The Astros finally addressed their woeful offense by signing this All-Star slugger away from the Texas Rangers after the 2006 season.
Signed in 2004, this is looking like the best bargain of them all. Pujols has established himself as the best pure hitter in the game, helped lead the Cardinals to the World Series title in 2006. He won the 2005 NL MVP award and is the favorite to win again in 2008.
The Dodgers lured Brown away from the Padres in free agency after the 1998 season with the biggest contract in history at the time. Brown pitched well, though not spectacularly, for the Dodgers in parts of five non-playoff seasons before being traded to the Yankees.
The Reds won 96 games in 1999, the year before trading for The Kid and signing him to this massive contract extension. They haven't won more than 85 games in a season since and finally traded the injury-plagued Griffey to the White Sox in July 2008. He is now a free agent again.
Mets fans are loathe to admit this, but Beltran reportedly would have played for the Yankees for a lot less money. Instead, he cashed in on his breakout 2004 postseason with the Astros by signing with the Mets, whom he led to within one game of the World Series in 2006.
Giambi won the AL MVP with the Oakland A's in 2001, then bolted for the Bronx. The Yankees have won only one pennant and no World Series since signing Giambi, who was one of a number of athletes who testified in the BALCO probe. He is on the free agent market once again.
The star left-hander led the Mets to the 2000 NL pennant before hitting free agency. The pitching-starved Rockies scooped him up with this mega-contract that ended up being paid off by three teams -- Colorado, Florida and Atlanta and resulted in only 56 wins to date.
The last remaining member of Oakland's Big Three finally left for the crosstown Giants before the 2007 season by accepting the largest deal ever at the time for a pitcher, eclipsing the old mark held by Mike Hampton (eight years, $121 million with the Rockies). Zito has gone just 21-30 with San Francisco.
The Blue Jays ensured their All-Star center fielder wouldn't leave via free agency after 2007 by signing him to this extension. Wells averaged 21 home runs and 90 RBIs from 2004-06 but batted a career-low .245 with only 16 home runs in '07 and had 20 home runs and 78 RBIs in '08.
Questions about Soriano's power were answered after he hit 46 home runs while playing for the Nationals, whose home stadium is cavernous. With that kind of power, it's no wonder that Soriano's lack of a position doesn't seem to bother the Cubs, who signed him after 2006 and won the NL Central in his first two years with the club.
After months of pursuit the Mets finally agreed to a trade to acquire Santana, but the deal wasn't official until the Mets inked him to a contract extension. Not surprisingly, the two-time Cy Young winner became the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history, then went 16-7 with a 2.53 ERA in his debut season in Queens.
With player salaries skyrocketing in 2001, the Rockies thought they should lock up the star first baseman for an entire decade. Helton had been in decline in recent years before helping to lead the Rockies to the 2007 NL pennant.
During the length of Ramirez's deal, the world saw the best and worst of Manny Being Manny: two World Series titles, a fearsome bat and puzzling lapses in hustle and attitude. Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers in July and could be headed for his second nine-figure contract.
Thanks to A-Rod's 10-year, $252-million deal of 2001, the Yankees felt compelled to reward their own superstar shortstop, who, unlike Rodriguez, had actually won championships before. However, Jeter had four World Series rings when he signed this deal in 2001 -- the same as he has right now.
Only A-Rod, it seems, can beat A-Rod. After a monster 2007 season that resulted in his third AL MVP award, Rodriguez opted out of his record $252 million deal with three years remaining. He eventually wound up back with the Yankees, setting a new record for the richest contract in baseball history, one that includes potential bonuses for reaching certain milestones.