Each year, it seems baseball contracts get bigger and bigger. With more revenue coming from regional sports networks, player salaries continue to rise each year. Some of that money turns out to be well spent from an owner’s perspective. On the flip side, some of these deals end up dragging a team down for years to come. Not all players can live up to the enormous expectations of a nine-figure salary.
That being said, the players still get paid whether or not they perform. This is not to say that players do not have a strong, burning desire to live up to their contracts, but, keep in mind that the next player to give back money because his batting average plummeted will be the first (looking at you, Vernon Wells). Baseball has guaranteed contracts, and unless a player screws up royally or retires, he will see every dollar of his contract. That makes nearly every big, long-term contract friendlier to the player than the team.
Nearly all of the big contracts have been given out this offseason. Of the free agents left on the market, only Dexter Fowler and Yovani Gallardo figure to land expensive contracts. The lion’s share of the money that will flow from the owners down to the players this year has already been distributed. With that fact established, which players got the best deals. This analysis is not necessarily based on which players made the most money, but which players did the best for themselves financially.