Unlike other major sports, MLB players who sign big contracts have a rare combination of guaranteed financial security and no league-imposed limit on their earning potential. NBA and NHL contracts are guaranteed, but limited by the salary cap in place. The NFL takes it one step further and doesn’t always offer those guarantees, while also limiting teams with a salary cap. In MLB, not only is the money guaranteed, but there’s only a luxury tax on excessive spending. That means teams sometimes hand out really bad contracts.
The contracts are great for the player, and good for them for getting such a deal, but from a team’s standpoint, the deals can turn out to be the opposite of advantageous.Here are the ten worst contracts in the sport right now, at least from a team perspective.
10) Jason Heyward, Cubs
The Cubs won a World Series with Heyward in the fold, and he still plays high-level defense. Alas, the Cubs owe him another $106 million through 2023, and they probably weren’t planning on paying it to a guy whose primary appeal is his outfield skills. Since joining Chicago in what looked to be the prime of his career, Heyward has hit .253 with just 25 home runs. Of course, to long-suffering Cub fans, maybe that famous team meeting/speech was worth $184 million.
Albert Pujols’ season has come to an end.
The Los Angeles Angels announced on Wednesday that Pujols underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and will likely be out 6-8 weeks. Since the Angels are not in the playoff hunt, that takes Pujols out for the rest of the season.
Albert Pujols underwent successful arthroscopic debridement of his left knee earlier today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. A general timetable to return to playing following this procedure is 6-8 weeks. Updates will be provided when appropriate.
— Angels (@Angels) August 30, 2018
Pujols had been dealing with knee problems all season, even though he’s been in the lineup this month and even played on Tuesday.
The only time I saw Pujols without ice packs on both knees for the past few months is when he was on the field for BP or games. He was hurting a lot more than he would ever let on. https://t.co/Jct6LyKxpK
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) August 30, 2018
The 38-year-old batted .245 with a .700 OPS this season. He is owed $87 million over the next three years of his contract, which has been an utter bust for the Angels. The team made a bad decision to keep him over CJ Cron this year. They are limiting themselves severely by keeping him around. Cutting him is long overdue.
Albert Pujols still has three years remaining on his contract beyond the current season, and the Los Angeles Angels would probably like nothing more than to be free of the roughly $87 million they still owe him through 2021. If the 38-year-old’s performance continues on its downward trend, he may not stick around to collect the final paycheck on his deal.
Pujols, who has seen his career batting average fall from .328 to .303 in his six-plus seasons with the Angels, spoke with ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez about when he might retire. While he intends to play out the entirety of his contract, he’s not ruling out an early exit.
“When that time comes, it’s not even going to wait until the offseason,” Pujols said. “If I feel it during the season, I’m gone, dude. The day that I feel like I can’t compete in this game anymore, it doesn’t matter how much money I’m going to leave on the table. I’m done, bro. I’ve been blessed.
“One thing is to be out there and just stick around for the money. But to embarrass yourself, and not be able to compete — dude, that’s not me. I have accomplished so many things in this game that I could never even imagine. That drive of playing every day is still with me. I think it’s always going to be with me. What’s going to be tough, obviously, is your health.”
Pujols mentioned a conversation he had with David Ortiz, who retired from the Boston Red Sox following a season in which he hit .315 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI. As someone who has battled foot, elbow and other injuries over the past several seasons, Pujols understands there could come a time where his body simply won’t respond to allow him to play at the level he wants to play at.
Of course, the defensive shift hasn’t helped. Pujols, who is hitting .254 this year and hit a career-low .241 in 2017, says he would be in favor of eliminating the shift so baseball can “see a lot of offense back again like it was before.” He’s faced the shift in 38 percent of his at-bats since 2016 and is hitting .219 when teams deploy it against him.
While Pujols understands it is his responsibility to figure out ways to hit through the shift, he thinks he’d be batting closer to .300 without it.
“Between .290 and .300, for sure,” he said. “Look at the balls that I’m hitting up the middle, especially this year. Out of those 30 or 40 or 50 balls, give me 25 hits. Add those 25 hits to my .250 batting average, I’d be hitting like .290.”
That’s probably an exaggeration, but there’s no question Pujols would be better off without an infielder playing in shallow left against him. And at this point in his career, there’s very little chance of him changing his approach at the plate.
It was quite obvious that the final years of Pujols’ contract were going to be ugly when he signed the deal, but he had a negative WAR in 2017. No one really saw that coming. It should be noted that Pujols has played more games at first base this season than in the past two years combined, so his approach last winter appears to have paid off. Still, there’s little debating the Angels would be better off without his contract on the books.
As six players are inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, it’s easy to look around the current crop of active players and ask which of them will someday receive the same honor. There are many players who are on the right path, but the road to Cooperstown is filled with players who looked like future Hall of Famers before their careers took turns for the worse.
Here is a list of ten active MLB players who look to be on the right track to someday be enshrined in Cooperstown.
Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Beltre’s late-career revival, particularly during his Texas Rangers years, should send him to Cooperstown. A .287 career hitter, he has already surpassed 3,000 hits. He may fall just short of 500 home runs, but he had roughly a decade at the very top of the game. He is a five-time Gold Glover and recognized as one of the better defenders in the game. From 2010 through 2017, he hit .310 and averaged over 30 home runs per season. That’s a lengthy and excellent peak, and it came years after his 48-homer, near MVP season in 2004 with the Dodgers.
Albert Pujols was placed on the disabled list Friday by the Los Angeles Angels and is already working towards improving his condition.
Angels manager said that Pujols received a platelet-rich plasma injection to help his left knee heal. The knee apparently was bothering Pujols for a while.
Mike Scioscia said Albert Pujols has been bothered by pain in his left knee for "awhile" and has been at about 50 percent. He received a PRP injection earlier today.
— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) July 14, 2018
Pujols had been hot at the plate, hitting four home runs in his previous four games, so the timing of his DL stint wasn’t the best for his rhythm. But it does make sense considering the Angels are playing in Dodger Stadium this weekend, where there isn’t a DH.
The 38-year-old is expected to return to action on July 23.
Albert Pujols’ homecoming to St. Louis may finally be happening at long last.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Friday that Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels are scheduled to visit the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in June 2019. The three-game interleague series will mark the ten-time All-Star’s first time returning to St. Louis since his departure in 2011.
Albert Pujols and the #Angels are scheduled to visit St. Louis/Busch Stadium next June, about a year from now, for a three-game interleague series, according to an official familiar with #stlcards wishes and a close-to-final version of 2019 schedule. #MLB
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) June 15, 2018
The 38-year-old Pujols, of course, enjoyed the best years of his MLB career with the Cardinals, playing with them for 11 seasons and winning three NL MVP Awards. He also helped bring two World Series titles to St. Louis.
There was definitely some ill will from Cards fans when Pujols left to sign his huge 10-year, $254 million deal with the Angels. But now that both sides have had time to heal, he should finally be getting the hero’s welcome he deserves.
The lead singer of one of the most successful rock bands in history is passionate about more than just music, and he has an awesome piece of memorabilia to prove it.
Geddy Lee, the lead singer and bassist for Rush, had a very unique reason for requesting Albert Pujols’ autograph before Tuesday night’s game between the Blue Jays and Angels. Lee, who hails from Toronto, has a baseball that is autographed by every member of the 3,000-hit club, and Pujols is the most recent to have accomplished the feat.
Another Geddy Lee moment with #Angels as he & @PujolsFive chatted after BP. Geddy has a baseball w the signatures of ALL the members of the 3000-Hit Club & he needed its newest member…done! Both guys truly love the game of baseball & have a deep appreciation for its history. pic.twitter.com/VDMyzzK6E9
— Victor Rojas (@VictorRojas) May 23, 2018
The 3,000-hit club includes MLB legends like Pete Rose, Hank Aaron, Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr. and many more, so it’s safe to assume Lee’s sports memorabilia collection is worth a pretty penny.