11/12/2012 02:57 EST | Updated 12/02/2012 04:04 EST

MLB Contracts: Who Are Baseball's Underperforming Players?

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees celebrates his second home run of the night with Alex Rodriguez #13 in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox during their game on October 3, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

It ain’t easy keeping up with the New York Yankees and their payroll that exceeds $195 million (U.S.) a year. Of course, many try, which is why baseball players have become some of the highest paid athletes in North American sports.

Although it can certainly help, money isn’t always everything when it comes to winning the game. Just look at the Oakland A’s this year. Hovering around the $50 million mark, their team payroll is one of the MLB’s lowest, and yet they’re having a great year. (Some are even saying A’s general manager Billy Beane is playing ‘Moneyball’ once again, gaining an edge with statistical analysis instead of big bucks.)

To back up our point that money can’t fix everything, we’ve compiled a list of some of the league’s most overpaid players who just aren’t pulling their weight. As a light at the end of the tunnel, we also tip our hat to a young up and comer who’s currently raking in (gasp) under half a mil.

Baseball’s Most Eyebrow-Raising Contracts. Slideshow text follows below for mobile viewers

Photo gallery Baseball’s Most Eyebrow-Raising Contracts See Gallery

Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees:

A-Rod may be baseball’s biggest celebrity right now, but the aging third baseman’s so-so performance this year isn’t justifying his massive $29 million paycheque. The highest-paid Yankee had better step it up if he wants to turn his season around.

Carlos Lee, Miami Marlins:

Following his lackluster performance for the Astros, many speculated that Houston was unloading some dead weight when they traded Lee to the Marlins this summer. With a salary of $19 million, Lee is one of the league’s highest-paid players. That’s some mighty pricey dead weight!

Aaron Rowand, Miami Marlins:

Rowand just isn’t playing like he used to, which is frowned upon when you’re raking in $12 million a year. No wonder both the Giants and the Marlins unloaded him. It should be interesting to see what his next deal is like now that he’s a free agent.

Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers:

He may be a great hitter, but Fielder has been making a lot of errors this year, causing many to start questioning his princely $23 million salary. While the four-time All Star seemed worth the money when the Tigers locked him in for a nine-year deal worth $214 mil, some observers are starting to think the team may have overpaid.

Vernon Wells, Los Angeles Angels:

$21 million is a lot to pay an outfielder who’s batting a paltry .233, well below his career average of .273. And $21 million is just the tip of the iceberg: his $126 million seven-year deal with the Angels is the sixth highest in the history of the MLB. The Angels just might be counting down to 2015, when it expires.

Kevin Youkilis, Chicago White Sox:

“Euclis, the Greek God of Walks,” hasn’t been getting on base as consistently as he once did, which may be giving his new team pause. He hasn’t bombed, exactly, but his numbers have only been so-so this year, with a .232 average. Not exactly $12 million material.

Ryan Cook, Oakland A’s:

On the other side of the coin, there’s Ryan Cook. The promising young relief pitcher is working hard for his $480,000 paycheque: earlier this year, he logged four strikeouts against the Orioles. This talented 25-year-old is certainly one to keep an eye on.

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