I’m with viva here. The point of the site is to give insightful commentary into the micro and macro goings on of professional baseball. I fail to see how picking three rather lousy players and saying, “They suck and they’re overpaid. As such, they are significantly hurting their team from both an on the field and business perspective” is terribly insightful. Who frequently reads this site and does NOT think that Perez’s contract was an idiotic reach and that Jeff Suppan and Eric Chavez are formerly useful (and great, in Chavez’s case) players who are bad now? Is this supposed to be news to anyone?
No, it seems like Mr. Moore needed something to write about today and couldn’t think something up. He picked something easy, a demonstration of exactly HOW BAD these three overpaid guys are, and that became his post for the day. I expect better than that. Go get ’em tomorrow, Jack!
Carlos Lee probably wins, if you’re talking about this season only (with Aramis Ramirez a close second…).
-1.3 WAR for 2010. $18.5 million salary in ’10, ’11, and ’12. His terrible play and huge contract make it next to impossible to trade him for prospects. At this point, he’s worth absolutely nothing to Houston.
Gary Matthews Jr.
2010-2011 Salary: 23.8M Projected wOBA: .322 (Updated ZiPS projection: .308)
The 2006 All-Star and MVP Candidate has now been relegated to a limited pinch-hitting role for the Mets. And it’s not like he’s doing a good job at it either. 64 plate appearances is a small sample size, but he is hitting just a measly .193 with only one RBI and 3 extra-base hits. Subsequently, he is sporting a wOBA lower than Russell Branyan’s batting average. The dismal outcome despite having a .324 BABIP (career .299) can be attributed to an outrageous strikeout rate of 40.4% this year. Any doubts that can be attributed to the sample size can quickly be extinguished when taking a look at his 2009 stats, when he played over 100 games and had 360 plate appearances for the Angels. His .313 wOBA, -1.1 WAR, and .313 BABIP should tell you all you need to know.
Carlos Lee has been extremely unlucky though (.213 BABIP, career .288) and his projected numbers are still decent (all right, supposing a .316 wOBA is not decent) but remember he is a right handed hitter who calls Minute Maid Park his home…anything can happen in a short period of time.
To make this worse, the Astros have two other big near-parasitic contracts to deal with: Feliz and Matsui.
Pedro Feliz has posted -1.1 WAR so far this season, for which he’s getting paid $4.5 million. Matsui isn’t a true parasite anymore, since Wade thankfully let this one go, but the Astros are still paying him most of his $6.5 million salary, for which they got -0.8 WAR on the season. Kind of amazing, considering he lost his starting status within the first week of April.
Hey, give Rowand a few days and he will be at 0 War. The reason this guy is a parasite is because despite batting .200 for the month of May, he started all but ONE game, and lately his veteran grittiness has forced Nate Schierholz to the bench. Nate is one of the best hitters on the Giants, and his defense is Gold Glove worthy (handles rightfield great and has an absolute cannon). Not only does Rowand force Nate to the bench, but he completely hampers the development of John Bowker. Also, Rowand ALWAYS starts in centerfield, despite not being able to cover nearly as much ground as Andres Torres.
So Rowand’s presence in the lineup is just completely unnecessary, and the only reason he’s starting HAS to be because he’s making $12 mil/yr. Any day that Rowand starts in center, the Giants are putting a weaker team on the field. THAT is parasitic. It doesn’t matter one bit how strong Schierholz’ production has been, he will be benched in favor of the parasitic gritty veteran.
Bill Hall is a power arm out of the Red Sox bullpen! Plus, I’m pretty sure Milwaukee is still paying him, anyway, so he’s on the Igawa list – same with Julio Lugo.
A quick note on Grabow is he’s been supposedly pitching on a bum left (push-off) knee all year and took a cortisone shot at least once before going on the DL. He had two good outings back-to-back after the one shot I’m sure of (a pair of games at home vs. Pittsburgh). I’ll be interested to see if he’s better when he comes off the DL.
I don’t know how Jack missed ARAMIS RAMIREZ, though.
From 2004 through 2008, Ramirez’s WAR: 4.8, 4.1, 4.5, 5.3 and 4.7. In 82 games in 2009, his WAR was still 2.6. So far in 2010, having played only 43 of the Cubs’ 52 games, Ramirez has a -1.2 WAR. He has a 25.7% K rate and on contact, his breakdown is 15% LD / 25% GB / 60% FB / 10.5% IFFB. Having murdered fastballs his whole career, he is -16 wFB (-3.68 wFB/C) so far in 2010, not to mention similarly bad numbers against cutters and change-ups. Defensively, his numbers aren’t pretty either (33-year-old 3B? No way…): -2.5 UZR overall with -0.8 RngR and -1.1 ErrR.
For his .110 ISO and .110 road batting average and .190 BABIP and all those other contributions, Aramis is being paid about $16.75 million in 2010 with a $14.5 million player option for 2011 and a $2 million club buyout for 2012.
A pretty big drop-off; a negative contribution; a negative domino effect of screwing up everyone else in the batting order; killing the team generally and broadly; Aramis Ramirez is no albatross. Counting by WAR, quite literally the Cubs are below .500 because of him.
His salary isn’t quite $5M, but he should probably get some kind of honorable mention because he’s the highest-paid player on the team, and because he’s the Least Valuable Player this season according to WAR.
Mike Lowells name belongs there. Since May 11 he is averaging 5 PA per week. Can play 1B and 3B albeit not very well, on a team who does not need another backup at this position. Clogs the base paths when he gets on because he can’t run, and needs a double to score from 2B, so needs a pinch runner in close and late games. Can hit LHP but is on a team with a DH who does not need to be platooned. He is a full time PH, but on an AL team with a manager who does not like to PH for his regulars.
Making 12.5 million.
As for the talk of Bill Hall, most of that salary is being paid by the Mariners with money received by the Brewers.
At my work, we refer to this action as simply “restating the problem”, and unfortunately it can occupy a lot of meeting time if no one puts a stop to it.
Everyone understands the obvious problem. Not sure how many ways it can be restated. I don;t even think an appeal to WAR is required.
The real analysis would be to predict such “parasites” … yet often times when we’ve looked back at “bad contracts”, they made reasonable sense at the time.
To me, the point of the site is (or should be, IMHO) statistic-based analysis that goes beyond what the common fan already knows or that can be found at general sports/baseball news sites.
For example, in the Andy laRoche is struggling thread, it was illustrated that LaRoche is struggling because he’s popping the ball up too much. I would imagine the common Pirates fan who watches the game likely response would be “like duh, I coulda told you that”.
The real analysis would be to uncover “why”, not just restating the problem with various metrics. Is LaRoche chasing high pitches? Or does he not get the head of the bat through the zone quick enough on sliders, etc. To me that would be interesting stuff, and I would consider that advanced analysis.
In this particular thread, explaining “what went wrong” would even be more useful that just saying “X WAR for Y Millions”.
For example, Chavez at the time was likely one of the top 5 3B’s in the league, and just suffered back injuries. Suppan, at the time, had just pitched StL to a WS title (in part), and signed with a division rival looking to topple them. What is Suppan doing differently in MIL than he did in StL, b/c he was pretty darn successful in StL (in a Piniero sort of way).
Gary Matthews is obvious …. without growth hormone he just ain’t that good. But, he cheated the system and landed a major contract before all the info came out about his “prescription GH” (or whatever the actual substance was that he – and others – wer ordering from a questionable doctor).
Comment by CircleChange11 — June 2, 2010 @ 12:53 am
StL was able to get some value out of him last year, while BOS paid for it.
Comment by CircleChange11 — June 2, 2010 @ 12:55 am
Aramis has been the staple in the Cub’s lineup. He been very consistent.
Last year the team was lost (especially DLee) when he was out for a large portion of games. When he returned, the Cub’s offense picked back up (again, especially DLee).
Clearly Aramis’s injuries from last year have not gone away. But, to look at his contract, you have to look at TOTAL WAR over the length of the deal, and not just 1-2 injury seasons. It’s not like the Cubs could have signed Ramirez to consecutive, multiple 1-year deals. It doesn’t work that way.
What you’ve shown is that over 5.5 seasons, Ramirez provided 26 WAR, and that in 2010 he’s hurt. My guess would be that he’s still provided the expected WAR (plus some) for the money over the length of the contract.
For example, Joe Nathan is not a parasite even though he’s contributing zero WAR this year, while getting paid.
Comment by CircleChange11 — June 2, 2010 @ 1:01 am
I thought that was called “insurance”? *grin*
Comment by CircleChange11 — June 2, 2010 @ 1:02 am
K-rods contract will be up here once that 4th year vests. 17 million to a closer thats falling off a cliff.
It was the numbers geeks that first pushed the idea a starting pitcher slightly better than replacement was worth millions. They have only recently backed down off this absurd notion. But look at what they wrote.
Pitchers as “good as” league average were worth $5-$10 million.