Each MLB Team's Nightmare Contract By 2024

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesFeatured Columnist IVOctober 16, 2022

Each MLB Team's Nightmare Contract By 2024

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 02: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres looks on from his position against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the six inning at Oracle Park on October 02, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
    San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

    A handful of MLB teams are still trying to win it all in 2022. Most have already turned their focus to 2023. But we're taking it one step into the future by highlighting the worst contract on every team's payroll in 2024.

    The Oakland A's are off the hook for this exercise. They don't even have an official figure on the books for 2023 yet, let alone 2024. And the Pittsburgh Pirates only have one player with a known salary for two seasons from now, so that wasn't a tough call, even though it's a solid contract.

    But most franchises do already have at least one contract that is likely to make them grimace heading into 2024.

    In each case, the entire contract for 2024 and beyond factored into the possible nightmare status. For instance, $35 million for Corey Seager in 2024 shouldn't be bad at all, but $256.5 million for him from 2024-31 could be quite the headache for the Texas Rangers.

    And goodness only knows what San Diego is going to get out of Fernando Tatis Jr. for nearly $325 million from 2024-34.

    Teams are listed in alphabetical order by location and broken into three-team clusters.


    Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles

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    MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 05: Marcell Ozuna #20 of the Atlanta Braves rounds second base after hitting a home run in the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on October 05, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
    Atlanta's Marcell Ozuna (Eric Espada/Getty Images)

    Arizona Diamondbacks: Ketel Marte
    Contract Details: $13 million in 2024, $16 million in 2025, $16 million in 2026, $14 million in 2027, $13 million team option (or $3 million buyout) in 2028

    In 2019, Marte batted .329, hit 32 home runs and finished fourth in the NL MVP vote. In 90 games played in 2021, he hit .318 with 14 homers. And If even 75 percent of that version of Marte shows up for the duration of the five-year, $76 million extension that begins in 2023, it'll be worth it.

    But 2022 Marte batted .240 for the year and had just two home runs and one stolen base over his final 49 games played. And while the second baseman used to be an asset on defense, his glove has fallen by the wayside over the past two seasons, too.


    Atlanta Braves: Marcell Ozuna
    Contract Details: $16 million in 2024, $16 million team option (with a $1 million buyout) in 2025

    Ozuna's off-the-field issues have been bad enough to make this a nightmare contract. He was arrested in August for an alleged DUI, and he was retroactively suspended 20 games in November under the league's domestic violence policy after police said they saw Ozuna attack his wife, Genesis Guzman.

    The outfielder did at least hit 23 home runs this season, but both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference have graded him as a below-replacement-level player in each of the past two seasons. Despite tied with Kenley Jansen as the second-highest paid player on Atlanta's roster—only Charlie Morton ($20 million) made more this season—Ozuna even start Game 1 of the NLDS. It's hard to imagine they're still going to want him around two years from now.


    Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis (deferred contract)
    Contract Details: see below

    It's the gift that keeps on giving. Not only are the Orioles paying the 36-year-old Davis $17 million for 2022 even though he hasn't played in a game since 2020, but now comes the 15-year, $42 million deferred portion of the seven-year, $161 million deal he signed before the 2016 season.

    It'll be $9.17 million in each of 2023 and 2024 (the original $3.5 million of deferred money plus $5.67 million in retained money from spacing out his 2022 salary over three seasons), followed by $3.5 million each year from 2025-32 and then $1.4 million each year from 2033-37. It's nothing short of brutal for this small-market team.

Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 17: (NEW YIRK DAILIES OUT)  Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 17, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Boston's Chris Sale (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

    Boston Red Sox: Chris Sale
    Contract Details: $27.5 million in 2024, $20 million vesting option* in 2025

    Technically, Sale could opt out of the remainder of his contract this offseason. But considering he logged just 5.2 innings in yet another injury-riddled season and considering he turns 34 right around Opening Day, there's just no way he'd get a more lucrative or longer-term deal than this. Boston just has to hope that his age-35 season is a healthy one.

    (By the way, he's only actually getting $17.5 million in 2024, because $10 million of his salary in each year 2020-24 was deferred to 2035-39. But it'll still show up on the 2024 payroll as $27.5 million.)

    *The vesting option hinges on Sale finishing top-10 in the 2024 AL Cy Young vote and includes some escalators based on how high he finishes in that vote. If he doesn't finish top-10, I believe he becomes a free agent basically the moment the vote is announced.


    Chicago Cubs: Marcus Stroman
    Contract Details: $21 million player option in 2024

    The Cubs have five figures on the books for 2024: a $16 million team option (or $1.5 million buyout) for Kyle Hendricks, a $6 million team option (or $1 million buyout) for Yan Gomes, $5.5 million for David Bote, three years and $59 million left on Seiya Suzuki's contract and this player option for Stroman.

    One could definitely make a case for Bote here, but player options are always a nightmare for the team. If Stroman is good enough in 2023 to be worth $21 million in 2024, he'll opt out in hopes of a multiyear deal and will either go elsewhere or cost the Cubs more to keep him. Considering he had a 2.56 ERA over his final 16 starts of this season, there's a good chance that happens.

    But if he stinks or suffers a significant injury in 2023, Chicago would be on the hook for a lot of money in 2024.


    Chicago White Sox: Yoán Moncada
    Contract Details: $24.8 million in 2024, $25 million team option (with $5 million buyout) in 2025

    In his age-24 season in 2019, Moncada hit .315 with 25 home runs. Understandably, the White Sox moved fast to lock him up long-term, giving him a five-year, $70 million deal with an option for a sixth season.

    But in three years since then, Moncada has batted .238 with 32 home runs in 300 games played.

    He did at least have a great glove at the hot corner this season, but this escalating contract—$1.8 million in 2020, $6.8 million last year, $13.8 million this year, $17.8 million next year, $24.8 million in 2024—is growing increasingly painful.

Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Colorado Rockies

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    MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 24: Kris Bryant #23 of the Colorado Rockies steps to the plate against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on July 24, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
    Colorado's Kris Bryant (John Fisher/Getty Images)

    Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto
    Contract Details: $20 million team option (or $7 million buyout) in 2024

    The rebuilding Reds have even fewer candidates than the Cubs. The only players even signed into 2023 are Votto, Mike Moustakas and, theoretically, Mike Minor, though there is no chance Cincinnati picks up his $13 million mutual option for next year.

    Extend the view to 2024 and it's just a pair of $20 million team options for Votto and Moustakas—the former with a $7 million buyout, the latter with a $4 million buyout. It's unlikely Cincinnati exercises either of those options, so the bigger one is the bigger nightmare.

    Votto was fantastic for the Reds for many years, and if they want to pay him $20 million for a proper farewell tour, good for them. But he turns 40 next September and already had career-worst marks in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging in 2022.


    Cleveland Guardians: Myles Straw
    Contract Details: $4.9 million in 2024, $6.4 million in 2025, $7.4 million in 2026, $8 million team option (with $1.75 million buyout) in 2027, $8.5 million team option (with $500,000 buyout) in 2028

    Here's the thing about light-hitting speedsters who derive a lot of their value from defense: As soon as they reach the age where they lose half a step—usually around 31 years old but sometimes earlier—it's a steep fall from grace.

    Guys like Michael Bourn, Rajai Davis, Chone Figgins, Juan Pierre and Willy Taveras all went through it, and at some point before this contract ends, Straw probably will, too.

    The outfielder turns 28 on Monday, so he should have a few good years left. But by the time his salary escalates to $7.4 million in 2026, he might be a below-replacement-level player.

    (Really, though, the Guardians have no bad contracts. I had to talk myself into this one being a potential issue.)


    Colorado Rockies: Kris Bryant
    Contract Details: $28 million in 2024, $27 million per year in 2025-28

    This contract never made sense for Colorado, but it looks even worse after the 30-year-old left fielder/designated hitter spent most of the season on the injured list and homered sparingly when actually available.

    July was nice. Bryant hit .341 with five home runs and only missed five games. But unless he can do something close to that for all six months of the season for another six seasons, he's not going to be worth this much money.

Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals

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    DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 29:  Kansas City Royals designated hitter Salvador Perez (13) blows a bubble gum bubble as he looks on from the dugout during the first inning of a regular season Major League Baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers on September 29, 2022 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Kansas City's Salvador Perez (Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Detroit Tigers: Javier Báez
    Contract Details: $25 million (player option) in 2024, $25 million in 2025, $24 million in 2026, $24 million in 2027

    One way or the other, this one is probably going to hurt.

    Either Báez bounces back from a rough first year in Detroit, becomes an All-Star in 2023 and peaces out on the rest of this deal for more money elsewhere. Or, worse, the shortstop struggles again, opts into the remaining $98 million on the deal and becomes a 25 percent less expensive version of the Miguel Cabrera contract that has been weighing this franchise down for half a decade.

    Maybe they get lucky and Báez finally turns a corner right after opting in for four more years. But when do Detroit's sports teams ever get lucky like that?


    Houston Astros: Jose Altuve
    Contract Details: $29 million in 2024

    I don't actually dislike any of the contracts Houston has on the books for 2024 and beyond. In particular, it's hard not to love having Yordan Alvarez for $10.8 million in 2024 and $15.8 million in 2025.

    But if any of them were to turn sour, it would probably be Altuve not living up to the value of the final season of his seven-year, $163.5 million deal. He'll turn 34 about a month into the 2024 season, and only a handful of middle infielders in the past two decades—Jeff Kent, Ian Kinsler, Bret Boone, Derek Jeter and Brandon Crawford—have delivered an All-Star-caliber season that late in life.


    Kansas City Royals: Salvador Perez
    Contract Details: $20 million in 2024, $20 million in 2025, $13.5 million team option (with $2 million buyout) in 2026

    The Royals actually signed Perez to this four-year, $82 million extension right before he went out and led the majors in both home runs (48) and RBI (121) in 2021. But Perez is about to enter his age-33 season, and it has been a decade since the last time a catcher hit more than 20 home runs in a single season at 33 or older. (A.J. Pierzynski hit 27 out of nowhere at 35 in 2012.)

    Even if he goes the Joe Mauer or Buster Posey route and starts playing more first base/DH, the mileage on those knees from nearly 10,000 career innings at catcher isn't going anywhere. I would be shocked if Perez is still worth $20 million in 2024 or 2025.

Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins

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    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14: Anthony Rendon #6 of the Los Angeles Angels runs to first base against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 14, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
    Los Angeles Angels' Anthony Rendon (Michael Owens/Getty Images)

    Los Angeles Angels: Anthony Rendon
    Contract Details: $38.6 million in 2024, $38.6 million in 2025, $38.6 million in 2026

    I suppose the good news is the final three years of Rendon's contract can't go a whole lot worse than the first three have.

    Well, that's not fair. He was solid during the truncated 2020 season. But a .235 average with 11 home runs in 105 games between 2021-22 was pretty horrific, considering he was the third-highest paid player in all of baseball this season.

    If he finally gets healthy and comes anywhere close to repeating what he did from 2017-19 with the Washington Nationals, he could be worth this hefty chunk of change. But if he continues to struggle and his salary is a key reason why the Angels fail to sign Shohei Ohtani to a long-term deal, Angels fans might turn on Rendon as hard as any fanbase has ever turned on one of its own.


    Los Angeles Dodgers: Chris Taylor
    Contract Details: $13 million in 2024, $13 million in 2025, $12 million team option (or $4 million buyout) in 2026

    The latter stages of Mookie Betts' 12-year, $365 million contract could get a little ugly. He was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, worth his $22.5 million salary and then some this season. But $35 million in 2028 at 35 years old? $32.5 million in 2032 at 39 years old? We shall see.

    We're going with Taylor, though, as the now 32-year-old utility man took a pretty big step backward this season, batting .221 with 10 home runs and striking out at the worst rate (35.2 percent) among MLB players not named Joey Gallo who made at least 300 plate appearances. The Dodgers re-signed him to a four-year, $60 million deal after an All-Star campaign in 2021, but it's already looking like a rough investment.


    Miami Marlins: Avisaíl García
    Contract Details: $12 million in 2024, $12 million in 2025, $12 million team option (with a $5 million buyout) in 2026

    One year removed from clubbing 29 home runs with an .820 OPS for the Brewers, García was one of the worst hitters in the majors in 2022. Among players who tallied at least 350 plate appearances, his OPS (.582) ranked 237th out of 246, and his wRC+ grade (66) ranked 235th.

    In fairness, he was almost as woeful in 2020 before a huge 2021 campaign, so maybe he'll bounce back next season and will be worth the four-year, $53 million contract that this low-budget team gave him. More likely, though, 2021 was just a flash in the pan for a 31-year-old who has had a sub-.390 slugging percentage in four of the past eight seasons. Things are only going to get worse as this 2017 All-Star with nary an MVP vote in his career gets older.

Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets

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    MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 29: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers after a base hit against the Miami Marlins at American Family Field on September 29, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
    Milwaukee's Christian Yelich (John Fisher/Getty Images)

    Milwaukee Brewers: Christian Yelich
    Contract Details: $26 million per year 2024-28, $20 million mutual option in 2029

    There were moments this season when it felt like the Yelich of old—the dude who won one NL MVP and almost won another before fracturing his kneecap on a foul ball—was finally back.

    There was a 13-game stretch early in the year when he hit .362 with four home runs as well as a 25-game run before the All-Star break in which he batted .330 and had both a nine-game and 12-game hitting streak.

    In the end, though, Milwaukee paid $26 million for a .252 batting average, 14 home runs, 19 stolen bases and mediocre defense in left field, which is miserable return on investment. And they still have to pay $26 million per year for another six seasons to someone who turns 31 this offseason.


    Minnesota Twins: Byron Buxton
    Contract Details: $15.14 million (with possible escalators) per year from 2024-28

    I hope I'm wrong and that this ends up being a bargain of a contract, because when Buxton is healthy and mashing baseballs, the entire sport is more fun for it.

    If he does ever thrive, though, the Twins will be paying more than this. He has escalators in his contract based upon AL MVP votes and plate appearances to the point where $15.14 million becomes $25.64 million (for that one year) if he wins MVP and makes at least 625 plate appearances.

    Granted, it's totally worth it if he can pull it off, but this feels like a bad contract because the injury-prone star has just 1,160 plate appearances over the past five seasons combined.


    New York Mets: Francisco Lindor
    Contract Details: $34.1 million per year through 2031

    As is the case with Corey Seager at Texas, the thought of paying a middle infielder over $30 million per year through his age-37 season is just plain terrifying.

    Lindor is worth it for now and probably will be for at least a few more years. He didn't have a great debut season in Queens in 2021, but he was healthy and way better this year, batting .270 with 26 home runs, 107 RBI and 16 stolen bases. We won't know MVP vote results for another few weeks, but he should be headed for the fifth top-15 finish of his career.

    It's the 2028-31 portion of this contract that feels like a nightmare.

New York Yankees, Oakland A's, Philadelphia Phillies

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    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 11: Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees rounds the bases after grounding out to third base in the sixth inning during the game between the Cleveland Guardians and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 in New York, New York. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
    New York Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton (Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

    New York Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton
    Contract Details: $32 million in 2024, $32 million in 2025, $29 million in 2026, $25 million in 2027, $25 million team option (or $10 million buyout) in 2028

    Say hello to the new Miguel Cabrera.

    The latter stages of Stanton's 13-year, $325 million contract were always going to be painful, but he is already barely a shell of the man they traded for five years ago. He's batting .255 and slugging .499 since joining the Yankees, and barring a Barry Bonds-type of totally natural late-career resurgence, that is inevitably going to get worse now that the oft-injured slugger is into his mid-30s.

    (Honorable mention for the Gerrit Cole contract. He has a player option before the 2025 season, but most likely, the Yankees will be paying him $36 million each year through 2028. And if his current trajectory—his ERA has gone from 2.50 to 2.84 to 3.23 to 3.50 over the past four years—continues, yikes.)


    Oakland A's: None
    Contract Details: None

    Oakland does not have a single salary on the books for 2023, let alone 2024.

    All hail Oakland, smasher of the reset button.

    (Although, still playing home games at RingCentral Coliseum could be considered the biggest nightmare contract of all. That lease finally ends after the 2024 season.)


    Philadelphia Phillies: Nick Castellanos
    Contract Details: $20 million in 2024, $20 million in 2025, $20 million in 2026

    Castellanos' defense should not be a worry. It's terrible and has been throughout his career. But the Phillies signed him to be their DH and got stuck with him as their everyday right fielder when Bryce Harper became unable to throw a baseball because of his UCL injury.

    However, you've got to be worried when the guy you signed to be your DH delivers career-worst marks in slugging (.389) and OPS (.694) as an MLB regular in his first year of a five-year, $100 million deal.

Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants

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    SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 14: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres is introduced before the game between the Atlanta Braves and the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Thursday, April 14, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
    San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr. (Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Ke'Bryan Hayes
    Contract Details: $7 million per year 2024-27, $8 million in 2028, $8 million in 2029, $12 million team option (or $6 million buyout) in 2030

    I don't dislike this contract. Hayes is only 25, he has a great glove at the hot corner, and he stole 20 bases this season. Surely, he would get more money than this on the open market if he were hitting free agency this offseason.

    But it is literally the only contract Pittsburgh has beyond this season, so it is, by rule, the biggest nightmare.


    San Diego Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr.
    Contract Details: $11.7 million in 2024, $20.7 million in 2025, $20.7 million in 2026, $25.7 million in 2027, $25.7 million in 2028, $36.7 million per year in 2029-34

    One could also argue for Manny Machado here, who has a player option to either leave during the 2023-24 or stick around for another five years and $160 million. But at least Machado had an awesome 2022 season and it feels like he will be worth all that money.

    Tatis' 14-year, $340 million contract, on the other hand, went from a great-looking investment to a possibly franchise-crippling disaster in a hurry. Not only has the enigmatic shortstop been the furthest thing from Cal Ripken Jr. in terms of injury avoidance in his young career, but the 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs left a lot of people wondering if the Padres could do anything to void the many years remaining on his contract. (They can't. Go ask Robinson Canó.)


    San Francisco Giants: Anthony DeSclafani
    Contract Details: $12 million in 2024

    The DeSclafani contract is—certainly in comparison to a lot of the others on this list—not problematic. He missed most of this season with an ankle injury, but he was a strong No. 3 starter, both for the Giants in 2021 and for the Reds in 2019. He will turn 34 early in the 2024 season, but there's a reasonable chance he'll be worth at least $12 million.

    The Giants rarely dabble in long-term deals. As such, the only other candidates here are Alex Cobb ($10 million team option in 2024 with a $2 million buyout) or Wilmer Flores ($6.5 million in 2024 with a $3.5 million player option for 2025), neither of which look bad at all.

Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays

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    HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 11:  Robbie Ray #38 of the Seattle Mariners pitches during the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
    Seattle's Robbie Ray (Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

    Seattle Mariners: Robbie Ray
    Contract Details: $23 million in 2024, $25 million (player option) in 2025, $25 million in 2026

    Ray's debut year in Seattle was a mixed bag. He had a 4.97 ERA through 12 starts, went for a 2.27 ERA over his next 15 games and sputtered to the finish line before some brutal appearances in the postseason.

    Here's the concerning number, though: 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings. It was his first season below 11.25 K/9 since 2015, and if the 30-year-old lefty is already losing his strikeout touch, the last few seasons of this five-year, $115 million contract could be all sorts of ugly.


    St. Louis Cardinals: Steven Matz
    Contract Details: $12.5 million in 2024, $12.5 million in 2025

    Matz has never had a sub-1.20 WHIP in his career. His best ERA of the past six seasons was a mediocre 3.82 mark in 2021. He has lasted more than seven innings in a start just once in the past six years—an out-of-nowhere 99-pitch shutout in 2019. And he has a cumulative bWAR of just 3.8 dating back to the start of 2017.

    And yet, the Cardinals gave him a back-loaded four-year, $44 million contract last offseason. The first year of that deal was not great and included nearly four months on the IL. It's hard to have much faith in his age-33 or -34 seasons being worth eight figures.


    Tampa Bay Rays: Tyler Glasnow
    Contract Details: $25 million in 2024

    This one might actually be fine if Glasnow is able to regain his pre-Tommy John surgery form, but these balloon payments always sting. He made $5.1 million this season and is slated for $5.35 million in 2023 before an absurd spike to $25 million in 2024.

    And for Tampa Bay, $25 million for one year of one player is unheard of.

    Wander Franco will eventually be getting a little over $25 million per year from the Rays—provided they don't trade him away before 2028—but even David Price, Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria never made $12.5 million in a single season while in Tampa Bay, let alone $25 million.

Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals

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    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JUNE 01:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on June 01, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Washington's Stephen Strasburg (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    Texas Rangers: Corey Seager
    Contract Details: $35 million in 2024, $32.5 million in 2025, $31.5 million each year from 2026-31

    See: Jose Altuve—but so much worse.

    If there's a worry about Altuve not being worth $29 million as a 34-year-old, you better believe there's concern about Seager not being worth $31.5 million as a 37-year-old.

    At least Altuve is a career .307 hitter who hasn't missed 250 games over the course of the past five seasons.

    Even the $35 million in 2024 alone for Seager could be bad, but another seven years and $221.5 million after that might turn this into an outright disaster when all is said and done.


    Toronto Blue Jays: José Berríos
    Contract Details: $17.7 million in 2024, $18.7 million in 2025, $18.7 million in 2026, $24.7 million (player option) in 2027, $24.7 million in 2028

    That seven-year, $131 million deal felt like a good idea this past offseason, but then Berríos went out and allowed more hits and more earned runs than any other AL pitcher in 2022.

    Now, it feels like a nightmare contract. And that two-year, $49.4 million player option when he's into his mid-30s and probably throwing fastballs barely in the 90s is really going to hurt.


    Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg
    Contract Details: $35 million in 2024, $35 million in 2025, $35 million in 2026

    There were a few "might not be worth $35 million per year by 2030" guys on the list.

    But this right here is the worst contract in baseball without a close runner-up.

    Strasburg already hasn't been worth anything close to $35 million per year for the past three years, and Washington still has to pay for another four.

    Including the postseason, the oft-injured Strasburg logged 245.1 innings pitched in an impressive 2019 campaign—25.1 more than in any other season of his career—and he hasn't been anything close to healthy since.

    Strasburg has made just eight appearances over the past three seasons—and with a 6.89 ERA to boot. He turned 34 in July, and though Justin Verlander is still humming along just fine at darn near 40, it sure is starting to feel like Strasburg's career is more or less finished.

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