The Contract Every MLB Team Is Dying to Get off the Books

Josh Toyofuku@jtoyofuku8Contributor IIIFebruary 13, 2012

The Contract Every MLB Team Is Dying to Get off the Books

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    Since there isn't a salary cap in Major League Baseball, MLB players make an insane amount of money.

    In fact, 13 of the 15 largest sports contracts ever signed were inked by baseball players. So it's easy to assume that each major league roster has at least one contract that they wish they could get off of the books right now.

    Let's take a look at each franchise, one by one.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Joe Saunders
    Left-Handed Pitcher

    The soon-to-be 31-year-old is on the books to make $6 million for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012 while their ace is making $600,000.

    In 2011, Saunders finished 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA. He hasn't had a winning season since 2009 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. 

Atlanta Braves

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    Dan Uggla
    Second Base

    In 2011, Dan Uggla didn't live up to the expectations with his new club, the Atlanta Braves. He only hit .233 with 82 RBI after having struggled for most of the first half.

    This season, he is set to make $13 million all the way through the 2015 season when he will be 35. Yes, third baseman Chipper Jones will be making $13 million at the age of 39, but he would have had much better numbers than Uggla if he had played a full season in 2011. 

Baltimore Orioles

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    Brian Roberts
    Second Base

    Brian Roberts has been a staple in Baltimore over the past 11 seasons. But is he worth the $10 million he will be paid in 2012 and 2013?

    Not at all.

    Roberts has only played in 59 games in 2010 and 39 games in 2011. That's not a good sign for the next two seasons, and I'm sure the Orioles wish they could have some of that money back.

Boston Red Sox

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    John Lackey
    Right-Handed Pitcher 

    The Red Sox splurged before the 2010 season and signed John Lackey away from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for $82.5 million.

    Since then, Lackey has gone 26-23 with a 5.26 ERA in two seasons in Boston. He's already made over $34 million and is set to make $45,750,000 over the next three seasons.

    At least the Red Sox can sign him for the veteran's minimum ($500,000) in 2016 since Lackey will miss all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery. 

Chicago Cubs

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    Alfonso Soriano
    Left Field

    Alfonso Soriano will be making $18 million each of the next three seasons. This is after averaging a .248 batting average over the past three seasons with an average of 74 RBI during that span as well.

    The worst part about it is the fact that the Cubs won't likely be contenders until after Soriano is gone because of the change they need to undergo and the fact that his contract is holding them back.

Chicago White Sox

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    Adam Dunn
    Designated Hitter

    Luckily for Adam Dunn, it's highly unlikely that he'll ever have a season as bad as his 2011 season when he hit .159 with 42 RBI.

    That being said, it's very likely that the 32 year-old never live up to the contract he signed with the White Sox before last season—a contract that still owes him $44 million over the next three years. 

Cincinnati Reds

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    Bronson Arroyo
    Right-Handed Pitcher

    Unless leading the league in earned runs and home runs is a good thing, Bronson Arroyo is being over paid.

    In 2012, he will make $12 million followed by $11.5 million in 2013 after compiling a 7-9 record with a 5.07 ERA in 2011.

Cleveland Indians

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    Travis Hafner
    Designated Hitter 

    Travis Hafner is set to make $13 million each of the next two seasons. But after eclipsing 100 games and 50 RBI only once each since 2008, I think the Cleveland Indians might buy him out of his contract in 2013 for $2.75 million.

Colorado Rockies

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    Jorge De La Rosa
    Left-Handed Pitcher

    Jorge De La Rosa is a good pitcher, but there will be a lot of uncertainty around him when he finally returns from Tommy John surgery. Apparently, he made eight starts after initially feeling pain in his arm, and that could have caused more damage.

    Plus, he is due $10 million this season with a player-option of $11 million in 2013.

Detroit Tigers

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    Brandon Inge
    Third Base

    Brandon Inge didn't really do anything in 2011 when he hit .197 with 23 RBI in 102 games for the Tigers. 

    He is due $5.5 million this season and will see much less playing time now that Miguel Cabrera is going to be starting at third base.

Florida Marlins

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    Ricky Nolasco
    RIght-Handed Pitcher 

    Ricky Nolasco will be making $9 million in 2012 and $11 million in 2013. This is coming off a 10-12 season with a 4.67 ERA.

    Those are pretty mediocre numbers for a guy making that much money. Luckily for the Marlins, their new stadium got them a high enough payroll to sign some marquee free agents this past winter.

Houston Astros

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    Brett Myers
    Right-Handed Pitcher

    Brett Myers had a terrible 2011 where he only won seven games, compared to his 14 losses. The 30-year-old Myers had an ERA of 4.46. 

    The Astros were horrible last season and have to deal with paying Myers $11 million this season and at least $3 million in 2013 in the event of a buyout.

Kansas City Royals

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    Jonathan Broxton
    Relief Pitcher

    Jonathan Broxton has had his fair share of good seasons and was a two-time All-Star. But in 2011, he suffered multiple injuries to his shoulder and elbow.

    Those injuries only let him pitch in 14 games where he went 1-2 with a 5.68 ERA. While that can partially be attributed to his injuries, in 2010, he also had a 4.40 ERA and a 5-6 record.

    The Royals signed him for $4 million this season in a move that doesn't make much sense, given the fact that they already have Joakim Soria as a closer.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    Vernon Wells
    Left Field 

    The Angels didn't sign Vernon Wells to this contract, but after trading for him from the Toronto Blue Jays, they still have to pay him $63 million over the next three seasons.

    Wells had a very lackluster 2011 season in Anaheim when he hit .218 with 66 RBI and a lowly .660 OPS.  

    Given the great potential that prospect Mike Trout has, Wells is on a short leash in Anaheim. 

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Andruw Jones
    Center Field

    Andruw Jones hasn't been on the Dodgers since 2008, but he's still being paid by the team. He's owed money by the team until 2014, and next season, he's getting $3.2 million this season.

    Jones only spent one season with the Dodgers where he hit .158 with 14 RBI and three home runs and was a terrible signing by the team.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Francisco Rodriguez
    Relief Pitcher

    Francisco Rodriguez had 23 saves last season, but all came with the New York Mets. Once he got traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, he spent the rest of the season as a setup man for John Axford.

    He did a good job of it, but he will be getting paid $8 million to do the same in 2012. 

    Rodriguez likely can, but is that worth $8 million?

Minnesota Twins

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    Joe Mauer

    When he's healthy, Joe Mauer is one of the best players in the game—he was the 2009 AL MVP and has won the batting title multiple times.

    But even when he's healthy, is he worth $23 million each year from now through 2018? Not exactly.

    Add to that the fact that Mauer only played in 82 games in 2011 and got 30 RBI and the Twins must be wishing they could restructure his contract. 

New York Mets

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    Johan Santana
    Left-Handed Pitcher 

    Johan Santana is on contract to make $24 million next season and $25 million the following two seasons—unless he is bought out for $5.5 million in 2014. 

    While he has been a very dominant pitcher in the past, he hasn't made a start in the majors since 2010 and got paid almost $22 million last season while rehabbing. 

New York Yankees

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    Alex Rodriguez
    Third Base

    Alex Rodriguez is currently playing out the biggest contract in all of sports history—worth $275 million over 10 years. 

    He will be making $29 million in 2012, and that number will decrease until he only makes $20 million in 2017. Let that sink in for a minute. $20 million for a 41-year-old in 2017. 

    There's no way A-Rod can live up to that contract. Luckily for the Yankees, most of the bad contract was paid at the start. In 2011, he hit .276 with 62 RBI in only 99 games.

Oakland Athletics

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    Kurt Suzuki

    The A's payroll is so low that this was a very tough choice. On one hand, Kurt Suzuki is one of the most underrated catchers in the game when it comes to handling inexperienced and young pitchers. But on the other hand, he hasn't gotten the job done offensively.

    Suzuki is set to make $5 million in 2012, $6.45 million the following year and $8 million in 2014. But he put up the worst offensive numbers of his career last season with a .237 batting average and only 44 RBI.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Ryan Howard
    First Base 

    Ryan Howard is still a good player but is already 32 and showing signs of slowing down—he only drove in 108 and 116 RBI the past two seasons.

    What's more is the fact that he's signed through 2017, and he'll be earning in the range of $25 to $20 million throughout the duration of his contract. Even his buyout is worth $10 million.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Jose Tabata
    Left Field

    Jose Tabata is an unproven player with a career .284 batting average and an average of 47 RBI. The Pirates haven't invested a ton of money in him, but it is a sizable amount for a player of his caliber. 

    Tabata will make $1 million this season, and if the team picks up all of his club options, he will make $8.5 million in 2019 at the age of 30.

    His signing could really pay off for the Pirates, but it could be a total bust as well. It's pretty early to make a call, but it's something to look out for in Pittsburgh.

San Diego Padres

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    Jason Bartlett

    Last offseason, the San Diego Padres desperately needed a shortstop—because of that, they overpaid for Jason Bartlett.

    Bartlett will make $5.5 million this season and has a club option for 2013, worth the same amount of money. Should the Padres choose to not pick up the option, they will pay him $1.5 million.

    Bartlett is a fairly weak defensive shortstop and can't hit much either—he only hit .254 and .245 the past two seasons.

San Francisco Giants

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    Barry Zito
    Left-Handed Pitcher 

    Barry Zito was easily the worst signing on this list, and the Giants wish they could have half of that money back in order to improve their roster.

    Before the 2006 season, Zito signed with the Giants for seven years and $126 million. Since then, he has gone 43-61 with a 4.55 ERA in five seasons. He was so ineffective that the Giants didn't even have him on the active roster when they won the World Series in 2010. 

    To make matters worse, he is owed a total of $39 million over the next two seasons before the Giants can buy him out for $7 million.

Seattle Mariners

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    Chone Figgins
    Third Base

    Chone Figgins hasn't lived up to the expectations in Seattle, much like the last big-name free agent third baseman they signed, Adrian Beltre.

    Since leaving the Angels for the Mariners in 2010, Figgins has hit .236 and averaged 25 RBI per season. His contract has already paid him $18 million, and he is owed at least $17 million for the rest of it. 

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Matt Holiday
    Left Field

    Matt Holiday is much like Ryan Howard in that he is getting older (32) and will still be getting paid a significant amount of money in 2017. 

    Holiday will get paid $17 million all the way up to 2016 and could be making the same amount in 2017 if the club decides to pick up his option. After only playing in 124 games last season, his RBI total dropped all the way to 75.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Wade Davis
    Right-Handed Pitcher

    The Rays aren't paying Wade Davis an insane amount of money like other players are making on this list, but for a small market team, it's a good chuck of money.

    Davis is only 25-22 with a 4.22 ERA on his career and will be making $1.5 million, $2.8 million and $4.8 million over the next three seasons. After that, he has multiple club options that can be picked up. They start at $7 million and end with $10 million in 2017 when Davis is 31.

Texas Rangers

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    Adrian Beltre
    Third Base

    Adrian Beltre played a very big role on getting the Rangers to the World Series in 2011 and has a great bat that is suited for Arlington, Texas.

    But he is already 32 years old and is signed through 2016. What's more is that he will be making $15 million, $16 million, $17 million, $18 million and finally $16 million in each year. That's a ton of money for a 37-year-old. 

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Brandon Morrow
    Right-Handed Pitcher

    Brandon Morrow is owed $4 million in 2012 and $8 million in both 2013 and 2014. There is also a club option in his contract worth $10 million in 2015. 

    Morrow has been improving the past few seasons, but he still only has a 29-30 record with an ERA of 4.37 on his career.

Washington Nationals

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    Jayson Werth
    Right Field

    The Washington Nationals wanted to make a big signing to prove that they're going to be a competitive franchise, and they did so by signing Jayson Werth to a deal worth $126 million over seven years.

    The problem is that Werth is already 32 and only hit .232 with 58 RBI in his first year of the contract. He is still owed over $115 million by the Nationals through the age of 38.