Which MLB top players are the most overpaid? Learn who is underperforming the expectations set by their contracts in this guide.


The 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) regular season is in the books. And what a season it was.

It was the year of the long ball as home runs flew out of the park at a record pace. The 6,776 home runs hit this year were an all-time record and nearly 1,200 more than the 5,585 home runs hit in 2018.

Even in such an exciting season, some players were flat out disappointing. They simply did not live up to the expectations set by their contracts.

Check out our guide of 5 MLB top players who are the most disappointing and overpaid after this season.

  1. Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angels

It pains me to put Pujols on this list. As one of the game’s classiest players on and off the field, he’s been a shining ambassador to the game for years.

But facts are facts. Pujols. 244 batting average and an on-base percentage barely crossing .300 stand in stark contrast to his 2019 salary of $28 million.

That’s the tenth highest salary in baseball. We’d sure like a look at a pay stub with those kind of numbers. Side note: For information about pay stubs check out ThePayStubs.

Pujols shined in a couple of aspects. At 39, he still drove in 93 runs. And while 23 home runs are far below the league leaders, it’s still a respectable number.

It’s not like Pujols is a bad player because he’s not. But his production numbers don’t live up to the tenth highest salary of 2019.

  1. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

MLB executives and coaching staffs use a statistic called WAR, or Wins Above Replacement, to determine a player’s value. The stat is a culmination of other statistics and it represents how many wins a particular player is worth to your team compared to a replacement player.

Players with a WAR in the 5-7 range are your stars and potential all-stars. Players with a WAR in the 2-4 range are worth starting while those with a WAR of 0-2 are generally bench players.

With that in mind, Miguel Cabrera had a WAR of 0.0 in 2019, down from 0.6 last year but still better than the -0.7 he posted in 2017. During these seasons Cabrera’s earnings totaled $88 million. 

Cabrera is a future Hall of Famer and one of the best right-handed hitters of all time. But Miggy’s best years are behind him and at this point, he’s not worth the high contract.

  1. Masahiro Tanaka, P, New York Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka’s sixth season with the Yankees was a bit like a volatile stock chart. His ERA in May was only 2.80 but reached 8.77 for the month of July. At one point this summer, opponents were batting an alarming .288 against him.

Tanaka did settle down towards the end of the season, posting an 11-9 record and lowering opponents’ batting average to .261.

But the Yankees are paying him $155 million to be more than a role player with a 1.7  WAR. They desperately need stability from their ace, especially if they want to make a World Series run.

  1. Khris Davis, DH, Oakland Athletics

Many players become designated hitters (DH) because they are a defensive liability. As such, they must provide consistent value at the plate to stay in the lineup and, ultimately, the roster. 

From 2016-2018, Khris Davis did just that as one of the games most feared power hitters. You could count on Davis to hit 40 or more home runs a year. 

But in 2019, Davis hit only 23 home runs after belting 47 homers a year ago. His batting average was a paltry .220 and his on-base percentage was only .293.

That’s not good for a professional player, let alone a DH. Worst of all, his -0.3 WAR is truly shocking for a player with his talent.

A’s fans were thrilled last off-season when Davis signed a contract extension worth $50 million, considered a bargain at the time. Unless Davis turns it around next year, it may be a mistake.

  1. Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

Joey Votto is a model of consistency in the batters’ box. But that changed in 2018 when Votto’s batting average dropped to .284. This year, his average fell even further to .261 and with a career-low .357 on-base percentage.

Votto’s career average is still .307, which demonstrates how consistently great the Canadian all-star has been, despite two lackluster seasons.

It was only three seasons ago that Votto finished second in the MVP voting with a .320 average and 100 RBIs. In 2019, his WAR was a lowly 1.6, which is that of a bench player, not a future Hall of Famer earning $20 million this year.

The Good News for MLB Top Players

It’s not all bad for these 5 MLB top players. Many great players have a fluke year or two. All five of these players are earning top dollar checks because of their proven talent. We’re hoping these players rebound and show us their talent again next year.

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