The 2023 Major League Baseball season is only weeks away as players and teams settle in and prep for the year ahead. Over the past few years, salaries across the league have been increasing as franchises pour an exponentially greater amount of money into securing elite players. That has led to some terrible contracts.
Everyone knows the risks of giving out a massive contract and the downside of that kind of deal can be enormous and last a long time. What follows is our look at the 10 worst MLB contracts on the books for the 2023 season.
10. Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
In March of 2019, the Red Sox signed Sale to a five-year, $145 million contract that was definitely a "thanks for helping us win the World Series" deal. The pact has been an abject disaster. In 2019, after agreeing to the deal, Sale went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA. And that was his best year. Since signing, Sale has made 36 starts over four seasons while missing the 2020 campaign entirely. The 33-year-old has been a walking injury for years.
Sale is still due $55 million through the 2024 season — $27.5 million per year. He also has a vesting option for 2025 valued at $20 million. So the Red Sox may end up owing him $75 million over the next three years.
9. Javy Baez, Detroit Tigers
Baez is only in the second year of the massive contract he signed with the Tigers in December of 2021 but he already looks like a massive bust. The six-year, $140 million deal raised eyebrows at the time because Baez was a declining player but, if anything, it looks worse now. The 30-year-old has four years and $98 million left on the contract and is coming off one of his worst seasons.
During his first campaign with the Tigers, Baez slashed .238/.278/.393 with 17 home runs, 67 RBI and 147 strikeouts in 144 games. His 2.0 fWAR was the lowest of his career for a full season. The Tigers are stuck with a rapidly deteriorating former All-Star with no rebound in sight.