Boulevard of Bad Contracts – NL Central

In the NL Central, the Cubs Jason Heyward contract isn’t eligible to point and laugh at, yet. Neither is the money doled out for Mike Leake by St. Louis. But there are others we can look at with a jaundiced eye, and we will. Oh, we will.

John Lester – Chicago Cubs (2015 – 6/$155 plus team option in 2021) – Again, it’s not that Lester isn’t worth it now. Will he be worth $47.5 million in 2019 and 2020, at ages 35 and 36? If the Cubs win the series this season, no one but the green-eyeshade crowd will care, though. The hangover is always worse when the party is great.

Miguel Montero – Chicago Cubs (2012 – 6/$65.9) – Like pitchers, catchers aren’t the best long-term investment. They get hurt, and then usually have to move positions if you want to keep their bat in the lineup. Montero’s bat has slid downhill since 2012, and by the metrics his defense has gone south, too. For all of the talent the Cubs have, their catching needs to be shorn up next season.

Adam Wainwright – St. Louis (2014 – 5/$97.5) – This was probably a great reward for his work in 2009 through 2013. But he was hurt in 2011, threw just 28 innings last year, and has been mediocre this season. He did earn his keep in 2014, but right now he’s pitching like a fourth starter and making ace money.

Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis (2014 – 4/$53) – It looked like a great signing in 2014, though it did expose THE BEST FANS IN THE WORLD and their hypocrisy about PEDs. His defense fell of a ledge in 2015 (2014 was a definite defensive outlier), and he’s been hurt and ineffective this season. What can the Cards expect for $10 million next year?

Jedd Gyorko – St. Louis (2015 – 5/$35 with team option for 2020) – Up-and-down, up-and-down. Gyrko would be worth the money if he could maintain a better OBP to go along with his power surge. Here, I’m speculating that his OPS+ will average out to about 100 each year of the contract, and whether that’s good enough for $13 million in 2019 is up to you.

Josh Harrison – Pittsburgh (2015 – 4/$27.3 with team options in 2019 and 2020) – Pittsburgh’s most questionable contract is the extension of Francisco Cervelli that he just signed, because, over-30 catchers. Harrison parlayed his out-of-nowhere season in 2014 into a payday. Good for him. He’s got to hit .300 to be valuable on offense, and slashing .278/.306/.379 isn’t going to cut it for a team on a budget that needs to make sure their big dogs are paid.

Matt Garza – Milwaukee (2014 – 4/$50 with a 2018 vesting option) – He’s the reason I’m writing this series, when I heard the Brewers / Mariners game where Garza was starting and I was surprised he was making the coin he was. If he’s healthy, he’s an innings eating third starter at best. He’s not really been healthy the last two years, and his overall WAR has been -0.6 thus far in the life of his Brewers contract. That’s skunked beer, my friends.

Homer Bailey – Cincinnati (2014 – 6/$105 with a 2020 mutual option) – He’s made 31 starts since he signed the contract. He’s only started six games this season, and is batting right bicep tendinitis now (i.e. his arm still freakin’ hurts). Why would you tie up your resources with a pitcher who has had just two decent seasons under his belt, and had some injury issues in the past? Why? WHY?

Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati (2008 – 10/$98) – ALBATROSS! ALBATROSS! His minor resurgence in 2015 has vanished. If he had some patience and better sense as a base stealer he could have been a kinda-Joe Morgan player. Remember the really good times, Reds fans, which was 2011-12 for Phillips.

Devin Mesoraco – Cincinnati (2015 – 4/$28) – It doesn’t seem that bad until you realize that he’s due $20.5 million the next two years, and is coming off of a torn labrum. Catchers get hurt almost as much as pitchers do. BTW – he’s the player whose absence from the lineup triggered Bryan Price’s exquisite rant.

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