The worst MLB contracts in the game? It’s quite surprising, but every team but 1 shares in misery of owning a bad contract. However, the real inspiration for me lies in a solitary skillset gone sour.
I trade Ender Inciarte in my sleep and have been for 3 years. It’s never been about disliking the guy, rather it’s been about the idea of trading a a player with 1 standout skill before said skill dissipates. Nightmares of Dan Uggla come to the forefront of my thoughts. Unfortunately, like like Uggla, Ender’s 1 standout skill is nothing more than average now.
The bad contract swap seems to me an idea floated around, yet rarely comes about. However, this doesn’t mean that I’m not going to write way too many words on the subject. Ender Inciarte is in the last guaranteed year of his contract. It’s an affordable $8.7MM and if the Braves have to eat it, so be it. However, something that might be enticing for another team looking for a contract swap is the option for 2022, which comes in at $9MM with only a $1MM buyout. While no one will give anything of value for Ender, there could be a “need for need” swap the Braves could pull off to clear Ender’s spot on the roster and add someone they could actually use.
Let us also remind ourselves that the Braves and the Dodgers pulled off a monstrous “you take my trash, I take your’s” swap a few years back, so maybe it’s not that far-fetched.
The Explanation of the Exercise
I cannot remember which national writer it was that put the idea back in my head, but I’d written a long-winded piece about swapping Ender for other’s garbage, but the excercise seemed so fruitless that I had the “what is the point of this?” moment and scrapped it. With newfound vigor and research, I found that nearly every team has an Ender and many of the other Enders are paid much more than our Ender and we as fans should appreciate that $8.7 MM Ender is not $79MM Ender.
Today’s main point is to create a list of bad contracts, then through the use of strategic math, see if there is light at the end(er) of the tunnel.
The Worst Contracts in MLB- NL East
- Corey Dickerson: $8.5MM
- Andrew McCutchen $20MM with $3MM buyout
- Daniel Hudson: $6MM
- Jeurys Familia: $11.7MM
Ender Inciarte: 1/$8.7 MM with $1MM buyout
Will Smith: 2/$26 MM with $1MM buyout
The Worst Contracts in MLB- NL Central
- Craig Kimbrel: $16MM
- Jason Heyward: 3/$65MM
- Matt Carpenter: $18.5 MM with $2MM buyout
- Dexter Fowler: 1/$16.5 MM
- Andrew Miller: 1/$12 MM
- Carlos Martinez: 1/$11.7MM with options
- Avisail Garcia: 1/$10.75 MM w/ 2MM buyout
- Lorenzo Cain: 2/$35MM
- Joey Votto: 3/$75MM
- Mike Moustakas: 3/$48MM with $4MM buyout
- Nicholas Castellanos: 3/$46MM with $2MM buouyt
- Wade Miley: 1/$8MM with $1MM buyout
- Gregory Polanco: 1/$11.6 MM with options
The Worst Contracts in MLB- NL West
- David Price: 1/$32MM
- Eric Hosmer: 5/$79MM
- Kevin Gausman: 1/$18.9MM
- Johnny Cueto: 1/$21MM with $5MM buyout
- Evan Longoria: 2/$38MM with $5MM buyout
- Madison Bumgarner: 4/$79MM
- Charlie Blackmon: 3/$55MM
The Worst Contracts in MLB- AL East
- Yoshi Tsutsugo: 1/$7MM
- Chris Sale: 4/$93MM plus option
- Nathan Eovaldi: 2/$34MM
- Dustin Pedroia: 1/$12.125MM
- Giancarlo Stanton: 7/$208MM
- Chris Davis: 2/$42.2 MM
- Tanner Roark: 1/$12MM
- Randall Grichuk: 3/$31MM
The Worst Contracts in MLB- AL Central
- Miguel Sano: 2/$23MM with $2.75MM buyout
- Miguel Cabrera: 3/$94MM with $8MM buyout
- Yoan Moncada: 4/$64MM with option (This is definitely a stretch, but Moncada had a down offensive year and is about to start making real $. Likely a small sample, but for now, he makes the list).
The Worst Contracts in MLB- AL West
- Elvis Andrus: 2/$28.5 MM
- Rougned Odor: 2/$24.7MM
- Kyle Gibson: 2/$16.4MM
- Albert Pujols: 1/$30MM
- Justin Upton: 2/$52.7MM
- Jose Altuve: 4/$116.8MM
- Khris Davis: 1/$16.75MM
- Yusei Kikuchi: 2/$31MM
Fits for the Braves
Now let me set the record straight. Not all of these are ideal fits for the Braves and not all of these are ideal fits for the teams who own the rights to the below listed players. My assumption in any Ender Inciarte bad contract swap, there’d be something coming back to the Braves that is an offseason need. For me, those are Starting Pitching, Relief Pitching, LH 3B bat, LH OF bat, Full-Time OF/DH Bat.
- Corey Dickerson- A counterpart to Adam Duvall. Marlins like Dickerson and wouldn’t deal him straight up for Ender, but Braves have a whole heck of a lot of sweeteners to entice Ms. Ng.
- Craig Kimbrel- He’s been a disaster in Chicago and they’d have to eat some $, but Kimbrel returning to the Braves to find his mechanics would be pretty great to see…at least, at first.
- Matt Carpenter- He’d be a very expensive platoon partner for Austin Riley, but could also DH. Cards would have to eat some $.
- Wade Miley– This seems like a more realistic scenario. Our turd that makes $8MM for your turd that makes $8MM. As a back end piece, he’d be fine if he can stay healthy.
- David Price- Definitely the most interesting player on this list and is in the last year of a giant contract. Anthopoulos likes the 1 year deals for pitchers, but Dodgers would have to eat a little more $ to entice the Braves to pick him up.
- Nathan Eovaldi- Eovaldi got paid because of a sexy FIP and xFIP, but actually pitched well in 2020 after a disastrous 2019. Braves would have to add to this deal, but this one make sense.
- Tanner Roark- Once again, turd for turd, but Roark has been fine in the past. Another realistic option.
- Johnny Cueto- Paid a lot and is pretty mediocre. If the Giants want to eat about $10MM, Braves could pounce.
- Khris Davis- Hit bombs for day in 2016-2018, but the magic seems gone. Sure, Braves could use a masher but there’s more tater than masher here. A’s would have to eat $.
- Braves get Nathan Eovaldi and Red Sox get Ender Inciarte and Sean Newcomb. Newk gets new life back in his hometown and Braves get Eovaldi for ~$8MM in 2021 and $17MM in 2022. While I don’t think it’s necessary, Braves could add a piece to get it done.
- Braves get Craig Kimbrel and $6MM and Cubs get Ender Inciarte and Luke Jackson. Both teams get rid of a nightmare and both teams get chances to revamp an arm.
- Braves get David Price and $7MM and Dodgers get Ender Inciarte. The price for Price comes down to ~$17MM for the year. This deal seems like a no-go unless it’s 100% certain that a season will not be influenced by COVID regulations as Price opted out of 2020.
Thoughts on any of these deals? Anything else you’d like to see? Let’s hear it in the comments.
If you enjoyed this piece and need some more info on Braves Payroll, check this piece out.
Great job, Ryan. I have many fond hopes for 2021, but pretty high on the list is the hope that the Hammers finally trade Ender. I donâ€™t care all that much about it personally, but it would bring such pleasure to Ryan. Youâ€™ve earned it!
And from the last thread, I agree with JonathanF that the Yale Bulldogs had a pretty impressive 2020. But theyâ€™ve got a ways to go to match my Emory Eagles, whose undefeated and unscored upon streak dates back to 1836.
As odd as it is, I think the Eovaldi idea makes a lot of sense for both parties. Red Sox are still another year (at least) in rebuild mode and getting back $24MM to spend makes as much sense as Braves gambling on Eovaldi for 2 years with the first year being real cheap.
Still…Wade Miley is likely the kind of deal weâ€™d see. ðŸ˜•
Hey crew, Iâ€™m going to be making a run to send out some more shirts today as I got 2 more orders. If anyone wants one, hit my email up before noon.
Timo was kind enough to send over a donation for our writers so they could get a shirt so Iâ€™ll be getting those out over the next week. Heâ€™s a good one, that Timo!
Timo rocks. Ender? Well, there was a time when I was happy to see him out in center. Time never loses, does it?
Ryan, do you do downtime? Thanks for your stewardship of Mac’s place. It’s a fine herd of writers you’ve stabled. Mac did what you guys do almost forever, right by himself. Imagine.
Thank you all again for this wonderful site.
It’s still a bad contract, but if lots of cash were thrown in, Heyward would be an interesting gamble as a platoon player. Did quite well against RHP last year (.936 OPS), and with only a little BABIP luck (.311 overall). His numbers have improved each of the last four years, granted from a really low base. 3 expensive years for a player in his 30s with only one short-season good year in the last five would be a gamble, though. With Pache, Acuna, Heyward, and Duvall, there certainly wouldn’t be much need for late-inning defensive substitutes.
I donâ€™t think the Dodgers will mind trying to see what they can get out of Price even for that contract since they have endless pockets.
Great piece. Three acceptable deals and I would throw in your Dickerson suggestion as a fourth.
First, I’d like to say NO. WADE. MILEY. He couldn’t throw a strike to save his life (from his former O’s days).
I’m with Braves20 @ 7. My preferred deals would be Eovaldi first and Dickerson second. I think those are the only two I’d be interested in. Eovaldi may be harder to get as he had a good year returning frim injury with nice secondary stats and a hard thrower. I’m not sure why Dickerson is more well-respected but his hitting skills have always been good. I suppose it’s his fielding that is suspect (at least in every year other than his GG year in PITT). His splits are significant and he would make a perfect platoon partner for Duvall as well as a good bench bat.
One of the issues is both teams have CFs already. The Sox may be more interested of they trade or otherwise lose JBJ. The Marlins might be more interested if the Braves include some sort of interesting prospect – specifically a promising hitter like Trey Harris, Bryce Ball, Logan Brown, maybe even Alex Jackson might do.
Honestly, I find it hard to believe anyone will take an Ender that is only good for a defensive replacement at the end of a game. The trade would have to be good for the other team with the prospect alone (with Ender only being a money switch – aka a reverse Touki trade).
After looking at BTV trade simulator, I’d think trades like
Inciarte/Toussaint or Newk for Eovaldi
Inciarte w/either Ball or Jackson for Dickerson.
According to BTV, Eovaldi is actually less valuable than Ender and Dickerson is more valuable. they judge Alex Jackson to actually have a decent trade value (and Trey Harris would not be enough).
Touki would be a good replacement for Eovaldi with upside and would allow Boston to just discard Ender if they want to. I think the Sox need pitching more than OF depth. I also think Touki has a bit more value than Newk. I know the Marlins have catchers but maybe Jackson is better than their other depth. Ball might be a good development piece for them.
@1: Impressive tfloyd. But it reminds me of the dialog from the old Bob Newhart show:
French psychologist: “Where did you go to school?”
Bob: “Loyola University”
French psychologist: “I went to the Sorbonne.”
Bob: “Overrated for years.”
French psychologist: “Yes… for 750 years.”
Bob: “Sure, but we would crush you in basketball.”
None of these deals feel good but it is because we are really trying to just move salary. I think the best deal for the Braves is the one with the Cubs because there is real upside and the salary impact is minimal. The most doable deal on both sides is your Red Sox trade but it pushes the financial problem out to 2022 in a world where I would rather just get it over with.
What about an off season program full of PEDs? Ender is busted and suspended or if he gets off to a hot PED driven start you move him immediately (do blogs have sarcasm font?)
I like the ideas but what about trading ender and maybe a upper prospect like Shewmake or Bryce Ball for Justin upton. He can play left and the second year DH if needed