Miguel Cabrera Contract

Miguel Cabrera starts an eight-year, $248 million contract this season. It’s been widely panned as a potential contender for the worst big-money deal in MLB history, even though the 32-year-old Cabrera has shown no signs of slowing down in recent years. The two-time MVP led the American League in batting average (.338) and on-base percentage (.440) last season, finishing 11th in MVP voting despite missing 43 games.

Tigers fans have a right to be nervous, though. Over the last 15 years or so, baseball fans have been conditioned to think big-money deals never work out. That’s not exactly true, but the evidence against signing an aging superstar mounts more and more every year. In 2015, we saw Ryan Zimmerman and Robinson Cano fall off dramatically less than two years into a nine-figure contract. In 2014, the same happened with Justin Verlander and Shin-Soo Choo.

Not all $100 million contracts turn out to be albatrosses, however. In fact, of the 40 nine-figure agreements in MLB history with at least three years in the books, nearly half still hold the potential to be team-friendly.

PointAfter decided to rank all 40 of those contracts based on how much teams pay these $100 million athletes per win above replacement (WAR), an all-encompassing statistic favored by experts in the sport.

The “salary per 1.0 WAR” figure we lean on for this article isn’t a perfect calculation for active contracts. In those cases, we used a player’s average annual value (i.e. $100 million / 5 years = $20 million) to determine his salary per 1.0 WAR, since contracts typically feature escalating or declining salaries that would hopelessly complicate this exercise. Though this decision might put younger players at a disadvantage, since in reality they’ve likely earned less money in what would have been their arbitration years, in theory this would even out since they’re likely to produce at a lower level as they age.

The 40 eligible $100 million contracts are ranked from worst to best. If you’re a fan of a team with multiple nine-figure contracts on the payroll, like the Tigers, you’ll feel better about these investments as you continue to read.

Note: Salary figures courtesy of Baseball Reference.

#40. Ryan Howard (2012-16)

Salary per 1 WAR: $?!?
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Contract details: 5 years, $125,000,000
WAR over contract: -3.0

As the only $100M player to accumulate negative WAR over the course of his deal, Howard broke our arithmetical system for ranking these contracts.

The general manager who gave it to him, former Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., is now a first base coach for the Red Sox since he presumably could not find front office work following his stint in Philadelphia. This contract certainly contributed to that epic demotion.

Explore MLB Player Profiles on PointAfter

#39. Barry Zito (2007-13)

Salary per 1 WAR: $42,000,000
Team: San Francisco Giants
Contract details: 7 years, $126,000,000
WAR over contract: 3.0

The famously chill Zito was beloved across The Bay during his time with Oakland, where he won a Cy Young Award and made three All-Star teams. But Zito admitted his landmark deal, the largest given to a pitcher at the time, placed pressure on him as a Giant. He earned some redemption by pitching effectively during San Francisco’s run to the 2012 World Series, as the Giants won his final 14 starts, including Game 1 of the Fall Classic.

#38. Mike Hampton (2001-08)

Salary per 1 WAR: $40,333,333
Team: Colorado Rockies
Contract details: 8 years, $121,000,000
WAR over contract: 3.0

Hampton parlayed a fantastic 1999 campaign, in which he led the NL with a 2.90 ERA, and a successful 2000 postseason run with the Mets into the largest contract in sports history (at the time). Needless to say, the Rockies, always desperate for pitching due to their bandbox home field, massively overpaid.

The southpaw recorded a 5.75 ERA in two disastrous seasons in Colorado before finishing out the deal in Atlanta, where he was better but never made another All-Star team. At least he won three Silver Slugger awards during the contract.

#37. C.C. Sabathia (2012-16)

Salary per 1 WAR: $23,238,095
Team: New York Yankees
Contract details: 5 years, $122,000,000
WAR over contract: 4.2

Sabathia’s first mega-deal with New York actually wasn’t too bad, as we’ll see later in this article. It was a five-year extension signed before the 2012 season that’s proven to be an albatross, as Sabathia has struggled to overcome issues on and off the field over the past few years.

#36. Carl Crawford (2011-17)

Salary per 1 WAR: $23,051,948
Team: Boston Red Sox
Contract details: 7 years, $142,000,000
WAR over contract: 4.4

Some might not expect Crawford to land in the bottom five of baseball’s $100 million men. But the man who led the Majors in triples and stolen bases four times with Tampa Bay has been sapped of his speed by Father Time, rendering him an average player, at best.

He recorded a -0.1 WAR last year with the Dodgers and looks unlikely to start again in Los Angeles. His salary-per-WAR figure only figures to increase over the final two years of his deal.

#35. Josh Hamilton (2013-17)

Salary per 1 WAR: $22,727,273
Team: Los Angeles Angels
Contract details: 5 years, $125,000,000
WAR over contract: 3.3

Hamilton’s tenure with the Angels was a mismatch from the start. Like Sabathia, Hamilton’s struggles with his team bled over into his personal life, and he clashed with the dissatisfied hometown fans. He was traded in April 2015 to the Rangers, where he wasn’t much better.

Though Hamilton got a late start to his professional career after drug problems delayed his progress, injuries are seemingly taking a toll on him as he enters his mid-30s. With the talent he possesses, however, it could be foolish to count him out.

#34. Matt Cain (2012-17)

Salary per 1 WAR: $22,368,421
Team: San Francisco Giants
Contract details: 6 years, $127,500,000
WAR over contract: 3.8

A three-time All-Star and former first-round pick, Cain has alarmingly declined since finishing sixth in Cy Young voting in 2012. His ERA has ballooned from 2.79 to 5.79 over that span, and it’s entirely possible he’ll lose his rotation spot in San Francisco this season in lieu of the Giants rebuilding their rotation this offseason.

#33. Vernon Wells (2008-14)

Salary per 1 WAR: $18,260,870
Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Contract details: 7 years, $126,000,000
WAR over contract: 6.9

Toronto envisioned Wells as a star to build around after the center fielder showcased great promise with the bat and glove during his early years with the Blue Jays. Unfortunately, Wells couldn’t keep up his remarkably consistent production through his late-20s and 30s. A litany of injuries eventually took its toll after he was traded to the Angels midway through his contract, and he struggled mightily between 2011-13 for both L.A. and the Yankees. Wells didn’t even play for New York during the final year of his contract, instead collecting his nearly $25 million paycheck on the bench.

#32. Alfonso Soriano (2007-14)

Salary per 1 WAR: $16,585,366
Team: Chicago Cubs
Contract details: 8 years, $136,000,000
WAR over contract: 8.2

Once regarded as one of the sport’s premier prospects, Soriano was the centerpiece of the famous trade that shipped him to Texas and sent Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees. Soriano largely fulfilled his promise as a five-tool threat with the Rangers and made seven straight All-Star teams between 2002-08. He never developed much discipline at the plate, however, and his production fell off a cliff after his speed and ability to hit for contact abandoned him in his mid-30s.

#31. Carlos Lee (2007-12)

Salary per 1 WAR: $11,904,762
Team: Houston Astros
Contract details: 6 years, $100,000,000
WAR over contract: 8.4

Soon after signing his fat contract with Houston, Lee himself bloated up to well above his normal playing weight. He became one of the game’s worst defensive outfielders, necessitating a move to first base by 2011. By that time, however, his power at the plate had evaporated.

With Lee as one of their highest-paid players, it’s no wonder the Astros set up camp in the cellar of the NL Central during their final years in the division.

#30. Jayson Werth (2011-17)

Salary per 1 WAR: $9,890,110
Team: Washington Nationals
Contract details: 7 years, $126,000,000
WAR over contract: 9.1

Personal anecdote time: Scott Boras once came to one of my college classes and said that during the 2010-11 offseason, the Nationals were desperate to establish themselves as contenders and a destination for free agents. He convinced them that signing Werth to this contract was the way to do it. That’s why Boras is considered the best agent in baseball.

Werth’s status as a 32-year-old with two standout seasons to his name didn’t necessitate such a splurge from Washington. You can’t say the Nationals haven’t fulfilled their goal of becoming attractive to free agents, though it has yet to result in winning a playoff series.

#29. Justin Verlander (2013-19)

Salary per 1 WAR: $9,764,919
Team: Detroit Tigers
Contract details: 7 years, $180,000,000
WAR over contract: 7.9

This contract has the potential to get extremely ugly. Verlander was long the face of the Tigers as a homegrown star, which explains why he netted such a lucrative long-term commitment from the franchise. However, his velocity has decreased in recent years, and his production has followed suit.

He’s just three years into this extension, and it’s already close to being in the bottom 10 of baseball’s worst nine-figure contracts. It’s a sound bet it’ll be firmly entrenched there by the time 2019 rolls around.

#28. Johan Santana (2008-13)

Salary per 1 WAR: $9,046,053
Team: New York Mets
Contract details: 6 years, $137,500,000
WAR over contract: 15.2

Santana was superb in his first three years with New York, though his efforts largely went to waste as the Mets twice suffered humiliating collapses in the final month of the regular season. Unfortunately, it turned out those years would essentially represent the end of his prime, as Santana largely succumbed to multiple surgeries during the remainder of his contract. He did make it into the franchise’s history books by throwing the Mets’ first no-hitter in 2012, however.

#27. Ken Griffey Jr. (2000-08)

Salary per 1 WAR: $8,893,130
Team: Cincinnati Reds
Contract details: 9 years, $116,500,000
WAR over contract: 13.1

You can understand why the Reds signed Griffey to a nine-year extension immediately after trading for him at the turn of the century. A Cincinnati native, The Kid was beloved not only in Ohio, but around the country as MLB’s most electrifying player.

Unfortunately, a string of leg injuries caused Griffey to miss an average of 83 games per season between 2001-04. Even though Junior posted 30-home run campaigns in 2005 and 2007, his poor injury luck made this a poor deal for the Reds.

#26. Prince Fielder (2012-20)

Salary per 1 WAR: $8,725,790
Team: Detroit Tigers
Contract details: 9 years, $214,000,000
WAR over contract: 10.9

Fielder has made the All-Star team four of the last five years, but he hasn’t hit 30 homers since 2012. The Tigers were happy to get out from under his contract after just two years, trading him to the Rangers before the 2014 season.

He’s logged a line of .294/.374/.443 in two campaigns in the Lone Star State, which certainly isn’t terrible but underlies his declining power.

#25. Joe Mauer (2011-18)

Salary per 1 WAR: $7,823,129
Team: Minnesota Twins
Contract details: 8 years, $184,000,000
WAR over contract: 14.7

When the Twins extended Mauer, they valued him as an above-average hitter and defender at catcher who’d won three American League batting titles. However, injury problems necessitated a move to first base, where Mauer’s bat is below-average compared to his peers. His batting average sunk to a career low .265 in 2015, and he’s not particularly great at anything anymore.

#24. Jose Reyes (2012-17)

Salary per 1 WAR: $7,765,568
Team: Miami Marlins
Contract details: 6 years, $106,000,000
WAR over contract: 9.1

Reyes was the reigning NL batting champion when he signed this deal with Miami. He hasn’t topped a .300 batting average in the four years since, has been traded twice and is now set to stand trial in April for domestic violence charges.

#23. Matt Kemp (2012-19)

Salary per 1 WAR: $7,476,636
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Contract details: 8 years, $160,000,000
WAR over contract: 10.7

Kemp, never the most consistent star in Los Angeles, struck a franchise-record deal with the Dodgers after finishing second in MVP voting in 2011. That season saw him miss a 40-40 season by one home run, and he thereafter predicted he’d become the first player in MLB history to record a 50-50 season. Kemp hasn’t topped 25 home runs or 12 stolen bases since.

The Dodgers somehow managed to unload his contract to the Padres last offseason. San Diego is now on the hook for the vast majority of the $87 million yet to be paid.

#22. Mark Teixeira (2009-16)

Salary per 1 WAR: $7,429,245
Team: New York Yankees
Contract details: 8 years, $180,000,000
WAR over contract: 21.2

A major wrist injury in 2013, which limited Teixeira to 15 games, gave way to a nightmare 2014 season that saw Teixeira slash .216/.313/.398 in 123 games. That prompted many to think Teixeira’s days as a plus Major Leaguer were in the rear view mirror, but he rebounded in 2015 by making his third career All-Star team.

Tex has swatted 191 homers with a .349 on-base percentage during his time in pinstripes, making his .253 batting average with the Yankees more palatable. Though his numbers in New York don’t match the production he maintained through his twenties, the Yanks probably don’t regret signing him. Teixeira’s first season with the team saw him finish second in MVP voting as New York won the World Series, which is all that matters to many in the Bronx.

#21. Albert Pujols (2012-21)

Salary per 1 WAR: $7,218,045
Team: Los Angeles Angels
Contract details: 10 years, $240,000,000
WAR over contract: 13.3

Pujols’ second mega-deal isn’t even halfway over, but it’s already clear his current contract with the Angels isn’t nearly as team-friendly as his former one with St. Louis was. He’s averaged 3.3 WAR in four years with Los Angeles after his landmark extension with St. Louis yielded more than 8.0 WAR per season.

Though Pujols, 36, logged his first 40-homer campaign since 2010 last season, the underlying advanced statistics suggest he was quite lucky to do so. He also registered career lows in batting average (.240) and on-base percentage (.307) in 2015.

Pujols will be 42 by the time his current deal expires, and it seems “The Machine” will start to break down long before then.

#20. C.C. Sabathia (2009-15)

Salary per 1 WAR: $7,155,556
Team: New York Yankees
Contract details: 7 years, $161,000,000
WAR over contract: 22.5

Sabathia’s first three years in New York included three top-four finishes in Cy Young voting and a 2009 ALCS MVP that preced the Yankees’ World Series title. Though he’s certainly faded in recent years, the Yanks got their money’s worth on their first nine-figure commitment to Sabathia.

#19. Alex Rodriguez (2008-17)

Salary per 1 WAR: $6,938,776
Team: New York Yankees
Contract details: 10 years, $275,000,000
WAR over contract: 24.5

Funnily enough, Rodriguez’s contract would likely rank about five spots worse if he hadn’t been suspended for the entire 2014 season, thus forfeiting $22 million. As it stands, his second mega deal lands around the middle of the pack of nine-figure agreements.

#18. Adrian Gonzalez (2012-18)

Salary per 1 WAR: $5,714,286
Team: Boston Red Sox
Contract details: 7 years, $154,000,000
WAR over contract: 15.4

Gonzalez has aged quite well for a slugger, though 2015 marked his first All-Star appearance during his seven-year contract. He’s averaged a shade under 4.0 WAR over the past three years for the Dodgers, which is right about market value for his estimated $22 million salary.

#17. David Wright (2013-20)

Salary per 1 WAR: $5,686,813
Team: New York Mets
Contract details: 8 years, $138,000,000
WAR over contract: 9.1

Wright netted four top-10 MVP finishes before this contract kicked in. Injuries have caused him to miss 202 games over the past three seasons, which doesn’t bode well for his long-term outlook.

The 2015 season was a mixed bag for Wright. He triumphantly returned at the tail end of the regular season by slashing .289/.379/.434 in 38 games, but ultimately struggled during New York’s surprising postseason run to the World Series. It’s doubtful he’ll be much more than a solid hitter for average and capable fielder at the hot corner as he ages deeper into his thirties.

#16. Cliff Lee (2011-15)

Salary per 1 WAR: $5,660,377
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Contract details: 5 years, $120,000,000
WAR over contract: 21.2

Even if you’re a hardcore baseball fan, there’s a good chance you didn’t know Lee was paid by a Major League team in 2015. He kind of just faded into the background after an elbow injury curtailed his season, and perhaps his career.

Even so, the southpaw finished in the top six of Cy Young voting twice in Philadelphia and was a good investment. The Phillies just couldn’t take advantage of Lee’s presence due to some awful roster building by former GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

#15. Jason Giambi (2002-08)

Salary per 1 WAR: $5,454,545
Team: New York Yankees
Contract details: 7 years, $120,000,000
WAR over contract: 22.0

Fresh off two seasons that saw Giambi win MVP in 2000 and finish runner-up in 2001, he bolted Oakland to sign with the Yankees. He continued to be a premier power hitter and on-base threat during his time in pinstripes, though his poor fielding during part-time work at first base took away some of his value.

#14. Matt Holliday (2010-16)

Salary per 1 WAR: $5,042,017
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Contract details: 7 years, $120,000,000
WAR over contract: 20.4

Rockies hitters are often scrutinized more than other free agents due to the bump they receive from playing at high altitude in Coors Field. Holliday has proved he’s a legitimate threat no matter where he plays during his time in St. Louis, holding a robust line of .298/.386/.498 in nearly seven seasons there.

#13. Cole Hamels (2013-18)

Salary per 1 WAR: $4,615,385
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Contract details: 6 years, $144,000,000
WAR over contract: 15.6

The Phillies’ front office didn’t do much right during the reign of Ruben Amaro Jr., but signing Hamels through his age-34 season and then trading him to Texas last summer for a bundle of prospects was certainly a sound line of thinking. The Rangers, for their part, have a top-of-the-rotation lefty they can feel confident about during playoff series for the next three years.

#12. Derek Jeter (2001-10)

Salary per 1 WAR: $4,609,756
Team: New York Yankees
Contract details: 10 years, $189,000,000
WAR over contract: 41.0

Sabermetic statistics don’t revere Jeter as much as Yankees fans do, but WAR clearly shows that The Captain more than earned his contract. At the time, the $189 million sum was the second-highest deal in terms of total money in MLB history, behind only Alex Rodriguez’s $252 million contract that was signed earlier that offseason.

Jeter made eight All-Star teams over his 10-year deal and claimed the fifth World Series title of his career after capturing four between 1996-2000.

#11. Felix Hernandez (2013-19)

Salary per 1 WAR: $4,573,171
Team: Seattle Mariners
Contract details: 7 years, $175,000,000
WAR over contract: 16.4

King Felix is one of the most bankable pitchers in baseball. His price tag of about $4.5 million per 1 WAR is above average for modern times, and that’s not counting the value he holds as the marketing face of the Mariners. He’s shown no signs of slowing down, and seems like as good of a bet as any pitcher to stay strong through the end of this contract at age 33.

Now, if Seattle could only get to the postseason and deploy Hernandez in a playoff series.

#10. Kevin Brown (1999-2005)

Salary per 1 WAR: $4,565,217
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Contract details: 7 years, $105,000,000
WAR over contract: 23.0

After spending several years as an ace for hire in Florida and San Diego during a pair of World Series runs, Kevin Brown settled down in Southern California with a contract that set several benchmarks. Brown’s contract was the first $100 million contract in MLB history, and the first seven-year guaranteed agreement given to a pitcher in free agency. Those records were especially shocking since Brown was entering his age-34 season in 1999.

Brown’s cost of about $4.5 million per win above replacement over the course of his contract wasn’t the bargain then that it’d be now, and he was very nearly pushed out of the top 10 by Felix Hernandez’s current deal with Seattle. However, Brown was a much more affordable $3.6 million per 1.0 WAR during his five-year stint with Dodgers. Brown finished sixth in Cy Young voting in 1999 and 2000, earned his sixth career All-Star bid in 2003 and pitched to a 3.00 ERA or better in four of his five seasons in L.A.

The Dodgers smartly capitalized on his value with two years remaining on his deal, trading him to the Yankees for a package including Jeff Weaver and Brandon Weeden (yes, that Brandon Weeden). Brown unraveled in New York, recording a 4.95 ERA in 35 starts in pinstripes. Still, this deal ranks as the second-best bargain among the 12 $100 million contracts given to pitchers with at least two years completed through 2015.

#9. Manny Ramirez (2001-08)

Salary per 1 WAR: $4,359,673
Team: Boston Red Sox
Contract details: 8 years, $160,000,000
WAR over contract: 36.7

Before Manny Ramirez was known for, well … being Manny, he was already considered to be one of baseball’s best hitters. However, even the Red Sox must have been surprised by how much Ramirez affected their team, both on the field and in the clubhouse.

Ramirez’s contract made him the highest-paid player in MLB, and he certainly earned his paycheck. The dreadlocked superstar made the All-Star Game in all eight of his seasons in Beantown, finishing in the top 10 of MVP voting every year between 2001-05. His gaudy WAR total from those years doesn’t even take his postseason heroics into account.

Ramirez captured World Series MVP honors in 2004, when Boston famously broke the Curse of the Bambino. He was a larger-than-life figure once again when the Sox won the title in 2007, batting .348/.516/.652 with four homers in 14 games.

Truth be told, Ramirez’s clutch performances were probably worth the $160M price tag alone — ask any Red Sox fan, and they’ll tell you those two championships were priceless.

#8. Todd Helton (2003-11)

Salary per 1 WAR: $4,327,217
Team: Colorado Rockies
Contract details: 9 years, $141,500,000
WAR over contract: 32.7

Thanks to the massive outlier that is Coors Field, the Rockies must operate in a cloud of uncertainty when negotiating with potential signees. When their own young players enjoy success, is it a sign of future potential or a merely a product of the extreme hitter-friendly nature of their own park?

Fortunately, their two nine-figure bets on homegrown position players have paid off handsomely. Todd Helton maintained above-average offensive production through his age-37 season in 2011, even finishing 13th in MVP voting in 2009. Though he hit poorly in Colorado’s magical postseason run in 2007, “The Toddfather” served ably as the face of the Rockies throughout his noteworthy 17-year career.

#7. Zack Greinke (2013-18)

Salary per 1 WAR: $4,000,000
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Contract details: 6 years, $147,000,000
WAR over contract: 17.5

We’ll never know how well this deal would have aged had Zack Greinke elected to ignore the midpoint opt-out and simply see it out in Dodger blue. It’s easy to see why he triggered that clause, though, and it’s worth arguing that this contract ranks so highly among its nine-figure peers precisely because Los Angeles won’t have to pay Greinke as he climbs into his mid-30s. However, it’s worth praising the club for daring to pony up $147M on a joyfully enigmatic hurler whom they coaxed great value from during his three seasons in Chavez Ravine.

Greinke came this close to adding a second Cy Young award to his trophy case last season. His 1.66 ERA was the best mark in 20 years, since Greg Maddux’s 1.63 ERA in 1995 with Atlanta. Alas, a similarly dominant showing from Jake Arrieta in 2015 robbed him of any major silverware. This, after Greinke finished in the top eight of Cy Young voting during his first two years with the Dodgers.

Clayton Kershaw will rightfully be remembered as member “1-A” of L.A.’s powerful 1-2 punch from this era, but Greinke was as good of a “1-B” as you’ll find.

#6. Troy Tulowitzki (2011-20)

Salary per 1 WAR: $3,904,703
Team: Colorado Rockies
Contract details: 10 years, $157,750,000
WAR over contract: 20.2

Last summer, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich decided his club could no longer pay Troy Tulowitzki to waste away in Denver as the doomed leader of a deeply flawed, rebuilding club. Though trading Tulo was likely a sound course of action, it’s surprising Colorado was unable to pry a no-doubt prospect from Toronto in return.

Tulowitzki has been one of the more reasonably priced superstars in the league since signing his lucrative extension with Colorado, even while battling injuries. Over the last five years, he’s totaled 20.2 WAR in 535 games, or about three-and-a-third seasons worth of playing time. If he can figure out how to stay healthy over the last half of his contract, it could be a steal for the Blue Jays.

#5. Carlos Beltran (2005-11)

Salary per 1 WAR: $3,684,211
Team: New York Mets
Contract details: 7 years, $119,000,000
WAR over contract: 32.3

The image most people will remember about Carlos Beltran’s time with the Mets is him frozen by Adam Wainwright’s curveball to end the 2006 NLCS. That called strike ended New York’s inspiring bid for a National League pennant, down two runs with the bases loaded in Game 7. That’s a brutal way to go down, even for tortured Mets fans.

Still, it’s unfortunate if that’s Beltran’s lasting legacy with the franchise, because the Mets wouldn’t have been in that position without his regular season heroics. The switch-hitting outfielder racked up 8.2 WAR and finished fourth in MVP voting in 2006, and garnered five All-Star nods in six-and-a-half seasons with the Mets. It’s not his fault New York’s front office couldn’t build another playoff-worthy roster around him during the rest of his tenure there.

#4. Buster Posey (2013-21)

Salary per 1 WAR: $3,415,133
Team: San Francisco Giants
Contract details: 9 years, $167,000,000
WAR over contract: 16.3

Buster Posey’s nine-year extension with San Francisco stands as the longest commitment to a catcher in MLB history. At the time, it was also a record guarantee for a player with fewer than four years of service time.

Of course, Posey’s first four years in the Majors saw him win Rookie of the Year, a batting title, MVP and two World Series titles. The Giants had seen enough from their young catcher to know they wanted him to be a cornerstone of their club, and he hasn’t disappointed.

Posey hasn’t quite replicated his stellar offensive production from 2012, but he’s finished in the top 20 of MVP voting every year and led the club to another unlikely championship in 2014. Even if the face of the franchise is eventually moved to first base to conserve his legs, this contract will likely always be hailed as a coup for the Giants — especially if they continue conjuring their “even year magic.”

#3. Miguel Cabrera (2008-15)

Salary per 1 WAR: $3,282,328
Team: Detroit Tigers
Contract details: 8 years, $152,300,000
WAR over contract: 46.4

The Tigers gleefully extended a 24-year-old Miguel Cabrera after acquiring him from the Marlins during the 2007-08 offseason, guaranteeing Miggy would spend his prime years in Detroit. Oh, what prime years they were.

Cabrera already had four All-Star appearances under his belt, and would rack up six more in the Motor City under this contract to go along with back-to-back MVPs in 2012-13. Cabrera averaged nearly 34 home runs and a .980 OPS during his first eight years with the Tigers, which saw the franchise win one American League pennant amid four straight division titles between 2011-14.

That period didn’t bring Detroit its first World Series title since 1984, however, which owner Mike Ilitch is itching to accomplish as he reaches his upper-80s. That eagerness likely contributed to Cabrera’s most recent extension with the Tigers, which almost certainly won’t age as well as his first mega-deal did.

#2. Alex Rodriguez (2001-10)

Salary per 1 WAR: $3,127,660
Team: Texas Rangers
Contract details: 10 years, $252,000,000
WAR over contract: 56.4

Three years after Tom Hicks bought the Texas Rangers franchise for $250 million, he green-lit the signing of Alex Rodriguez for $252 million over 10 years, then the largest contract in sports history. A-Rod’s production lived up to his record-breaking salary, though he only spent three seasons in Texas before being traded to the Yankees.

Rodriguez led all hitters in home runs, RBIs and runs scored between 2001-10. Of course, those numbers were tainted due to Rodriguez’s admitted performance-enhancing drug (PED) usage. But you won’t see the Rangers or Yankees complaining about the enhanced offensive production they received from A-Rod as a result.

#1. Albert Pujols (2004-11)

Salary per 1 WAR: $1,765,601
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Contract details: 8 years, $116,000,000
WAR over contract: 65.7

Albert Pujols has a legitimate claim to being MLB’s best hitter of the aughts, ranking in the top three for batting average, home runs, RBIs and OPS during the decade. Needless to say, the Cardinals benefited immensely from the extension he signed with St. Louis after his third season in the bigs.

At that point, The Machine was the reigning National League batting champion (.359) and had just finished as runner-up for National League MVP for the second straight year. Pujols went on to win three MVPs and led the Cardinals to two World Series titles. He was incredibly consistent over his eight-year contract, never finishing below ninth in MVP voting and averaging more than 41 homers and 118 RBIs each year.

Pujols’ pay rate of less than $2 million per win above replacement is the best return on investment of any $100 million signee by a comfortable margin.

Read more: Jon Lester Signs Six-Year, $155 Million Deal With Chicago Cubs