MLB Contracts: The worst contract on every team

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 29: Chris Davis #19 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after striking out looking for the third out of the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 29, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 29: Chris Davis #19 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after striking out looking for the third out of the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 29, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 09: Albert Pujjols attends the Strike Out Slavery Press Conference at Angel Stadium on August 9, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images) /

3. Los Angeles Angels

Albert Pujols, 10 years, $240 million, 2012-21. MVP Sports

The surest signal that the Pujols contract was a clunker came when Pujols’ former team, the Cardinals, walked away from competing to retain their three-time MVP. Arte Moreno signed Pujols both because he believed in the player’s on-field value and also believed in his marketability.

The deal has essentially flopped on both scores. On the field, the Pujols-led Angels have netted one division title – they lost the division series in three games – and more losing seasons (four) than winning ones (three).

Off the field, average home attendance has actually fallen, from 39,090 the season prior to Pujols’ arrival to around 37,200 each of the past four seasons. Team revenues have risen, from $226 million in 2011 to a peak of $350 million in 2016. But in baseball’s money-rich world, revenues are up everywhere. In fact Angels revenues have fallen the past two seasons, to an estimated $334 million in 2018.

Pujols’ contract is part of the reason the Angels are losing because the $87 million he will be paid through 2021 has become a major drag on Angels’ plans. Pujols and Trout together are tying up 37 percent of the entire team payroll.

That would be excusable if Pujols was putting up Trout-like numbers. Instead, he’s turned in back-to-back .245 seasons with a steeply declining OPS and WARs that have lapsed into the negligible level.