/MLBs Moneyball Power Rankings 2020: Who Is Overpaying/Underpaying the Most?

MLBs Moneyball Power Rankings 2020: Who Is Overpaying/Underpaying the Most?

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    Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

    The Moneyball philosophy paved the way for an ever-growing implementation of sabermetrics throughout baseball, and that has changed the way MLB rosters are built.

    For small-market teams facing working around financial limitations and large-market teams traversing the deep end of the free-agent waters alike, baseball is still a business where getting the most bang for your buck is a key ingredient to success.

    Finding value is the name of the game, whether it’s a high-priced star living up to his dizzying salary or a pre-arbitration stepping into a significant role at a young age.

    So, which MLB club is in the best position to maximize the money they are set to spend in 2020?

    That’s what I set out to answer.        

                      

    Note: The 2019 end-of-year version of this article can be found here.

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    Ron Schwane/Getty Images

    There are a lot of numbers to digest in the following article, so allow me to first offer an explanation.

    Total Net Value was the ultimate determining factor in where each team landed in the rankings and was calculated as follows:

    Step 1: To start, I found each player’s projected WAR total for the 2020 season, courtesy of the Depth Charts projections at FanGraphs.

    Step 2: Based on the FanGraphs value system, 1.0 WAR was again worth around $8 million in 2019.

    So from there, each player’s WAR from Step 1 was multiplied by eight to give us the player’s projected 2020 value in millions of dollars.

    Step 3: Each player’s 2020 salary was then subtracted from his projected 2020 value, resulting in his 2020 projected net value. Player salaries came from the team pages of Spotrac.

  • Formula: (2020 WAR x 8) – 2020 salary = net value

From there, the cumulative net values of all players who are signed to MLB contracts, arbitration-eligible players and any pre-arbitration players who are projected to record at least 50 plate appearances (position players) or 20 innings pitched (pitchers) during the upcoming season were totaled to determine each team’s total projected net value.

Included is a look at each team’s five best and five worst projected values, along with a couple of bulleted points that consist of notable observations.

For those of you looking for a complete picture of your favorite team, a full breakdown can be found by clicking on the link located on each team’s net value total. In the case of some minor league free-agent signings, salaries were estimated, and those instances are indicated in orange on the doc.

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    Kevin Gausman

    Kevin GausmanDarron Cummings/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: +$39 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP Kevin Gausman: +$13.4 million
  • OF Mike Yastrzemski: +$10.6 million
  • SP Logan Webb: +$9.8 million
  • IF Mauricio Dubon: +$6.6 million
  • SP Drew Smyly: +$6.4 million

The Giants bought low on Drew Pomeranz last offseason and managed to flip him at the deadline for a potential long-term piece in Mauricio Dubon. They are no doubt hoping for a similar result from their additions of Kevin Gausman (one year, $9M) and Drew Smyly (one year, $4M) this winter, and the projections seem to like the chances of that happening.

   

5 Worst Values

  • SP Jeff Samardzija: -$7.8 million
  • SP Johnny Cueto: -$4.2 million
  • 1B Brandon Belt: -$3.6 million
  • SS Brandon Crawford: -$3.2 million
  • OF Hunter Pence: -$2.2 million

Jeff Samardzija, Johnny Cueto, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford will earn a combined $73.2 million in 2020. They are projected for just 6.8 WAR. To put that salary figure in perspective, the Tampa Bay Rays won 96 games and reached the playoffs last season with an entire roster that earned just $64.2 million.

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    Matthew Boyd

    Matthew BoydJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$75.3 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP Matthew Boyd: +$20.3 million
  • SP Daniel Norris: +$13.8 million
  • SP Spencer Turnbull: +$13 million
  • 3B Jeimer Candelario: +$11.4 million
  • RP Joe Jimenez: +$10.6 million

With top prospects Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal knocking on the door and the incumbent trio of Matthew Boyd, Daniel Norris and Spencer Turnbull expected to be the best values on the roster, the Detroit Tigers appear to be in good shape going forward on the pitching side of things.

   

5 Worst Values

  • 1B Miguel Cabrera: -$30 million
  • SP Jordan Zimmermann: -$18.6 million
  • SP Zack Godley: -$1.5 million
  • RP Rony Garcia: -$1.4 million
  • RP Gregory Soto: -$1.4 million

The Tigers are mercifully entering the final season of their five-year, $110 million contract with Jordan Zimmermann, who has posted a 5.61 ERA and 0.8 WAR to date. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the ill-advised Miguel Cabrera extension, which will pay the 36-year-old declining star another $124 million over the next four years. Yikes.

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    Marco Gonzales

    Marco GonzalesGene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: +$84.6 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP Marco Gonzales: +$19.8 million
  • SS J.P. Crawford: +$16.2 million
  • C Tom Murphy: +$11.4 million
  • SP Justus Sheffield: +$9 million
  • DH Daniel Vogelbach: +$8.2 million

The Mariners are still searching for long-term pieces as they continue to rebuild, but it looks like they’ve found at least one in left-hander Marco Gonzales. The 28-year-old signed a four-year, $30 million extension earlier this month after tossing a career-high 203 innings with a 109 ERA+ last year. There’s plenty of value in a slightly above-average workhorse, especially on a young team.

   

5 Worst Values

  • 2B Dee Gordon: -$11.4 million
  • OF Braden Bishop: -$1.4 million
  • LF Kyle Lewis: -$1.4 million
  • 1B Evan White: -$1.3 million
  • RP Yohan Ramirez: -$584,000

The projections are not overly optimistic that Kyle Lewis (.667 OPS, 14 HR, 50 RBI, -0.1 WAR) or Evan White (.692 OPS, 19 HR, 64 RBI, 0.0 WAR) will put together strong rookie seasons. There’s a good chance both guys will break camp with starting jobs, so the recent first-round picks will have golden opportunities to prove them wrong.

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    John Means

    John MeansMark Cunningham/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$85.8 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP John Means: +$16.2 million
  • CF Austin Hays: +$10.6 million
  • RF Trey Mancini: +$10.5 million
  • 2B Hanser Alberto: +$8.8 million
  • SS Jose Iglesias: +$8.7 million

No one expects John Means to duplicate the 4.5 WAR he posted as a rookie. That said, he doesn’t need to in order to be one of the best values on the Orioles roster. The projection system has him pegged for a 4.97 ERA in 181 innings and 2.1 WAR, and that is still more than enough to earn him the No. 1 spot in Baltimore.

    

5 Worst Values

  • 1B Chris Davis: -$25.9 million
  • OF Dwight Smith Jr.: -$584,000
  • RP Michael Rucker: -$584,000
  • RP Evan Phillips: -$584,000
  • RP Dillon Tate: -$584,000

Only three years and $63.4 million are left on the Chris Davis contract. The 33-year-old has hit .172/.256/.308 with a 37.9 percent strikeout rate and minus-3.8 WAR the past two seasons, and there’s little reason for optimism that will change in the years to come.

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    German Marquez

    German MarquezDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$87.1 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP German Marquez: +$28.8 million
  • SS Trevor Story: +$24.6 million
  • SP Jon Gray: +$24 million
  • SP Kyle Freeland: +$12.3 million
  • SP Antonio Senzatela: +$9.8 million

The Rockies will need to find someone outside of German Marquez and Jon Gray who can make a positive contribution to the starting rotation if they are going to have any chance of improving on last year’s 91-loss showing. Gray will be a free agent after the 2021 season, so it might be time to start considering an extension.

   

5 Worst Values

  • OF Ian Desmond: -$15.8 million
  • RP Wade Davis: -$13.8 million
  • RP Jake McGee: -$8.7 million
  • RP Bryan Shaw: -$8.2 million
  • OF Charlie Blackmon: -$7.7 million

Relievers Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw will earn $35.5 million in 2020 and are projected for just 0.6 WAR combined. Meanwhile, Scott Oberg (+$7.6 million net value) signed a three-year, $13 million extension in December, and he’ll be counted on to anchor the bullpen once again.

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    Joey Gallo

    Joey GalloBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$115.7 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • RF Joey Gallo: +$24.4 million
  • SP Lance Lynn: +$22.3 million
  • SP Mike Minor: +$17.4 million
  • SP Corey Kluber: +$14.5 million
  • RP Jose Leclerc: +$11.7 million

Mike Minor (7.8 WAR) and Lance Lynn (7.6 WAR) were brilliant atop the Texas Rangers rotation last year, but the rest of the starting staff was a mess. The front office set out to rectify that this offseason with the additions of Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson (+$10.6 million net value) and Jordan Lyles (+$5.6 million net value) as it chases a playoff spot.

   

5 Worst Values

  • DH Shin-Soo Choo: -$13.8 million
  • C Jeff Mathis: -$7 million
  • SS Elvis Andrus: -$4.1 million
  • OF Adolis Garcia: -$2.2 million
  • 2B Rougned Odor: -$1.3 million

Shin-Soo Choo is still a solid offensive contributor. He hit .265/.371/.455 with 57 extra-base hits and 93 runs scored last year, and he has a 109 OPS+ in his six seasons with the Rangers. However, the 37-year-old is a defensive liability at this point in his career, and he was worth just 1.6 WAR in 2019. He’s set to earn $21 million in the final year of his contract.

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    Adalberto Mondesi

    Adalberto MondesiDaniel Shirey/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$131.1 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SS Adalberto Mondesi: +$19.4 million
  • SP Jakob Junis: +$15.4 million
  • SP Brad Keller: +$15.4 million
  • CF Whit Merrifield: +$13.4 million
  • DH Jorge Soler: +$12.7 million

Despite hitting a middling .263/.291/.424 last year, Adalberto Mondesi still provided a ton of value with his speed (43 SB) and defense at shortstop (10 DRS, 11.7 UZR/150). The 24-year-old is one of the few long-term pieces on the MLB roster. That said, there’s plenty of talent rising through the minor league ranks, and pitcher Brady Singer (+$5.8 million net value) is projected to be the first to break through in 2020.

   

5 Worst Values

  • RP Ian Kennedy: -$10.1 million
  • OF Bubba Starling: -$2.2 million
  • RP Stephen Woods: -$1.4 million
  • C Salvador Perez: -$600K
  • RP Kyle Zimmer: -$584K

Ian Kennedy enjoyed a career renaissance with a move to the bullpen last year, nailing down 30 of 34 save chances with a 3.41 ERA and 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 63 appearances. He’s owed $16.5 million in the final year of his contract, and that will be prohibitive on the trade market, but he has some value if the front office is willing to pay down part of that salary.

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    Brian Anderson

    Brian AndersonDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$133.8 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • 3B/RF Brian Anderson: +$24.2 million
  • SP Pablo Lopez: +$19.4 million
  • SP Caleb Smith: +$19.4 million
  • SP Sandy Alcantara: +$13.8 million
  • SP Jordan Yamamoto: +$9.8 million

While he was never viewed as a top-tier prospect during his time in the minors, Brian Anderson has quietly been worth 7.7 WAR during his first two full seasons in the majors. He’s the only real long-term piece the team has on the position-player side of things, but there are a number of intriguing young arms on the roster.

   

5 Worst Values

  • OF Lewis Brinson: -$3 million
  • OF Magneuris Sierra: -$3 million
  • OF Monte Harrison: -$1.4 million
  • RP Brad Boxberger: -$1 million
  • RP Adam Conley: -$725,000

Some combination of Lewis Brinson, Magneuris Sierra and Monte Harrison will be counted on to hold down the center field position for the Marlins this season, so their standing as the three worst projected values on the roster is alarming. Brinson and Harrison both have top prospect pedigrees and tremendous raw tools but a lot to prove.

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    Aaron Nola

    Aaron NolaMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$140.6 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP Aaron Nola: +$26.7 million
  • C J.T. Realmuto: +$25.2 million
  • 1B Rhys Hoskins: +$21.8 million
  • SP Zach Eflin: +$9.4 million
  • SP Zack Wheeler: +$8.1 million

After a brilliant 10.5 WAR season in 2018, Aaron Nola took a step backward with a 3.7 WAR campaign, but he was still the clear ace of the Philadelphia Phillies staff. Zack Wheeler was added to the mix in free agency on a five-year, $118 million contract that will pay him $21.5 million in 2020, and he still cracks the top five projected values despite that hefty salary.

   

5 Worst Values

  • RP David Robertson: -$11 million
  • OF Odubel Herrera: -$7.4 million
  • SP Jake Arrieta: -$5.6 million
  • IF Josh Harrison: -$1 million
  • C Andrew Knapp: -$710,000

David Robertson and Odubel Herrera could both go the entire 2020 season without appearing in a game for the Phillies. That leaves Jake Arrieta as the worst projected on-field value. The former Cy Young winner has a 4.26 ERA (101 ERA+) in the first two seasons of his three-year, $75 million deal, which includes club options for 2021 and 2022.

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    Javier Baez

    Javier BaezJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$143.1 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SS Javier Baez: +$18.8 million
  • 3B Kris Bryant: +$17.4 million
  • 1B Anthony Rizzo: +$15.5 million
  • LF Kyle Schwarber: +$15.4 million
  • SP Kyle Hendricks: +$13.6 million

Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras (+$7.5 million net value) are all homegrown pieces of the offensive core, and they are all getting increasingly expensive as they progress through arbitration. The decision to sign Kyle Hendricks to a four-year, $55.5 million extension last March was a no-brainer given the organization’s struggles developing pitching talent.

   

5 Worst Values

  • RF Jason Heyward: -$10.7 million
  • RP Craig Kimbrel: -$4.8 million
  • IF Daniel Descalso: -$2.5 million
  • SP Jon Lester: -$2.4 million
  • RP Dan Winkler: -$750,000

Jason Heyward had his best offensive season in a Cubs uniform last year, posting a 98 OPS+ and slugging 21 home runs on his way to a 2.0 WAR season. He’s owed another $96 million over the next four years, and while he may never live up to his contract, he’s at least a positive contributor.

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    Jack Flaherty

    Jack FlahertyMichael Reaves/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$144.7 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP Jack Flaherty: +$37 million
  • SS Paul DeJong: +$26.3 million
  • SP Kwang-Hyun Kim: +$13.6 million
  • SP Dakota Hudson: +$13 million
  • RP Giovanny Gallegos: +$13 million

A 12-year veteran of the Korean Baseball Organization, Kwang-Hyun Kim signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals after posting a 2.51 ERA with 180 strikeouts over 190.1 innings in the notoriously hitter-friendly league. He’ll be counted on to fill the spot vacated by Michael Wacha in a rotation that also features Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson and Adam Wainwright (+$9.4 million net value) as projected positive net values.

   

5 Worst Values

  • RF Dexter Fowler: -$10.9 million
  • RP Brett Cecil: -$7.3 million
  • C Yadier Molina: -$4.8 million
  • SP Miles Mikolas: -$4 million
  • RP Andrew Miller: -$2.7 million

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt (-$400,000) is the highest-paid player on the Cardinals’ roster with a $26 million salary, so the fact that his projected net value is essentially a push is a solid sign. The biggest question surrounding the future of the team might be what happens with catcher Yadier Molina as he enters the final season of a three-year, $60 million pact.

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    Luis Castillo

    Luis CastilloJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$148.9 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP Luis Castillo: +$32.2 million
  • SP Sonny Gray: +$18.6 million
  • SP Trevor Bauer: +$18.5 million
  • 3B Eugenio Suarez: +$16.9 million
  • SP Anthony DeSclafani: +$11.7 million

The Cincinnati Reds suddenly have one of the best starting rotations in baseball, and Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani will earn just $34.2 million combined in 2020. Newcomer Wade Miley (+$8.4 million net value) and young right-hander Tyler Mahle (+$5.8 million net value) also check in as positive projected values.

   

5 Worst Values

  • 1B Joey Votto: -$8.2 million
  • RF Nick Castellanos: -$4.8 million
  • SS Freddy Galvis: -$1.5 million
  • UT Kyle Farmer: -$584K
  • RP Joel Kuhnel: -$584K

Joey Votto has something to prove in 2020 after posting a career-low 98 OPS+ and 1.6 WAR last season. The 36-year-old has four years and $100 million left on his contract, along with a $20 million club option for 2024 that carries a $7 million buyout. Nick Castellanos was worth 1.5 WAR in 51 games following his trade to the Cubs last season, so his 1.4 WAR projection for 2020 could be selling him short.

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    Bo Bichette

    Bo BichetteMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$157.5 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SS Bo Bichette: +$29 million
  • 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: +$25.8 million
  • 2B Cavan Biggio: +$15.4 million
  • C Danny Jansen: +$14.6 million
  • SP Matt Shoemaker: +$11 million

Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Danny Jansen combined for 8.0 WAR as rookies last season, and all four players are capable of taking a significant step forward in 2020. Meanwhile, adding Shun Yamaguchi (+$9.6 million net value), Hyun-Jin Ryu (+$5.6 million net value) and Tanner Roark (+$3.2 million net value) should improve the pitching side of things substantially.

   

5 Worst Values

  • OF Anthony Alford: -$1.4 million
  • RP Thomas Pannone: -$1.4 million
  • CF Randal Grichuk: -$1 million
  • RP Jordan Romano: -$584,000
  • UT Brandon Drury: -$450,000

Anthony Alford is out of minor league options, so this could be a make-or-break season for the longtime top prospect. While the Blue Jays do not have any truly awful contracts on the active roster, they still owe Troy Tulowitzki another $14 million in 2020 and $4 million in 2021 after he was released last offseason.

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    Rafael Devers

    Rafael DeversBillie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$166.2 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • 3B Rafael Devers: +$33.8 million
  • SP Chris Sale: +$23.2 million
  • RF Alex Verdugo: +$18.6 million
  • C Christian Vazquez: +$17.4 million
  • SP Eduardo Rodriguez: +$17.3 million

For the sake of comparison, Alex Verdugo is actually projected to be a better value than Mookie Betts (+$16.2 million net value) during the upcoming season. Do with that information what you will. Even with Betts gone, the trio of Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts (+$16.8 million net value) and J.D. Martinez (+$3.5 million net value) still gives the Red Sox an impressive offensive core.

   

5 Worst Values

  • 2B Dustin Pedroia: -$12.3 million
  • IF Jonathan Arauz: -$2.2 million
  • SP Nathan Eovaldi: -$1 million
  • C Jonathan Lucroy: -$700,000
  • RP Austin Brice: -$584,000

After playing just nine games the past two seasons, Dustin Pedroia is already on the 60-day injured list after suffering another setback with his balky left knee. The 36-year-old is owed $13 million this season and another $12 million in 2021, and that could be a sunk cost at this point.

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    Joe Musgrove

    Joe MusgroveDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$174.4 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP Joe Musgrove: +$22 million
  • SP Mitch Keller: +$20.2 million
  • SP Chris Archer: +$17.4 million
  • SP Trevor Williams: +$14.8 million
  • C Jacob Stallings: +$13 million

The Pirates finished 26th in the majors with a 5.40 ERA from their starting pitchers last season, so it’s a bit surprising to see four starting pitchers who were on last year’s team atop the list of best values. Keep an eye on 2019 rookies Bryan Reynolds (+$12.2 million net value) and Kevin Newman (+$10.6 million net value) as players who could exceed expectations during the upcoming season.

   

5 Worst Values

  • RP Felipe Vazquez: -$5.8 million
  • IF Erik Gonzalez: -$3.1 million
  • SP Jameson Taillon: -$2.3 million
  • RP Edgar Santana: -$584K
  • 2B Kevin Kramer: -$584K

It’s unlikely that Felipe Vazquez will see the field in 2020 given his child-sex charges and trial, while Jameson Taillon will likely miss the entire year recovering from Tommy John surgery. So two of the worst values on the roster come with asterisks. The two highest-paid players on last year’s rosterFrancisco Cervelli ($11.5 million) and Starling Marte ($10.3 million)are no longer with the team as the small-market Pirates continue to pinch pennies.

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    Shohei Ohtani

    Shohei OhtaniMasterpress/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$174.4 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • DH/SP Shohei Ohtani: +$38.6 million
  • CF Mike Trout: +$34.3 million
  • SP Andrew Heaney: +$19.7 million
  • 3B Anthony Rendon: +$17.9 million
  • SP Griffin Canning: +$15.4 million

Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani is expected to return to the mound at some point in 2020, and he is projected for 2.6 WAR as a hitter and 2.3 WAR as a pitcher while earning the league minimum. Meanwhile, Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon both crack the best-values list despite earning $37.7 million and $26.1 million during the upcoming season, respectively.

   

5 Worst Values

  • 1B Albert Pujols: -$31.4 million
  • LF Justin Upton: -$7.4 million
  • SP Julio Teheran: -$2.6 million
  • OF Michael Hermosillo: -$1.4 million
  • RP Taylor Cole: -$584K

With a $29 million salary and minus-0.3 projected WAR, Albert Pujols has the worst projected net value of any player in baseball for the 2020 season. The 40-year-old is a shell of the player he was in his prime, and the Angels are still on the hook for another $30 million in 2021.

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    Fernando Tatis Jr.

    Fernando Tatis Jr.G Fiume/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$177.2 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SS Fernando Tatis Jr.: +$30.6 million
  • SP Chris Paddack: +$27.4 million
  • SP Joey Lucchesi: +$22.6 million
  • SP Dinelson Lamet: +$21.9 million
  • SP Garrett Richards: +$18.7 million

Fernando Tatis Jr. led the Padres with 4.2 WAR last season despite playing just 84 games. If he stays healthy, he could be a legitimate National League MVP candidate. A healthy Garrett Richards might be the biggest X-factor for the Padres on the pitching side of things, while top prospect MacKenzie Gore (+$3.4 million net value) could also make a significant impact.

   

5 Worst Values

  • OF Wil Myers: -$17.7 million
  • 1B Eric Hosmer: -$17 million
  • RP Pierce Johnson: -$1.2 million
  • SP Luis Perdomo: -$950,00
  • OF Franchy Cordero: +$216,00

Only Albert Pujols (-$31.4 million net value), Miguel Cabrera (-$30 million net value), Chris Davis (-$25.9 million net value) and Jordan Zimmermann (-$18.6 million) have worse net values than Padres teammates Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer. Both players are signed for three more years with options to follow.

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    Ketel Marte

    Ketel MarteMichael Reaves/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$180 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • 2B Ketel Marte: +$30.4 million
  • SP Zac Gallen: +$20.2 million
  • SP Luke Weaver: +$17.8 million
  • C Carson Kelly: +$16.2 million
  • SP Robbie Ray: +$15.4 million

The Arizona Diamondbacks front office has done a solid job adding young, MLB-ready talent like Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver and Carson Kelly to help rework the roster without necessitating a full-scale rebuild. That said, the best decision of all has to be inking Ketel Marte to a five-year, $24 million extension prior to the 2018 season, which could keep him in the desert through 2024 if the two club options are exercised.

   

5 Worst Values

  • OF Yasmany Tomas: -$17 million
  • 1B Jake Lamb: -$2.3 million
  • OF Jon Jay: -$2.3 million
  • RP Yoan Lopez: -$584,000
  • SP Jon Duplantier: -$584,000

The D-backs have already sunk $51.5 million into Yasmany Tomas, who has played just 51 games at the MLB level over the past three seasons. He’s now entering the final year of a contract that the team will be thrilled to have off the books, and there’s a good chance he will spend 2020 toiling in the minors once again.

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    Aaron Judge

    Aaron JudgeRob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$187.1 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • RF Aaron Judge: +$35.5 million
  • SS Gleyber Torres: +$34.6 million
  • SP Gerrit Cole: +$18.4 million
  • SP Luis Severino: +$17.5 million
  • 2B DJ LeMahieu: +$16 million

Even after signing the richest contract in MLB history for a pitcher, Gerrit Cole still projects to be one of the best values on the Yankees roster. With Luis Severino and James Paxton both already dealing with injuries, his ability to anchor the starting rotation becomes that much more important. Likewise, Giancarlo Stanton (+$3.6 million net value) is capable of providing positive value on his $26 million salary if he can just stay on the field.

   

5 Worst Values

  • CF Aaron Hicks: -$8.4 million
  • RP Zack Britton: -$4.2 million
  • SP J.A. Happ: -$1.8 million
  • RP Adam Ottavino: -$1 million
  • C Chris Iannetta: -$1 million

The Yankees handed Aaron Hicks a seven-year, $70 million extension prior to the 2019 season, and he responded with an injury-plagued campaign that saw him post just 1.3 WAR in 59 games. The 30-year-old is expected to start the 2020 season on the injured list while he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery, so he’ll be facing an uphill battle to deliver on his salary once again.

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    Jacob deGrom

    Jacob deGromRon Vesely/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$200 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP Jacob deGrom: +$37.4 million
  • 2B Jeff McNeil: +$29 million
  • 1B Pete Alonso: +$28.2 million
  • SP Noah Syndergaard: +$27.9 million
  • RF Michael Conforto: +$18.4 million

The Mets have a lot riding on the starting rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman (+$15.2 million net value), Steven Matz (+$11 million net value) and Rick Porcello (+$7.6 million net value). That group has a chance to be one of the best in baseball, but they will need to stay healthy and pitch up to their potential.

   

5 Worst Values

  • 2B Robinson Cano: -$9.1 million
  • IF Jed Lowrie: -$8.3 million
  • RP Jeurys Familia: -$5.9 million
  • RP Dellin Betances: -$1.9 million
  • RP Daniel Zamora: -$584,000

As part of a restructured contract that was agreed upon to avoid a grievance hearing, Yoenis Cespedes had his 2020 salary cut from $29.5 million to $6 million. As a result, his net value (-$400,000) is roughly a push, and he avoids a spot on the worst-values list as a result. While Robinson Cano is still among that group, Edwin Diaz (+$10.9 million net value) is projected for a bounceback season as the Mets look to salvage that ill-advised trade with the Seattle Mariners.

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    Juan Soto

    Juan SotoMichael Reaves/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$202.9 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • LF Juan Soto: +$42.6 million
  • SS Trea Turner: +$23.8 million
  • SP Stephen Strasburg: +$20.4 million
  • CF Victor Robles: +$20.2 million
  • SP Patrick Corbin: +$15.8 million

The high-priced trio of Max Scherzer (+$12.9 million net value), Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin will earn a combined $78.9 million in 2020, yet they each rank among the team’s best values. Outfielder Juan Soto is the second-highest value in baseball, trailing only Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman (+$45 million net value).

   

5 Worst Values

  • OF Michael Taylor: -$3.3 million
  • C Kurt Suzuki: -$1.2 million
  • RP Roenis Elias: -$1.2 million
  • IF Wilmer Difo: -$1 million
  • RP Hunter Strickland: -$800,000

Once a promising prospect and then a productive fourth outfielder, Michael Taylor has struggled the past two seasons and was a candidate to be non-tendered before the team re-signed him for $3.3 million to avoid arbitration. He’ll need to prove himself or face the non-tender axe once again next winter.

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    Ronald Acuna Jr.

    Ronald Acuna Jr.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$204 million

         

    5 Best Values

  • CF Ronald Acuna Jr.: +$37.4 million
  • 2B Ozzie Albies: +$34.2 million
  • SP Mike Soroka: +$29 million
  • SP Max Fried: +$27.4 million
  • 1B Freddie Freeman: +$12.8 million

The Braves front office did extremely well to lock up Ronald Acuna Jr. (eight years, $100 million) and Ozzie Albies (seven years, $35 million) with long-term, pre-arbitration extensions prior to last season. On the pitching side of things, Mike Soroka, Max Fried and Sean Newcomb (+$10.6 million net value) are still on league-minimum salaries.

   

5 Worst Values

  • RP Mark Melancon: -$10.2 million
  • RP Will Smith: -$1.8 million
  • RP Chris Martin: -$1.4 million
  • SP Cole Hamels: -$1.2 million
  • IF Charlie Culberson: -$1 million

The Braves acquired Mark Melancon and the entirety of his remaining contract from the San Francisco Giants at the trade deadline last summer, which includes a $19 million salary in 2020. Despite the team’s high-priced addition of Will Smith this winter, Melancon is still penciled into the closer’s role for the time being.

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    Lucas Giolito

    Lucas GiolitoRon Vesely/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +206.7 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP Lucas Giolito: +$36.2 million
  • 3B Yoan Moncada: +$32.2 million
  • C Yasmani Grandal: +$22.6 million
  • CF Luis Robert: +$21.7 million
  • LF Eloy Jimenez: +$19.3 million

Along with Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez, young up-and-comers Dylan Cease (+$15.4 million net value), Reynaldo Lopez (+$14.6 million net value), Nick Madrigal (+$12.2 million net value) and Michael Kopech (+$9 million net value) also have a chance to be core pieces for a White Sox team on the rise.

        

5 Worst Values

  • RP Kelvin Herrera: -$6.1 million
  • RP Alex Colome: -$4.9 million
  • C James McCann: -$2.2 million
  • RP Steve Cishek: -$2.1 million
  • RP Carson Fulmer: -$1.4 million

Closer Alex Colome will earn $10.5 million in his final year of arbitration, and while he converted 30 of 33 save chances with a 2.80 ERA last year, his 4.08 FIP and 8.1 K/9 raise some red flags about his ability to succeed in that role going forward. The addition of Yasmani Grandal has left 2019 All-Star James McCann as something of a forgotten man.

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    Christian Yelich

    Christian YelichDylan Buell/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$217.6 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • RF Christian Yelich: +$33.1 million
  • SP Brandon Woodruff: +$29 million
  • 2B Keston Hiura: +$19.4 million
  • SP Adrian Houser: +$18.6 million
  • RP Josh Hader: +$16.7 million

Christian Yelich signed a seven-year, $49.6 million extension prior to the 2015 season while he was still a member of the Miami Marlins, and that now stands as one of the most team-friendly contracts in baseball. Starter Adrian Houser and reliever Josh Hader were actually acquired in the same 2015 deadline deal that sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros.

   

5 Worst Values

  • 1B Ryan Braun: -$9 million
  • SS Orlando Arcia: -$600,000
  • RP J.P. Feyereisen: -$584,000
  • RP Bobby Wahl: -$584,000
  • RP Corey Knebel: -$325,000

Ryan Braun is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract and preparing to make the full-time move to first base. The 36-year-old posted a 116 OPS+ with 31 doubles and 22 home runs last season, so he can still make an impact with the bat. But he’s far from the player he was in his prime.

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    Cody Bellinger

    Cody BellingerSean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$222.2 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • CF Cody Bellinger: +$40.5 million
  • SP Walker Buehler: +$35.4 million
  • SS Corey Seager: +$24.4 million
  • 1B Max Muncy: +$20.7 million
  • C Will Smith: +$17 million

Corey Seager (2012 draft), Cody Bellinger (2013 draft), Walker Buehler (2015 draft) and Will Smith (2016 draft) are all homegrown talents, along with Julio Urias (+$16.6 million net value), Gavin Lux (+$16.2 million net value), Joc Pederson (+$12.3 million net value) and several others. For all that is made of their free-spending ways, the Dodgers core was largely built on their ability to identify and develop young talent.

   

5 Worst Values

  • CF A.J. Pollock: -$7 million
  • RP Kenley Jansen: -$6.8 million
  • RP Yasiel Sierra: -$6.5 million
  • RP Blake Treinen: -$2.8 million
  • RP Joe Kelly: -$500,000

Despite his lengthy injury history, A.J. Pollock landed a five-year, $60 million contract last offseason. He was limited to just 86 games and 0.2 WAR in his first season with the team, and he has something to prove heading into 2020. Aside from Pollock, the bullpen is the biggest source of poor value with Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen and Joe Kelly all counted on to fill late-inning roles.

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    Alex Bregman

    Alex BregmanElsa/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$240.4 million

        

    5 Best Values

  • 3B Alex Bregman: +$40.1 million
  • SS Carlos Correa: +$32.8 million
  • DH Yordan Alvarez: +$29 million
  • SP Lance McCullers Jr.: +$19.9 million
  • CF George Springer: +$18.2 million

The Astros’ ability to turn first-round picks into key contributors in the form of George Springer (2011), Carlos Correa (2012), Lance McCullers Jr. (2012) and Alex Bregman (2015) is a big reason they were able to rebuild successfully. With Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley gone, the Astros will be counting on Jose Urquidy (+$17 million net value) and Josh James (+$15.4 million net value) to step up in the rotation.

   

5 Worst Values

  • RF Josh Reddick: -$6.6 million
  • RP Joe Biagini: -$1 million
  • RP Joe Smith: -$800,000
  • RP Brad Peacock: +$100,000
  • SP Zack Greinke: +$133,000

Entering the final season of a four-year, $52 million contract, Josh Reddick could find himself relegated to the bench in favor of Kyle Tucker (+$14.6 million net value). Despite their negative net values, Joe Smith and Brad Peacock both have strong track records of success and will be key members of the 2020 bullpen.

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    Shane Bieber

    Shane BieberBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$250.3 million

         

    5 Best Values

  • SP Shane Bieber: +$39.4 million
  • 3B Jose Ramirez: +$36.6 million
  • SS Francisco Lindor: +$28.9 million
  • SP Mike Clevinger: +$26.3 million
  • SP Carlos Carrasco: +$17.8 million

Even after trading Corey Kluber, the Cleveland Indians’ starting rotation is in terrific shape with Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger, Carlos Carrasco, Aaron Civale (+$13 million net value) and Zach Plesac (+$9.8 million net value) set to occupy the five starting spots. Rookie left-hander Logan Allen (+$3.4 million net value) is also part of the rotation mix, and he’ll likely occupy Clevinger’s spot while he recovers from a meniscus tear.

   

5 Worst Values

  • OF Delino DeShields: -$1.1 million
  • RP Adam Cimber: -$584,000
  • SS Yu Chang: -$584,000
  • OF Greg Allen: -$584,000
  • RP Phil Maton: +$216,000

In exchange for Kluber (+$14.5 million net value), who is projected to have a bounceback season, the Indians received reliever Emmanuel Clase (+$5 million net value) and Delino DeShields. It will be interesting to see who ultimately comes out on top in that deal.

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    Jose Berrios

    Jose BerriosBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$253.6 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP Jose Berrios: +$24 million
  • RF Max Kepler: +$22.6 million
  • CF Byron Buxton: +$21.8 million
  • SS Jorge Polanco: +$20.8 million
  • SP Kenta Maeda: +$20.1 million

The Twins have built a contender on the strength of a homegrown core that includes Jose Berrios, Max Kepler, Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez (+$19.4 million net value), Miguel Sano (+$16.2 million net value), Mitch Garver (+$14.6 million net value), Eddie Rosario (+$10.7 million net value) and Taylor Rogers (+$10 million).

   

5 Worst Values

  • UT Marwin Gonzalez: -$1.8 million
  • RP Tyler Clippard: -$1.4 million
  • IF Ehire Adrianza: -$605,000
  • RP Fernando Romero: -$584,000
  • RP Matt Wisler: -$400,000

Minnesota has done a great job avoiding bad contracts despite wading in the deeper waters of free agency the past few winters. Utility man Marwin Gonzalez and reliever Tyler Clippard are both capable of being positive contributors during the upcoming season, so if they wind up being the worst values on the team, the 2020 Twins will be in great shape.

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    Matt Chapman

    Matt ChapmanTom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$282.9 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • 3B Matt Chapman: +$45 million
  • 1B Matt Olson: +$29 million
  • CF Ramon Laureano: +$27.4 million
  • SP Frankie Montas: +$26.6 million
  • SS Marcus Semien: +$24.6 million

The homegrown corner infield tandem of Matt Chapman and Matt Olson has become the foundation of the Oakland Athletics’ recent success. Both players are still making the league minimum, which is also true of Ramon Laureano, Frankie Montas and rookie pitchers Jesus Luzardo (+$24.2 million net value) and A.J. Puk (+$21 million net value).

   

5 Worst Values

  • DH Khris Davis: -$6.4 million
  • RP Joakim Soria: -$2.1 million
  • RP T.J. McFarland: -$1.8 million
  • 1B/OF Seth Brown: -$1.4 million
  • OF Robbie Grossman: -$1.3 million

The highest-paid player on the Oakland roster with a $16.8 million salary, slugger Khris Davis struggled to an 82 OPS+ and minus-0.3 WAR after averaging 44 home runs, 112 RBI and 2.7 WAR over the previous three seasons. The 32-year-old has a two-year, $33.5 million extension that kicks in this year, so the A’s will be counting on him to bounce back.

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    Blake Snell

    Blake SnellMark Blinch/Getty Images

    Total Net Value: +$306.8 million

       

    5 Best Values

  • SP Blake Snell: +$31.6 million
  • SP Tyler Glasnow: +$29.2 million
  • LF Austin Meadows: +$23.4 million
  • SP Charlie Morton: +$21 million
  • SS Willy Adames: +$19.4 million

The Rays have long been a small-market team built on the strength of their starting pitching, and the 2020 season projects to be more of the same. Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, Charlie Morton, Brendan McKay (+$14.6 million net value), Yonny Chirinos (+$13 million net value) and Ryan Yarbrough (+$12.2 million) are all among the team’s best values.

   

5 Worst Values

  • RP Anthony Banda: -$584,000
  • RP Trevor Richards: +$216,000
  • RP Andrew Kittredge: +$216,000
  • RP Peter Fairbanks: +$216,000
  • 1B/OF Jose Martinez: +$216,000

Left-hander Anthony Banda is the only player on the Rays roster who fulfills the criteria for inclusion in this article and projects for a negative net value. The 26-year-old has a 5.28 ERA in 44.1 career innings at the MLB level, but he has a solid track record of success in the minors and is capable of being a multi-inning weapon in 2020.

     

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted. Contract information comes via Spotrac.