Over the past 3-6 years, the landscape of professional sports and how athletes are evaluated has gone through quite a transformation. The ability of teams and leagues to track performance and collect actionable data has transformed the landscape.
This, however, has not prevented team executives to dole out some outrageous and ill-conceived contracts. ESPN shared a list of the Top 20 Worst “Dead Money” contracts across the whole sports universe. And let’s not look past NCAA schools and school administrators, as they are very well represented in the list.
In total, $527.25 Million Dollars (that’s half a billion to you and me) down the drain across all sports because of some ill advised contracts.
Just a smattering of the lunacy:
- Bobby Bonilla, a middle of the road outfielder who had a few solid years with the Pirates, is being paid $1.19MM a year by the NY Mets through 2035. That is more than many of those on their World Series roster including Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. The funniest part of this story is that the Mets/Wilpons thought paying Bonilla in deferred payments through 2035 was a better financial position because they thought they would make the money back from their investments with Bernie Madoff. Let’s Go Wilpons!
- Not to be out done, the Mets then dropped a 6 Yr/$66MM contract on Jason Bay in 2009, another former Pittsburgh Pirate slugger (who also had a pit stop in Boston where he performed well for a year and change). He spent three years with the Mets and had a TOTAL of 26 HRs over that span and they then cut their losses in 2012 while still on the hook for $21MM. Let’s Go Wilpons!!
- The Detroit Pistons flat out released Josh Smith in December 2014 while still owing him $36MM of a $54MM contract they signed him to in 2013.
I knew I should never have stopped playing baseball in high school.