Major League Baseball (MLB) players are paid tremendous amounts of money. The contracts that these players get will not only set them for life, but, in some cases, cannot be spent in a lifetime. Are they really worth it?
One huge free agency signing this offseason was first baseman and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. Pujols is a nine–time All–Star and a three–time Most Valuable Player (MVP). For the last several years, he has been regarded as one of the best MLB players in the game. Pujols signed with the Angels for $254 million over ten years, which would take him through his 42–year–old season. This deal is the second–biggest contract in baseball history, yet so far in 2012, Albert is hitting .226 without a single home run. On top of that, he is three for his last thirty at–bats. This was a bad deal for the Angels and will come back to bite them. Last year, Albert had his worst season in the Bigs, with his performance declining in almost every facet of the game compared to the previous year. He is 32 years old this season, and getting worse. Although Pujols is still a decent player, he is not worth a $254 million dollar contract.
Another big signing of the offseason was 27–year–old first baseman Prince Fielder. Fielder has been voted into three All–Star games and was, at age 23, the youngest player ever to hit fifty homers in a single season. Fielder signed with the Detroit Tigers for $214 million over nine years, the fifth–largest contract in the history of the MLB. Prince, so far, has been having a commendable season, batting .320 and slugging at a modest .412. This, I think, is a much smarter deal than deal with Pujols. Fielder is in the beginning of his prime and has incredible power. He has been able to sustain All–Star caliber stats ever since his second year in the Majors. Prince is a special player and is well worth the money.
The last big free agency signing of the offseason was shortstop Jose Reyes. Reyes is a four–time All–Star and a 2011 batting champion. Reyes signed with the new Miami Marlins for $106 million over six years. Reyes is batting a mere .213 and slugging .333. Although it is still very early in the season, these numbers are unworthy not only of his contract, but also of a starting position in the MLB. Reyes is in his prime and is an explosive player, but he has battled with injuries in his legs, which are the most essential element of his game. I think this is an alright deal and will benefit the Marlins for a least most of the contract.
Ten–year contracts are extremely unpredictable and can lead to a huge waste of money. If you are going to pay them over $100 million, be absolutely certain that the player is on his way up not his way down. It will be interesting to see how these contracts play out.
MLB players are paid a tremendous amount of money; more, on average, than any other sport by far. So much money, in fact, that the question has to be asked; when, if ever, it it worth it?