3. Stephen Strasburg, starting pitcher, Washington Nationals
Strasburg’s story is a familiar one, especially to Nationals fans. Darling of the 2009 draft, he was protected from arm injury so assiduously that the Nats even refused to violate a self-imposed innings limit when they qualified for the 2012 post-season.
That move paid off when Strasburg pitched Washington to the 2019 World Series win with a pair of victories over the Astros, in the process earning MVP honors for himself. He also earned a new contract, one that is supposed to have paid him $245 million by the time it expires at the end of 2026.
That post-2019 contract is the issue because despite all Washington’s precautions, Strasburg did develop recurring arm problems, and they have kept him virtually sidelined for four seasons. He has made only eight starts since 2020, pitching just 31 innings and winning just one game.
This year he will make $32.5 million under terms of that deal, but he has not and will not appear in a single game. There is now speculation that his career may be over, although unless Strasburg agrees to retire the Nats will still be out $32.5 million per season to him through 2025.
The facts that he has not pitched and that he will have received $32.5 million makes it easy to determine that in 2023 Stephen Strasburg is overpaid to the tune of $32.5 million. That makes him the most overpaid starter in the current game.