If you're one of the remaining fans wondering why analytics-friendly teams -- now nearly every team in baseball -- are stingy in the free-agent market, this is the list for you. Drop an easy popup? Leave a hanging curve in the strike zone? When players make these mistakes, they have to forget them and move on to the next inning or game. For front offices, their errors can haunt a franchise for a generation, ranging from embarrassment to crippling, depending on the other particulars of the franchise.
I'm running down the worst contracts in baseball for a sixth year running. This is a focus on what's left, so the past doesn't count. I'm also considering only players in baseball now, so we won't bring up the $1.2 million Bobby Bonilla makes every year through 2035, or the less famous $1.12 million a year that Bruce Sutter gets annually through 2021, with an additional $9.1 million bill due in 2021!
I've ranked the worst contracts in terms of surplus wins -- that is, the difference between the number of wins the team is paying for and the number of wins it's projected to get for the remaining years of the contract.
15. Troy Tulowitzki (minus-4.2 wins)
Future paydays: $20 million in 2018 and 2019, $14 million in 2020, $4 million buyout for a $15 million club option for 2021.
I was among the analysts who liked the Blue Jays' trade for Tulo, so to be too mean would be hypocritical. But from a numbers standpoint, last year's groin and hamstring injuries, the first that really had an effect on his qualitative performance, combine with this year's injuries to give enough of a down arrow for Tulowitzki to make this list ahead of Yasmany Tomas. In the end, the Jays-Rockies Tulowitzki trade didn't really help anyone as much as they hoped.
14. Ian Kennedy (minus-5.0 wins)
Future paydays: $16 million in 2018, $16.5 million in 2019 and 2010.
Kennedy deciding not to opt out of his contract after a 5-13 record and a 5.38 ERA was one of the least surprising decisions of its kind. Kennedy is off to a solid start in 2018, with a 2.35 ERA/3.84 FIP in his first four starts, but that's not enough to push the needle, given his 5.08 FIP over his two seasons with the Royals.
13. Homer Bailey (minus-5.1 wins)
Future paydays: $21 million in 2018, $23 million in 2019, $25 million mutual option in 2020 ($5 million club buyout).
Bailey's standing in this rank drops a little every year, not so much because he has shown significant signs of improvement but because that contract is slowly ticking out. Like Kennedy, Bailey has at least started the season strong, with three quality starts in four appearances, but that's not enough yet to significantly shift the outlook on the expense of having him.