Worst MLB Contracts: National League East

John Supowitz| July 19th, 2019

Washington Nationals 

Pitcher – Pitcher Stephen Strasburg – 7-year, $175 million

Before Contract (2010-2015) : 54-37 3.09 ERA

After Contract (2016-2019) : 51-19 3.27 ERA

Although one of the best pitchers, when he’s on the mound, being on the mound, has been the problem. Strasburg has had a long history with injuries; 2013 and currently this season are the only two when he has been on Injured List at some point. His last 30+ start season was 2014, and he’s only pitched over 200 innings one time.

New York Mets 

Left Fielder Yoenis Cespedes – 3-year $75 million (2016, opted out) – 4-year $110 million

Before Contract (2012-2015): .271, Average Home Runs per season 26, Average RBI per season 92

After Contract 2016-2018): .281 AVG, Average Home Runs 19, Average RBI 52

Even at the time when the Mets signed Cespedes’ first deal, many thought giving him three-years was too much, a successful all-star 2016 led him to opt-out of that deal after one year. The Mets rewarded him an even longer contract, that has not worked out. He’s only played 119 games between 2017 and 2018 due to injuries and will miss all of 2019.

Philadelphia Phillies

First Baseman Ryan Howard – 3-year, $54 Million (2009) 5-year, $125 Million extension in 2010

Before Contract (2004-2008): .279 AVG, Average Home Runs per season 35, Average RBI per season 100

After Contract (2009-2016): .247 AVG, Average Home Runs 26Average RBI 87

Howard’s career ascended quickly: 2005 Rookie of the Year, the following season’s National League Most Valuable Player, then a World Series championship. Howard’s stock was soaring; he was going to be the next superstar in Philadelphia. The end of 2011 was when it all changed; Howard grounded out in game five of NLDS to end the series, but at the same time, tore his Achilles, at that point, he never produced the way he previously did. After 2012, he never hit 30 home runs, only hit above .260 once. His final season in 2016, he only batted .196 in 331 at-bats.

Miami Marlins 

Pitcher – Wei-Yin Chen – 5-year $80 Million

Before Contract (2012-2015) : 46-32 3.76 ERA

After Contract (2016-2019) : 13-19 5.10 ERA

A few years ago, if you had any talent on the mound, you were inclined to receive a big payday, Chen was part of that boom, and unfortunately for Miami, his career has been anything but. Injuries and just bad performances have relegated the highest-paid Marlin to the bullpen

Atlanta Braves

Center Fielder Melvin Upton Jr. 5 year $75 Million

Before Contract (2004-2012): .255 AVG, Average Home Runs per season 15 Average RBI per season 56, Average Stolen Bases per season 28

After Contract (2013-2016): .218 AVG, Average Home Runs per season 12, Average RBI per season 35, Average Stolen Bases per season 17

Maybe he should have stuck with being called B.J.. After being a part of the initial success of the Tampa Rays, Upton signed, at the time, the biggest contract in Atlanta Braves history. Known for some power and speed on the bases, those number dipped drastically. He only lasted two seasons in Atlanta before being traded to the Padres in 2015. He played one and half seasons for San Diego before being traded to Toronto. 2016 was last time Upton played in the majors; he signed a minor league contract with San Fransico in 2017, the same with Clevland in 2018. In 2019, he announced he was going back to being called B.J. and attempted to make a comeback; he would later rescind that statement and announce he was retired.

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