In the beginning of April, I took a glance at some of the "worst" contract extensions that were currently floating around baseball.
But after looking back on my initial post, I found that there were a few players, who I can no longer say were "bad contract extensions."
Sure, maybe the contract extension was a bit much at the time and could still backfire on the club, but for now, it's unfair for me to label them as "bad extensions."
So here is the original roster I composed back in April. Please take into account how I defined contract extension at the time:
1. Player was traded to new team and then signed a new contract with the club (i.e Miguel Cabrera)
2. Player was under contract with a team, but signed a new, long term deal
3. Player signed a new contract with same club BEFORE he filed for free agency (i.e Alex Rodriguez's 10 year/$275 contract is not an extension on this list...and neither is Luis Castillo's 4 year/$26 million dollar contract...both guys filed for free agency before they signed with their old team)
2009 Roster of the Worst Contract Extensions
C-Kenji Johjima (3 years/$24 million), Mariners
1B- Todd Helton (9 years/$141 million), Rockies
2B- Bill Hall (4 years/$24 million), Brewers
*(I know Hall doesn't play second base anymore, but I had no one else!)*
SS- Michael Young (5 years/$80 million), Rangers
3B- Eric Chavez (6 years/$66 million), A's
OF- Vernon Wells (7 years/$126 million), Blue Jays
OF- Eric Byrnes (3 years/$30 million), Diamondbacks
OF- Gary Sheffield (2 years/$28 million), Tigers
DH- Travis Hafner (4 years/$57 million), Indians
Bench- Brandon Inge (4 years/$24 million), Tigers
Bench- Scott Rolen (8 years/$90 million), Cardinals/now with Blue Jays
Bench- Carlos Guillen (4 years/$48 million), Tigers *Debatable*
Bench- Hideki Matsui (4 years/$53 million), Yankees
Bench: Dmitri Young (2 years/$10 million), Nationals
Bench: Jack Wilson (3 years/$20 million), Pirates
SP- Chris Carpenter (5 years/$65 million), Cardinals
SP- Jake Westbrook (3 years/$33 million), Indians
SP- Dontrelle Willis (3 years/$29 million), Tigers
SP- Bronson Arroyo (2 years/$25 million), Reds
SP- Nate Robertson (3 years/$21 million), Tigers
SP- Jose Contreras (3 years/$29 million), White Sox
RP- Mike McDougal (3 years/$6.5 million), White Sox
From the roster that I compiled back in April, there are four players that I'd like to discuss further:
Todd Helton : Helton has been absolutely fantastic this season for the Rockies and truly is the heart and soul of that team. Sure, Helton has declined over the years, but he's remained a valuable asset to the Rockies, for which you have to give him credit.
I still can't justify the 9 year/$141 million deal, but a productive Helton makes this contract a little easier to swallow.
Michael Young: From the moment the Rangers gave Michael Young the massive 5 year/$80 million contract, I have been very critical of the move. In fact, I hated it.
For a team that had limited resources to work with, I thought that the Rangers should have used their money on pitching. But maybe, just maybe, Michael Young falls into the "Todd Helton" category of guys whose value you cannot simply measure by what he does on the baseball field.
Young means so much to this franchise. And oh yeah, he's having a great year. So like Helton, I think Young's contract is excessive, but I'm hard-pressed to call it horrible.
Brandon Inge: A 4 year/$24 million extension looks like a bargain for the first half Brandon Inge. But in the 2nd half of the season, Inge has hit just a lowly .170 with only six home runs.
As a result, his average has plummeted to .232, and the power that he showed in the first half has evaporated. At points this year, it looked like Inge would hit 35-40 home runs, but now you have to wonder if Inge can be a full-time player.
The power numbers look nice, but the average and OBP simply aren't there. The Tigers only have Inge under contract for another season, so it's safe to say at this point that the Tigers have not gotten their money's worth.
Chris Carpenter: I gotta say this: after missing all of 2007 and a majority of 2008, I never expected Chris Carpenter to return as the Chris Carpenter that we've come to expect.
What Carpenter has done this season is nothing short of spectacular: 16-3 with a 2.16 ERA and a WHIP of 0.966. Unreal.
Does one AMAZING year make the contract worth it for the Cardinals? Probably not, but there is no reason to think that Carpenter can't build on his success over the next two seasons.
And don't look now, but Mike McDougal is pitching pretty well for the Nationals...