MLB is full of ugly contracts, and there are a few in particular that stand out above the rest this season.
A player doesn’t have to play poorly for his contract to be considered a bad deal, but that often is the case.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the three most overpaid players in MLB this year.
One note: Despite still being owed $30 million by the Los Angeles Angels this season, Albert Pujols will not be included on this list because his current team is only paying him a prorated league minimum.
3. Giancarlo Stanton
The New York Yankees acquired Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins in 2017.
In addition to sending away some talent, part of the Yankees’ sacrifice in the deal was taking on the burden of Stanton’s massive contract.
The Marlins agreed to pay for some of the deal, and the way it breaks down is kind of complicated, but all you need to know is that the Yankees owe Stanton an AAV of $27 million through the 2028 season.
And however you want to spin it, he is not worth the money.
In four seasons with New York, Stanton has struggled to stay on the field due to injuries.
When he has been healthy, he’s been solid at the plate, but not to a degree that justifies his massive salary.
Stanton is batting .265 with an .852 OPS as a Yankee.
It’s a bad deal that the Yankees have no way out of.
2. Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera is one of the greatest hitters of this generation, but he’s not what he used to be.
Cabrera is currently in the midst of an eight-year, $240 million deal with the Detroit Tigers which will keep him with the club through 2024.
On this day in 2014, two-time defending AL MVP Miguel Cabrera signed an eight-year contract extension with the Tigers. Including the two years remaining on his present contract, the deal is worth $292 million, making it the biggest in major league history at the time
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) March 29, 2021
Cabrera had already spent eight years with the club before inking the aforementioned deal, and those first eight seasons were ridiculous by all standards.
In those first eight years, Cabrera was a six-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger and a two-time MVP.
He won four batting titles and led the league in on-base percentage four times, slugging twice, OPS twice, OPS+ twice, total bases twice, runs batted in twice, home runs twice, and doubles twice.
That’s a lot of “twices,” and the wildest part is that those achievements didn’t just come over the course of two really good reasons—they were scattered over those entire eight years.
Let’s not forget that he also won the batting triple crown in 2012 by leading the league in average (.330), homers (44), and RBI (139).
With all of that said, the Tigers made a huge mistake by signing a 33-year-old Cabrera to an eight-year extension.
Since the extension, Cabrera’s production has dropped off more and more each season.
His overall numbers since the deal are okay (.276 average and .797 OPS), but that’s for an AAV of $30 million.
This year, he’s batting just .193 with a .562 OPS.
Cabrera is an all-time great and a future Hall of Famer, but his current deal is a disaster for Detroit.
1. Chris Davis
The Baltimore Orioles went all in on Chris Davis in January of 2016, signing him to a seven-year, $161 million deal that runs through 2022.
Davis had two historic power-hitting seasons in 2013 and 2015 when he led the league with 53 and 47 home runs, respectively.
In four seasons with the Orioles prior to signing the massive deal, Davis averaged 40 home runs per year while batting .256 with an .876 OPS.
That was apparently all Baltimore needed to see.
The franchise neglected some concerning complementary statistics, like Davis’ league-leading 208 strikeouts in 2015 and his .198 batting average in 2014.
After signing the massive deal, Davis had one decent season before turning into one of the least productive hitters in MLB.
That one decent season came in 2016.
David led the league in strikeouts again that year but did hit 38 home runs, had a .792 OPS, and a 3.1 WAR.
In every season since then, Davis has posted a negative WAR.
He had a -0.6 WAR in 2017, a disgusting -3.3 WAR in 2018, a -0.9 WAR in 2019, and a -0.9 WAR in 2020.
Since 2016, Davis is batting .185 with a .615 OPS.
The Orioles are paying him $17 million a year to be a net negative at the MLB level.
5 years ago today the Orioles agreed to a 7 year, $161 million contract with Chris Davis. Since the new contract Davis has 92 home runs, 231 RBIs, 762 strikeouts, and a batting average of .196. Worst deal in MLB history? pic.twitter.com/IDXn7enJbY
— The Exit 52 Podcast (@Exit52Podcast) January 16, 2021
Davis underwent season-ending hip surgery in early 2021, so we won’t see him this year.
Baltimore will have to get through one more season with Davis’ money on the books before they can move on from him for good.