Picking the 'All-Overpaid Team' of This MLB Offseason
Major league rosters are made up of a number of different types of players, from top prospects who are set to take the league by storm to seasoned veterans who take up a substantial chunk of a team's payroll.
For better or worse, every team has some player that just doesn't live up to their billing and ultimately falls out of favor in the eyes of both the organization and their fans.
Sure, all players are brought in for different reasons, and while their contracts are often times justified there are certainly other instances when we look back and see an overpaid player.
Here are some players that could end up in that boat if they fail to match their lofty expectations heading into 2013.
Catcher: Mike Napoli
Offseason Contract: Three years, $39 million (not completed)
Having dumped a massive amount of payroll last summer, the Boston Red Sox have plenty of holes to fill this offseason.
They got off to a seemingly great start in agreeing to terms with Mike Napoli on a three-year, $39 million contract.
The deal has had its share of hiccups, though, as a hip condition noted in Napoli's physical has prevented the deal from being completed. (h/t Dallas Morning News)
Even if the deal does ultimately get done, Napoli has struck out at least 125 times in two of the past three seasons, and he has never posted more than 75 RBI in a season.
First Base: Carlos Pena
Offseason Contract: One year, $2.9 million
Carlos Pena spent the 2012 season with the Tampa Bay Rays, his second stint on a team with which he has recorded some of the best numbers of his career.
He batted under .200 last season, but managed to go deep 19 times and drive in 61 runs for a Rays team that was in the thick of things in the AL East once again.
Pena will be with the Astros in 2013, and while a $3 million deal for a veteran infielder isn't a crippling expense, a rebuilding team could have benefited from making a more substantial investment on a player that could help mentor the young roster that hopes for a more positive fate in the American League.
Second Base: Jeff Keppinger
Offseason Contract: Three years, $12 million
Fresh off a 2012 season that saw him bat .321, journeyman infielder Jeff Keppinger signed a three-year contract with the Chicago White Sox marking the biggest payday of his career.
With a .288 career batting average and above average on-base percentage over his eight seasons, Keppinger likely won't prove to be overpaid.
He does however still get the nod in this slideshow since the only other free agent second baseman that signed a deal is Marco Scutaro, a player who earned himself a payday after playing such a vital role for the World Champion Giants last season.
Third Base: Mark Reynolds
Offseason Contract: One year, $6 million
Former Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds has had his share of struggles at the plate throughout his career, four times leading the league in strikeouts, even getting punched out 159 times last season despite missing nearly 30 games.
Nevertheless, Reynolds had to feel good about where he was, as 2012 marked the Orioles' resurgence in the AL East, and they finally got back to the postseason.
He's headed to Cleveland this season after signing a one-year deal worth $6 million, and while it's hard to say how he'll handle the transition, you can bet he'll be striking out like his old self.
Shortstop: Stephen Drew
Offseason Contract: One year, $9.5 million
Coming off a gruesome ankle injury that sidelined him for half the 2012 season, Stephen Drew played in only 79 games this year between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Oakland Athletics.
He batted only .223 in those appearances, driving in 28 runs. On top of that, Drew hasn't batted above .290 or hit at least 20 home runs since 2008.
His best days could very well be ahead of him, but paying $9.5 million for a player whose track record for health and productivity is a question mark may fail to pay off in the long run.
Left Field: Ryan Ludwick
Offseason Contract: Two years, $15 million
After spending much of the offseason in limbo as he determined whether or not to sign with a new team, Ryan Ludwick ultimately put the rumors to bed when he signed a two-year deal to remain in Cincinnati.
He batted .275 last season and drove in a solid 80 runs, though in his prior three seasons he was under .250, with significantly lower numbers than he showed in 2012.
Ludwick may very well prove to be a difference maker with the Reds over the next two seasons, but with five years separating him from his best days, the numbers may not be there.
Center Field: Ben Revere
Free-agent names like B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn were likely candidates to fit in as the center fielder of the future for the Philadelphia Phillies, but in the end, the team opted to pull off a trade to get their guy.
Coming over from Minnesota in exchange for Trevor May and Vance Worley, Ben Revere will be under team control through 2017 and won't be overpaid in terms of what they'll be paying him.
They may have overpaid in the trade, however, as Worley has shown plenty of potential, and while May struggled with his performance in 2012 he still represents a high-ceiling prospect.
Right Field: Torii Hunter
Offseason Contract: Two years, $26 million
Heading back to the division where he got his start in the league, Hunter's strong defense will be a big plus in the spacious confines of Comerica Park, and if he can put up another offensive effort similar to his 2012 output, the team will be in a good position to make a run in the postseason once again.
Looking at the number itself, the contract might be a bit high for Hunter at this point in his career.
His 2012 performance was certainly something special, but he posted career-highs in some categories that he may not see again in 2013.
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz
Offseason Contract: Two years, $26 million
With the mass exodus from Fenway Park last summer as multiple stars were traded to the Dodgers, the Red Sox had little choice but to give David Ortiz a contract extension in order to maintain some resemblance of power from their best recent seasons.
Since being released by the Minnesota Twins a decade ago, Ortiz has been a superstar for the Red Sox, making eight All-Star appearances and averaging 34 home runs per season along the way.
He'll be counted on for his power in 2013 and 2014, though if you look at his past few seasons he's seen some power numbers dip. It may be mostly due to time missed with injuries, but as a player approaches 40, the likelihood of those injuries continuing certainly doesn't go down.
Starting Pitcher: Anibal Sanchez
Offseason Contract: Five years, $88 million
Starting off the season with a team that had as much promise as any other in the league, Anibal Sanchez's season with the Miami Marlins didn't last long.
The Marlins' season-long struggles would ultimately lead to him being traded to the Detroit Tigers along with Omar Infante.
After signing a five-year, $88 million contract to re-sign with the Tigers this offseason, there are plenty of expectations for Sanchez leading into 2013, and filling the shoes that go with a contract of that magnitude can be a tall order.
He isn't being paid anywhere near what the Dodgers are handing Grienke, but Sanchez also isn't even in the same ballpark, so paying him nearly $17 million towards the end of his contract could prove to be a mistake.
Relief Pitcher: Joakim Soria
Offseason Contract: Two years, $8 million
Joakim Soria has had a number of successful campaigns with the Royals in recent years, and when healthy, he represents one of the best bullpen options in the league.
Coming off Tommy John surgery, however, the expectations of the old Soria need to be tempered, as it is often the second year after the surgery when a pitcher comes back to full throttle.
It could have just been a bad season, but it's worth noting that Soria posted an ERA over 4.00 in his last active season, which followed four consecutive sub-2.50 ERA seasons.
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