Using projections and other fancy math, ESPN.com (insider required) has determined that the bloated contract of a deteriorating Alex Rodriguez is not, in fact, the worst deal in MLB.
That distinction belongs to the Phillies' Ryan Howard, who signed a 5-year, $125 million deal in 2010.
At this point, ZiPS projects the contract to be essentially a total loss for the Phillies, with Howard only projected at 5.0 total WAR over the course of the contract (and assuming the $10 million buyout is taken for the final year). That's equivalent to a $94 million loss, a worse projected return than even the A-Rod contract, a deal that the Yankees find daily reason to regret, which ZiPS projects as an $88 million loss. (For the record: ZiPS still holds out some hope for Albert Pujols, projecting his contract as only a $90 million loss.)
Ouch. Twins bashers will note that Joe Mauer's 8-year, $184-million deal is nowhere to be found in this report.