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Worst contracts in baseball history?

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Baseball is pretty much unique in professional sports — I think — in the extent to which it offers players very long term fully guaranteed contracts.

For example, Miguel Cabrera is in the final year of a $240 million eight-year deal, over the course of which he’s had a combined bWAR of 3.1, made up of 5.1 in the first year, and -3.0 over the last seven. This is my off the cuff candidate for the worst contract in baseball history, in terms of return on investment for the team, although I haven’t made any systematic inquiry into the matter.

BTW my interest in this has nothing to do with how incredibly rich MLB owners are blowing their money, but rather in the interest of fans, who naturally want their teams to spend however much they’re spending on their payrolls wisely. Obviously it’s been a really bad thing for Tiger fans that the team has ended up spending $240 million in payroll on a guy who has been a sub-replacement level player for the last seven seasons.

Which raises the question of why baseball is the only major professional sport that does this, or at least does this to this extent, where franchises commit themselves to incredibly long stretches of guaranteed money to players.

Anyway I thought there might be some interest in discussing this, both at the general and specific level.

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