COMMENTARY | There is only one answer to the question of what contract is the worst in the history of the New York Yankees.
Even though this is the franchise that gave Roger Clemens a prorated $28 million deal for a little more than half a season and committed $82.5 million to A.J. Burnett, one contract stands alone as the most outrageous, most ill-conceived, dumbest contract in franchise history.
On Dec. 13, 2007, less than two months after his agent, Scott Boras, decided to announce his client's decision to void his existing contract in the middle of a World Series game, Alex Rodriguez signed a 10-year, $275 million contract to remain with the New York Yankees.
The first three years of the deal weren't bad in terms of production: A total of $95 million paid out for a .286/.378/.537 batting line, 95 home runs, 256 runs and 328 RBIs.
As I said, that's not bad in terms of production; not great, mind you, but not bad.
But in 2011-12, the Yankees forked over $63 million for a player who missed 103 games due to injury and hit just .274/.357/.444 with 141 runs, 34 home runs and 119 RBIs.
This year, the Yankees are on the hook for another $29 million, this time for a player who hasn't made an appearance in 2013 and won't make one until the All-Star break at the very earliest after hip surgery in January.
The only way this would get worse at this point would be if Rodriguez still had four more very expensive years to go on his contract and was embroiled in a performance-enhancing drug controversy.
That's right, boys and girls, the Yankees aren't even close to being done with this monstrosity of a contract. Rodriguez is still owed $28 million (including a $3 million bonus for, presumably, still breathing) in 2014, $21 million in 2015 and $20 million each in 2016 and 2017.
If his production slipped to the lowest levels of his career in 2012, at age 36, just imagine what sort of production the Steinbrenner brothers will be overpaying for in 2017 when Rodriguez will be 41 years old.
And that's not even taking in consideration the $6 million bonuses he is due for reaching certain home run milestones. He is 13 long balls away from a $6 million check for hitting career home run No. 660. He will receive the same amount for reaching 714 and 755 as well as for breaking Barry Bonds' career record of 762. (I know, I know, this is the part where people declare with stamping feet and faces blazing that Hank Aaron is the real record holder at 755; hey, I don't write the record book, I just read the thing, OK?)
This is far and away the worst contract in the history of the New York Yankees.
Beyond that, however, it is also far and away the worst contract in the history of Major League Baseball ... at least until Albert Pujols is getting paid $30 million by the Los Angeles Angels in 2021 ... when he is 41 years old.
Phil Watson is a freelance journalist and commentator based in upper Michigan who covers the New York Yankees for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
- Sports & Recreation
- Alex Rodriguez