Because MLB is the only professional sports league with no salary cap, teams aren't as afraid to give big money to players as those in other leagues are. We are starting to see $100 million contracts become the norm, as long as you're decidedly above-average. These massive contracts come with big risks, and a lot of teams have learned the hard way that they don't always work out, even without a hard cap.
8. Dexter Fowler
Dexter Fowler was a valuable piece to the Chicago Cubs' historic 2016 season, so after they won the World Series, he signed a big, five-year, $82.5 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. Since then, he has been subpar, to say the least. In his three seasons so far in St. Louis, he's hit .233, including .180 in 90 games in 2018. His WAR in 2019 was only 1.5, but the Cards still have to pay him $16.5 million for the next two seasons.
7. Johnny Cueto
Entering his age-34 season, Johnny Cueto hasn't pitched a full year since 2017, in which he started 35 games and had a 4.52 ERA. He started decently in 2018 until he was forced to undergo Tommy John Surgery in August of 2018. In his return in September 2019, he started four games and had a 5.02 ERA. Despite missing so much time and underperforming in his last full season, he's still owed $21.8 million by the San Francisco Giants in 2020 and 2021.
6. Eric Hosmer
Kansas City Royals legend and current San Diego Padre Eric Hosmer put up a -0.2 WAR in 2019 after hitting .265 with 22 home runs and 99 RBI. That wouldn't be as much of a problem if the Padres hadn't signed him to an eight-year, $144 million contract prior to the 2018 season. He's owed $20 million per year until 2022, and then $13 million from 2023 to 2025.
5. Jake Arrieta
Jake Arrieta's career with the Chicago Cubs was nothing short of stellar. In five seasons with the team, he put up a 2.73 ERA, so when he became a free agent after the 2017 season, the Philadelphia Phillies gave him a three-year, $75 million contract. He's owed $20 million in 2020, his age-34 season, but he hasn't earned it, after pitching to the tune of a 4.64 ERA in 2019.
4. Robinson Cano
After trading for Robinson Cano before the 2019 season, the New York Mets were expecting the ageless, slick-fielding second baseman that their crosstown rival loved for so long. However, they instead got an injury-striken, 37-year-old that they will begrudgingly have to pay $24 million in 2020. In his only year in Queens, he hit .256 with only 13 home runs in 107 games. They'll have to pay that $24 million every year until 2024, when he is 40.
3. Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera is but a shell of his former self. After making 11 All-Star Games, winning two AL MVPs and earning a Triple Crown in 2012, he isn't performing at nearly the level he once did. He only played 38 games in 2018, and has 28 home runs combined in his last two full seasons in 2017 and 2019. Despite this, the Detroit Tigers have to pay him $30 million in 2020 and 2021, and $32 million in 2022 and 2023. Considering he's already 36, it isn't going to get any better.
2. Albert Pujols
After winning a final World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, Albert Pujols decided to take his talents to Anaheim and sign with the Angels for 10 years and $240 million. He is eight years in, and is hitting 70 points lower than he did in 11 years in St. Louis. He's no doubt a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but entering his age 40 season after only accumulating an 0.5 WAR in 2019 is not worthy of $29 million in 2020 and $30 million in 2021.
1. Chris Davis
Chris Davis is the poster boy for overpaid athletes. In 2015, Davis led MLB in home runs with 47, forcing the Baltimore Orioles' hand in offering him a seven-year, $161 million contract prior to the 2016 season. In 2019, Davis set the MLB record for most consecutive at-bats without a hit with 54, and since signing the massive deal, he has hit .198 for the team. He is still owed $23 million every year until 2022.