Ranking the 10 worst contracts in the American League East
Remember, “bad contract” does not equal “bad player.” “Bad contract” also does not equal “bad contract right now,” Yankees fans.
The American League East is a behemoth division that features three of the league’s biggest spenders, as well as the Rays and Orioles, who’ve reached varying levels of contention (to say the least) without so much as lifting a pen since 2014.
Wander Franco, you ARE a Ray (until your costs begin to escalate).
The Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays, though? They know how to shell out coin, though Boston has been a lot more judicious about doing so in the Chaim Bloom Era for their homegrown talent, specifically. Coors Field shortstop? Pay the man! Beloved hometown shortstop? Dilly dally!
This roundup of the division’s worst deals takes into account changing tides and future performance, but it’s not airtight. My No. 7 may be your No. 4, and you know what? I’ll nod my head and accept that.
Of course, two of these folks are no longer in the division, but their paychecks live on. In some ways, that might be the worst deal of all.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Josh Donaldson’s two-year deal (because even though he’s been productive, if he’s going to bring controversy too…), plus Aaron Judge’s and Rafael Devers’ future mega-deals (still unsigned).
NOTE: “Remaining” includes 2022’s salary.
10 Worst Contracts in the AL East — Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays…
10. Giancarlo Stanton – 6 Years, $179 Million Guaranteed Remaining
Yankee Homer Alert? Yes. Sure. A little. But over the past year, the 32-year-old Stanton’s narrative has swung so significantly his cost has become underrated by Yankees Despisers.
As 2021 opened, Stanton was a “lifelong DH” struggling to overcome his swing-and-miss prowess to make the impact he’d always desired in the Big Apple. Now? He’s coming off a career-redefining campaign in the clutch (sometimes, it’s all timing), and with Judge’s new contract approaching this offseason, Stanton’s average AAV of under $30 million for his remaining six seasons in the Boogie Down looks like a relative bargain (he also comes with a team option/buyout situation for 2028).
Stanton’s also moved back to the outfield far more often in 2022, allowing the Yankees to experiment with their Big Boy Lineup, which has helpfully awoken his bat and led the Bombers to the top of the American League.
Oh, and his last three postseason appearances, for all the Brian Kennys out there? .286 with two bombs against Cleveland in the 2020 WC round, .316 with four bombs and 10 RBI against Tampa Bay in the 2020 ALDS, and a 3-for-4 game against Boston at Fenway with what should’ve been a trio of homers, but was actually just a single blast. When he’s on a heater, he can hit any level of pitching.
Again, all in the timing.