Making it onto a Forbes rich list in some capacity is generally honorable. People celebrate you and marvel at your success as one of the highest-paid in your field. When it comes to Major League Baseball, however, being paid a lot may not be a good thing.
When it comes to this profession, the publication has taken a different road. “Baseball is full of terrible player contracts, which are oftentimes the result of former stars cashing in more on their past successes than on any potential future output,” said Forbes staff writer Chris Smith in MLB’s Most Overpaid Players 2015. Armed with this nugget of truth, Forbes investigated baseball’s worst deals. Here is what they came up with for the top five.
They compared each player’s performance to his 2015 base salary. Performance was measured by wins above replacement (via Fangraphs). In order to qualify for consideration, players had to meet the average 184 plate appearances or 57 innings pitched through September 27.
Ron Howard came up on top as the most overpaid MLB player in 2015. Although a former NL Rookie of the Year and MVP who went to two consecutive World Series, his performance has taken a steady nosedive since his headline making five-year, $125 million contract in 2010. He isn’t just costing the Phillies money; he costing them wins. Howard has led the team in strikes and is batting a .229. He has a WAR of -0.5, and his base salary for 2015 was $25 million. Now that’s a raw deal. Poor Phillies!
2. Jayson Werth – Outfielder, Washington Nationals
$21 million / WAR 0.0
3. Hanley Ramirez – Outfielder, Boston Red Sox
$19 million / WAR -1.8
4. Pablo Sandoval – Third Baseman, Boston Red Sox
$17 million / WAR -1.9
5. Victor Martinez – Designated hitter, Detroit Tigers
$14 million / WAR -1.9