Every offseason, MLB teams hand out lucrative, long-term contracts with the hope that players can replicate their past success well into the future. There have been a staggering number of megadeals handed out this winter and a few other head-scratchers that could leave clubs in trouble in the future.
Let's take a look at the five riskiest acquisitions teams have made so far this offseason.
Xander Bogaerts, Padres
The San Diego Padres clearly had a mandate to spend big this winter and, after failed pursuits of Trea Turner and Aaron Judge, they backed up the Brinks truck for former Boston Red Sox shortstop Bogaerts. The 30-year-old landed an 11-year, $280-million contract to join a loaded roster in San Diego.
Bogaerts' elite contact skills should allow him to age relatively gracefully at the plate, but there should be some real concern about his defense moving forward. Although Bogaerts ranked in the 88th percentile in Statcast's outs above average last season, he struggled mightily in that regard from 2019-2021 finishing in the 4th, 13th, and 1st percentile, respectively. Bogaerts also struggles in terms of arm strength and has seen his sprint speed decline in three consecutive seasons.
Another cause for some concern is Bogaerts' inability to hit for power away from Fenway Park. He hit just five home runs on the road last season with an OPS almost 100 points lower than at home. It will be interesting to see how Bogaerts adjusts to a new league and home park after enjoying so much success at Fenway over the years.
The question is whether Bogaerts made some real, sustainable adjustments last year or if he enjoyed a one-off season and is more likely to revert back to being a below-average defensive shortstop. If it's the latter, the Padres might be forced to consider moving Bogaerts away from the position much earlier than they are likely hoping to.
Carlos Correa, Twins
This one is obvious, isn't it?
Correa's free-agent saga was unlike anything in MLB history. After deals with the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets fell through, Correa ended up back with the Minnesota Twins on a six-year deal that guarantees the 28-year-old at least $200 million.
It remains to be seen whether the concerns regarding Correa's 2014 ankle injury are legitimate or overblown. In addition to those particular worries, the All-Star has only played 140-plus games twice over his eight-year career due to a number of ailments.