A number of MLB players have earned their large salaries as a result of their past success. This does create a situation for a number of players where they do not live up to the expected performance that they should have for what they are being paid.
This does not mean that these players will put up poor numbers. Some of them will have great seasons, but they won't be enough to justify the more than $20 million that some of them are being paid.
As the average salary of MLB players has gotten bigger and bigger, there have been more and more players that have gotten money that they do not exactly prove that they deserve.
Alex Rodriguez has struggled with injuries during the past few seasons and as a result he has not been able to perform at his peak.
With what Rodriguez is getting paid, he should be one of the top two or three players in the game. That likely will not happen in 2012 and Rodriguez will underperform based on his contract.
There are very few major league baseball players that are deserving of more than $20 million a season. Vernon Wells is not one of those players and yet he gets paid that type of money.
Wells has not produced at an elite level for a few years now, but he still gets paid like a player that is elite. He will certainly underperform the expectations for a player with his salary.
An MVP season in 2009 and a solid year in 2010 earned Joe Mauer a lot of money. He certainly did not give the Minnesota Twins a hometown discount.
For $23 million a year, Mauer should be far and away the best catcher in the major leagues. He may put up some great numbers, but unless he returns to his 2009 form, Mauer will not live up to his big contract this year.
The New York Mets will certainly be excited to get Johan Santana back for the 2012 season. However, they will not be as excited to pay him $24 million.
Santana will be earning more money than any other pitcher in the major leagues. It is very likely that Santana will not be able to put up the performance to justify the fact that he is the game's highest-paid pitcher.
Ryan Howard will miss part of the 2012 season as he recovers from surgery to repair his torn Achilles tendon. This puts a serious dent in his value for 2012.
Even when Howard returns, he may not have his power stroke back. Knowing that Howard could miss significant time, it is fairly safe to say that he will underperform based on his contract value.
This will be the last season that the Houston Astros are responsible for paying Carlos Lee. The deal that they gave him has been looked down on for years.
Lee is not an elite outfielder and he does not deserve to be paid like one. He has also had to play a number of games at first base.
While his salary may be $18 million, the Miami Marlins will only pay Carlos Zambrano $2.5 million. The Chicago Cubs will be picking up the remaining $15.5 million on his tab.
There seems to be little chance that Zambrano will become an ace after his change of scenery. It is very unlikely that Zambrano will live up to his $18 million salary.
Torii Hunter was an All-Star in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. His performance dropped off a little bit in 2011.
Even if Hunter has another All-Star quality season in 2012, it is unlikely that he will be an $18 million player.
Believe it or not, this is not the most money that the San Francisco Giants will pay Barry Zito in a single year. They still owe him $20 million in 2013.
Zito has done nothing but struggle during his time in San Francisco. He has also missed time with injuries and he has pitched out of the bullpen.
It is safe to say that the New York Mets did not get what they expected when they signed Jason Bay prior to the 2010 season. He has done nothing but struggle.
The Mets owe Bay $16 million for the 2012 season. Even after the team decided to move the outfield walls in, Bay's likely improved production won't be worth what he is getting paid.
With the additions of Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, A.J. Burnett will now need to fight for his spot in the New York Yankees' starting rotation.
If Burnett does not win a rotation spot, a likely scenario, then he will be a very, very expensive reliever.
Injuries have really derailed Jake Peavy's career. Peavy went from being an elite starter to a guy that can barely hold down a spot at the back-end of a rotation.
At this point the Chicago White Sox will certainly be willing to take whatever they can get from Peavy during the 2012 season.
Closers make a lot of money for the number of innings that they pitch. Jonathan Papelbon will be one of the highest-paid closers in the game.
Papelbon has had some good numbers over the past few years, but he has struggled a little bit during the past two years.
Ryan Dempster had one of the worst seasons of his career in 2011. He struggled throughout most of the season.
Even when Dempster has been productive over the past few seasons, he has not been worth the money that he has been paid. The last time that Dempster was a good investment for the Chicago Cubs was in 2008.
Thanks to the Atlanta Braves' desire to get rid of Derek Lowe, the Cleveland Indians will only be on the hook for $5 million of Lowe's salary in 2012.
The 2011 season was a lost year for Lowe. He struggled mightily and showed that he is no longer a pitcher that is worth more than $10 million a year. That has been the case for a few seasons at this point.
There are very few, if any, closers in the major leagues that are worth more than $10 million a year, so it makes sense that a middle reliever should not be paid that much.
Rafael Soriano was supposed to be the setup man for the New York Yankees, but he lost that job to David Robertson. Now, he is a very expensive reliever.
Without a doubt Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer in MLB history and he is a Hall of Famer. He still plays at a very high level as well.
But $15 million is a lot to pay someone who is only going to pitch about 65 innings a season. Rivera will be 42 and he could see his ERA rise over 2.00 for the first time in since 2007.
Derek Jeter is worth a lot more to the New York Yankees than what his performance on the field is worth which is why he was able to ink the deal that he did prior to the 2011 season.
Jeter's offense has declined over the past few seasons and he is not a great defender. It will be a shock if a 38-year-old Derek Jeter performs at the level of a $16 million player.
Over the past four seasons Travis Hafner has managed to play just 363 games. He has managed to put up fairly good numbers when he has been on the field.
Hafner is no longer the MVP-caliber player that he once was. He is still getting paid to perform at an elite level and he has struggled to do that.
There is no excuse for the performance, or lack thereof, that Adam Dunn had last season. It seems almost impossible for him to get any worse in 2012.
The Chicago White Sox will take any improvement that they can get from Adam Dunn in 2012, but there is a shot that he once again does not live up to his deal.
The New York Mets could have non-tendered Mike Pelfrey this winter and they would have been able to save some money.
Instead, the Mets are responsible for paying him in 2012. If his 2012 season looks anything like his 2011 season then the Mets will be overpaying him for his performance.
Injuries have cost Justin Morneau a lot of time over the past two seasons. Even when he was on the field last season Morneau struggled.
The Twins have a lot of money tied up in Morneau and Joe Mauer and they have not gotten the production that they would have liked out of either of them recently.
Before he started his 33-game hitting streak, Dan Uggla was putting up some really ugly numbers for the Atlanta Braves. His home run total is impressive, but the rest of his stat line leaves something to be desired.
For a player that is paid more than $10 million a year, the Atlanta Braves certainly need to be expecting a higher on-base percentage than what Uggla produced last year.
There was a time when Chase Utley was an elite second baseman and he would have earned a $15 million salary with his performance.
Those days are no longer here for Utley and the Philadelphia Phillies. He is still a good second baseman but he is no longer worth what he is being paid.
The past few seasons have not been friendly to Brian Roberts. He has managed to play just 98 games over the past two years as the result of injury issues.
When Roberts finally gets back on the field for an extended period of time, it will be interesting to see if he can pick up where he left off when he was healthy.
It seems as if Chipper Jones has been around the major leagues forever. He made his debut in 1993 and 2012 will be his 19th year in the majors.
Jones was once a feared slugger and now he is just an above-average hitter. He could put together another fairly good season, albeit not one worth $13 million in what could be his last year in the majors.
Daisuke Matsuzaka underwent Tommy John surgery last June and he may or may not pitch in 2012. He has begun throwing off a mound and may be back this season.
Matsuzaka will not be worth $10 million if he is able to return. He is on the list and fellow Boston Red Sox starter John Lackey is not because Lackey will miss all of the 2012 season after undergoing the same surgery as Matsuzaka.
Early in his career it seemed as if David Wright was a budding superstar. That shine has worn off as Wright has struggled the past few seasons.
For $15 million he should be one of the top three third basemen in the game. That is not the case. The New York Mets can only hope that moving the fences in will increase his production.
2011 was an absolutely disaster for Carl Crawford. The Boston Red Sox were hoping that he would be a star for them and instead he was more of a dud.
Crawford would be worth the money if he could put up numbers similar to the ones he put up in his last year in Tampa Bay. The more likely scenario is that Crawford has a good year, but not one that the Red Sox should be paying $19 million for.
Ichiro Suzuki is the best player that has come from Japan to the United States. The amount of attention that he brought the Seattle Mariners after they signed him was well worth what he cost.
Ichiro has begun to decline a bit both offensively and in the field. His days of being an All-Star outfielder are quickly coming to an end.
The Washington Nationals likely wish that they could go back a year and not give such a lucrative contract to Jayson Werth. He struggled big time during his first year in Washington.
Werth was supposed to be a big bat that could help out the Nationals, but that was not the case. Things will get worse for the Nationals since Werth's deal is backloaded.
The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona had his option picked up by the Cleveland Indians before he ran into his legal troubles. Even then, the move was questioned.
Heredia has shown flashes of brilliance. The problem is that they have been mixed in with long stretches of ineptitude.
While $4 million may not seem like a lot of money for a baseball player, it is important to consider the fact that Broxton got this deal after a season in which he had a 5.68 ERA in the 14 games he pitched in.
Broxton was not much better in 2010 as he had a 4.04 ERA. The Kansas City Royals likely overpaid for their new setup man.
One of the reasons that the Houston Astros have not been able to deal Wandy Rodriguez is because of the amount of money that they owe him.
Rodriguez is a decent pitcher, but his performance certainly does not merit $10 million.
Gavin Floyd's contract looked like it would be an absolute steal for the Chicago White Sox when he first signed it. Now that is not as certain.
Floyd has struggled in recent years and is looking more and more like a No. 3 or No. 4 pitcher. He is one of the most likely players on this list to reach the level of performance that a player getting paid what he is should reach.
When the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Jason Kubel, it meant that Gold Glove-winning outfielder Gerardo Parra would spend some more time on the bench this season.
Kubel's production will likely not live up to what should be expected from him based on what he is getting paid by the Diamondbacks.
The Chicago Cubs might feel a little bit of relief due to the fact that Alfonso Soriano is only owed $18 million this year instead of the $19 million that they paid him last season.
It is clear that Soriano's best days are behind him. This salary would have been fine when he was a 30/30 player, but now paying him this much looks silly.
Luckily for the Miami Marlins, they are paying less than $500,000 of Aaron Rowand's salary in 2012. The San Francisco Giants are responsible for the rest.
Rowand will likely benefit from the change of scenery, but it is unlikely that he is able to recapture his past glory. He certainly will not perform like someone that is deserving of $12 million a year.
Alex Rios has had his ups and his downs during his time in Chicago with the White Sox. There have been a few times that he has looked like a $12 million player, but that is not likely to be the case in 2012.
Rios is going to need to improve his numbers from last season. Forty-four RBI in 145 games is a painfully small number.
When the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010, Juan Uribe was a big part of their success. That is why the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to sign him following the season.
Uribe has not performed well in Los Angeles and he had problems staying on the field. The Dodgers can't wait to see the next two years of his contract fly by.
While he might not be making as much money as a number of other players on this list, Brandon Inge is certainly deserving of his spot.
It was possible to argue that Inge had negative value for his team last year. He is a career .235 hitter so not much should be expected from him this season.
Hanley Ramirez will be dealing with a position change in 2012 and he will be moving to a spot where more power is expected.
Ramirez may put up good numbers, but the expectations for a $15 million third baseman are higher than those for a $15 million shortstop.
Mark Teixeira is a very good first baseman and he will most likely put up great numbers during the 2012 season.
The problem is that he will be the second-highest paid first baseman in the major leagues. For what Teixeira is being paid, he should put up MVP-like numbers.
David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox settled at a $14,750,000 salary for Ortiz. He might have a tough time living up to that number.
Paying almost $15 million to a player who is a DH is always a bit of a risk. He can only provide value at the plate.
If you take a look at the Seattle Mariners depth chart then you will notice that Chone Figgins is listed as the team's third-string third baseman.
For a player in this position, they would likely get paid the major league minimum. Not Figgins. He will get paid a cool $9 million to ride the pine.
Losing Buster Posey last season surely had a negative impact on Aubrey Huff's performance, but even so, he was still terrible.
Huff likely will not look like a $10 million player once again in 2012. It is even possible that he loses his starting job before the season is out.
There are three things that Mark Reynolds does a lot of: hit home runs, strike out and commit errors. Unfortunately for the Baltimore Orioles, only one of those is a good thing.
Reynolds loses a lot of value because of his defense and all of his strikeouts. He has led his league in errors three times and in strikeouts four times.
Bobby Abreu is currently not listed as a starter on the Los Angeles Angels depth chart. He will see a number of at-bats off of the bench, but his production will be limited as a result.
Abreu is going to be one of the most expensive bench players in the major leagues in 2012.
Michael Cuddyer has had a very up and down career. The Colorado Rockies are hopping that he will only have good years while he is wearing their jersey.
Playing in Coors Field should help Cuddyer in 2012, but he still might not be able to perform at the level where he would actually be worth $10.5 million.
There is no denying that Kyle Lohse had a very good season in 2011. In fact, it was a career year for Loshe in terms of ERA and WHIP.
While some might think that Lohse will be in for another good season in 2012, it is not likely. He should regress and if he does he will not be worth almost $12 million.