BALTIMORE, MD – JUNE 03: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees watches the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 3, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. MLB contracts (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
After one of the most active offseasons in recent memory, both in the number of long-term contracts and the amount of money handed out, we look at how the 15 most expensive MLB contracts ever signed have turned out.
The 2022-2023 MLB offseason was one to remember. Not only was it the first “normal” offseason in years, but owners around the league spent large amounts of cash and handed out some long-term contracts to secure the services of the top players.
How much did teams spend? Of the 15 most expensive MLB contracts, five were signed this past winter with a combined value of $1.6B and 52 years.
The contracts are ranked by total value; all contract information comes from spotrac.
15. MLB contracts: Alex Rodriguez, NYY – $275M/10 years
Still one of the most expensive MLB contracts in history, Alex Rodriguez’s 2008 contract with the Yankees is easily the oldest on this list.
The polarizing slugger signed a 10-year, $275M deal before his age-32 season after infamously opting out of his original contract during the 2007 World Series.
After the contract was signed, the Yankees got the All-Star player they had paid for, at least for the first few years. Rodriguez hit 30-plus homers each season from 2008-2010, earning two All-Star invites, a Silver Slugger, and was in the MVP conversation. He also won a World Series in 2009, the only Fall Classic he played in pinstripes.
Even though he made his 14th All-Star game in 2011, he only played 99 games and his numbers dipped. The three-time MVP’s production continued to drop in his mid-to-late 30s, his OPS gradually falling from .965 in 2008 to .771 in 2013.
To make matters worse for the declining third baseman, with four seasons remaining on the contract, he missed the entire 2014 season after being suspended for his role in the Biogenesis scandal. His reputation tarnished, he returned in 2015 with a productive 33-home run season and even garnered some MVP votes.
But that was the end of the line, as he struggled to a .200 average in 2016 before retiring mid-season, one year before the contract expired. Over the final seven years of the contract, Rodriguez averaged only 96 games in the five seasons he actually played.
While the Yankees got a few impressive seasons and a World Series title out of Rodriguez, the contract ended poorly. The lack of games played and production over the latter half of the deal, not to mention the distractions and headaches that came with the scandal and suspension, soured the biggest MLB contract in history.