With starting pitchers, money does not translate to wins
There are 31 major-league starting pitchers who will make at least $10 million this year. Of those 31, only 15 own a winning record. That's not even half. Some have reasonable excuses. Many do not.
So you've got $10 million a year to spend on a starting pitcher.
Or $20 million a year.
Should be able to get someone good, right? Should be able to get someone dependable.
Should be able to get someone who wins more often than he loses.
You'd think so, wouldn't you?
You'd think wrong.
There are 31 starting pitchers in the big leagues this year who are making $10 million or more. Not even half of them own a winning record.
Some didn't make it because of injury. Two or three didn't make it because of poor run support.
Still, it's a little stunning that only 15 of the 31 high-paid starters have won more games than they've lost.
And if you absolutely can't stand the win stat, I'll put it another way. Of the 31 starters making $10 million a year or more, just 18 have an ERA below the league average.
It's a little better at the very top. Of the five starters making $20 million or more (Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Justin Verlander and Roy Halladay), the only one who doesn't own an ERA better than league average is Santana, whose 4.85 has a lot to do with his (lack of) health. And the only other one with a losing record is Cliff Lee, whose lack of run support has been talked about all year.
But look at the next names on the list, the four guys making between $18.25 million and $19.7 million. While Felix Hernandez is having his usual great season, the other three (Barry Zito, Carlos Zambrano and Tim Lincecum) are not.
It's the same way all the way down the list: Lots of money, no guarantee of success.