The 10 Best Non-Arbitration Contracts in Major League Baseball

Every offseason there are contracts handed out that teams turn out to regret in the coming years, but there are also some signings that pay off in a big way. Surely, the horrific ones can be captivating, but, at the same time, there are many players making far less than their on-the-field worth in dollars. Here are the 10 best non-arbitration contracts in Major League Baseball.

10) Wil Myers — first year of a six-year, $83 million deal

The San Diego Padres haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, but they do have one of the more underrated players in the game on an affordable contract — that being Wil Myers. The right-handed batter can play five positions and provides a power presence in manager Andy Green‘s order (Myers hit 58 home runs from 2016-17). The versatile Myers is the face of the Padres, a well-versed fielder, and the Padres will have him on their payroll throughout the majority of his prime.

9) Josh Harrison — final year of a four-year, $27.3 million deal with club options for 2019 and 2020

Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Josh Harrison is one of the most underrated players in the game. He can play seven positions, is a contact hitter, and a complete player. A career .280 hitter, Harrison is accustomed to hitting for contact and doesn’t strikeout often. His versatility on the field also comes in handy for a young Pirates team. Based on his worth to the Pirates in both production and versatility, it’ll be a no-brainer for management to pick up the options on the remaining two years of Harrison’s deal.

8) Madison Bumgarner — under contract through 2019 at $12 million a year

Madison Bumgarner is one of the greatest postseason pitchers in MLB history, and he has one of the best contracts in the game too. Under contract for $12 million a year through 2019, the San Francisco Giants are paying their prized lefty middle-of-the-rotation money to assume the role of ace. And, when healthy, Bumgarner is one of the best pitchers in the game. Going into his Monday night start against the Colorado Rockies, Bumgarner had recorded a 2.51 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in five outings (Bumgarner began the 2018 season on the disabled list). San Francisco will continue to lean on Bumgarner going forward as they look to make a playoff push.

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7) Chris Sale — under contract through 2019 at $13.75 million a year, on average 

When you think of a top-10 pitcher, you’d likely imagine them making in excess of at least $20 million per season. But if you’re Boston Red Sox lefty Chris Sale, you’re making well beneath that figure. After Clayton Kershaw, Sale is arguably the best lefty in the game. When he has his command, he’s unhittable, a strikeout machine, and a force to be reckoned with on the hill. Potentially under contract through 2019 (Sale has a club option for next season) at or less than $15 million a season, the Red Sox ace is one of the most underpaid players in baseball. And already having the highest payroll in the game, the Red Sox won’t complain about Sale’s bargain contract.

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6) Salvador Perez — third year of a six-year, $52.5 million deal

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez is one of the best backstops in the game. He’s great behind the plate, has a superb arm, can hit for power (Perez hit a combined 70 home runs from 2015-17), is a five-time All-Star, and a four-time Gold Glove recipient. Although he’s hitting a career-worst .209 this season, Perez’s contract (which runs through 2021) is one the Royals shouldn’t take for granted. It’s not an every year occurrence that you see a top-flight catcher with an annual salary of just $8.5 million.

5) J.D. Martinez — first year of a five-year, $110 million deal

J.D. Martinez was a free agent for three and a half months this offseason — which his next destination took full advantage of. By getting him to bring down his asking price by $100 million, the Red Sox were able to snatch one of the best power hitters in the game at a bargain price tag (five-year, $110 million deal). And based on his production at the plate alone this season, Martinez has been the best free agent signing of the offseason. Currently hitting .324 to go along with 25 home runs and 67 RBIs, he’s been a pivotal part of the Red Sox’s high-octane offense; he’s a potential Most Valuable Player of the Year Award candidate in the American League.

4) Elvis Andrus — fourth year of an eight-year, $120 million deal

The Texas Rangers appear poised to miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season, but shortstop Elvis Andrus continues to produce at the plate and in the field. Granted he’s been hit by the injury bug in 2018, Andrus is a contact hitter who is hard to strikeout and one of the better fielding shortstops in the game. He’s also never played less than 145 games in a single season — which speaks to his durability. Under contract through 2023 at less than $15 million per season, Andrus is one of the game’s best bargains.

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3) Brandon Crawford — third year of a six-year, $75 million deal

Bumgarner isn’t the only Giant on a team-friendly deal; shortstop Brandon Crawford is on an affordable one too. Crawford, one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, is under contract for $15 million a year through 2021. And this season, he’s hitting a career-high .311 at the plate. Premier shortstops are prized possessions in baseball today, and for the Giants to have one that is executing at a high level in multiple ways on a long-term deal is a huge asset.

2) Charlie Blackmon — begins a five-year, $94 million deal in 2019

The bearded one, Charlie Blackmon, is one of the best outfielders in the game. Despite a bit of a down year at the plate this season, the Colorado Rockies star hits for average and provides a power presence — granted he plays in Coors Field resulting in some skepticism regarding that aspect of his game. But Blackmon also fields his position well — polishing his complete game. Under contract for roughly $19 million a year through 2023 (beginning in 2019), the Rockies have one of the game’s best outfielders on their payroll at a very affordable rate.

1) Jean Segura — first year of a five-year, $70 million deal

One year ago, the Seattle Mariners acquired shortstop Jean Segura from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and it’s been one of the most one-sided trades in recent memory. After hitting .300 in 2017, the shortstop is hitting an astonishing .336 and has already tied his RBI total from last season (45). He’s become one of the best contact hitters and premier shortstops in the game, and the Mariners are reaping the benefits. Late in the 2017 season, they opted to extend Segura — after an injury — on a five-year, $70 million deal which began this season. Segura is blossoming into a star, and given his high level of production, he has the most team-friendly contract in baseball.

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