Thursday, December 8, 2011

Terrible Contracts to Cheer Up Met Fans

It's not easy being a Mets fan.  In fact, it's downright depressing, especially now that Jose Reyes has left Queens for sunnier pastures in Miami.  With Reyes gone, Johan pitching with diminished velocity, and The Player Formerly Known As Jason Bay starting in LF, there ain't no mistaking it - it's full blown rebuilding time for GM Sandy Aldersen, which means….drum roll please….at least another 2-3 years of mediocrity.  Yay!!  At this point, I'd rather take a dump in a New Jersey turnpike restroom than watch a July baseball game at Citi Field.

So in an attempt to cheer myself up (besides taking anti-depressants and viewing Twitter photos of Wayne Gretzky's daughter), I compiled a list of the most outrageous contracts on the books for the Yankees and National League East teams, courtesy of  With the Mets destined for 72-75 wins next year, I will now focus my pleasure in seeing rivals paying substantial sums of money to underachieving and/or oft-injured bums.  I do realize teams like the Yankees and Phillies can simply buy their way out of these albatross contracts, yet I still get the warm and fuzzies when the Steinbrenners are forced to pay $20 million to a player like Kei Igawa.

(By the way, breaking news I guarantee you didn't hear at the Winter Meetings in Dallas - Kei Igawa is now a free agent!)

So without further ado, my list:

1) Alex Rodriguez - 6 years / $143 million left
ARod earns the number 1 spot just because he has a centaur of himself hanging above his bed.  I still don't understand why the Yankees handed a then 32 year old ARod a 10 year/$275 million extension - exactly who else were they bidding against?  With another 6 years and $143 million remaining (and potentially another $30 million more in home run bonuses), that degenerative hip may push ARod to full time DH duty within 3 years.  And you Yankee fans thought Jorge Posada was an overpaid DH, just wait until 2017!

2) Ryan Howard - 5 years / $125 million left
I literally cheered upon hearing the news that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro handed Howard a $125 million extension.  Reason #1 - because Ike Davis will probably have the same WAR (Wins Above Replacement) as Howard over the next 5 years, at a fraction of the cost.  And reason #2 - Howard's on-base % and slugging % have steadily declined over the past 3 seasons, while averaging 172 strikeouts per season in the same time span.  A blown Achilles tendon aside, I think it's safe to say the 31 year old Howard won't improve on that baseline from here on out.  If it wasn't for hitter friendly Citizen's Bank park to call home, Howard would be nothing more than a $25 million Mark Reynolds in 3 years.

3) Jason Werth - 6 years / $112 million left
Just another case of a 5-star guy (think Alex Rios, Vernon Wells, Carlos Beltran) getting overpaid because of his "tools".  This deal always felt like a sick reaction to letting a lazy Adam Dunn walk (ok, maybe waddle) to Chicago.  Otherwise, I can't explain why Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, who's done a nice job rebuilding the Nationals, would offer this obscene contact.  Truth be told, I would take a chance on Werth in the middle rounds of a fantasy draft next season, since I do believe last year was an outlier.  But there's no way this contract will be favorable when Werth plays out the final 3 years from age 36-38.

4) AJ Burnett - 2 years / $33 million left
As I'm writing this, it's been reported that the Yankees are attempting to trade Burnett.  Good luck with that.  You know it's a bad sign when terrified Yankee fans were absolutely thrilled with AJ's pitching line against the Tigers in last season's ALCS:

5.2 innings, 1 earned run, 4 hits, 4 walks, 3 Ks, 1 wild pitch

It's a respectable line - don't get me wrong - but when 8 baserunners allowed in less than 6 innings is more than acceptable for a guy making $16.5 million per year, then maybe it's time to stop paying pitchers based on just stuff and potential.

5) Jose Reyes - 6 years / $106 million left
I hate the man's guts, but Fred Wilpon was correct on one prediction - Jose Reyes did not get Carl Crawford money.  This doesn't hide the fact, however, that Jose's contract is incredibly risky once he enters his 30s.  Right now at age 28, Jose has to stretch 5 TIMES PER DAY and he still injures his hamstrings occasionally.  How exactly will his body hold up if he continues to play this reckless style on the basepaths 3-4 years from now?  But even if he's only averaging 120 games per season by 2015, at least the Miami Marlins will have the coveted rights to the "Jose Jose Jose" song and the mid-inning staple "Speaking Spanish with Professor Reyes."  You can't put a price on that.

6) Rafael Soriano - 2 years / $25 million left
Only the Yankees would have a 7th inning specialist making $12.5 million dollars per year.  Based on his WAR the past 3 seasons, he's not even an elite reliever, but cheer up Yankee fans, at least Soriano is a slightly better contract than Big Fat Bobby Jenks 2 year, $12 million deal with the Red Sox.

So are there any albotross contracts of Mets rivals I missed?  Please let me know!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to look over the medical records of Frank "2 DL stints per year" Francisco and get myself pumped up for Andres Torres, and his career 0.318 on-base %, leading off for the Amazins.  Please shoot me now… 


  1. worst recent contracts that i remember. in no particular order

    Barry Zito/giants deal he's making 17-18 mil a year still thru 2013!

    Mike Hampton/ Rockies deal. i don't remember the exact amount, but i remember it was like a 7 or 8 year deal for over 100 million. And he pitched what 20 games for them?

    Gary Matthews deal also rings a bell. i believe he got 5 year 50 million dollar deal from the angels after a slightly above average contract year.

    Some of the Orioles beauties over the last 15 years include Javy Lopez, Miguel Tejada, Albert Belle, Mike Gonzalez only to name a few

  2. Hmmm, aren't the Mets still paying mo vaughn and bonilla? Talk about brutal contracts...that deferred $ is rough. Isn't Vernon Wells contract brutal or am I thinking of alex rios.
    the lackey deal was hideous and so was soriano (cubs)

  3. I guess I didn't make myself clear enough - it's the worst contracts among the Yankees and NL East rivals ONLY!!

  4. Well the angels giving pujols 10 years may make this list in 3 or 4 years. Awesome player now but he could be 35 no one knows how old he is. He may use a walker to get to first at the end of his contract.