owners thought they were getting incredibly rich so wanted as much present money to invest that they could get. At the time it made sense to them.
All those wonderful “huge dollar” contracts!
angels have 3 and almost got 4th. but they go cheap on the pen.
I’m sure in the age of such data analysis that front offices are well aware of the dangers of overpaying for a 1st basemen. But this list accentuates that. Arguably, the 3 worst contracts on this list are 1st basemen.
That Stanton deal sure looks bad
He could easily sign an extension, but I wonder how much a 25-year-old Juan Soto gets in free agency assuming he continues being awesome?
If Soto keeps playing the way he is now, he’s going to shatter the Betts contract, whether it be an extension or a free agent deal. He may very well get paid $500M in total contract compensation as you surmise. If he stays in Washington, he’ll be paid through 2050!
Crazy to think about. Soto is what everyone thought Harper would be. And instead of the massive expectations put on Harper Soto grew quietly and organically into a homegrown superstar.
If i you account for inflation, that 2000 deal with Arod is about 378 mil in today’s money. Crazy
wow, only a-rod’s contracts are in 2000’s. everyone else is 2010’s. dude was ahead of his time.
Shame about A-Rod, like Bonds he was a sure HOFer but they cheated. Ironically they started using steroids and PEDs when they left their orignal team.
No pity for either from me. And nobody knows when Bonds actually started using them. Steroids have been around for decades. I liken their situation to Charles Van Doren. He had the tools to do it himself, but preferred to cheat, got caught and was publicly humiliated.
San Diego pleaseeeeeeeeee pick up the phone and call Cashman about Stanton. Please please please pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
But don’t call Stanton yourselves. He will be on the 60 day IL from the impact of clicking accept on his iPhone.
The craziest thing is that Arod’s deal in 2000 is still in the top 10. 21 years ago. All these players should kiss his ass cause there is no contract for them like that without his!! Mic Drop
List of WS winners missed two players from list. Strasberg and Rendon both are on list tied at 10th and both won WS.
They signed their contracts afterwards.
Of those 19 players and 20 contracts, 8 of the contracts are too new to judge, Betts, Trout, Harper, Cole, Machado, Strasburg, Rendon, Arenado.
Of the 11 remaining players and 12 contracts, the ones that have paid for themselves or more are:
Arod – both
Cano – So far.
7 good deals
The ones that have bombed:
Stanton (still 7 years left and he would have to average 6+ WAR to make it break even)
5 bad deals.
Guess that is why teams keep making these big deals.
“Giancarlo Stanton’s opt out clause benefits the Yankees” XD XD XD
Idk if I would say MC is a complete bomb. He had some years in that mix that he was the best hitter in baseball and even recently had some really nice years. I get why he prob didn’t meet target value, but he’s performed at a high lvl in general. I can’t remember when his original contract came out but if I recall, he was horribly underpaid for a triple crown winner and almost won it one or more other times
MC’s most recent extension was a complete bomb. If they had just let him walk after 2015 it would have been all surplus value.
The Yankees are responsible for about $250 million over the ten years that Stanton is signed with them. He’s put up 5 WAR for them in the first three years and probably needs at least 30 WAR total to make it “break even’. That’s about 3.5-4 WAR per season for the next seven, though I think the Yanks would do a happy dance if, and it’s a big if, he can average about 3 WAR per season for the remainder of the contract
Sometimes I daydream of what I would do with that sort of money. It’s hard to wrap your head around just how much that is. I make solid money for a living and in general feel great about it. These guys make most of us look not only poor, but in serious poverty lol!
The greatest 20 million a year contract ever was Manny Ramirez..worth every dime… Other than that there are not too many
The greatest 20 million a year contract ever was Manny Ramirez..worth every dime… Other than that there are not too many.
Was a big fan of Cecil, the 51 homerun season in 1990 was awesome because noone had hit 50 since George Foster in the 70’s, if I’m not mistaken. Pulled his “Elite Series” card from a 1991 Donruss wax pack when I was a kid, for you collectors out there. Great pull. Anyway, Cecil became the manager for the Indy (now folded) Atlantic City Surf baseball club in 2002, where I worked in the front office and was the music guy. He replaced Mitch Williams. Cecil loved those AC casinos, let me tell ya! Solid guy, literally and figuratively speaking.
Tebow will be on this list in a couple of years.
Lots of cautionary tales here.
Pujols and Fielder are the only two.
Cabrera and Cano as well.
They had to add 50m to Arenado to deal him for a modest return and I’d also consider David Price to be a cautionary tale.
Then there are Harper and Votto who have/likely will justify their contracts at an individual level, but it hasn’t really helped the team win (yet) and we’ve heard reports of both of those teams having to cut spending. Granted, that might have been more PR than factual for the Phillies. So less cautionary on the player level and more on the team using such a large portion of their budget on 1 player, long term.
So I’m gonna have to disagree with you on it only being Pujols and Fielder.
If Trout gets 36 Million a year and Mookie about 30. Will Baseball have anyone get 40 a year. Will Tatis Jr eventually get more than Trout? What player today could get 40 a year?
Given that 25M was a massive amount, 10 years a ago(?), it’s a matter of time till someone gets a few million more.
And no, that doesn’t mean whoever they are is the better player than Trout. It means they hit a free agent market, and trout got an extension without the rest of the market bidding
Theres dozens of players who should be getting $100M a year by now, but MLB suppresses player salaries by not marketing them or giving them celebrity status that they used to have and now dont anymore. Non baseball fans couldn’t pick Trout of a lineup, but almost every American at least knew all the stars names and faces up until the 2000s or so.
That’s because they all had giant heads from the roids. They were easy to spot.
Meanwhile, Messi made 600M in the LAST FOUR YEARS playing soccer
Is Tatis the longest extension in sports history?
So there’s like 2 players there who declined a lot or got hurt, team “oooh long contractz are baaad” just punching the air right now
Joe It All
The A-Rod contract is the most amazing one to me because nobody got paid that kind of money when he signed that deal. That was a full 10+ years before anybody else in the Top 20 signed a deal like that and he even inked another contract like that before everybody else started getting paid
Funny how Bauer gets three one year deals for big money and Tatis gets a 14 year deal. Both are unprecedented.!
My favorite recent contract was when in 2013 the A’s suddenly had money to give Hiroyuki Nakajima a 2/$6.5M deal….that amounted to 175 AAA games and not one MLB callup over the two years.
Rusney Castillo laughs at that.
The amazing thing to me is six of those monster deals (Stanton, Rodriguez, Cano, Arenado, Price, and Fielder) were actually traded.
That’s why it’s silly for anyone to claim Tatis is a Padre for life. Odds are he will be traded.
Well, maybe not. Still only 30% of these deals were moved. But of the 6 that were traded, two of them (ARod and Stanton) were the largest contracts in MLB at the tie of the deal.
@LordD99 Tatis Jr has an NTC through 2028. Fwiw. Still, NTCs are often bought out so even that isn’t necessarily a limitation.
Next up – Francisco Lindor. Followed by Ronald Acuna and Juan Soto in the near future.
Not Acuna. He is signed until 2027 at min and 2029 via club options.
Who would have ever thought that the Padres would have signed players to 2 of the top 10 contracts in history.
Pretty crazy isn’t it Koamalu?
And gave both of them to shortstops..
I love that a half a century on (ok, slight exaggeration), A-Rod’s Rangers contract and then his Yankees contract still are top ten. The dude raked in the money.
A-Rod’s Ranger’s contract is still the biggest, adjusting for inflation. See my comment.
The list without adjustments for inflation is misleading. Here’s the adjusted Top 20.
1. Rodiguez, Rangers, 378.8
2. Trout, 370.5
3. Stanton, 360.
4. Rodriguez, Yankees, 342.5
5. Tatis, 340.
6. Harper, 339.6
7. Cole, 329.8
8. Macahdo, 310.5
9. Betts, 309.6 (368.5 w/o deferalls)
** 10. Derek Jerer, 2001, 281.2 **
11. Pujols, 278.2
12. Cabrera, 274.5
13. Cano, 268.4
14. Votto, 255.8
15. Rendon, 249.4
16. Fielder, 247
17. Arenado, 242.1
** 18. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox, December 2000, 240.5 **
19. Kershaw, 240.4
20. Price, 240.
(21. Strasburg, 233 (249.4 w/o deferalls)
Looking at this historically, A-Rod and Manny signed the two biggest contracts in MLB history on the same day, 12/12/2000. Jeter bumped Manny down to 3rd the following February, and (ignoring A-Rod’s second contract) Pujols bumped him down to 4th among players in 2011. It took a full 11 years before he was bumped out of the top 5 contracts by Fielder, Votto, Cano and Cabrera.
Meanwhile, Jeter’s contract was still the biggest after A-Rod’s two deals as recently as Stanton’s in November 2014, and he didn’t get bumped down out of third place among players until *two years ago* when Machado, Harper, and Trout all passed him. That was 18 years in the top 5.
The Yankees won one WS with Jeter; Manny won two with Boston after declaring he was “just tired of seeing New York always win” at his press conference.
Thank you for doing the math. Id love to see it also sorted by percentage of overall MLB payroll since inflation isn’t necessarily the same rate of increase as MLB contracts.
Well, the list I did two years ago needs to be updated, and I don’t think I’ll have time to do even that any time soon.
Your idea to, essentially, calculate MLB’s own inflation rate, is doable and a great idea, especially as you could graph it against the standard inflation rate. For a player’s own wealth, it’s the universal inflation rate that matters, but in the baseball world, you would indeed want to use your idea to measure the perceived value by the industry.
Another project to add to my list of things to do. … someday!
4 of the 20 are or were Nationals. Way to go Mike Rizzo. Nice drafting. Soto on deck…
Unpopular opinion but wondering if the Dodgers wish they held off extending Betts. Not saying it was a mistake. I wonder if Betts receives the money and years he got from LA. Five years from now we might be looking at this extension much different from our viewpoint today.
What is interesting is that the Yankees and Dodgers who always have large payrolls doled out 2 each of those 20 contracts (even if they ended up trading for a couple as well), While the Tigers, Nationals and Padres ALSO had two each, and the Angels lead all teams with three of them,.
Yet since the first one signed in 2007, the Yankees, Nationals and Dodgers have one championship each, while the Red Sox have two with only one guy on the list and the Giants have three championships with no one on the list.
I think it just goes to show two things: Spending money does not always guarantee wins, and acquiring the top free agents doesn’t as well. It will be interesting to see if having two $300+ million dollars deals leads to any ships for the Friars in the years to come,.
Is that right? Only 6 of the players on this lost have won a championship AFTER signing the contract? And of these six, how many won the championship with the original team they signed with? Did all six achieve this?
There are so many new huge contracts that the comments on this thread don’t even make sense anymore.
Some of mine don’t for sure!
Nailed every single one of mine as usual. All make complete sense. #winning
Bobby Bonilla had the longest Contract agreement. This is incorrect
Boy Caught MLB TR
Alex Rodriguez’s first contract was a great deal (maybe you can say Machado’s wasn’t too bad either), but all the others seem to have either worked out poorly or are new. I still like the Seager one over Semien’s deal, although he shouldn’t be getting more than Correa, which seems inevitable now, with the physical thing. This site is counting chickens before they hatch for Correa. Wait until he drops to 11 years 280 at this rate.
Doesn’t the Mariners Julio Rodriguez have some insane contract that he can potentially make 470M on or something like that?
Boy Caught MLB TR
This is guaranteed money, most likely. It also excludes Arod’s, Cole’s, and Machado’s opt-out clauses (there may be more I am forgetting).
Boy Caught MLB TR
@TennVol I already replied, but it seems to have deleted it. I think it refers to guaranteed money. Also, Arod, Machado, and Cole had opt-outs clauses (Arod’s first one ofc).
Mookie Betts will earn about $65,000 per hour over the life of his contract.
That’s nothing. I make more than at working from home on my computer. You can too. Just click here.
Why Put Judges deal underneath Trouts it’s same amount but less year which makes more valuable
Trout got there first and he also has the time value of money at his advantage.
I can respect that thank you
West coast bias.
Seager will be a disaster, an average player on a terrible team that never makes the playoffs, they will go what next year, 83 wins and not 82? bye 2024 they will be praying they get rid that kinda contract, i dont know why they do things like that, they sign Rodriquez to a 10 year something contract years ago, he lasted 3 and the team went bankrupt, then was traded when they realized they couldnt afford him, they are really a terrible franchise.
so correa is officially a met, yes no maybe so? will team number 3 sign him this wendesday?
Sooooo, it’s all A-Rod’s fault…..
Every one of those $200 million+ dollar deals worked out badley in the end (or in Strasburg and Rendon’s cases; badley so far) so not a lot of hope for those $300 million+ deals turning out any better
1st Arod was amazing value. Pujols and Harper made their team a lot of money.
Machado’s is working out so badly they are going to have to pay him more money or he is going to opt out of it.
Okay, I give up. Why are most of these comments from two years ago?
Does this one go into the yard waste bin, or in with the glass, plastic and paper?
Hey! I posted in this article two years ago under another name that has banned from commenting.
Besides Bryce Harper, how many of these teams have won World Series after signing these contracts?
I must have missed Harpers world series win but Arod and Mookie won. Although they didn’t have to give them a new contract to have them on those teams.
Thank you for the correction. I don’t think I’ve ever posted a comment that was that far off before. I think it’s fair to say, however, that not only do these huge contracts not result in organizational success, but the second half of these deals turn out to be albatrosses around the teams’ necks and the fans have to watch overpaid players, who can’t run anymore, while the team loses 90 games.
All but three of these contracts were signed within the past 10-years. The three exceptions are Pujols for $240mm in 2011, A-Rod for $275mm in 2007, and astoundingly, A-Rod for $252mm in 2000, twenty-two years ago.
Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press
Rip to all the kids who got custom Correa Giants Jerseys for Christmas.
I see a WHOLE lot of bad deals here.
@Very Barry Of the ones that are conclusive, about half were worth it. Of the ones that weren’t worth it, they REALLY weren’t worth it.
Here’s an excellent opportunity to be a little bit better than the rest of the sports media: when comparing contracts, adjust for inflation.
If you did that, you’d find that Judge’s contract is worth less than any of the other ones on this list.
@stansfield123 You’d want to account for baseball salary inflation AND inflation in the larger national economy.
Inflation isn’t an increase in salaries, it’s a decrease in the value of money.
If let’s say salaries doubled in the US tomorrow (for objective reasons), that wouldn’t be “100% inflation”. That would be 0% inflation, because the value of the dollar wouldn’t change. Workers would just have twice as much money, to buy twice as many things with.
Meanwhile, if salaries stayed exactly the same, and the value of the dollar went down by 10% … now you’ve got 10% inflation. Calling salary increases “inflation” is either a mistake, or, worse, some kind of newspeak (an attempt to confuse people about the damage the current level of massive inflation is doing to them)
Once we get the Bauer pimple off our ass, and after this coming season, my boys will hand out the first 400M contract to Shohei……..probably not.
Cano still being paid lol
Three Padres on this list.
ARod is the best player on this list. It’s crazy he made the list twice and is still ranked this high after so much time. It sucks he did steroids but I’d pick him #1 in his prime on this list
Bobby Bonilla….he has a day named after him every year he gets paid 1.19 mil annually until 2035. Enough said.
A-Rod could have bought outright any MLB franchise that wasn’t the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cubs.
Also the Mets 2023 payroll is higher than its franchise valuation was in 2000.
Steroids or no steroids ARods 2 contracts on this list is quite remarkable. Usually guys sign early to get that guaranteed money at a slight discount which I can’t knock. But it buys out some free agent years so either the first contract won’t show up on the list or the second won’t. ARod did it twice. Now Steinbrenner has passed so that’s a factor but still… wow.