I was thinking about how columnists and reporters often write about which "bad" contracts teams are trying to move. It makes sense, since trade rumors are fueled by what can happen. Teams usually don't want to move "good" contracts, so those rumors are dismissed right away.
I didn't want to write a post about the "10 worst contracts in MLB", or anything like that. It has been done more than once in recent weeks. By now, everyone knows that Vernon Wells is probably the worst contract in all of baseball. In most circles, it is well known that Alfonso Soriano, Dontrelle Willis, and Barry Zito have albatross contracts. I thought of a couple of angles that peaked my interest. If we looked at every team, what would their #1 bad contracts be? Who would be each team's best valued player? Since no-one wants to read 20,000 words on and some 75 player references for this idea, I'm going to break it up into parts. For Part 1 of our Best/Worst Contracts series, we shall examine the best contract and worst contract for the three "A-Teams": the Angels, Astros, and Athletics.
Most of the Angels good, young players are arbitration eligible this year, so this is an important offseason for them. Looking ahead at their future payroll, their best value is probably Kendry Morales for $1.2 million in 2010 and arbitration starting in ‘11.
On the other side of the spectrum, Gary Matthews, Jr. lives in a fantasy world where a team that will give him a starting job exists. He requested a trade a couple of weeks ago because he wants to play every day. Even if the Angles agreed to pay his entire salary, $11.4M in 2010 & $12.4M in 2011, I don’t think a team is foolish enough to give him 600 at bats.
If Bud Norris or Tommy Manzella contend for 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, they’ll be doing it at/near league minimum salary.
While the Astros probably don’t want to pay Kaz Matsui $5.5 million for next season, the $19 million they are paying Carlos Lee in each of the next three seasons is probably their worst contract.
The poster boys of the Moneyball phenomena have been extremely limited with long-term commitments to players, as evidenced by having only two players with non-arbitration guarantees for 2010. Eric Chavez will get $12.5 million for 2010, probably not play a single inning, and then collect a $3 million buyout for his 2011 buyout.
Oakland’s best 2010 investments will be whichever player performs the best out of this gaggle of guys being paid the minimum: Andrew Bailey, Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Daric Barton, or Dallas Braden. It could even be recent free agent pickup Dallas McPherson. Our prediction is that Brett Anderson will be the best of the bunch in 2010.