A little more than half a season is too early to call a contract a bust, but one of the more lucrative contracts issued this past offseason isn't off to a great start.
Nick Castellanos signed a five-year/$100 million deal to join the Philadelphia Phillies are putting up a career year with the Cincinnati Reds in 2021. While Castellanos' defensive shortcomings are well documented, the feeling was that he'd get the bulk of his starts at DH, and create one of the best lineups in the league alongside Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto.
That may still happen, but it's been a very disappointing first season with the Phillies to this point. A year after posting a .939 OPS, Castellanos has an OPS under .700 currently. Because of injuries to Harper, Castellanos has been asked to play in the field much more than initially anticipated, and he has -12 defensive runs saved and -8 outs above average to show for it. His -1.1 fWAR is by far the worst mark among all qualified position players.
In his defense, Castellanos had a disappointing first season with the Reds, before making the National League All-Star team and winning a Silver Slugger in his second season with the team. Perhaps as Castellanos adjusts to playing in Philadelphia, his results will improve. If not, he's in danger of ending up on a list like this.
With the 2022 MLB trade deadline in the books, here are the 10 worst contracts in baseball currently:
10. Madison Bumgarner
Initial Deal: Five Years and $85 Million
Amount Remaining: $37 Million After 2022
A franchise icon in San Francisco, Bumgarner has a 4.62 ERA, 4.98 FIP and 1.6 fWAR since joining the Diamondbacks in 2020. He's due $37 million over the next two seasons and has a limited no-trade clause, making a trade of the former World Series MVP pretty unlikely.
9. Jason Heyward
Initial Deal: Eight Years and $184 Million
Amount Remaining: $22 Million
Heyward is one of the last remaining players for the Cubs' 2016 World Series team, and even back then, you had a feeling that his eight-year deal wasn't going to work out very well. While Heyward has won two Gold Glove Awards as a Cub, the .700 OPS he's posted with the team is a pretty massive disappointment. Set to turn 33 soon, Heyward is due $22 million in 2023, the final season of his contract.
8. Josh Donaldson
Initial Deal: Four Years and $92 Million
Amount Remaining: $21 Million
In his first season with the Yankees, Donaldson is slashing just .220/.301/.384 with an OPS under .700. The former American League MVP is due $21 million in 2023, which the Yankees are on the hook for all of. After that, Brian Cashman and company figure to decline their half of a $6 million mutual option for 2024.
7. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Initial Deal: 10 Years and $225 Million
Amount Remaining: $32 Million Due After 2022
After something of a renaissance in 2021, Votto is slashing just .221/.335/.396 with a .732 OPS and -0.2 fWAR in 2022. The former National League MVP has had a career that's going to garner serious Hall of Fame consideration when it concludes, but at age 38, he doesn't appear to have much left. Votto is due $25 million in 2023, which may be the final season of his career. The Reds will definitely decline his $20 million club option for 2024, triggering a $7 million buyout.
6. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Initial Deal: Eight Years and $248 Million
Amount Remaining: $40 Million Due After 2022
Cabrera is one of the greatest hitters in MLB history, and his Hall of Fame plaque will feature a Tigers hat one day. With that said, Cabrera has been an ineffective player for the better part of the last half decade. The two-time American League MVP has said that 2023 -- the final guaranteed year of his contract -- will be the final of his illustrious career. Cabrera is due $32 million in 2023, with the Tigers also nearly certain to take the $8 million buyout on his $30 million club option for 2024.
5. Robinson Canó, Atlanta Braves
Initial Deal: 10 Years and $240 Million
Amount Remaining: $23 Million Due After 2022
Canó was recently designated for assignment by the Braves, so it's possible that by the time you're reading this, he's either a free agent or onto his fourth organization of the season. By all accounts 2022 is going to be the final season of the eight-time All-Star's career. Regardless, he's still due $23 million in 2023, more than $20 million of which will be paid by the New York Mets, with the Seattle Mariners on the hook for the rest.
4. Eric Hosmer, Boston Red Sox
Initial Deal: Eight Years and $144 Million
Amount Remaining: $39 Million Due After 2022
After using his partial no-trade clause to prevent being sent to Washington as part of the Juan Soto trade, the Padres traded Hosmer to the Boston Red Sox. The four-time Gold Glove Award winner can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after the 2022 season, but it would be shocking if he did given how his performance has plummeted since he was a World Series hero with the Kansas City Royals. According to Alex Speier of The Boston Globe, the Padres will pay for just about all of the remaining money that Hosmer makes over the lifetime of his contract.
3. Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels
Initial Deal: Seven Years and $245 Million
Amount Remaining: $152 Million Due After 2022
The Angels signed Rendon to join Mike Trout in their lineup after he was a World Series hero with the Washington Nationals in 2019. To his credit, he posted a .915 OPS and finished 10th in American League MVP voting in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. However, since then he's played in just 103 games. The 32-year-old has a full no-trade clause in his deal, and the substantial amount of money due to him moving forward may be one of the reasons that Shohei Ohtani determines the Angels won't be able to put a contending team around him.
2. Patrick Corbin, Washington Nationals
Initial Deal: Six Years and $140 Million
Amount Remaining: $59.4 Million Due After 2022
It's hard to say that it was a mistake that the Nationals signed Corbin to a six-year deal before the 2019 season, because he was a key cog in the franchise capturing their first World Series title that season. However, since the start of the 2020 season, Corbin is 15-38 with a 5.84 ERA and 4.94 FIP. The 33-year-old will make nearly $50 million over the next two seasons, before the Nationals pay him $10 million in deferred money in 2025.
1. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Initial Deal: Seven Years and $245 Million
Amount Remaining: $174.2 Million Due After 2022 Season
After he won the 2019 World Series MVP, the Nationals rewarded Strasburg with a seven-year/$245 million contract that has essentially turned into a lifetime achievement award. Since the start of the 2018 season, Strasburg has appeared in just eight games. The former No. 1 overall pick is due $23.57 million in each of the next four seasons, and then after his contract concludes, he'll make $80 million in deferred money between 2027 and 2029.