Next up is the NL West which has had some activity recently with big contracts. In the last 15 World Series, the NL West has had a team represent the NL seven times. In those seven World Series appearances, the NL West has four World Series Titles (Dodgers, Giants 3x). This is a successful division in recent memory thus there are bound to be big contracts. Let’s break down the biggest contracts in NL West history.
Largest free agent contract: Zack Greinke, RHP (six years/$206.5M, 2016)
Largest contract extension: Miguel Montero, C (five years/$60M, 2012)
You will find out quickly that Zack Greinke had a vice grip on the payroll in the NL West. After three seasons as a Dodger, Greinke opted for free agency. No one saw it coming but Greinke would sign with the D-backs where he would stay for three and a half seasons. Halfway through the 2019 season, he was dealt to the Astros at the trade deadline. Greinke’s $206.5 million deal will likely not be matched with the roster Arizona has.
As far as extension deals, Montero was already a veteran player by the time he signed a new deal. Montero signed his new extension following a season in which he earned MVP votes and was an All-Star. However, he only played two years of that deal before trading him to the Cubs. Montero would then go on to help the Cubs win the World Series in 2016. The Diamondbacks have not been active with their money which is why they land at the bottom of the totem pole for big deals in the NL West.
San Francisco Giants
Largest free agent contract: Johnny Cueto, RHP (six years/$130M, 2016)
Largest contract extension: Buster Posey, C (eight years/$167M, 2013)
After seven and a half years in Cincinnati and a half-season in Kansas City, the Reds journeyman Johnny Cueto joined the Giants in free agency. Cueto came to the Giants fresh off a World Series title in KC and the Giants paid him well. Cueto would earn MVP and Cy Young votes immediately in San Fran as well as an All-Star nod. His $130 million deal is now expired as Cueto is now rumored to have signed a minor league deal with the White Sox.
It should surprise no one that the Giant’s most expensive extension is for Buster Posey. Posey has been one of the few consistent things about this franchise in recent memory. After winning Rookie of the Year in 2010, he won MVP in 2012 and is a three-time World Series champion. Posey was a key piece of all three World Series teams in 2010, ’12, and ’14. Besides Posey, the Giants have not been known for big lucrative deals. If you guessed Barry Bonds had the largest deal it would sound correct but yet here we are.
Largest free agent contract: Kris Bryant, OF (seven years/$182M, 2022)
Largest contract extension: Nolan Arenado, 3B (seven years/$234M, 2019)
Here is where we start to get into the mega deals in the NL West. The Rockies have been active recently with big deals. But they have also traded away two superstars in the process as well. The Rockies’ most recent deal was their huge pickup of free agent Kris Bryant. Bryant, a former MVP, and four-time All-Star spent his first six full seasons with the Cubs before ending 2021 in the NL West with the Giants. Bryant will now stick around in the NL West on his big-time deal with Colorado.
The Rockies also had a guy named Nolan Arenado not too long ago. Arenado was lined up to be the face of the Rockies after signing his expensive $234 million extension. However, Arenado would be traded to the Cardinals after the 2020 season just two years into his deal. Since then Arenado has become one of the Cardinal’s premiere players that he could’ve been in Colorado. The Rockies have paid big money recently but again they have also traded them away as well.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Largest free agent contract: Zack Greinke, RHP (six years/$147M, 2013)
Largest contract extension: Mookie Betts, OF (12 years/$365M, 2020)
Next up on the big spender’s list, we have the Los Angeles Dodgers. Next to the Yankees, the Dodgers always seem to have a limitless budget. It is no surprise that the Dodgers have some of the largest deals in NL West history. Remember when I said Zack Greinke had a vice grip on the NL West payroll? Greinke actually holds the highest free-agent deals for the D-backs AND the Dodgers. Greinke signed with the Dodgers first entering the 2013 season. He went on to post a 2.30 ERA in 92 starts for the Dodgers over three years before opting out.
As far as extension contracts, the Dodgers hold the MLB record not just the NL West record for the largest contract extension. The 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts landed in LA after being traded by the Red Sox. Betts would immediately sign an extension right before the 2020 season. As I mentioned before, Betts’ extension is the highest in total value in MLB history. Since then, Betts has led the Dodgers to a World Series title and was runner-up in the 2020 NL MVP vote. The Dodgers are big spenders and likely will have more expensive deals signed in the near future.
San Diego Padres
Largest free agent contract: Manny Machado, 3B (10 years/$300M, 2019)
Largest contract extension: Fernando Tatis Jr., SS (14 years/$340M, 2021)
To close out the NL West we have the team who has dished out the most money, the Padres. They have spent $640 million on just two players since 2019. Their big-money free-agent deal was given to Manny Machado only a year after the team added Eric Hosmer in an eight-year, $144 million deal. The Padres made it evident that spending big bucks is how you develop an elite roster.
As far as extension deals, the Padres broke the bank there as well. They signed star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr to a 14-year extension right before the regular season last year. Tatis has become one of the more established names in baseball. Despite his injuries, he has shown why he is worth every penny of that mega deal.
Simply put, the Padres spent their money quickly and correctly. Spending $784 million on three players sounds absolutely insane. Between Hosmer, Machado, and Tatis, that is 32 years of contracted baseball seasons and $784 million. That is commitment to paying for successful players.
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