15 Former High-Priced MLB Stars Now Proud to Play for Peanuts

Ryan WolcottContributor IIFebruary 17, 2011

15 Former High-Priced MLB Stars Now Proud to Play for Peanuts

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    ST PETERSBURG, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Johnny Damon #22 and Manny Ramirez #24 of the Tampa Bay Rays talk with reporters at a press conference at Tropicana Field on February 1, 2011 in St Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Some of the former big names in baseball still linger in the sport today, even if it is just for some time in the minor leagues. Some people say that these players should hang up their spurs because they do not know when to walk away.

    Some of the players who took the biggest contracts in baseball, or at least had an extremely expensive market price, are now contracted to play for mere fractions of the contracts that they were once signed to. This has allowed some players to get good playing time for teams that are in desperate need of a rebuild.

    It reunited Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, but some other players are making chump change playing for a minor league team, at least in comparison to what they once made.

Ivan Rodriguez

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    WASHINGTON - AUGUST 10:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals talks with Ivan Rodriguez #7 during the game against the Florida Marlins at Nationals Park on August 10, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Ivan Rodriguez was once an All-Star catcher who was reaching top-dollar prices on the market. The peak of his salary reached $12.3 million, but he will be playing for Washington at $3 million, which is still twice what he made in 2009. Rodriguez is 39 years old, so perhaps this is his last season earning peanuts.

Hideki Matsui

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 14:  Hideki Matsui looks on during a press conference where he was introduced as the newest member of the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 14, 2010 in Oakland, California.  The Oakland Athletics signe
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Hideki Matsui was once making $13 million a season but will be earning $4.25 million from Oakland to be its designated hitter in 2011. Matsui is still making good money compared to most people, but he will be making about a third of his highest salary.

Johnny Damon

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    ST PETERSBURG, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Johnny Damon #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with reports during a press conference at Tropicana Field on February 1, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Johnny Damon, who once made $13 million annually for four years as well as many other years with high-paying contracts, will be earning $5.25 million for Tampa Bay in 2011. Damon is 37 years old, so perhaps this will be his last year in baseball, but another $5 million contract may bring him back for 2012.

Orlando Cabrera

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 06:  Orlando Cabrera #2 of the Cincinnati Reds takes batting practice before Game 1 of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on October 6, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Get
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Orlando Cabrera was making $10 million in 2008, but he will be taking a $9 million pay cut in 2011 to continue playing baseball for only $1 million for the Indians.

Jason Kendall

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 13:  Jason Kendall #18 of the Kansas City Royals congratulates pitcher Joakim Soria #48 after the Royals defeated the New York Yankees 4-3 to win the game on August 13, 2010 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Jason Kendall earned $13.4 million in 2007 but he will be playing the 2011 season at less than a quarter of his best year, earning $3 million for Kansas City. At 36 years of age, how many more years will he continue to play for peanuts?

Vladimir Guerrero

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    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Texas Rangers looks on during batting practice against the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Vladimir Guerrero isn't exactly earning peanuts in 2011 with a salary of $8 million, but it is just shy of half of the contract that he used to be signed to. He is past his prime, and he must settle for a fraction of the salary that he used to earn to stay in the sport.

Austin Kearns

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    ST. PETERSBURG - SEPTEMBER 13:  Austin Kearns #26 of the New York Yankees fouls off a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 13, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Austin Kearns never drew the biggest contracts, but he was formerly paid $8 MM per year, and he will be taking a huge pay cut in 2011, earning just $1.3 MM, in order to remain in baseball.

Andruw Jones

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 29: Andruw Jones #25 of the Chicago White Sox catches a fly ball at the warning track against the New York Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field on August 29, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Yankees defeated the White Sox 2-1. (Photo by Jonathan
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Andruw Jones was once paid $14.7 MM but will be playing for the New York Yankees in 2011 for only $2 MM. He is cutting over $12 MM off his peak salary to find himself on a roster for this season.

Jim Thome

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09:  Jim Thome #25 of the Minnesota Twins looks on dejected from the dugout against the New York Yankees  during Game Three of the ALDS part of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Jim Thome continued his professional career for the 2011 season by re-signing with the Twins for $3 MM, which is $12.6 MM off his peak salary. I guess that is not bad for being a 40-year-old baseball player, however.

Kerry Wood

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Kerry Wood #39 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 6-1
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Kerry Wood will be returning to the Cubs for the 2011 season, earning $1.5 MM after earning $10 MM for the past two seasons for the Indians and Yankees and a peak salary of $12 MM.

Vicente Padilla

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 04:  Starting pitcher Vicente Padilla #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rests in the dug out against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on August 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Padres 9-0.  (Photo by
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Vicente Padilla two seasons ago made his peak salary of $12 MM, but he will be taking a $10 MM pay cut for 2011, as his extension was only for $2 MM.

Pat Burrell

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    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  Pat Burrell of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Pat Burrell was once making $14.25 MM, but he only will be earning $1 MM for the 2011 season.

Jason Giambi

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 15:  Jason Giambi #23 of the Colorado Rockies takes an at bat against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on September 15, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Padres 9-6.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Jason Giambi is 40 years old. He was once earning $23.8 MM. However, for the 2011 season, he will be cutting over $17 MM to play for a minor league team of the Rockies at $6.6 MM.

Carlos Delgado

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    NEW YORK - MAY 09:  Carlos Delgado #21 of the New York Mets runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 9, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Pirates 10-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Ge
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Carlos Delgado was once earning up to $16 MM a year, but he is now playing for a Boston minor league team for only $20,000 per month.

Manny Ramirez

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    ST PETERSBURG, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Manny Ramirez #24 of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with reporters at a press conference at Tropicana Field on February 1, 2011 in St Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Manny Ramirez is perhaps the biggest loser of this group. For a player who once was earning $23.8 MM, he is signed with Tampa Bay for the 2011 season at $2 MM, earning almost $22 MM less than his peak salary. His salary for 2011 is definitely peanuts in comparison to what he made during his prime.