9. Colorado Rockies
Speaking of players who were signed and then dispatched…
Prior to the start of the 2019 season, the Monfort brothers — Rockies team owners — decided to make Nolan Arenado the face of the franchise. They accomplished that with an eight-year, $260 million contract through 2026 that the Rockies almost immediately regretted.
The contract so hamstrung Colorado’s maneuvering power with other players that in 2020 Arenado earned $35 million of a total $53 million team payroll, a jaw-dropping 66 percent of the whole payroll pie directed at one player.
Realizing the obvious payroll bind in which they had placed themselves, the Monforts prior to the 2021 season gift-wrapped Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals. They did so at the price of a $51 million penance (the portion of the remaining $214 million the Rockies agreed to pay) for St. Louis to take Arenado’s contract off their hands.
In 2023, Arenado will make $35 million to play third base for the Cardinals. St. Louis will pay $19 million of that $35 million; the Rockies will pay the rest.
At $32.5 million per season, the Arenado contract is also the franchise’s richest in terms of AAV Still, the Monforts haven’t entirely sworn off spending money. Over the winter of 2021-22, they gave the richest contract in franchise history to a player not already on their roster when they signed Kris Bryant for $182 million over seven seasons.
So far that one hasn’t worked out, either. Bryant spent most of his first season in Colorado on the injured list, getting in just 42 games.