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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.