Cardinals: Ranking the 10 worst contracts in the National League Central Division

The NL Central, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, generally doesn't have a ton of bad contracts, however, no organization is immune to mistakes. Today, we'll sift through the worst deals in the division!
Steven Matz faces the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium
Steven Matz faces the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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5) Seiya Suzuki

Seiya Suzuki signed a big deal with the Cubs after the 2021 season, and it was well deserved. In nine seasons in Japan's Nippon League, Suzuki mashed. He was a career .315 hitter. Suzuki was also just 27 years old when he made the switch to MLB. The contract made Suzuki a Cub for five years and paid him $85MM.

It's always difficult to predict how statistics in foreign leagues will translate to MLB. Miles Mikolas is a great example of this. Mikolas couldn't break into an MLB rotation, so he took his talents to Japan where he gained valuable experience over several seasons. When he returned to America, he was a front-of-the-rotation arm who has now made multiple all-star teams. Jose Abreu posted video game numbers in Cuba's league and now has an MVP award on his MLB resume. Suzuki has not yet found such success in the Majors. He's not even starting at the moment.

That doesn't mean he's been terrible. Suzuki has been worth 2.6 bWAR since signing his contract. He enjoyed a fairly strong rookie campaign, in which he was clearly an above-average producer. While the power didn't translate well, the bat-to-ball skills did. Suzuki's solid plate discipline also plugged other holes in his offensive profile. Now in his second season, everything has taken a step back. He's objectively a below-average hitter in 2023, and his average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage have all declined.

Suzuki's contract was backloaded, meaning he's still owed $56MM over the following three seasons. It's at least somewhat similar to St. Louis' ill-fated Dexter Fowler deal, though Fowler was three years older and significantly worse in his second season. While this contract isn't likely to turn into a true disaster, it seems likely to be a disappointment, landing it fifth on this list.