Since 1999, Major League Baseball teams have handed out 26 nine-figure contracts to players, some more than once. A total of more than $3.7 billion has been spent by these clubs for the game’s best players.
However, most $100+ million contracts rarely pan out. We’ve all read articles bashing Mike Hampton’s deal with Colorado, Barry Zito’s contract in San Francisco and Alfonso Soriano’s deal with the Cubbies. But I’ve yet to come across an article praising those $100+ million dollar contracts where the player actually lived up to it—perhaps because they are so rare. In the following slides I will examine players who signed mega contracts and the teams, at least from a baseball sense, did not regret them.
Before doing so however I will set a couple of ground rules.
First and foremost I am not taking into consideration whether or not the deal hampered the club financially—case in point the Alex Rodriguez deal with Texas; that $252 million contract crippled the club finances but it wasn’t because of Rodriguez’s performance.
Secondly I’m not even going to consider players who still have the majority of their contract years to play. CC Sabathia, Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, Jayson Werth, Cliff Lee and many others have signed nine figure deals in the past three seasons. As it stands now the only one that looks truly horrible is Werth’s deal, but that's not a given either. Mauer, Sabathia, Lee or anyone else not mentioned could fail to live up to the backend of their deals and thereby blacklist contracts that were once considered golden.
Finally I am not taking steroids or other performance enhancing drugs into account. They have no bearing in this argument, regardless if a listed player is a known user; this list is about contracts and whether or not the player lived up to his part, no matter how he chose do so.
I hope you like it. Have fun, enjoy the read and let me know what you think...