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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Do Giants’ Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto have two of worst MLB contracts?

The Giants ended the 2019 MLB season with the 13th-worst record in the league at 77-85, but the fifth-highest payroll at $178.5 million. A large chunk of that went to a pitcher who only appeared in four games this season.

Johnny Cueto has pitched in just 13 games the past two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and also has earned $21 million in each of those seasons. Cueto, 33, will be paid another $21 million by the Giants in 2020, too.

He isn’t the only aging Giant that will earn a large chunk of change next season. Michael Ginnitti of the contract expert website Spotrac lists two Giants in his 10 toughest MLB contracts for 2020. Joining Cueto on the list is catcher Buster Posey.

For the fifth straight season, Posey, who mainly batted in the middle of the Giants lineup this season, saw his power numbers dip to a staggering career low. The former NL MVP only hit seven home runs this year—actually up from five in 2018—but drove in just 38 runs and had a .368 slugging percentage.

So, how many rival contracts could we argue have this honor?

QLE Posted: October 16, 2019 at 01:29 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: buster posey, contracts, giants, johnny cueto

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   1. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: October 16, 2019 at 08:04 AM (#5891015)
I know that "worst contract" always means "most money for the least performance from this day forward", but it feels unfair to Posey. His contract covers 2013-2021 and is backloaded, so they're paying for the good seasons he had from 2013 to 2017. They've gotten 29.4 WAR and 17 WAA out of the deal, for $167 million total.

The Giants have gotten 8.8 WAR (but 5.3 WAA) for $130 million from Cueto. The Tigers have gotten 4.7 WAR/-1.9 WAA from Miguel Cabrera and will pay him $248 million in total. Jordan Zimmerman has given 0.8 WAR/-3.8 WAA for $110 million. Chris Davis is -0.4 WAR/-7.4 WAA for $161 million. Cespedes is 3.1 WAR/1.6 WAA for $110 million. Wei-Yin Chen is -1.1 WAR/-3.3 WAA for $80 million. Jacoby Ellsbury is 9.8 WAR/2.4 WAA for $153 million.

IOW, no team would take on Posey's contract from here on out (unless they were dumping a big contract of their own), but Posey's contract over its entire length has been and will likely wind up being far better than any of the others listed, and a fair number of other ones I didn't list. Assuming he does nothing for the rest of the deal, they'll have paid ~$5.7 million per WAR. That's not great but also not a disaster, especially when that money is going to the face of the franchise.
   2. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 16, 2019 at 08:18 AM (#5891016)
I know that "worst contract" always means "most money for the least performance from this day forward", but it feels unfair to Posey. His contract covers 2013-2021 and is backloaded, so they're paying for the good seasons he had from 2013 to 2017. They've gotten 29.4 WAR and 17 WAA out of the deal, for $167 million total.

Totally agree that Posey's contract wouldn't appear on my list of the game's worst. However, you should note that the Giants signed him when he was still under team control for another three years, so they would have gotten those years anyway. But then he would have been entering free agency coming off of a .318/19/95, 6-WAR season, and he's delivered 12.7 WAR so far in what would have been his free agent years, so it's hard to argue that the Giants would have saved any money by waiting to sign him, or even that it would have been such a terrible contract if they had signed him to a 6-year deal at that point. (It wouldn't have been a *good* contract, but not terrible either.)
   3. Rally Posted: October 16, 2019 at 08:20 AM (#5891017)
Hard to believe such a power outage for Posey and the other 2012 MVP, Miguel Cabrera. Especially with the rabbit ball in play. Cabrera had enough PA to qualify for the BA title, and while Posey did not, he played as much as you generally expect a catcher to play. I thought in 2019 if you played a full season homerun totals would just pile up by accident.

Both were out-homered by Eric Sogard. Posey can't even blame his age, as he's a year younger than Sogard. Looks like Posey's days of playing 30 games a year at 1B to keep his bat in the lineup are over, because he just doesn't hit enough to keep that bat in the lineup. Still a good defensive catcher though, so while not worth 22 million, he does have some value.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: October 16, 2019 at 08:25 AM (#5891018)
Even if you ignore the value he's already provided, Posey is still a reasonable starting catcher, and thus doesn't belong on such a list. He probably won't "earn" his $45M, but he'll likely get the job done, sell some jerseys and continue contributing to team goodwill.

Posey has always seemed like a "future HOFer" to me, but clicking onto his BR page, I'm surprised at how scant his record is. Just half a dozen years playing at HOF-level, really. It shouldn't really matter much, but his case will obviously be much improved if he can tack on a bunch of 2 WAR seasons the way that Joe Mauer did.
   5. Cris E Posted: October 16, 2019 at 09:27 AM (#5891027)
If it's the concussion then those things take years to recover from, assuming the player ever makes it completely back. Color me pessimistic for 2020, and I would expect a couple low watt Mauer-like seasons with the potential for an eventual bump like Morneau picked up at the end.
   6. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: October 16, 2019 at 09:51 AM (#5891033)
there is no comparison between these 2 and Homer Bailey's contract:

For something around 100 million the Reds got:

4 years of Homer Bailey: -1.2 WAR/-4.2 WAA (mostly hurt the whole time)
4 months of Puig: 0.9 WAR/-0.4 WAA
8 terrible starts from Wood: -0.3 WAR/-0.9 WAA
10 terrible starts from Trevor Bauer: -0.5 WAR/-0.9 WAA plus they have his rights for next year
Kyle Farmer: 0.2 WAR/-0.4 WAA + plus whatever they get out of him for the future, AND...

traded 2 guys, who after a season in the Dodgers organization are both listed among MLB's 100 top prospects.

Plus, to add insult to injury, Bailey put up 1.8 WAR/0.3 WAA in 2019.
   7. . Posted: October 16, 2019 at 11:20 AM (#5891053)
The object of the sport isn't to never give out bad contracts, or to maximize wins/dollars -- it's to win games and championships. The Giants have done quite well in that area in this decade.
   8. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 16, 2019 at 10:20 PM (#5891201)
What a lazy, uninspired attempt at a clickbait headline.

Cueto's been hurt, but he's been pretty good when healthy, and his salary isn't so high as to be ridiculous. He wasn't among the top 10 highest paid pitchers in 2019. Guys like Rick Porcello and Jordan Zimmermann were ahead of him. (As well as Verlander and Scherzer and Price -- that's a lot of Tigers!)

Posey has already been widely discussed above.

If the question is "Do Posey and Cueto have two of the 50 worst MLB contracts?" then the answer is yes (but uninteresting). If it's whether they have two of the 10 worst, the answer is no.
   9. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:07 AM (#5891207)
The object of the sport isn't to never give out bad contracts, or to maximize wins/dollars -- it's to win games and championships. The Giants have done quite well in that area in this decade.

I guess 2019 really is the end of the Giants' dynasty spanning the whole entire 2010s. Huh.
   10. T.J. Posted: October 17, 2019 at 09:46 AM (#5891234)
Or "2 of best MLB contracts," depending on whether you're looking at it from the perspective of plutocrats or not.
   11. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 17, 2019 at 09:55 AM (#5891236)
Or "2 of best MLB contracts," depending on whether you're looking at it from the perspective of plutocrats or not.


I know this has become popular as a clever rejoinder to the whole "worst contract" discussion, but it doesn't make any sense. Buster Posey doesn't benefit from performing poorly on the field. It doesn't make his contract situation any "better" if he has an injury or a bad season. His interests and the Giants' interests are perfectly in line: They both want Posey to play well and the team to win.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2019 at 10:05 AM (#5891238)
I know this has become popular as a clever rejoinder to the whole "worst contract" discussion, but it doesn't make any sense.
You are right. It's one of those things where people are trying so hard to be edgy and cynical that they swing all the around back to naive and asinine.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: October 18, 2019 at 02:24 AM (#5891516)
I agree more than disagree but while sure, Posey would rather play good than bad, it is definitely to Posey's benefit that he guaranteed big money for years when he might not play well. It works even better for Cueto who, if he had not secured that contract, might have been out of a job or at least forced into a substantial pay cut following 2017.

So yes, these are among the best contracts from a player's perspective in that, without these contracts, neither player would be getting paid over $20 M this season no matter how well they played. So, not "great" from a perspective of "yippee, I get to suck and still get paid $60 M, suckers!" but from the perspective of "thank god I secured this guaranteed contract that protects me financially from the consquences of my unfortunate injury/decline, thanks MLBPA!"

I certainly don't see any counter-argument to the notion that calling these "worst contracts" is inherently taking the owners' perspective. If you want a neutral term, call these "among the worst in projected WAR/$" or "most untradeable contracts" or similar. Not that there's great shame in taking the owners' perspective, I've certainly done it plenty -- it's a legit perspective from which to view a contract. Especially if your intent is to ridicule the owner/GM. :-)
   14. Lassus Posted: October 18, 2019 at 06:53 AM (#5891520)
Call me an optimist, but I literally thought this was going to be an article about bad contracts for PLAYERS.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: October 18, 2019 at 07:40 AM (#5891525)
Buster Posey doesn't benefit from performing poorly on the field.


Unless it's because he's not working as hard as he used to. Perhaps he's taken up some nice hobbies. Self-actualize!
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: October 18, 2019 at 09:46 AM (#5891539)
Call me an optimist, but I literally thought this was going to be an article about bad contracts for PLAYERS.
You thought Cueto had a bad contract from his perspective?
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: October 18, 2019 at 09:48 AM (#5891540)
I certainly don't see any counter-argument to the notion that calling these "worst contracts" is inherently taking the owners' perspective.
It's taking the perspective of winning - and the perspective of fans. If Cueto and Posey played great this year, the Giants would have won more games and the contracts wouldn't be on this list, and everyone involved would have been happier.
   18. stanmvp48 Posted: October 18, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5891564)
Or how about Brandon Belt's 17 million for 2 more years. He never turned out to be particularly good.
   19. Lassus Posted: October 18, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5891596)
You thought Cueto had a bad contract from his perspective?

Well, no, I didn't know a thing about it, or even his performance. But I could squint and see how Posey may have been stuck in something terrible for years of good production. Because I haven't really bothered paying attention.
   20. . Posted: October 18, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5891655)
You are right. It's one of those things where people are trying so hard to be edgy and cynical that they swing all the around back to naive and asinine.


This is very similar to how at the extremes, the political spectrum bends back into itself to form essentially a single point.
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: October 18, 2019 at 01:45 PM (#5891666)
my fantasy auction this year brought me the aforementioned Posey, Cueto, Belt - and Brandon Crawford. did he make TFA, too?

(I got them all out of the clearance bin, but no I did not win. after realizing I also dumpster-dove for Old-Timer's Day plays TFrazier, Eaton, Dyson, Jeff S, Neshek, A Miller, etc, I "fought the last war" and passed on a Week 1 chance to claim an even older guy because I was tired of geezers. and that's how Howie Kendrick performed his magic all season with a rival squad.)
   22. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: October 18, 2019 at 02:29 PM (#5891685)
How could you pass on another Howie, Howie?! :-)
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: October 18, 2019 at 02:35 PM (#5891688)
ha!

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