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

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIApril 25, 2011

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 22:  Carl Crawford #13 of the Boston Red Sox steals second base ahead of a tag by Erick Aybar #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium on April 22, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

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+
2001OAK154671178473812012983.342.477.6601.137198
2002NYY1556891763441122109112.314.435.5981.034172
  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+
1999SEA16070617326481342491108.285.384.576.960139
2000CIN1456311412240118694117.271.387.556.942133
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+
2000CLE118532154343812286117.351.457.6971.154186
2001BOS142620162334112581147.306.405.6091.014161
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+
2006WSN1597281794146954167160.277.351.560.911135
2007CHC1356171734233701931130.299.337.560.897122
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+
2004TOT15970816036381044292101.267.367.548.915132
2004KCR6930974191551143744.278.367.534.901129
2004HOU9039986172353285557.258.368.559.926134
2005NYM151650155341678175696.266.330.414.74496
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+
2006TOT1616951873737116195865.300.355.540.895126
2006MIL102435111182881123839.286.347.549.896124
2006TEX59260761993572026.322.369.525.895128
2007HOU1626971904332119105363.303.354.528.882125
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+
2008TOT15768517741331219793.308.410.552.962152
2008ATL1034511082720786570.283.390.512.902137
2008LAA5423469141343