Blog Entry

Are They Worth It?

Posted on: February 4, 2010 9:25 am
Edited on: February 5, 2010 3:02 pm
Obviously the environment of Major League Baseball is at a point where owners are more fiscally minded and the whole of baseball salaries are starting to see a financial correction.  However, that correction is only happening to the highest paid players in baseball. The middle guy, the average performer, gets to see the benefit of this first hand.  The average salary continues to rise even if the top 25 players in baseball see a slight drop from 2009 to 2010.  This can only be explained by the resistence to over-reward the top guys, and the need to flatten out salaries as a fiscal move to ensure the Player's Union doesn't raise their fist in protest.  Even with the top guys, it's incredible to see whether or not a player is worth the money:

Why do we have the term contract year?  Is it true that players perform at a stronger rate of return when their contract is nearly up?  Is this something that was created by the media or the Adrian Beltre phenomenon?  Shouldn't there be clauses that prevent players from earning their full wages in the event of injury, poor performance, etc.?

Let's play a little game of who deserves it and who didn't based on 2009 salaries?

1.  Alex Rodriguez ($33,000,000) - Does he deserve to make $10 million more than the next highest player?  I'm going with no!  He doesn't deserve it because it's so much more than anyone else is making.  Plus he admitted to steroid use and is reaching an age where he can become a liability.

2.  Manny Ramirez ($23,854,494) - Definitely not!  Taking banned substances, acting like a clown to get out of Beantown, and productivity dip, should be enough.  He's also a defensive liability in left field, so while he may support them with runs, he counters that with poor range.

3.  Derek Jeter ($21,600,000) - I think so.  He's the team captain, all he does is play.  He's had 6 consecutive years of 150 games played and 5 of the 6 have resulted in at least 680 plate appearances.  He works hard, grinds it out, got paid for what he's contributed, but also for what he'll contribute.  I don't have a problem with what Jeter brings to the table versus some of these other yahoos!

4.  Mark Teixeira ($20,625,000) - Resounding Yes.  He turns 30 this year, so there should be a chance of getting a return on investment.  Here's what's great about Mark, he's quiet, goes about his work, doesn't drum up controversy which of course adds to the cost of a player.  Plus he brings the value of the players around him up, especially defensively.  He does rely on protection in the line-up to really do damage, but still has the ability execute.

5.  Carlos Beltran ($19,243,682) - No.  Let's start with the fiasco, that may have been partially fabricated by the Mets.  Beltran having surgery to start the season already limits the return on investment potential, couple that with his dip in power numbers, the fact that he's only played more than 144 games three out of the last seven seasons and this is clearly a poor investment that the Mets have taken on.  The writing was on the wall though before he became the Mets property.

6.  Carlos Lee ($19,000,000) - Yes.  He's the consumate professional ball player.  He's gotten past some of the growing pains he was having in Milwaukee.  Although his power numbers have come down a bit, he helps out others in the line-up by protecting them, just ask Lance Berkman.  While I do say yes on this guy, I will say it's a borderline yes.

7.  Magglio Ordonez ($18,971,596) - No.  He's 36 years old, his productivity has seen a significant drop off.  He just doesn't have it anymore and therefore he doesn't deserve to be in the top 10 financially in the league.

8.  Johan Santana ($18,876,139) - Yes.  He'll be 31 this year and still has a lot of life in his arm.  He did face an injury for the first time in his career, but he bounced back with okay results.  This season should be different and you should expect a decent return on investment.  Plus in New York would you rather see Johan or John Maine on the mound?  Exactly, that makes it a good business decision as well.

9.  Carlos Zambrano ($18,750,000) - No way!  For the 2nd consecutive year his season had some injuries to deal with and he loss time, more so than in 2008.  Not a good trend.  His ERA remains above 3.75 for the 3rd consecutive season.  He's the 2nd highest paid pitcher and one of the top 10 paid players in the league.  Neither of those are deserved!

10.  Barry Zito ($18,500,000) - No.  Should I even go on?  Okay I will.  At nearly $2 million a win last year, he was the worst investment into a starting pitcher for the 3rd year in a row.  Also, he got this contract after a "contract year".  However, when you look at his numbers, there was really no indication that he was going to get any better than he was already.  2002 was a remarkable year for him, but every year after that has been significantly worse than that.  That being said 2009 was a bit better than he'd been trending, still a crap year for someone making that kind of bread.

11t.  Torii Hunter ($18,000,000) - Nope.  I like most of the Angels decisions, because they are smart, well thought out, and contribute in a major way to success of the franchise.  However, this one goes against all of those opinions.  Only twice in Hunter's career had he ever broke 148 games, which means he takes about 10% of the season off (do the Angels get a discount on that, because that would be smart?).  He has some power, and a huge asset in the outfield, but his liability numbers (bb/so, unforced outs, etc) are really high.  Either way it's not worth $18 mil.

11t.  Ichiro Suzuki ($18,000,000) - Yes.  Inspite of the fact that he went on the disabled list for the first time in his career.  He still managed to break the 200 hit mark, bat over .350.  He's a machine at the top of the line-up and so unique that after 9 years in the Majors, he's already eclipsed the 2,000 hit mark.  He's not showing signs of slowing down either.

13.  Alfonso Soriano ($17,000,000) - No.  After his 40/40 year in Washington, that's right he played for the Nationals, his entire stay in Chicago has been marred with injuries.  Included in that, is a pathetic so/bb ratio and a deteriation in his speed numbers.  He just turned 34 and I don't see him getting better, and he'd have to be a whole lot better to be worthy of these financial numbers.

14.  Aramis Ramirez ($16,650,000) - No.  Injuries have plagued Ramirez his entire career.  Last year was the worst of it, only playing 82 games, he still produced when he was in the line-up.  But that production was severly limited by injuries that held him out, when the Cubs needed him the most.

15.  Todd Helton ($16,600,000) - Yes.  Last year was a very nice bounce back year for him.  His value exceeds his productivity though.  His leadership for a young Colorado Rockies team is nearly invaluable.  Like Griffey in Seattle, or Lowell in Boston.  Sometimes the leadership of player is more important to the team than his productivity.  Combine that with a productive season, and you have a value driven product.  Todd Helton is worth the money.

16.  A.J. Burnett ($16,500,000) - No.  He got paid because of a "contract year", where he went 18-10 and with a ton of strikeouts.  In 2009, he was essentially the same pitcher with less wins and strikeouts.  The most overlooked piece of the puzzle was the inflated ERA of over 4.00 for both years.  His WHIP is also pretty high.  Essentially the last two seasons have been his healthiest ever, but they have also been two of his worst in the ERA and WHIP statistics.

17.  Tim Hudson ($15,500,000) - No.  Obviously injuries have taken a toll on Timmy.  That doesn't mean that he's reached the end of his productive days, it just means that with the severity of the injury that has taken his playing time away from him the last two seasons.  He's just not worth the investment.  Will he win 15 games this year?  Probably, if he stays healthy.  But that's a big if.

18.  C.C.Sabathia ($15,285,714) - Yes.  He's worth every penny and then some.  Captain Clutch Sabathia is the man, especially when the pressure is on.  He had a bit of an off year last year, while adjusting back to the American League, and the Homerun Derby park that is New Yankee Stadium.  He still managed to have a pretty impressive year and garnered more Cy Young consideration.  He's worth the money, and he'll give you a pretty significan return on your investment.  That and he's still just 29 years of age.

19.  Jason Schmidt ($15,217,401) - No.  It's pretty easy, this guy barely deserves the league minimum.  He's started 10 games over the last two seasons and has been terrible in those starts.  If he can find his way back to the dominance of '06 and '07, then maybe he'll be close to worth it.  But don't bank on it, pun intended!  I feel like this guy owes the people that are paying him, he should be arrested for embezzlement.

20t.  Vladimir Guererro ($15,000,000) - No.  I know that the Rangers just signed him for $5.5 million and that is definitely what he's worth now.  The last couple of years, he's been fighting leg injuries that slowed him down and then sidelined him.  Maybe he finds new life in Texas, but he definitely didn't earn the $15 million he made last year.

20t. Ryan Howard ($15,000,000) - Yes.  What's amazing about Howard is that he went out and added stolen bases to his arsenal.  Prior to '09 he had 2 SBs and 2 CS, in '09 he had 8 steals and 1 CS.  That's pretty strong, but not as strong as the 45 dingers, 141 RBIs and his highest average since '06.  He's a machine and at 30 years old should continue to give a proper return on the investment.

20t. Derek Lowe ($15,000,000) - No.  Last year he really showed signs of aging with a high ERA and low number of quality starts.  He did still produce 15 wins near the back of the rotation.  But when things went bad for Lowe, they were really bad at times.  I don't expect them to get any better.

20t. Mariano Rivera ($15,000,000) - Yes.  He's worth every cent and then some.  At the age of 39 he just produced his 3rd highest save total in a season (44) and his 9th season under a 2.00 ERA (1.76).  Sure he's old, but you don't seen any signs of aging in this guy.  He should be the highest paid closer in MLB.

24.  Miguel Tejada ($14,811,414) - No.  Obviously he's not, the Orioles corrected the mistake they made with him years ago, after his MVP year and paid him about what he's worth (still a little high IMO) at $6 million for 2010.  He still has a smooth bat, with some pop, and rarely strikes out.  The numbers that he produced to earn this contract have long gone away.  That and is he really 35?  Which from an investment side, could have some serious ramifications.  I think we are all glad this contract came to an end and it shouldn't overshadow the steroid/age thing and his willingness to skirt the rules and the law to get what he wants, which was paid.

25.  Lance Berkman ($14,500,000) - No. He's 34 years old, and he was definitely worth this contract three years ago.  But now?  I'd say the jury's a little bit out.  But still no.  Once every 4 years he goes through an injury filled season and if his productivity drops on the team, so does the rest of the team.  His .274 average was his worst ever.  Can he get back to his 2006 form?  Well if he does than he'd be worth the money!

Now it's your turn to sound off!  I want to hear your opinion of what I've just posted and especially your differences of opinion!  Let's open this up for discussion.  The biggest problem I have is overpaying for an injured player that the fans (where most of the money comes from) don't even get to see.  Guaranteed contracts is a terrible thing for any sport, let alone a sport where the opportunity for injury often comes down to just plane ole' bad luck!

Joeebrew Signing Off!

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2010 9:45 am

Are They Worth It?

Justification on Torii Hunter being a no:

Career Average Games Played per season = 134
Last 5 years = 135
Seasons over his average = 7 of 11

2009 Numbers:
.299 Avg
22 HRs
90 RBIs
74 Runs
119 Games
451 At Bats
18 SBs

Hardly numbers worthy of $18,000,000, let alone top 15 player salary status?

But lets look at 2008 (last healthy season):
.278 Avg
21 HRs
78 RBIs
85 Runs
146 Games
551 At Bats
19 SBs

Not exactly top 15 player statistics, right?

His defensive prowess is definitely remarkable, but what good is it, if it's the cause of his injuries?  Right?

In the business world, the higher the risk, should equal a high reward, the reward doesn't match the risk here.

Since: Aug 31, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2010 8:25 pm

Are They Worth It?

Cubbies seem to be having alot of issues with their line up, especially last year! Hopefully they can field a fit + united side this year.

Hunter is well worth what he is paid in my book as well. Interesting that there is not one Red Sox player in that list...

Since: Mar 12, 2009
Posted on: February 8, 2010 11:29 pm

Are They Worth It?

Nice Write up but even as I am a red Sox Fan I was surprised you didn't mention J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell or David Ortiz

Since: Feb 4, 2010
Posted on: February 8, 2010 12:11 pm

Are They Worth It?

You can make the arguement that every one of these players is overpaid; they are all overpaid! History has shown that these types of players are not essential to making long playoff runs. Rockies are a strong recent example. However, they definately help out if they are acquired at reasonable prices. 33 million does not seem too reasonable. Unless ARod hits 70 home runs and hits .750 he is not worth $33 million. To learn the number one mistake made in sports betting, find out here

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: February 8, 2010 9:37 am

Are They Worth It?

I like the idea... however...
So how exactly do you propose the invaluable leadership players get paid?  What about getting significant bonus for winning league MVP?  Team MVP?  Or is that already in player contracts???  It appears you want to merge fantasy baseball numbers with salaries???  Pay a pitcher $1k for a strikeout or inning pitched, and take $1k away for a walk?  What about intentional walks?  What about if a pitcher is told by their manager to hit a batter?  Are you going to have the manager go on record that he gave to order so that the player is not out $1k for putting that batter on base?  So now we take $1k from the manager instead?

Minus $5k for errors?  That is insanity, there are far too many errors that are charged to one player that should be charged to more than one etc, and then take more money if runs are scored off the error???  You would end up having NO ONE wanting to play the infield!!!

I can see contraversy all over the place about scoring something a hit versus an error.  Penalizing a player for an error could easily make that player not want to go for that ball up the middle, etc...  If this was to work, you'd have to hire an additional umpire to be the official scorer for the game and his job would have to be paid based on accuracy.  And you would have to measure EVERYTHING during a game, fielding percentages, number of putouts, number of hits allowed through your fielding area, hitting the cutoff man from the outfield, etc... Wouldn't it be funny to have a player OWE the team money for being bad enough, but then does the team deserve the money if they are stupid enough to keep him playing???

What happens if a player gets injured?  They get no pay at all?  a special pro-rated pay based on what they were getting per game?  

Final point - What should teams / MLB do if a player is caught using steriods???  Give back all his pay earned from productivity? 

Since: Jan 26, 2010
Posted on: February 7, 2010 9:44 pm

Are They Worth It?

How about Vernon Wells...

Since: Dec 8, 2008
Posted on: February 7, 2010 5:16 pm

Are They Worth It?

I assume you realize this, but you used last season's numbers for the salaries.  Tim Hudson is making about 2/3 the amount you have there, and Vlad Guererro is making less than half.  Just pointing it out in case you didn't realize.

Since: Feb 7, 2010
Posted on: February 7, 2010 5:11 pm

Are They Worth It?

Good article but i don't agree with you on Torii Hunter. His performance before he got hurt was amazing, and if you bring in the leadership he gives to a young Angels team, he is barely worth it. But barely works.

Since: Jun 25, 2008
Posted on: February 7, 2010 10:41 am

Are They Worth It?

Article was okay.  In all honesty you should have just said NO to all the players mentioned.  Article was a bit lengthy but I agree with most of the opinions except your reasoning for Helton.  Yes he is a good hitter but he is not worth the contract anymore.  You must be a Rockies fan because why else would you say that kind of is worth it for leadership.  Where did he lead them, it is a mans game and the field is really easy to find from the dugout.

The Cubs have to be kicking themselves.  They always seem to lead in bad contracts.

Since: Nov 15, 2006
Posted on: February 7, 2010 10:06 am

Are They Worth It?

Well said, joeebrew1

Hell, A-Rod doesn't even deserve to be the highest paid YANKEE --

Teixeira, Jeter, Rivera and Sabathia are all more deserving

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