MLB: The First-Year Struggles of $100 Million Hitters

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MLB: The First-Year Struggles of $100 Million Hitters
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Going into this offseason, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth were the two most sought-after non-pitching free agents on the market. Both players capitalized on an aggressive market and signed nine-figure contracts.

Crawford signed a seven-year, $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, and Werth signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals.

 

Not only did both players hundred-million contracts in the offseason, but both outfielders have really struggled out of the gate.

Crawford’s struggles have been legendary in Boston. Going into Sunday’s action, the former Tampa Bay Ray was hitting .154 with a .357 OPS.

Werth’s struggles haven’t been as exaggerated because, well, he plays in Washington. But Werth has had a really slow start out of the gate. Werth was hitting .214 with a .704 OPS going into Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

While 20 games is a small sample size, their struggles in a new environment shouldn’t came as a surprise.

Not including Crawford and Werth, there have been seven free agent hitters who have signed $100 million contracts with a new team, and a good majority of those hitters did worse in the first year with their new team than they did the year before.

Here are the seven free agent hitters who have signed $100 million contracts with their stats from the last year with their old team and their starts from the first year with their new team.

 

1. Jason Giambi. Signed $120 million contract in 2002.

Year Tm G PA H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2001 OAK 154 671 178 47 38 120 129 83 .342 .477 .660 1.137 198
2002 NYY 155 689 176 34 41 122 109 112 .314 .435 .598 1.034 172
  G PA H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/25/2011.

 

2. Ken Griffey Jr. Signed $116.5 million contract in 2000.

Year Tm G PA H 2B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
1999 SEA 160 706 173 26 48 134 24 91 108 .285 .384 .576 .960 139
2000 CIN 145 631 141 22 40 118 6 94 117 .271 .387 .556 .942 133
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/25/2011.

 

3. Manny Ramirez. Signed $160 million contract in 2001.

Year Tm G PA H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2000 CLE 118 532 154 34 38 122 86 117 .351 .457 .697 1.154 186
2001 BOS 142 620 162 33 41 125 81 147 .306 .405 .609 1.014 161
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/25/2011.

 

4. Alfonso Soriano. Signed $136 million contract in 2007.

Year Tm G PA H 2B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2006 WSN 159 728 179 41 46 95 41 67 160 .277 .351 .560 .911 135
2007 CHC 135 617 173 42 33 70 19 31 130 .299 .337 .560 .897 122
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/25/2011.

 

5. Carlos Beltran. Signed $119 million contract in 2005.

Year Tm G PA H 2B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2004 TOT 159 708 160 36 38 104 42 92 101 .267 .367 .548 .915 132
2004 KCR 69 309 74 19 15 51 14 37 44 .278 .367 .534 .901 129
2004 HOU 90 399 86 17 23 53 28 55 57 .258 .368 .559 .926 134
2005 NYM 151 650 155 34 16 78 17 56 96 .266 .330 .414 .744 96
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/25/2011.

 

6. Carlos Lee. Signed $100 million contract in 2007.

Year Tm G PA H 2B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2006 TOT 161 695 187 37 37 116 19 58 65 .300 .355 .540 .895 126
2006 MIL 102 435 111 18 28 81 12 38 39 .286 .347 .549 .896 124
2006 TEX 59 260 76 19 9 35 7 20 26 .322 .369 .525 .895 128
2007 HOU 162 697 190 43 32 119 10 53 63 .303 .354 .528 .882 125
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/25/2011.

 

7. Mark Teixeira. Signed $180 million contract in 2009.

Year Tm G PA H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2008 TOT 157 685 177 41 33 121 97 93 .308 .410 .552 .962 152
2008 ATL 103 451 108 27 20 78 65 70 .283 .390 .512 .902 137
2008 LAA 54 234 69 14 13 43 Load More Stories

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