MLB Contracts on Santa’s Naughty List

MLB Contracts on Santa’s Naughty List

Many of us Braves fans feel as though our team is the only team stuck with seemingly dead-end contracts. Holy guacamole, that is not the case at all. While Matt Kemp‘s $42.5 million and Nick Markakis‘s $11 million seem detrimental to our team, there are teams out there that have it much worse. I started this little project for myself as I thought it’s a valuable exercise when trying to find potential matches in trades for Braves’ current bad contracts. However, it felt selfish to hold this info to myself, therefore you guys and gals can benefit from my hours of research that I unselfishly and without wanting anything in return (except for some random Braves merchandise and/or cold hard cash) could utilize.

But there are rules here. For example, Nick Markakis did not make my list of Braves’ bad contracts. Sure, he’s not likely to be worth the $11 million he’s owed in 2018, but 1-year at $11 million when there’s a chance he could be worth near his contract is hardly a caveat. However, there are 1-year guys that did make the list, so here’s my rule:

Players with 1 year left on their contract that have experienced multiple years of under-performance with a contract exceeding 15 million.

You’ll also notice that on this list are players that very well could work their way off of the list come next year, and here’s where we get to Rule 2.

Players with recent poor performance and outlandish contracts will be deemed poor until data alters.

Last and most obvious rule:

Players who have royally sucked and are owed a lot of money.

Fair warning, this is not filled with trade proposals or ideas on how to dump Kemp or Kakes, rather it’s merely a list of contracts that are as unattractive as Josh Brown’s fu manchu.

American League

AL Central
By kw111786 on Flickr, UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Chicago White Sox: James Shields– 1/21MM + ’18 option (2MM buyout)

Cleveland Indians: None

Detroit Tigers: Jordan Zimmermann– 3/74MM

Kansas City Royals: 1. Alex Gordon– 2/40MM +’20 option (4MM buyout), 2. Ian Kennedy– 3/49MM

Minnesota Twins: Phil Hughes– 2/26.4MM


AL East

Baltimore Orioles: 1. Chris Davis– 5/106MM, 2. Mark Trumbo– 2/26MM

Boston Red Sox: 1. David Price– 5/157MM, 2. Rusney Castillo– 3/35.5MM

New York Yankees:  Jacoby Ellsbury– 3/63.5MM ’21 option (.5MM buyout)

Tampa Bay Rays: None

Toronto Blue Jays: Troy Tulowitzki– 3/54MM with ’21 option (4MM buyout)

AL West
Albert Pujols | Keith Allison [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr
Houston Astros: None

Los Angeles Angels: Albert Pujols– 4/114MM

Oakland Athletics: None

Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez– 2/54.5MM

Texas Rangers: Shin-Soo Choo– 3/62MM

National League

NL Central

Chicago Cubs: Jason Heyward– 6/134.2MM

Cincinnati Reds: Homer Bailey– 2/44MM (’20 option with .5MM buyout)

Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun– 3/56MM (’21 option with .4MM buyout)

Pittsburgh Pirates: None

St. Louis Cardinals: None

NL East
David Wright | By Wknight94 [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Atlanta Braves: Matt Kemp- 2/42.5MM

Miami Marlins: 1. Wei-Yin Chen– 2/30MM (’20 vesting option of 22MM)

New York Mets: 1. Yoenis Cespedes– 3/87.5MM, 2. David Wright– 3/47MM

Philadelphia Phillies: None

Washington Nationals: None

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks: Yasmany Tomas– 3/46MM

Colorado Rockies: Ian Desmond– 4/60MM (’22 option with 2MM buyout)

Los Angeles Dodgers: Adrian Gonzalez– 1/22.35MM

San Diego Padres: Wil Myers: 5/77.5MM (’23 option with 1MM buyout)

San Francisco Giants: 1. Mark Melancon– 3/48MM, 2. Johnny Cueto– 4/84MM (’22 option with .5MM buyout)


Please let me know in the comments section whether you think I’ve missed any players. Also, if you’ve got any good trade proposals regarding these players, we can discuss that too! Thanks for reading!

Go Braves!


Ryan Cothran…The Braves only owe Kemp $36 mil ($18 mil in each year) over the next two years (The Dodgers, in their original trade with The Padres, are kicking in $3.5 mil a year for a total of $7 mil over the next two years…. has those figures).

I take issue with several of the contracts you listed as being ‘bad contracts’:

1. Felix Hernandez/Seattle….2 year/$53 mil ($26 mil in 2018, $27 mil in 2019). While he was injured last year, if Seattle was foolish enough to want to ‘swap’ Hernandez for Kemp…I’d do that deal IN A HEARTBEAT, lol! While Hernandez may not be as dominant as he was in years past, from what I’ve read, he’s slated to make a full recovery from his shoulder issues by Spring Training. The Braves would be very happy to have King Felix be The Ace of our Staff/show our young pitching prospects that one doesnt have to have to constantly throw 100mph in order to win games! While he may be overpaid, I wouldnt call it a total ‘bad contract’!

2. Yoenis Cespedes/Mets……3 year/$87.5 mil. While Cespedes was hurt for part of last year, when healthy he can CARRY an offense! Again, if The Mets were foolish enough to want to swap Cespedes for Kemp…I’d JUMP ALL OVER that deal! Imagine Cespedes hitting behind Freddie Freeman!!!!!

3. Will Myers/San Diego….5 year/$66 mil (interesting structure! $2 mil in 2018, $3 mil in 2019, $20 mil each in 2020-22, then a $20 mil club option with $1 mil buyout in 2023). That averages out to be $11 mil a year over the next 5 years (the $15 mil signing bonus has already been paid..if another team took on this contract…they would only be obligated for $66 mil over the next 5 years). While I would not be looking to acquire Myers as a long term solution for The Braves….I’d be totally down for dumping Kemp back onto The Padres in exchange for Myers (I know, never going to happen…just pointing out that Myers’ contract isnt that ‘bad’)…while flipping Myers down the line (preferably after we signed Bryce Harper to replace Myers in Left Field during The 2018 Free Agency Offseason). Myers can still hit/spray the ball all over the field.

As far as who I would be willing to trade Kemp for (in a hypothetical ‘bad contract swap’)…..I dont see any that interest me. I DO NOT want to see The Braves use any of our prospects to trade with Kemp NOR do I want to get a bad contract in return that prolongs the situation. While Chase Headley $13 mil contract is a possibility….The Braves would likely have to eat some of Kemp’s remaining contract, which wouldnt be a problem. However I dont see The Yankees being very willing to take on Kemp, given that they want to make a play for a number of free agents come The 2018 Free Agency Offseason.

The Braves would be better off keeping Kemp for 2018..and hope he can stay relatively healthy/regain his power stroke…which would make him much easier to trade in The 2018 Offseason (either we’ll have to eat the whole $18 mil, IF Kemp flops in 2018…or we’ll only have to eat $6-$8 mil of it if Kemp stays healthy/hits for power in 2018. An AL team in need of DH power will have no problem paying $10 mil or so for that in 2019).

Thanks for reading, Paul. This exercise was never about finding a match for Kemp, merely listing contracts that I deemed bad. No worries on disagreeing!

I think I’d be ok with swapping a few of these out assuming that $ would end up being pretty close to the same. One in particular would be Jacoby Ellsbury. Yanks don’t need him and could use Kemp in a DH role.

Ryan…the problem with Ellsbury…is that not only does he make 3 mil a year more than Kemp…he also has an extra year (in addition to being owed a $4 mil buyout in 2021.

Ellsbury is simply TERRIBLE! At least with Kemp, when healthy, he offers some protection for Freddie Freeman with the power he provides hitting cleanup. I cant imagine what kind of lineup we’d be able to field, with The Braves paying Ellsbury $63 mil over the next 3 years (plus the $4 mil buyout).

We kind of got in this mess by trading Hector Oliveria for Kemp’s even bigger contract. I dont want to trade Kemp’s last two years for an even bigger three year contract of Jacoby Ellsbury, lol!

I still think that we’ll have a better opportunity to trade Kemp after The 2018 Season ends (it isnt like getting rid of Kemp RIGHT NOW, is the difference between The Braves making the playoffs in 2018 or not).

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