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Who has the worst contract in baseball?

Jan 21, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT

Matthew Carruth at FanGraphs wants you to vote on it.  His candidates: Barry Zito, Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, or the write-in candidate of your choice. I think I’ll write in FOX’s broadcast contract with Major League Baseball, though in that case neither of the parties to the deal are its biggest victims.

If we limit it to ballplayers I don’t think I can top Matthew’s triumvirate. Soriano’s is probably the worst. Yeah,  Zito’s is bad, but he’s at least he’ll take the ball every fifth day and give you average production. Wells may be just as bad as Soriano’s I suppose, but at least he’s a couple of years younger. I dunno, they’re all dogs.

Most of all, I’m having a hard time getting my head around the fact that teams used to give out contracts like that to players no one ever believed to be the best at their position at any given time.

  1. Old Gator - Jan 21, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    Aww, Alex Rios, hands down. Even his manager badmouths him in public, although since it’s Ozzie, perhaps you want to take that part of it with a grain of salt the size of a mesolithic dolmen. A few years ago you could have said Carl Pavano, of course….

  2. Ronko - Jan 21, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    How can it not be the Dynamic Duo of Bill Hall and Jeff Suppan for the Brewers. The Crew owes Hall over $7 million this year and he has been traded twice since he has been a Brewer and he has not done anything for a couple years. Suppan is going to make $12.25 million this year to probably be a long reliever to fill in when the starter gives up way too many runs early in ball games. Can’t take a chance on him for anything else!

  3. TomTom - Jan 21, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    Omar Minaya? Dayton Moore?

  4. Andrew - Jan 21, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    Wells is worse then Soriano especially when you factor in defense. At least in a corner he doesn’t cause the same amount of damage as Wells. Also the cubs can handle the burden of his contract more then th jays, but I’m not sure if that is a factor we are considering.

  5. Alex K - Jan 21, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    I vote Wells. He is healthy and putting up terrible numbers. Plus, he is owed more money. Soriano still has the injury excuse as to why he’s been bad.

  6. john pileggi - Jan 21, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    Wells. Worst of an awful lot.

  7. Mark - Jan 21, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    I’m not really sure Wells is healthy. In 07 he played through an injury with his shoulder, and I believe in 2008 he dove for a ball and injured his wrist. It was pretty nasty. He came back earlier than expected and did ok, but since then his power has been non-existant. Which could explain why he had a 140 IOS vs his career of 190. I vaguely remember him getting surgery after the season ended to repair something in his wrist.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to defend Wells. He’s got the worst contract in all of baseball and it’s not remotely close. But I don’t think he’s healthy either. He’s got issues with his hamstrings (which is my bet as to why he’s become such a horrible fielder), and a wrist injury that I’m positive is responsible for his drop in power.
    If healthy he’s a 280-330-470 OPS guy…which wouldn’t be bad if he made under 10 million.
    You know it’s bad when I’m just asking for Wells to put up even an 800 OPS.

  8. Moses Green - Jan 21, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    There are so many options, it’s really hard to choose. But fun trying.
    My vote is with Gary Matthews. 5 years $50 million. One year as a starter, 4 years left as the most amazingly overpaid backup in baseball. What’s less valuable than a 4th OF? At least all of the candidates above are full-time starting baseball players.

  9. D-Luxxx - Jan 21, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Nick Punto. The Twins are paying starting SS/2B money for (at best) a utility man.

  10. Andrew - Jan 21, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Even if Vernon put up those numbers playing left or right it would be nothing to write home about. If he was a free agent the only team I could see giving him a starting job would be the very same jays.

  11. Dberg - Jan 21, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    Dontrelle Willis. The Tigers paid him about $30 million over 3 years and have gotten exactly one good game from him. After the first two years with Detroit, Dontrelle is 1-6 with an 8.27 ERA in 57.2 innings. Oh yeah, and he’s got 9.8 BB/9 and only 5.5 K/9. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

  12. JayT - Jan 21, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    Wells is way worse then Soriano. Yeah, Soriano was terrible this year, but at least he’s had two other seasons that he earned his keep, and if he is actually healthy this year I could see a bounce back. Wells (and Zito for that matter) both went to hell the minute they signed their contracts.

  13. Brewer fan - Jan 21, 2010 at 11:34 AM


  14. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 21, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    You could have said Carl Pavano, of course…., she hurt her butt when she fell trying to get to first base, she is a thief , she stole Georges Yankee money, not nice!!!!

  15. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 21, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    you had me crying, don’t be foolish

  16. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 21, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    You could have said Carl Pavano, of course…., she hurt her butt when she fell trying to get to first base, she is a thief , she stole Georges Yankee money, not nice!!!!

  17. BC - Jan 21, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    I second the nomination for Omar Minaya.

  18. DLF - Jan 21, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Eric Burns of the lovable Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s on the last year of a $30 million contract and was just “designated for assignment” after contributing NOTHING for the last 2 years. This from the same team that paid Russ Ortiz millions after he was long gone and had also produced NOTHING.

  19. Eric in Italy - Jan 21, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    I’d have to agree with Dberg and go with Dontrelle Willis.
    What about the best contract? Who is the best player making something near the ML minimum?

  20. sean - Jan 21, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Mike Hampton…. Hands down… Worst Contract of all time… He broke a record with his contracts.. and missed 3 years of action.. At least the other guys played

  21. Anders - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    it may not be the worst but jd drew is making $14 million a year for 68 rbis

  22. Paul - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    Um, it’s Wells, and it’s not even close. He is owed $21 million per year (except in 2013 when he makes $23M) for the next FIVE YEARS. That’s about a quarter of the Blue Jays’ payroll, annually, to a guy who isn’t even a top-40 OF. He’s total garbage and he’s one of the absolute top paid players in the game!
    When one contract is singlehandedly going to cripple a team for half a decade, I’d say it’s the worst. In fact, I think it’s the worst contract in the history of MLB, and I don’t think that’s particularly close either (Hampton’s would be second).

  23. Disgruntled Buc Fan - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    The Pittsburgh Pirates’ season ticket holders!

  24. Fast Eddy - Jan 21, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    One more vote for Suppan. He is very poor. Surprised the Cards got so much out of him before giving up.

  25. herb buchsbaum - Jan 21, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    My vote is for Oliver Perez.He has a 36 million dollar contract, because the Mets didn’t want to spend more money or give a fourth year for Derrick Lowe last season. The Padres & Pirates both got rid of Perez, he is dead from the neck up, I spent one Sunday afternoon, screaming at him during a dreadful performance against Washington last year at Citifield.
    My runner up is Luis Castillo, who was out of shape and loudly booed at Shea Stadium in 2008 and begged Omar for another chance last year and they are stuck with another 2 years with him. His dropped pop up ball from a-rod put the final nail in the coffin for the Mets season last year. Because of these shrewd moves by Omar & the Wilpons, I haven’t bought seats for this year

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