7 Most Overpaid MLB Players Heading into the 2020 Season

Tristan Jung
Miguel Cabrera is a Tigers legend, but his 2020 salary is one of MLB's biggest overpays.
Miguel Cabrera is a Tigers legend, but his 2020 salary is one of MLB's biggest overpays. / Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images
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Heading into the 2020 MLB season, there are many players who are taking up a huge portion of their team's payroll. For some, like Mike Trout or Max Scherzer, the huge salary is completely justified. However, there are quite a few contracts from previous offseasons that hamstring teams in the present.

A large part of the issue is MLB's six-year team control period before free agency, which prevents valuable young players like Mookie Betts or Aaron Judge from reaping their full worth. Thus, when players do hit free agency, they are often signing long-term deals that stretch well into their less-productive 30s. When players inevitably age, they are vastly overpaid to what they are actually worth.

Without further ado, here is a list of the seven most overpaid players in the MLB this season.

1. Albert Pujols,1B/DH, Los Angeles Angels

Albert Pujols' Angels contract runs through 2021.
Albert Pujols' Angels contract runs through 2021. / Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

When the St. Louis Cardinals failed to bring back Pujols after winning the 2011 World Series, it was widely panned as a disastrous error. Pujols started off well in Los Angeles, but the last three years have seen, for the most part, a rapid decline in his numbers. Due to injuries and age, he hasn't posted an OPS over .750 since 2016. His numbers got slightly better in 2019, but his 10-year, $240 million deal is the textbook definition of an albatross for the Angels. Their decision to sign Pujols has certainly hampered the team's ability to make high-priced acquisitions for much of its duration, even as they've given new long-term contracts to Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon.

2. Chris Davis, 1B/DH, Baltimore Orioles

Chris Davis set an MLB record with an 0-54 streak for the Orioles.
Chris Davis set an MLB record with an 0-54 streak for the Orioles. / Rob Carr/Getty Images

Discussing Chris Davis' seven-year, $161 million contract that runs through 2022 is not very fun for anyone. Davis has hit .168 and .179 in his last two seasons and is a shell of his former self. Last year, he set a new MLB record for most at-bats without a hit by going 0-54 over 2018-19. Let's just move on.

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

Miguel Cabrera was a two-time MVP during his career.
Miguel Cabrera was a two-time MVP during his career. / Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

Miguel Cabrera's eight-year, $248 million deal seemed well worth it when it was signed. Cabrera was coming off years of MVP-caliber play, and the Tigers were trying to compete. Unfortunately, Cabrera has struggled recently with knee injuries and a loss of power, meaning that his contract is now a serious concern for the Tigers. Cabrera is signed through 2023. While he did hit .282 last year and had an .843 OPS in 2018, the $31 million average annual value (AAV) is a big reason why the Tigers are not in a position to contend.

4. Jordan Zimmermann, SP, Detroit Tigers

Jordan Zimmermann is back to good health for 2020, but his contract is a tough pill to swallow.
Jordan Zimmermann is back to good health for 2020, but his contract is a tough pill to swallow. / Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Another reason the Tigers are struggling is the massive five-year, $110 million contract handed to Jordan Zimmermann before the 2016 season. Zimmermann had been coming off five excellent years with the Nationals, but his stuff immediately went away with the Tigers. Injuries have hurt him throughout his tenure with the Detroit, and his ERA last year was an unsightly 6.91.

5. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox

Dustin Pedroia suffered another setback to his left knee in January 2020.
Dustin Pedroia suffered another setback to his left knee in January 2020. / Zachary Roy/Getty Images

Dustin Pedroia will always be a Red Sox legend after helping them win two World Series titles, but his contract situation is a huge mess. He signed an eight-year, $110 million deal before 2014, but he has played just nine major league games over the past two years. Knee issues have kept him off the field indefinitely, and it doesn't look like he will be able to contribute to the Red Sox any time soon after another setback in January 2020.

6. Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Mets

Robinson Cano is one of the 10 highest-paid players in baseball this season.
Robinson Cano is one of the 10 highest-paid players in baseball this season. / Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Robinson Cano's 10-year, $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners was risky when it was signed in 2014. Since then, Cano has not played up to expectations, and he was traded to the New York Mets along with Edwin Diaz ahead of the 2019 season. If anything, that trade has made the situation worse. Cano missed time with injuries last year and has continued to be average at the plate, and his apparent lack of "hustle" made him an easy target for the New York media.

7. Eric Hosmer, 1B, San Diego Padres

Eric Hosmer signed with the Padres before the 2018 offseason.
Eric Hosmer signed with the Padres before the 2018 offseason. / Denis Poroy/Getty Images

It's hard to make a judgment just two years into an eight year contract, but Eric Hosmer's $144 million deal with the San Diego Padres already looks like a big mistake for the team. Hosmer had a .720 OPS in 2018 and a .732 OPS in 2019. Given his struggles against lefties (.600 OPS in 2019), there's a good chance that the Padres' second-highest paid player isn't even a full-time player in 2020.


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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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