The Tigers signed Prince Fielder to a 9 year, $214 million contract yesterday. Scott Boras did his client well in getting him nearly $24 million per year. My first thought when I heard of this contract was that it had to be the worst contract in baseball history. The only other contract that blew my mind like this one at the time it was signed was the Barry Zito contract. Others have been silly for sure, but Zito's and now Fielder's contracts stand out to me as two of the worst of all time.
2012: 4.2 WAR
Oliver is more friendly over those 6 years than the typical -.5 WAR per year would be. Adding in the -.5 WAR per year for the final 3 years of the contract we get this:
2018: 1.6 WAR
That's a projected total of 21.8 WAR.
Using a win value of $5 million in 2012 and increasing by 5% each year we end up with a value of $135.2 million. Factor in the 10% discount on contracts 3 or more years in length and you get $121.7 million. Prince Fielder was overpaid by about $100 million. He was paid nearly twice what he's worth.
CAIRO has 4.1 offensive WAR and -6 runs on defense so that's 3.5 WAR batting plus fielding. He's also a terrible baserunner. MGL's personal projections have him at about 3.55 WAR per 150 games in 2012 so he's pretty close to what CAIRO has. If you start at 3.5 WAR and decrease by .5 WAR each year you end up with a total of 14 WAR.
I don't know what the worst contract of all time is, but this just might be it. If we took an average projection we'd end up with about 9 years and $110 million. It's reasonable to see a team go up to $140 million, but anything higher than that is just silly.
All I know i that I'm glad the Cubs weren't the team to give this contract to him.