Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Five Most Overvalued Players in Major League Baseball

By Adam Lowenstein (@StatsAdam)

After discussing Major League Baseball’s most undervalued players based on salary, I now turn my attention to those who are overvalued. Alex Rodriguez is not active, but if he were, my guess is that he would have taken the top spot with his horrendous contract. Let's get right to it.

Honorable Mentions: Prince Fielder, Joe Mauer and Dustin Pedroia

The three honorable mentions have encountered a variety of injuries over the past couple of seasons.

Prince Fielder, who is making $24 million per year through 2020, is done for the year after he had surgery on his neck in May. Although Joe Mauer was recently activated from the disabled list, he is still owed $23 million each season through 2018 and is barely a top-20 catcher this season. The Boston Red Sox’s struggles this season can somewhat be attributed to Dustin Pedroia’s disappearing act. Although his contract was thought to be team-friendly, he is owed $85 million from 2016 to 2021 and seems like he is still not 100 percent after sustaining a hand injury in 2013.

5. Shin Soo-Choo

The 32-year-old South Korean outfielder spent just one year in Cincinnati and had a career-best single-season on-base percentage, and that was enough for the Texas Rangers to give him a massive seven-year, $130 million contract. He will make at least $20 million per year from 2016 to 2020, and if he continues to struggle, this could be very frustrating for the team with the American League’s worst record.

4. Carlos Gonzalez

The Rockies just do not seem to have much luck with their stars. Troy Tulowitzki has elected for season-ending hip surgery and Carlos Gonzalez, who is one year younger than the 29-year-old shortstop, cannot seem to stay healthy.

Fortunately for Tulo, he has produced this season, but the outfielder has not. Gonzalez is on pace for a career-low in games played this season with his patella tendon not improving. Although he was a Gold Glover and All-Star Game starter in both 2012 and 2013, his seven-year, $80 million contract through 2017 is not to my liking.

He just cannot stay on the field.

3. Ryan Howard

There is a reason why the Philadelphia Phillies want to ship Ryan Howard out of town as soon as possible. The organization will definitely decline his team option in 2017, but he still has two more years after 2014 with his five-year, $125 million contract. He could finish this season with his career-worsts in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging.

At least the 2005 National League Rookie of the Year and 2006 Most Valuable Player has played his most games in a year since 2011.

2. CC Sabathia

Sabathia’s 2014 season is over, and it was surprisingly worse than his performance last year. In eight starts this season, he posted single-season career-worsts in ERA, WHIP, hits per inning and home runs per inning. Unfortunately for the New York Yankees, his eight-year, $182 million contract continues through 2016. He also has a vesting option for the following year.

1. Cliff Lee

The left-handed starter who will turn 36 later this month had strung together three consecutive 30-start seasons heading into 2014, but it does not look like he will even throw 100 innings this year. The 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner looked strong for most of the last five years, but Lee has fallen on hard times as his production has dipped, and Ruben Amaro has said that a Dr. James Andrews visit could be in Lee’s future.

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