Athletes get paid ridiculous amounts of money to entertain fans across the world. Major League Baseball is full of examples of superstars that have ridiculously big contracts. I’m going to look at the biggest contracts in baseball history and whether or not they were worth it.
The Miami Marlins slugger signed the largest contract in MLB History this offseason for 13 years, $325 million. This contract seems absolutely nuts on the surface, but it is actually very team and player friendly.
Here is the contract breakdown:
2015: $6.5 million
2016: $9 million
2017: $14.5 million
2018: $25 million
2019: $26 million
2020: $26 million
2021: $29 million
2022: $29 million
2023: $32 million
2024: $32 million
2025: $32 million
2026: $29 million
2027: $25 million
2028: $25 million option (10 million dollar buyout)
For the Marlins, this a great deal because it buys them a few more years with Stanton, as he was set to be a free agent following the 2016 season. This deal gives them financial flexibility in the first couple of years to continue to build their young core and contend for many years to come.
There is a risk because this contract is so back loaded, with the last 7 years are worth 218 million dollars. If Stanton gets injured or production diminishes, it could backfire. The production is ridiculous entering his 5th season he has a career.271 batting average, 154 home runs, and 399 RBI, so I don’t think the production will be a problem.
For Stanton, he couldn’t be in a better situation with this young team looking poised to contend for many years. It’s a contract that is the most player friendly I have ever seen,with a buyout option after 6 years if he decides to explore other options in his career.
On the other hand, if he stays though out the deal he has a chance to help the Marlins win Championships and be the face of their franchise on top of that, make 325 million dollars. Not a bad gig. I think this a win win for both sides!
2. Alex Rodriguez (10 years/275 million)
Alex Rodriguez has been baseball’s villain for a while now because of his steroid use and constant lying, people including myself have grown tired of his antics! This contract is one of the worst in baseball today and the Yankees are doing all they can get out from under it.
Here is the breakdown
(Base salary, Bonus, Total salary)
2008: $27,000,000, $2,000,000, $29,000,000
2009: $32,000,000, $1,000,000, $33,000,000
2010: $32,000,000, $1,000,000, $33,000,000
2011: $32,000,000, $1,000,000, $33,000,000
2012: $29,000,000, $1,000,000, $30,000,000
2013: $28,000,000, $1,000,000, $29,000,000
2014: $2,868,852, $1,000,000, $3,868,852
2015: $21,000,000, $1,000,000, $22,000,000
2016: $20,000,000, $1,000,000, $21,000,000
For the Yankees they are experiencing buyers remorse because not only has he been a distraction with his steroid use, he also hasn’t been able to stay healthy with 2 hip surgeries in his time with the Yankees. They would love to part ways with A-Rod to take away that dark cloud around the team and not have to deal with the drama anymore.
Also, they wouldn’t have to pay him the 6 million dollar bonuses for every home run milestone he passes. They are going to do everything in their power to prevent that from happening. It has been a bumpy ride for A-Rod and the Yankees. They have also only have one ring since he put on the Pinstripes, not good for the winningest franchise in baseball history. For the Yankees, this is a move they would love to take back. That is the risk you take with these big contracts and this one back fired for sure from the teams prospective.
For A-Rod, his career will always have an asterisk by his name because of his steroid use. He has great career numbers that jump off the page with a .299 career average and 654 home runs. These are hall of fame type numbers if he had not decided to cheat.
That one decision has changed his life personally and professionally, he is a classic case no amount of money could get back the things he has done to himself and the ones who love him! A forever tainted reputation leaving baseball fans to wonder what if he never touched steroids, a question that will never be answered. This contract is awful on multiple levels the Yankee are going to throw a party when this is all over with A-Rod.
Not Worth It
This contract is another that really didn’t work out for the team; Texas didn’t get a lot out of this deal as he was traded to the Yankees following the 2004 season after waiving his no-trade clause. On the field A-Rod was effective with a .305 career average and winning the MVP in 2003, but as a team they didn’t win much during his short time in Texas.
Here is breakdown
(Base Salary, Signing Bonus, Total Salary)
2001 $21,000,000 $2,000,000 $23,000,000
2002 $21,000,000 $2,000,000 $23,000,000
2003 $21,000,000 $2,000,000 $23,000,000
2004 $21,000,000 $2,000,000 $23,000,000
2005 Contract details by year $25,000,000 $2,000,000 $27,000,000
2006 Contract details by year $25,000,000 – $25,000,000
2007 Contract details by year $27,000,000
Texas agreed to pay remaining $4M in signing bonus and $67M of remaining $179M in salary, while New York agreed to pay $112M of the remaining $179M in salary.
Alex Rodriguez got the best of both of these deals because he has gotten paid though all the injuries and turmoil throughout his career. Baseball will have less drama when he finally decides to call it quits and be better for that.
Not Worth It
4. Miguel Cabrera (8 years/248 million)
The Tigers struck gold when they acquired Cabrera from the Marlins in 2007 for Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, and Burke Badenhop. This trade might be one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history, even though Andrew Miller has resurrected his career coming out of the bullpen, the others have sort of fizzled out because of injuries or under performing.
This trade put the Tigers on the map to be a contender every year for a World Series title and that is the only thing missing for the Tigers and Cabrera. The only drawback to this deal is if Cabrera keeps having nagging injuries that have popped up over the past few seasons, he could end up wearing down before the end of this contract.
From day one when he broke in with the Marlins and hit that walk-off homer, he was going to something special. 12 years later he is in a class of his own as a hitter, earning the 1st Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. For Cabrera his numbers are triple crown worthy every year, with a career .320 average, 390 home runs, and 1369 RBI. Those numbers speak for themselves, he will be in Cooperstown when it’s all said and done!
Here is the breakdown
2015 $22,000,000 final year of current contract
This contract hasn’t started yet, but he still has some good years left in him and being in the AL, he has the opportunity to be the DH, which will give him a few extra years to do what he does best: hit.
5. Albert Pujols (10 years/240 million)
Albert Pujols did so much for the city of St Louis on and off the field, I honestly thought he would spend his entire career in Cardinal red. That didn’t happen in 2011 he decided to sign with the Angels who were on a spending spree trying to create a championship team.
This deal has been frustrating for both sides as the team has not met the high expectations they set for themselves. Losing the division in back to back seasons to the Oakland A’s followed by a loss to the Kansas City Royals in ALDS was not the way the Angels wanted this contract to start. A far cry from the championship aspirations they had when putting the star-studded roster together.
Here is the breakdown
At age 35, Pujols’ production has dropped off a bit since joining the Angels, hitting .273, which is not bad, but when you’re talking Albert Pujols, it’s a drop. In 11 years in St Louis, he hit .317. Injuries have contributed to the drop in production as he has battled plantar fasciitis, a very painful foot injury that has hampered his career of late. He might be losing to father time and the grind of a baseball season, but he can still put fear in all pitchers because he can hit a homer at anytime.
This contract is extremely back loaded and the Angels could regret the rest of the contract if Pujols continues to play at this level, but only time will tell. The production is definitely not where it was in St. Louis (He spoiled us every game!). I think the Angels paid way too much for a person that was past his prime and more likely to get injured.
Not Worth It
These are just a handful of the biggest contacts in MLB history, but they are the biggest in my opinion. Who would be on your list?