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The 5 Dumbest Contracts in Recent Major League Baseball History

Submitted by on December 7, 2010 – 1:10 pmOne Comment

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Major League Baseball has no salary cap. Translation: A whole lot of mediocre players getting paid like superstars.

Former Philadelphia Phillies player Jayson Werth isn’t mediocre—in fact, without him, it would have been much harder for the Phils to win a World Series championship back in 2008—but he’s not a superstar, either. So it was pretty shocking to hear that he signed a 7-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals over the weekend—becoming one of the highest-paid players in the league despite the fact that he’s nowhere near being a franchise player. Bottom line: The Nationals made a mistake.

They’re not the first MLB team to go down that road, though. Over the course of the last decade or so, there have been a handful of bone-headed contracts offered by teams to players who probably only deserve a fraction of them. In light of Werth’s recent deal, we decided to track down five of the worst offenders. These teams kissed a whole lot of money goodbye when these players put their signatures on the dotted lines.

The Player: Pitcher Mike Hampton

The Team: Colorado Rockies

The Contract: 8 years, $121 million

The Result: Hiring a $121 million pitcher to play at the vaunted Coors Field in Colorado—where baseballs used to fly out the stadium in the thin Denver air—is like hiring Ben Roethlisberger to serve as the manager of your local Hooters. All you’re doing is setting yourself up for disaster. And that’s exactly what the Rockies did when they brought in Hampton, who got shelled during two seasons before the team traded him away and made him someone else’s financial problem. Lesson learned: Think twice before mortgaging the franchise on a pitcher.

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