MLB is full of ugly contracts, but only a handful of deals earn the distinction of being the worst of the worst.
Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels recently parted ways in the middle of their final year together.
It was a 10-year contract worth $254 million, a deal that did not pan out whatsoever.
Let’s see how Pujols’ contract measures up against some of the other disastrous ones in recent memory.
5. Pablo Sandoval
The Boston Red Sox signed Pablo Sandoval to a five-year deal worth $95 million in 2014.
At the time, Sandoval was a career .294 hitter with an .811 OPS, and he had an outstanding postseason track record.
But his time in Boston was nothing short of a train wreck.
Sandoval lasted just two and a half seasons with the Red Sox before the team decided to cut their losses by eating the remaining money and releasing him.
Red Sox announce the release of Pablo Sandoval.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) July 19, 2017
Over 161 games with Boston, Sandoval batted .237 with a .646 OPS.
He had a negative defensive WAR in each of his three seasons with the team.
In fact, his overall WAR with the Red Sox was -0.1.
Boston paid the man $95 million to produce a -0.1 WAR.
4. Rusney Castillo
Another former Red Sox bust makes the list, and this time, it’s Rusney Castillo.
The Red Sox signed Castillo to a seven-year deal worth $72.5 million in 2014.
He made his MLB debut that same season and was impressive over limited games, batting .333 with a .928 OPS.
But when the sample size got larger the following year, Castillo struggled greatly against big-league pitching.
The then-27-year-old batted .253 with a low .647 OPS, and got on base at just a .288 clip.
Castillo spent the rest of that year in the minors.
He was given another shot with the MLB club in 2016, but the results were underwhelming.
After that stint, the Red Sox placed Castillo on outright waivers, which did two things: got him off the 40-man roster and got his salary off the payroll (for luxury tax purposes).
He cleared waivers, then ultimately spent the remaining four seasons of his deal in the minors to keep his salary off the payroll.
3. Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera is currently in the sixth season of an eight-year deal worth $248 million with the Detroit Tigers.
The deal took effect in 2016, which was Cabrera’s last season as an All-Star.
There is no diminishing what Cabrera has accomplished throughout his career—he is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer—but he has fallen off a cliff with age.
Since 2019, Cabrera is batting .259 with a .713 OPS.
This season, he has an abysmal .200/.271/.577 slash line.
The Tigers have not made the postseason since inking Cabrera to the extension.
2. Albert Pujols
We already talked about the logistics of Pujols’ contract—10 years, $254 million.
The contract took effect in 2012, right when Pujols’ prime came to an end.
The future Hall of Famer had an unforgettable first 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, batting .328 with them while posting an absurd 1.037 OPS (over a huge sample size).
Pujols was a nine-time All-Star and a three-time MVP with the Cardinals.
With the Angels, Pujols was not the same player.
He batted .257 with a .761 OPS, and finished just one season with an OPS over .800.
He did hit 20 home runs in six different seasons with Los Angeles, but it wasn’t enough to make up for his struggles with being able to reach base consistently.
Have the Angels gotten the contract value out of Albert Pujols?
— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) April 5, 2021
Pujols’ massive salary set the Angels back year after year when attempting to build a contending team.
1. Chris Davis
The Baltimore Orioles inexplicably signed Chris Davis to a seven-year, $161 million deal before the 2016 season.
Davis had two outstanding power-hitting seasons prior to the agreement.
In 2013 and 2015, he led the league in home runs with 53 and 47, respectively, but some of his complementary statistics were very poor.
The Orioles didn’t seem to care.
Since the extension, Davis has not finished a season with an OPS over .800.
Over the five-year span, he’s batting just .196 with a .670 OPS to complement 762 strikeouts in 534 games.
He has a -2.6 WAR since signing the deal, and is currently out for the entire 2021 MLB season with a hip injury.