Where Anthony Rendon ranks among the 9 worst active MLB contracts


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Anthony Rendon said this week that his family and his faith are his top priorities in life. Baseball did not reach such a status.

Sure, baseball may not be a “top priority,” but one could ask whether Rendon even cares about baseball at all, given his playing time, or lack thereof, over the last few years.

After finishing in third place in the NL MVP vote and winning a World Series in 2019 with the Washington Nationals, Rendon signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Rendon played in 52 of the 60 games in the truncated 2020 season, but since the start of 2021, he has played in just 148 games.

Rendon’s contract is right up there with one of the worst in the game, and his recent comments about baseball not being a “top priority” caught him some flak, mostly due to his inability to stay on the field.

So, with Rendon putting himself in headlines, we wondered where Rendon’s deal ranks among some of the worst deals that still have some time on them. So, this will not include Chris Davis, but it sure will include Rendon.

The dollar amount represents the total throughout their deals.


Anthony Rendon (Katelyn Mulcahy/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

9. Carlos Rodon – New York Yankees, $162 million from 2023 to 2028

There is a lot of time left in this deal (which arguably should make it higher), but it was less than two years ago when the lefty was a Cy Young Award candidate, so we’ll give him and the Yankees the benefit of the doubt here.

But it’s so far, so bad. The oft-injured Rodon signed a six-year, $162 million deal last offseason but began his Yankees tenure on the injured list. In just his third start in pinstripes, he was jawing at Yankee fans on the road. In his final start, he allowed eight runs in the first inning, ballooning his ERA to 6.85, and he turned his back on the coaching staff during a mound visit.

Rodon has been the talk of Yankees camp though, looking slimmer and much more determined. Again, he had a 2.67 ERA in 2021 and 2022 combined, but if the New York pressure is getting to him on the road that quickly, this deal doesn’t bode all too well.

8. Wander Franco – Tampa Bay Rays, $182 million from 2022 to 2032

For obvious reasons, this could, and maybe should, be higher. Franco, of course, is under investigation for a relationship with a minor and allegedly paying off her mother with money and gifts. It is an awful scenario, and there is certainly a chance that Franco doesn’t play in the majors ever again, let alone step foot in the United States.

The Rays, known for strapping money to themselves, inked their superstar when he was just 21 to an 11-year deal worth over $180 million with a club option for a 12th. It was a gamble the Rays took and were praised for.

But the reason for this ranking is, unlike other bad contracts where prior injuries were somewhat predictable, no one could have seen an alleged secret relationship with a minor happening. Plus, there is a chance that the Rays could be entirely off the books here. So, short of losing a superstar to alleged crimes, they could simply erase history and not spend a dollar on him.

Franco is currently on paid administrative leave.

Wander Franco

Wander Franco (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

7. Kris Bryant – Colorado Rockies, $182 million from 2022 to 2028

Usually, when players go to Colorado, they see their offense production skyrocket. Well, that is not the case for the 2016 NL MVP.

Bryant became a hero in Chicago by helping the club break its 108-year World Series drought, but when he hit free agency, he opted for the Rockies. And it hasn’t been great.

He played in just 42 games in his first season with the club, but hitting .306 with an .851 OPS gave fans hope. However, last year, in less than half a season, he hit .233, and his OPS dropped by nearly 200 points.

It’s not outlandish to say that the MVP days are behind him, but he needs to be better.

6. Trevor Story – Boston Red Sox, $140 million from 2022 to 2027

Speaking of the Rockies, Story was on the MVP ballots three times with Colorado, becoming maybe the best power-hitting slugger in the sport (albeit benefiting from Coors Field). But since inking his deal with the Sox, he’s played in just 137 games over the past two seasons.

And when he’s been on the field, it hasn’t been a pretty sight. He’s hitting just .227 with a .685 OPS with Boston.

Sure, it was easy to predict a falloff after getting away from the thin altitude of Denver, but this has been a bit drastic. Story can opt out after the 2025 season, but why in the world would he do that right now?

Of course, he can still be a power source; he hit 16 homers in 93 games in 2022. But this does not look promising.

5. Patrick Corbin – Washington Nationals, $140 million from 2019 to 2024

This contract would be higher if the Nationals didn’t win the World Series in his first year of the deal. That makes some of it all worthwhile (see the Yankees’ spending spree in 2009).

The good news for the lefty is he’s been largely healthy with the Nats, making more than 30 starts in each full season. The bad news is he’s been maybe the worst pitcher in baseball over the last three seasons.

Since 2021, among pitchers with 300-plus innings, his 5.75 ERA, 322 earned runs and 612 hits are all the worst ranks in the majors; his 1.54 WHIP trails only Brad Keller. To make matters worse, he will make $35 million this year.

But at least the nightmare is almost over: Corbin’s contract expires at season’s end.

4. Giancarlo Stanton – New York Yankees – $223 million from 2018 to 2027

Slight caveat here: the Miami Marlins inked Stanton to a 13-year, $325 million contract in 2014, then an all-time sports record. But because they’re the Marlins, they sent him to the Yankees, who took on a large majority of his contract after his 59-homer MVP season in 2017.

Stanton has shown his flair for the dramatic overall and that he still can be one of the most dangerous hitters on the planet. But it’s been largely a love-hate affair with Stanton, who was booed in his first home game as a Yankee after a five-strikeout performance. He then played in just 18 games in 2019 but was a postseason hero in 2020 and carried them to the postseason in 2021. But the last two years have been eyesores.

In the last two seasons, Stanton has played in just 110 and 101 games, respectively, while hitting .202 with a .729 OPS. The Yankees have been afraid to put him in the outfield due to his injuries, and it’s gotten to the point where Stanton looks like he lost half his body this spring. But he said a body transformation was needed, for obvious reasons.

So, while the hatred for Stanton by Yankees fans and fake narratives may be a bit extreme, the fact that there are four years left on this deal that’s seemingly immovable is a scary sight.

3. Javier Baez – Detroit Tigers, $140 million from 2022 to 2027

At least Stanton’s deal had a hot start and seemed worthwhile for at least a bit. This one, there’s likely no hope.

Baez, like Bryant, was an MVP candidate with those late-2010s Cubs, and while he was always somewhat of a free-swinger, he seems to swing at pitches even Vladimir Guerrero would take (but at least Vlad would hit them if he did swing).

The Tigers signed Baez before the 2022 season, and he’s hitting .230 with them, drawing just 50 walks versus 272 strikeouts. No one in the sport chases more bad pitches than him. He ranks in the third percentile of walk rate and in the 12th percentile of whiff percentage.

Baez, since his short stint with the Mets in 2021, has shown no signs of being a disciplined hitter, which has led to his numbers severely declining. The Gold-Glove caliber defense is still there, but the offense is way too glaring to be accepting of just that.

Javier Baez looks on field

Javier Baez (Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

2. Anthony Rendon – Los Angeles Angels, $245 million from 2020 to 2026

Last year, the third baseman said 162-game seasons are too long. He clearly seems to think so.

He has not played in more than 60 games as an Angel (again, the 2020 season was only 60 games), and when he’s on the field, he has been pretty bad.

From 2013 to 2020, Rendon was a .290 hitter with a .862 OPS and was on the MVP ballot five times. Since 2021, however, he is slashing .235/.338/.364 with just 13 homers and 80 RBI in 148 games played.

His recent comments are helping either.

1. Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals, $245 million from 2020 to 2026

For a short time, Strasburg owned the record for the most lucrative contract ever given to a pitcher (it was broken a few days later by Gerrit Cole, which has since been broken by Yoshinobu Yamamoto earlier this offseason).

And who could blame the Nats? The 2009 No. 1 overall pick was the ace of a World Series-winning staff who just led the majors with 209.0 innings pitched. What could go wrong? Well, everything.

Strasburg underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010, and the Nationals were very careful with his recovery in the next two years, even ending his 2012 campaign early despite a postseason run.

Strasburg was healthy in 2013 and 2014, but injuries followed for the next three seasons. In 2019, though, the Nats thought he was back. Apparently, he was not.

Stephen Strasburg walks off the mound

Stephen Strasburg (Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)


Since signing that then-record-breaking deal, Strasburg has been mired with serious injuries, including thoracic outlet syndrome and “severe” nerve damage. Strasburg has made just eight starts since he signed the deal – two in 2020, five in 2021, and one in 2022.

Oh, and $80 million of his contract is deferred, meaning he’ll make more than $26 million each year from 2027 to 2029. The Nats will also begin giving him a separate $10 million payment every July 1 starting in 2024 and lasting through 2030. Strasburg will finally be off the books in 2026.

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