Monday, February 20, 2012

6 comments A Bleacher Report Slideshow That is Chock Full of Wrongness

I realized earlier this week I haven't picked on Bleacher Report lately, so I went to the site and found a doozy of an article. What I love about many Bleacher Report articles is you can tell they are bad simply from the title. You hardly need to read the slideshow/article. The title for this one is "The Contract Every MLB Team is Dying to Get Off the Books." You know it will contain contracts that aren't bad, poor reasoning, too much focus on one year's results and using the scope of EVERY MLB team is way too large. So let's get to the contracts teams are DYING to get off their books, even though in some cases that team just signed or traded for that player.

In fact, 13 of the 15 largest sports contracts ever signed were inked by baseball players. So it's easy to assume that each major league roster has at least one contract that they wish they could get off of the books right now.

Of course. It is so easy to assume because baseball has 13 of the players on this list, every MLB team has a bad contract. Because baseball has so much payroll parity and all to where every team has a grossly overpaid player or two.

Let's start the slideshow!

Arizona Diamondback- Joe Saunders

The soon-to-be 31-year-old is on the books to make $6 million for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012 while their ace is making $600,000.

The Diamondbacks signed Saunders to a new contract just over a month ago. It's very unlikely they are dying to get this money off their payroll. A common theme we will see if the author's inability to understand the economics of baseball. The economics of baseball are such that quality or decent pitching is scarce, so decent or average pitchers tend to make more money due to this scarcity. If a pitcher is decent AND he throws 180-200 innings most years, then he could make even more money.

Atlanta Braves- Dan Uggla

In 2011, Dan Uggla didn't live up to the expectations with his new club, the Atlanta Braves. He only hit .233 with 82 RBI after having struggled for most of the first half.

I dare you to find a Braves fan that wants this contract off the payroll. Uggla hit .296/.379/.569 with 21 home runs and 48 RBI's in 69 games during the second half of the season. There is absolutely no reason the team would want to be rid of Uggla because of a tough first half of the season. This is stupidity. He is still one of the best second basemen in the National League.

Yes, third baseman Chipper Jones will be making $13 million at the age of 39, but he would have had much better numbers than Uggla if he had played a full season in 2011.

Jones would have had much fewer home runs if he had managed to play a full season, which is why the Braves want Uggla. Uggla has stayed fairly injury-free (I just jinxed him, I know it) and he hits home runs. Chipper hit 18 home runs in 455 at-bats while Uggla had 36 home runs in 600 at-bats. If anything, this is a tribute to how Chipper can still hit well at this age more than it is a sign Uggla sucks or the Braves regret his contract.

Chicago Cubs- Alfonso Soriano

The worst part about it is the fact that the Cubs won't likely be contenders until after Soriano is gone because of the change they need to undergo and the fact that his contract is holding them back.

Yes, because the main reason the Cubs aren't contending is because Alfonso Soriano's contract is preventing them from making the moves necessary to compete. I'd love to hear how the $134 million 2011 opening day payroll is being completely held back by the $18 million that Soriano is making. The fact they were paying Carlos Zambrano $18.5 million and Kosuke Fukudome $14.5 million apparently wasn't hurting the team at all. Yes, Soriano is overpaid, but the Cubs have problems that go deeper than his contract.

Cincinnati Reds- Bronson Arroyo

Unless leading the league in earned runs and home runs is a good thing, Bronson Arroyo is being over paid.

He may be overpaid, but does this mean the Reds are dying to get rid of his contract? Let's consider last year was the worst year of his career and he has pitched 178 innings ever year since 2004. As bad as Arroyo was, it is not easy to find guys who make 30 starts per year and have consistently pitched close to or above the league average. The Reds understand they have to pay for a pitcher who makes 30 starts and has a tendency to be slightly above league average.

In 2012, he will make $12 million followed by $11.5 million in 2013 after compiling a 7-9 record with a 5.07 ERA in 2011.

But he had a 3.88 and 3.84 ERA the previous two years. No one is claiming the Reds love paying Arroyo paying $12 million, but he is a consistent pitcher who makes 30 starts and can pitch at the league average. Believe it or not, that's probably worth close to $12 million to some teams.

Florida Marlins- Ricky Nolasco

He means the Miami Marlins. Editors are needed at Bleacher Report.

Houston Astros- Brett Myers

Brett Myers had a terrible 2011 where he only won seven games, compared to his 14 losses.

Why are we only focusing on 2011 as to why teams are dying to get rid of these player's contracts? It's almost like Myers 14-8, 3.14 ERA in 2010 doesn't exist. I'm not saying Myers is a great pitcher, but don't ignore his past successes and only focus on last year's failure. Myers isn't so bad when healthy and the Astros have to spend money on somebody. I would guess they regret Carlos Lee's contract more than Myers' contract.

Also, do not make me lecture you about wins and how it is a stupid way to measure the value of a pitcher. Myers won seven games on a team that won 56 games. It isn't like he had a ton of help from his offense.

The Astros were horrible last season and have to deal with paying Myers $11 million this season and at least $3 million in 2013 in the event of a buyout.

So the Astros are on the hook for one more season and they have to pay $3 million to get rid of Myers in 2013...and this is a contract they are dying to get rid of? Who the hell would they sign with this money that is better than Myers and wants to play for the Astros right now?

Kansas City Royals- Jonathan Broxton

Jonathan Broxton has had his fair share of good seasons and was a two-time All-Star. But in 2011, he suffered multiple injuries to his shoulder and elbow.

Those injuries only let him pitch in 14 games where he went 1-2 with a 5.68 ERA.

Bum! How dare you get injured!

I also have to mention the Royals just signed Jonathan Broxton in November. What the hell happened since then that makes them regret signing him?

The Royals signed him for $4 million this season in a move that doesn't make much sense,

Unless the Royals were looking to sign Broxton on the cheap in the hopes he turns into an All-Star again. Why would they do that though? It's just madness to try and sign talented players on the cheap. This move doesn't make sense if you believe MLB teams only need one quality reliever in their bullpen.

given the fact that they already have Joakim Soria as a closer.

Has the author ever watched or attempted to understand baseball? If not, he should realize relief pitchers that were once closers can also be a set up guys. Having a quality set up guy is like having a closer that doesn't close the game out. So a team wouldn't want have a great closer and then decide not to sign any more quality relievers due to the 9th inning being covered. This is especially true for the Royals, who don't have great starting pitching. They want to make sure they have a good bullpen that can hold any lead for the starters. So this signing makes a lot of sense for the Royals.

Los Angeles Dodgers- Andruw Jones

The Dodgers are only paying $3.2 million to Jones this year. It is obviously not an ideal situation, but that isn't much money.

Jones only spent one season with the Dodgers where he hit .158 with 14 RBI and three home runs and was a terrible signing by the team.

Yes, he was a terrible signing, but they are paying Juan Uribe $8.0 million this year, will pay him $7 million next year and are paying Manny Ramirez $8.3 million...but the Jones contract for $3.2 is the one they want to get rid of?

Milwaukee Brewers: Francisco Rodriguez

Francisco Rodriguez had 23 saves last season, but all came with the New York Mets. Once he got traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, he spent the rest of the season as a setup man for John Axford.

What does the author have against set up guys? For a great set up guy $8 million per year isn't bad. Plus, the Brewers just signed Rodriguez to a new contract in January and it is only a one year contract. So I don't know why they would regret it.

He did a good job of it, but he will be getting paid $8 million to do the same in 2012.

Rodriguez likely can, but is that worth $8 million?

Yes, he is absolutely worth it if he has a 1.86 ERA, just like he did last year with the Brewers. So basically this boils down to the author not understanding the economics of baseball, and isn't related at all to the Brewers wanting to get rid of Rodriguez's one year contract. Quality set up guys can get $8 million per year.

Minnesota Twins- Joe Mauer

Yes, Joe Mauer. This guy thinks the Twins are dying to get rid of Joe Mauer and his contract. This is the same Joe Mauer who has comparable numbers to Hall of Fame catchers at this point in his career. He got injured for one damn year and this moron thinks the Twins want to immediately get rid of his contract. The guy is two years removed from an MVP award. I really believe the author fails to understand how much top baseball players are worth on the free agent market. Of course the Twins would like to pay Joe Mauer $400K to play for them, but because they pay him $23 million it doesn't mean they are dying to get rid of his contract. What insanity. He's the cornerstone of their franchise.

When he's healthy, Joe Mauer is one of the best players in the game—he was the 2009 AL MVP and has won the batting title multiple times.


It's like the author doesn't have a memory of any baseball games prior to the 2011 season. He probably thinks David Freese should be in the Hall of Fame. He bases all of his opinions on the 2011 season, completely ignoring all past seasons.

But even when he's healthy, is he worth $23 million each year from now through 2018?

Yes, based on the marketing money he brings in and his performance on the field he is probably worth $23 million. Is this article worth the 5 minutes I spent reading it? No, not at all.

Add to that the fact that Mauer only played in 82 games in 2011 and got 30 RBI and the Twins must be wishing they could restructure his contract.

Every team wants to restructure the contract of their best players so they make less money.

Oakland A's- Kurt Suzuki

On one hand, Kurt Suzuki is one of the most underrated catchers in the game when it comes to handling inexperienced and young pitchers. But on the other hand, he hasn't gotten the job done offensively.

Consider my mind blown. So Kurt Suzuki is an underrated catcher who makes $5 million in 2012, so that makes him overpaid, which means the A's would love to get him off their payroll. So Suzuki is overpaid AND underrated.

Take a guess why Suzuki is overpaid? I'll give you a hint...he didn't play well last year.

But he put up the worst offensive numbers of his career last season with a .237 batting average and only 44 RBI.

RBI's are a function of how many batters are on-base for a player to drive in. It isn't fair to judge Suzuki based on that. Reality sucks when it doesn't support your contentions.

Also, Suzuki's career average is .258, so it isn't like .237 is way below his career average.

Philadelphia Phillies- Ryan Howard

I know Howard gets paid a lot and is probably going to be overpaid in the future, but I simply don't believe the Phillies would love to get rid of him. They wouldn't have signed him to such a huge deal a few years prior to him becoming a free agent if they didn't want to pay him that money.

Pittsburgh Pirates- Jose Tabata

Jose Tabata is an unproven player with a career .284 batting average and an average of 47 RBI.

He has 739 at-bats in his career. Tabata made $428,000 in 2011 and will make $750,000 in 2012. He hit for a line of .266/.349/.362 with 16 stolen bases at a 22 year old. As a 22 year old. As a 22 year old.

The Pirates haven't invested a ton of money in him, but it is a sizable amount for a player of his caliber.

No, it is not a sizable amount. Tabata performed at about league average last year and he made $428,000. That's very near the minimum. That is not a sizable amount.

Tabata will make $1 million this season, and if the team picks up all of his club options, he will make $8.5 million in 2019 at the age of 30.

Think about that number. $8.5 million at the age of 30 in 2019. That's the peak amount in a year the Pirates would have to pay Tabata. That's not a bad deal for the team. The Pirates have options on Tabata beginning in 2017, when they would pay him the exorbitant amount of $6.5 million, so they will have control over Tabata until he is 30 years old, no matter what. The most the Pirates have invested in Tabata is $13.25 million from 2012-2016 and can get rid of him after that day if he isn't performing well. Since he is only 22 years old, one would assume he will continue to improve. This isn't a contract the Pirates want to get rid of, this is a contract the Pirates would love to replicate a few times with other young players.

If Tabata sucks, the Pirates won't pick up his option and be out $250,000 in 2017. Seriously, Tabata very likely could end up being underpaid, and very soon.

His signing could really pay off for the Pirates, but it could be a total bust as well.

I can't call $13.25 million invested in a player over 5 seasons a total bust, even if Tabata never improves from his 2011 year. It will still be a bargain at that point if he is just a league average outfielder.

St. Louis Cardinals- Matt Holliday

This is madness. After losing Albert Pujols in free agency, the last thing the Cardinals would like to do is lose another All-Star. There is no way the Cardinals want Holliday's salary off their payroll.

Matt Holiday is much like Ryan Howard in that he is getting older (32) and will still be getting paid a significant amount of money in 2017.

Apparently this author believes any time a player is being paid a lot of money, that player's team immediately wants to rid themselves of the player's contract. Nevermind if that player is still productive. That doesn't matter. What matters is the player makes a lot of money and that means the team no longer wants the player around.

This guy compares Holliday to Ryan Howard. He must read Joe Morgan's old ESPN chats. Morgan loved to compare Howard's contract to Holliday's contract. This is despite the fact they play two different positions and have completely different body types, yet Morgan and the author act like they are comparable players.

Holiday will get paid $17 million all the way up to 2016 and could be making the same amount in 2017 if the club decides to pick up his option.

OMFG! That's a lot of money! Who cares if he is still a productive player? Get rid of that contract!

After only playing in 124 games last season, his RBI total dropped all the way to 75.

Holliday had one bad year where he got injured. Because the author is too stupid/lazy to ever look at previous years' statistics he doesn't realize this is the first time since 2005 that Holliday hasn't played in at least 139 games. So Holliday is durable and his career line is .315/.388/.541. In fact, during Holliday's down year in 2011 that has blinded the author to the point he refuses to acknowledge any season previous to 2011, Holliday hit .296/.388/.525. That's pretty damn good.

Throwing out Holliday's RBI total is completely unconvincing when trying to prove your point because RBIs are very dependent on games played and runners on-base. Holliday only played in 124 games and Albert Pujols had a down season (for him), so Holliday didn't have as many chances to drive Pujols in when Holliday was healthy. So of course he didn't have many RBIs during 2011. If Holliday had played 158 games in 2011 like he did in 2010 then he would have been on pace for 96 RBIs, which is still pretty good.

If you are going to write about how a team wants to get a player's contract off their books, don't base it entirely on one injury-filled season and don't base it on how many RBIs that player had. It's very short-sighted and often inaccurate.

Tampa Bay Rays- Wade Davis

Wade Davis is 26 years old and will make $9.1 million over the next three seasons. The Rays do not want him off their books. That's cheap for a guy who has pitched 352 innings his first two full years in the league.

Davis is only 25-22 with a 4.22 ERA on his career and will be making $1.5 million, $2.8 million and $4.8 million over the next three seasons.

Does the author have even a somewhat firm grasp of the economics of baseball? Davis has been pretty average during his career, but $9.1 million for his output over the next three seasons isn't unreasonable.

After that, he has multiple club options that can be picked up. They start at $7 million and end with $10 million in 2017 when Davis is 31.

These are TEAM options. This means if Davis sucks then the Rays haven't lost too much because they won't ever have to pay him $7 million or $10 million per year and can cut ties with him. There's no way the Rays want this contract off their books.

Texas Rangers- Adrian Beltre

Adrian Beltre played a very big role on getting the Rangers to the World Series in 2011 and has a great bat that is suited for Arlington, Texas.

Look at how much money he makes! Why should a team have to pay a lot of money for great production? Again, every team wants their best players to make less money, but it doesn't mean they regret the amount they are paying a player. Beltre hit .296/.331/.561 with 32 home runs last year. He's a pretty good hitter at a key infield spot where teams want power. Did he cost a lot to sign? Yes, but it doesn't mean the Rangers regret it.

What's more is that he will be making $15 million, $16 million, $17 million, $18 million and finally $16 million in each year. That's a ton of money for a 37-year-old.

And of course there is no way Beltre could ever be a DH nor will be be worth this money prior to the year he turns 37 years old.

Toronto Blue Jays- Brandon Morrow

Brandon Morrow is owed $4 million in 2012 and $8 million in both 2013 and 2014. There is also a club option in his contract worth $10 million in 2015.

He signed this contract on January 24. Why the hell would the Blue Jays want to get a contract they just negotiated off the books one month after negotiating this contract?

This is the type of thing that happens when a premise gets stretched thin in an effort to maximize pageviews. It's unbelievable to think some of these teams would be dying to get rid of some of these contracts.


rich said...

He only hit .233 with 82 RBI after having struggled for most of the first half.

Dan Uggla carried that team offensively for the second half. I hope they get rid of him.

Philadelphia Phillies- Ryan Howard

I know Howard gets paid a lot and is probably going to be overpaid in the future, but I simply don't believe the Phillies would love to get rid of him. They wouldn't have signed him to such a huge deal a few years prior to him becoming a free agent if they didn't want to pay him that money.

I actually agree with this one. The question isn't whether the Phillies want to get rid of Howard, but rather a player whose contract they'd want off the books.

Given that Howard has 5 years/125M left on his contract, this is the one to get rid of for a variety of reasons.

The most obvious is that this completely kills the Phillies' ability to reload the team in two years when Rollins, Utley and the corpse of Placido Polanco are done playing.

Then you have to add in that Howard has declined rapidly and drastically the past few years to the fact that he's 32 when the contract starts... eh...

He's a big name and a marketable player, so the team wanted to keep him around, but they overcompensated a player who still had a year and a half left on his contract. It was a terrible signing.

Basically, Reuben Amaro is a great evaluator of talent, but he's an awful judge of the market. He overpaid Howard, gave Rollins an extra year when I honestly don't know who else was going to, gave Polanco and Ibanez extra years, etc.

Then he signs Doc to a three year deal, but gives more money to Cliff Lee...

I wouldn't necessarily want the Phillies to get rid of Howard, but at 25M, he's the contract to amnesty if there was an amnesty in MLB.

HH said...

The Royals signed him for $4 million this season in a move that doesn't make much sense

Unless you want to flip Broxton to a contender for a B-grade prospect, which is exactly what a team on the verge of contention should be doing.

Rodriguez likely can, but is that worth $8 million?

See Broxton above.

Also, no one should ever pick on Kurt Suzuki, who is an excellent catcher by any standard. He gets overshadowed by the Santanas and Poseys of the world, but he's as stable a backstop as you can have in the majors.

Finally, that Wade Davis and Brandon Morrow are on this list borders on the absurd.

Justin Zeth said...

Before the Burnett acquisition, the highest paid 2012 Pittsburgh Pirate was: Clint Barmes. Really!

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I can't find a Braves fan or front office member that would want to get rid of Uggla. That's just stupid.

I know you may want to get rid of Howard's contract as a fan, but I don't know if the team wants to dump it. I know differentiating b/w what the fans and the front office wants complicates the issue, but do you think the Phils FO wants to get rid of Howard?

As we have discussed previously, Howard's contract doesn't make a ton of sense since the Phils didn't have to resign him yet and it was a large contract. I don't know if the Phillies want to get the contract off the books, though I would guess the fans probably do.

You are probably right they overcompensated him and his contract is too long. I'll take your word for it since you are a Phillies fan. I was looking at it from the perspective of the FO wanting to get rid of Howard and figured they would not sign him and then want to get rid of him two years later.

At least your team plays the FA market and isn't afraid to spend money on players. It feels great knowing the Braves have a valuable lead off hitter, but this will his last year in a Braves uniform b/c the FO doesn't even take the time to make a competitive offer in the market. Not that I'm bitter.

I would agree Amaro is a good judge of talent, but he tends to miss on the market a bit. It hasn't hurt the Phils much though.

HH, yep. I can see the Royals using Broxton as a set up guy until July and then trading him to a contender for a prospect. That's what makes me think this guy doesn't watch enough baseball. Non-competitive teams can pick up undervalued (in terms of Broxton being a good pitcher, but having injury issues) assets and then trade them at the deadline for prospects.

I don't know if I would put Suzuki in with Posey or Santana, but he certainly is a step below them. There is no reason to get him off the payroll. I think Morrow, Tabata, and Davis are all absurd.

Justin, there was a guy who wrote for the Toronto Star that said MLB should void the Burnett trade. It's a disgrace of an article. Why would the Pirates get rid of Tabata when Barmes was their highest paid player?

Jonathan Rogers said...

There is absolutely NO controversy about Adrien Beltre in Texas. This is incredibly stupid. Beltre's glove was a huge defensive upgrade at third after watching Michael Young let balls go between his legs in the 2010 playoffs.

Bengoodfella said...

Jonathan, how dare you insult Michael Young. He is the greatest of all players and is unselfish, unselfish, long as he is made completely happy and no one does anything he doesn't like.

But yeah, Beltre at third base should be no controversy. He's a good hitter and great fielder.