Joey Votto

Five worst MLB contracts in 2021

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When will MLB teams learn that long-term contracts aren’t always worthwhile in the long run? In fact, more times than not, they are downright terrible toward the end. Let’s take a look at the teams suffering through some of the worst contracts in baseball heading into the 2021 MLB season.

David Price, two years, $64 million remaining

The good news for the Dodgers is they clearly don’t have a problem spending money. Plus, they mostly agreed to trade for David Price as a means to get Mookie Betts. They also lucked out a little when Price opted out of the 2020 season.

Nevertheless, they’re still on the hook for $64 million over the next two years, finishing what started as a seven-year deal worth $217 million. To be fair, Price was solid when he last pitched in 2019, going 7-5 with a 4.28 ERA over 22 starts. But he’s bound to be a little rusty after sitting out last year and has had some elbow issues in recent years. Even if you take the optimistic view, Price isn’t worth anywhere close to $32 million per season.

Stephen Strasburg, six years, $210 million remaining

Stephen Strasburg made a brilliant and somewhat shrewd move when he opted out of his contract after winning World Series MVP in 2019. The Nationals then got caught up in the excitement of winning the World Series by handing the injury-prone Strasburg a new seven-year, $245 million contract.

Right on cue, Strasburg left his second start of the 2020 season after three batters and was never seen again. The Nationals now have six more years of worrying about Strasburg staying healthy while paying him an average of $35 million per season, keeping in mind he’s already 32.

The best-case scenario for Washington is paying Strasburg roughly $1 million per start. Even at his best, that might be a bit much.


Joey Votto, three years, $75 million remaining

You can’t blame the Reds for wanting to keep at least one of their homegrown stars around for his entire career. That’s why they gave Joey Votto a 10-year, $225 million extension in 2012.

It was great at the time, but now Votto is 37 and starting to show his age. He can still mash a little, but he’s not the hitter he once was, making him vastly overpaid for how productive he is at this stage in his career.

Miguel Cabrera, three years, $94 million remaining

Miguel Cabrera is the poster boy for why you don’t give out long-term deals. He was already in his 30s when the Tigers gave him an eight-year extension worth $248 million.

For a while, he was the best hitter in baseball, which made the contract almost seem worthwhile. However, he’ll turn 38 in April and has gone four straight seasons with an OPS under .900, not even reaching .800 in three of those years.

At the moment, he’s a subpar DH who’s an injury risk and is making an average of $31 million for three more seasons.

Chris Davis, two years, $34 million remaining

This has been the worst contract in baseball for at least two years, and the Orioles still have two years left of it.


Chris Davis got a seven-year, $161 million deal fresh off a season in which he hit 47 home runs. But it’s been all downhill since then with one of the sharpest declines in recent memory.

Despite hitting the occasional home run, Davis has been a sub-.200 hitter in three straight years. The Orioles can’t even justify putting him in the lineup every day anymore. Yet, there’s nothing they can do to avoid paying him the last $34 million of his contract over the next two seasons. 
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