Top Seven Worst Cubs Contracts

JoeSportsFanSenior Analyst IJuly 10, 2009

MILWAUKEE - JUNE 4: General Manager Jim Hendry of the Chicago Cubs talks with reporters before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park June 4, 2007 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Cardinals and Cubs meet at Wrigley this weekend for a huge four-game series, culminating with a day-night doubleheader on Sunday before the All-Star Break.  It’s hard to expect a series as intense as the infamous (for Cards fans at least) five-game series in September 2003.

But with the Cubs bouncing back and forth between “awful” and “showing life” and the Cards in first place, with the weather warm, it’s going to be a heated weekend with fans attempting to set beer-drinking records.  With their $134 million payroll, the Cubs aren’t getting a whole lot for that right now, and this week’s Top Seven looks at the worst contracts that help compose the NL’s second-highest total.

7. Jason Marquis

Trading him last off-season to the Rockies, the Cubs had to pick up $875,000 of his salary.  He has gone on this year to an 11-5 record with a 3.61 ERA and an All-Star appearance.  That being said, it’s hard to blame Cub fans for wanting to get rid of him, as there are few players more frustrating to have on your team.

6. Carlos Zambrano

“Big Z” is getting ace money and he is not an ace.  $18 million a season through 2012 with an option for 2013.  Plus you never know when he’ll snap and hit six consecutive batters.

5. Jim Hendry

He is possibly the most hated person in Chicago sports right now, and he is signed through 2012.  Among his moves this off-season were trading fan favorite Mark DeRosa, for two reasons: to (allegedly) get prospects to deal for Jake Peavy, which never happened, and make room for more lefty bats in the Cub lineup.  Enter signings Aaron Miles and Milton Bradley, both of whom come later in the list.  When Aramis Ramirez was injured early this season, the Cubs needed a player exactly like DeRosa, and were forced to sign a real-life version of your fantasy waiver-wire pick-up/drop leader, Ryan Freel.  Later, DeRosa went on the trade block, Hendry showed interest, but instead saw him go to the Cardinals.  Rough ride for Hendry this year.

4. Kosuke Fukudome

In his defense, he has been pretty serviceable this season with a .382 OBP and 31st in the NL in OPS.  But his worst part of his first season was the second half of last year, when he hit .217 and disappeared in the postseason.  Those are type of numbers that make Cub fans stare in disbelief at the four years and $48 million that they’re paying him.  Plus, $12 million per year should probably get you more than seven homers in the first half from an outfield spot, especially when Ryan Theriot has that many.

3. Milton Bradley

He and No. 1 on the list are running neck-and-neck for “most hated Cub of the decade,” impressive in just his first season.  As much as he has gone through so far in his first year with the Cubs—getting tossed in his first Wrigley at-bat, claiming umps are against him and intentionally call bad strikes, throwing a ball in the stands even though there were only two outs, getting called a piece of s*** by Lou Piniella—you get the feeling that he’s got much more of that in him before the season finishes.  And if not, you can bet it will happen sometime in the three-year, $30 million contract that he signed.

2. Aaron Miles

He is on the DL right now, where he is definitely more valuable to the team.  Even if it was a two-year, $4 contract it would have been bad, but the Cubs gave him two years and $4.9 million.  Evidently they had to try to outdo Neifi Perez’s current pace-setter as “worst multi-year contract to a short, light-hitting utility infielder.”  It consistently looks like he’s about to head fishing at your local lake, but instead hits .203 with seven extra base hits and a .240 on-base percentage as he has so far this year.  The one thing he had going for him was his goatee, and he shaved it this year too.  Luckily he can pitch if you ever get down 17-1.

1. Alfonso Soriano

Here is a way for Cards fans to understand what Cub fans are going through.  Soriano has a lower OPS this season than Chris Duncan and just 40 points higher than Rick Ankiel, who we Cards fans thought were surely the worst players in baseball history.  He’s also barely above Luis Castillo, who has zero home runs.  He plays left field miserably.  He hit .216 in May and .198 in June, and has followed that up with a .238 clip so far in July, with no RBI in 21 at-bats.  His last home run came on June 7.  It’s bad enough if this were his last year, but he has an eight year, $136 million contract that doesn’t end until 2014.  2014!!!  He also has some incentives, including a $75,000 bonus if he wins the Gold Glove.  Why stop at $75,000?  Why not just make it $3 trillion?  It’s like offering me a $75,000 bonus if I find, hunt, kill and eat a stegosaurus.

The Top 7 is written by Jason Major. He’s getting paid handsomely by the Cubs to write for JoeSportsFan. Email him at jason@joesportsfan.com.

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