22. Yu Darvish, starting pitcher, San Diego Padres
Having been acquired from the Cubs following the 2020 season, Darvish signed a new six-year, $108 million deal this past winter. Coming off a 16-8 3.10 ERA 2021, he was supposed to anchor a championship-worthy pitching staff.
Nothing has gone to plan this season either for the Padres or Darvish. The team is a disappointing fourth in the NL West, four games below .500, despite one of the game’s highest payrolls.
The failure of the 36-year-old Darvish to live up to the expectations of his contract is a big reason why San Diego has under-performed. In 18 starts he’s 7-7 with a 4.80 ERA, his highest since 2018 and the second highest of his career.
His strikeout totals are way off and his WHIP is much higher than normal.
It all translates to an insignificant +0.2 WAR in a starter class where the average is more than five times that. Add in Darvish’s salary, which at $25 million is seventh highest among 128 qualified starters, and it’s easy to see why he is overpaid.
And the overpayment is substantial. Based on both his personal WAR and the average salaries and WARS for the pitching group, Darvish has ‘earned’ just $1.93 million to date. That means he is overpaid to the tune of $23.070 million.