Thursday, January 22, 2009
In honor of Larry Hughes and his terrible contract, I decided to write about the worst sports contracts that currently exist in Chicago. I didn't include any Bears contracts since none of the money is guaranteed, so the team can cut a bad contract pretty much anytime. God willing Hughes and all these people will be gone soon, but until then, here goes:
Larry Hughes ($13 million a year through 2010): The issues with Larry Hughes have been well-documented here. While his numbers haven't been horrendous this year, he is a notorious team cancer and he steals minutes from a team that is trying to develop it's young backcourt. Are we really better off with Hughes than we were with Ben Wallace? I think its a wash.
Jose Contreras ($10 million a year through 2009): Ok, so Contreras had an unbelievable 2005 season that was key to the Sox title run. He had a decent year in 2006 and was then rewarded with this 3 year deal which made some sense at the time. His numbers have slid since then, however, posting a 5.57 ERA in 2007 and a 4.54 in an injury-riddled 2008. 2009 remains to be seen, but his contract is up after this season, so he won't be a problem for long.
Too Early to Tell
Kirk Hinrich ($9.5 million a year through 2012): Kirk Hinrich seemed like he would be a solid contributor on the Bulls for years. He may have reached his ceiling, but the Bulls were willing to pay him a 4 year deal based on that ceiling. Unfortunately he had an awful awful year last season (along with the rest of the Bulls). With the acquisition of Rose, it now looks like even if he gets back to his former 16ppg and 6apg lines, there may not be a place for him in the lineup. It remains to be seen if he can play next to Rose.
Alfonso Soriano ($17 million a year through 2014): Obviously he has the potential to be great. Even without the steals that he used to put up in New York, his bat can still sing and carry the Cubs offense for long stretches. If he can stay healthy, this contract may not be that terrible. That being said, he claims that he is 33, but the truth is he is probably more like 35 or 36. That would make him 39 and 40 in the final years of his contract. Very few players production gets better or even stays the same at that age, excluding Barry Bonds of course.
Luol Deng ($11.5 million a year through 2014): It's way too soon to tell with Luol. I was reluctant to put him on this list at first, but if he cannot find his place in this offense, it may turn out being a bad contract. At this point it seems his best may be a second option, which is definitely not worth the $71 million he got. He is also coming off an injury and learning his place in a new offense. Only time will tell.
Cristobal Huet (4 years, $22.5 Mil): Huet's contract didn't look bad at all with Khabibulin struggling last year. Khabibulin's deal would have come close to topping this list a year ago actually. The Hawks signed Nikolai to a four year, $27 million deal when he was 32. Huet was also 32 when the Hawks inked him for $4.5 million less. However, with Khabibulin playing well, the Hawks have two goaltenders taking up two of their four biggest contracts. It's great to have a dependable backup, and it was nice of him to push Khabibulin to be decent, but that's a lot of money for a backup. Obviously the deal could end up being okay if Huet emerges as a starter when Bulin leaves, or the Hawks can use him as trade bait to get another defender or veteran scorer for the playoffs. Remember the Hawks still have promising youngster Corey Crawford waiting for his turn. (Thanks to StevieY19 for contributing on this one)
Just Plain Awful
Andres Nocioni ($7 million a year through 2012): This guy is terrible. Somehow his +/- is high, but that statistic is very misleading. He is not worth this money, but could be at least somewhat useful if used as a SMALL FORWARD (stop playing him at pf and c Vinny, we get killed on the glass!) in short bursts to bring energy off the bench. He can't guard anyone on defense and he is a black hole on offense. The one great thing about Nocioni is that someone somewhere will probably think he is a good piece to add to their team. But will Pax pull the trigger if he gets the chance? Probably not.
Kosuke Fukudome ($12 million a year through 2011): This one is painful for me. I bought a Kosuke jersey tee 2 days after they signed him last winter. He was unstoppable in April and May and even though I felt like a douche wearing a trendy Fukudome shirt, at least he was playing well. We all know what happened next. The bottom completely fell out. His performance from May onwards was horrendous. He is very good defensively and extremely patient at the plate, which makes him useful as a late inning defensive replacement and a pinch hitter; the highest-paid defensive replacement/pinch hitter in the National League. There is a slim chance he can adjust to major league pitching. Very slim.