10 MLB Free Agents Who Care More About Money Than Winning
"Rod, think about back when you were a little kid. It wasn't about the money, was it? Was it? (Questionably) Was it?"
One of my favorite lines, from one of my favorite movies, Jerry Maguire.
As fans, we yearn for our teams to win more than anything. Paydays to the players only matter to us in as much as they keep the talented ones our teams have and attract talented ones away from opponents.
Every year we see players run for paydays while others try to hook on with whom they think will contend for a championship at a lower price.
This past offseason, Jayson Werth signed one of the most ridiculous contracts in the history of pro sports to sign with the desperate to contend Washington Nationals.
Werth can't really be faulted; he's a marginally talented player who was paid superstar money to run to a team he knew had no shot to contend and he's a lot richer for it.
Here's 10 more guys who might just be signing for the money.
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It's difficult to understand why Pujols would not resign in St. Louis.
The man is adored by the fans, he's won two championships and is the face of one of baseball's most storied franchises. It seems to be the perfect situation.
While the Cards are sure to offer the world to Pujols, with his advancing age and declining production he might be looking to squeeze every penny out of a deal and set up generations of Pujolses to come.
It's appearing more and more likely that Pujols will leave the Cards for a less desirable, but higher-paying alternative like the Miami Marlins.
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Perhaps it's not all about the money for the Brewers cherubic first basemen, but like Pujols, Prince Fielder is another player who appears to be in an excellent situation but just isn't happy.
Now it appears that the Brewers are content to let Fielder walk. What will be key to determine if Fielder is on a money grab is where he signs.
If he signs with a high-profile team like the Rangers, maybe he wants to win. However, if he ends up with a team like the Cubs, it's a sure sign it's for the money and added exposure (hence more money) of playing in a bigger market.
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Someone is going to pay CJ Wilson like an ace. Unfortunately for that team, he is no ace. Wilson went 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA during the Rangers run to the World Series.
Rumor had it that he would end up on the starter-starved Yankees, but perhaps the re-signing of Freddy Garcia is an indication that the pinstripes aren't inclined to meet a ridiculous contract demand.
The Rangers offered arbitration to Wilson trying to further protect themselves for what seems like an inevitable departure for a pitcher with a 43-35 career record.
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Despite being a slick fielder at a premium position, Jimmy Rollins' bat has been in a steady decline since his .296/30 HR/96 RBI season of 2007.
Since he's classified as an elite free agent, the Phillies offered arbitration to Rollins meaning he'll cost a No. 1 or No. 2 pick, which might be a too high of a price to pay for the aging infielder.
However, if a team desperate to replace their own star shortstop (I'm looking at you, Mets) gets desperate, they could offer a large multi-year deal to Rollins.
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The oft-traveled Jackson has failed to find a permanent home in baseball. Only 28, he's already pitched for the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rays, Tigers, White Sox and Cards.
Jackson is clearly a bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher, but he's had enough success to get paid to be a number two by a team with a desperate rotation situation.
Teams like the Royals, Astros and Cubs come to mind as possible lenders—err, landing spots—for Jackson.
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David Ortiz has mashed his way back into a large contract thanks to strong consecutive seasons after it appeared his career was in its twilight.
With the Red Sox huge signings last year and needs at shortstop, in the rotation and in the bullpen, it's hard to imagine that they'll overpay for the veteran DH.
If Ortiz doesn't cut his demands and sign with the Red Sox, look for him to get overpaid to go to a mediocre AL team to play DH. The Blue Jays would appear to be a decent fit where he could protect Jose Bautista.
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Here's my candidate for a Werthian-type contract. Well, he won't get that much, but he'll be overpaid.
Jason Kubel is young enough to demand a long-term contract and you could see a desperate team fulfill those wishes.
The Cleveland Indians have been extremely active this offseason, and after getting Grady Sizemore to resign for a reasonable price tag, they would appear to be a team willing to offset those savings to add another MLB bat, regardless of the talent level of that bat or the price tag associated.
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The productive, but oft-injured Josh Willingham has been relatively anonymous in his MLB career.
That's what happens when you've played for the Marlins, Nationals and A's. However, look for Willingham to ride his 2011 performance to a higher-priced zip code this offseason.
Contenders with needs in the outfield such as the Tigers, Red Sox and Braves seem to be good fits for Willingham, who's coming off the best season of his seven-year career.
If he doesn't sign with one of those teams, he'll be back in a place like Oakland—overpaid.
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The 33-year-old, defensively-challenged Aramis Ramirez is going to be looking for a huge payday after .306/26 HR/93 RBI season with the lovable losers on the North Side.
He'll probably get close to what he's looking for, but it'll come from a non-contender that needs to overpay to get him to sign.
Look for Ramirez to take the money rather than sign a reasonable contract with a contender.
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Despite being shut down with a shoulder injury in 2011, Paul Maholm has some things working for him.
He's a lefty, only 29 and coming off a season that featured a career-best ERA. These factors might lead a middling team to offer him a multi-year deal despite his shoulder issues.
If he doesn't sign a one-year deal with a team like the Yankees or Red Sox, look for him to sign with a team like the Nationals who'd be willing to get him more money and years.