Listing the 25 most overpaid MLB players in 2023, from future Hall of Famers to surprise names

Jul 25, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Los Angeles Angles center fielder Mike Trout (27) sits in dugout in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 25, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Los Angeles Angles center fielder Mike Trout (27) sits in dugout in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
5 of 25
Next
Jose Abreu. David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Jose Abreu. David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

21. Jose Abreu, first base, Houston Astros

The Astros signed Abreu to a three-year deal over the winter that is paying him $19.5 million this season.

On Chicago’s South Side, where he spent the first nine seasons of his career, Abreu was a standout. A two-time All Star, he won the Rookie of the Year (2014) and Most Valuable Player (2020) awards with the White Sox. With the Crawford boxes in the line of fire, Abreu was expected to have a big 2023 season in Houston.

The opposite has occurred. Abreu approaches the end of July batting just .244 – the worst average of his career – with just eight home runs and 51 RBIs. Both are on pace to be career lows for a full season.

The dissipation of his power is particularly baffling. Abreu is carrying a .350 slugging average, nearly 100 points below the worst slugging season of his career.

So it’s no surprise that he ranks high on the most overpaid list. Here’s why.

The 35 qualified first basemen come with an average $7.64 million salary and generate on average 1.049 WAR. Abreu’s $19.5 million salary is nearly three times the positional average, but his -0.5 WAR is a point and a half below the positional average. In fact only one first baseman, Trey Mancini on Chicago’s North Side, has a worse WAR and Mancini carries a below-average salary.

In fact Abreu’s negative WAR means that beyond not having earned any part of his $19.5 million salary, he (theoretically) owes the Astros about $3.644 million. That means he is overpaid by $23.144 million.