Some big contracts are awarded out of emotion while others are engineered by general managers on the doorstep. But in many cases the results on the ground are disappointing and economically dire.
1 – Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals)
: 7 years and $ 245 million (2020-2026)
After winning the World Series in 2019, the Nationals had some tough choices to make and they chose to give Strasburg a contract extension, rather than keep Anthony Rendon. We understand that Strasburg’s performance in the World Series was rather impressive, but the Nationals were carried away by the emotion.
The great right-hander, who has spent part of his career on the injured list, has not lost his good habits by injuring his shoulder before his third start of the 2021 season. The Nationals will hope that Strasburg regains the form quickly and that he can help the team win.
2 – Patrick Corbin (Washington Nationals)
: 6 years and $ 140 million (2019-2024)
When the Nationals signed Corbin in 2019, the decision was understandable. We wanted to add a quality arm to the Scherzer-Strasburg duo and Corbin seemed like a good choice since he was left-handed and had one of the best slippery balls in major league baseball.
The problem is, Corbin’s left arm doesn’t seem to have aged very well. Not only did his slippery lose some of its bite, but he also lost several miles an hour on his fastball. And the signs of decline began last year, as the Nationals left-hander led the National League with 85 hits allowed in the short season.
The result is even worse so far in 2021 with an earned-run average of 7.36 in six starts. Hopefully things will turn around for Corbin so he can at least be an average pitcher in the league, because the marriage to the Nationals is going to turn sour very quickly.
3 – Jake Odorizzi (Houston Astros)
: 2 years and $ 20 million (2021-2022)
Jake Odorizzi has always been an intriguing pitcher. Excellent one day, awful the next time he left, a real surprise box. Still, the 31-year-old pitcher still received a lot of attention in the offseason as a free agent. He took the time to study the offers and came within a hair’s breadth of success with the New York Mets. Eventually, he found himself in Houston, a logical destination with injuries to Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke, who are approaching their forties.
But Odorizzi signed with the Astros only in March and his training camp started late, as did his regular season. After an incredible start to the season where he gave up nine runs in just seven innings and 2/3 in two starts, Odorizzi quit his third start after just a few throws, due to an arm injury.
And the worst part about it is that there is an option year in Odorizzi’s contract for 2023 and it belongs to the player. So even if Odorizzi doesn’t perform, or worse yet, never recovers from his injury, he could exercise his option for the final season knowing full well that he will never be able to get that much money elsewhere.
4 – Giancarlo Stanton (New York Yankees)
Contract: 13 years and $ 325 million (2015-2027)
Stanton’s case is little different, because it was not the Yankees who gave the big contract, but the Marlins. The Yankees would not have had to give up high hopes when they acquired Stanton, as the Marlins were delighted to be able to get rid of this gigantic contract.
Obviously, the Yankees have always had a habit of spending a lot of money and we have seen it again lately with the nine-year, $ 336 million contract awarded to Gerrit Cole. But since the death of Georges Steinbrenner in 2016, the estate has still decided to reduce the payroll and better manage the situation.
Stanton had a very difficult start to the season, just like his team. As strikeouts piled up, boos were heard more and more at Yankee Stadium. Fortunately, things have turned around in the last few weeks for both Stanton and the Bronx Bombers.
Even so, Stanton remains an enigmatic player who has spent a lot of time on the injured list in recent years, in addition to being much more of a choice hitter than an outfielder. And the length of his contract is sure to become an issue when he hits his second half of his thirties.
There’s no doubt that Stanton will hit his fair share of long homers with the Yankees again. But there is also no doubt that the length of the contract and the long periods of offensive drought it is experiencing will become an issue.
5- Chris Davis (Baltimore Orioles)
: 7 years and $ 161 million (2016-2022)
I think the ink wasn’t dry on the contract yet, that the Orioles already regretted it. Rumor has it it was the team owner who put pressure on his GM to keep his power hitter, no matter the cost.
The result was catastrophic from the first day. Strikes per hundred and performances worthy of a minor league player
At the start of the season, Davis is on the 60-day injured list and is likely to never wear the Orioles uniform again. Despite everything, he will still receive $ 34 million in total for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Ayoye!