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Dead Money

Every season some teams spend money on players that are going to be on other team’s rosters. For example, according to Cots Contracts, the Red Sox will be paying $9.25M for Julio Lugo to play for the Cardinals. I thought it would be interesting to see which teams had the most “dead money” on the books for 2010. The list, sorted by % of payroll devoted to “dead money” is as follows (all data from Cots)

Team           Dead Money       % of Payroll
Blue Jays      $16M                23%
Dodgers        $16.6M              16%
Angels         $16.1M              14%
Rangers        $6.8M               10%
Brewers        $8.5M               10%

The rest of the list can be found here.

Outside of the Blue Jays, the teams at the top of the list all expect to be in their respective pennant races for a large portion of the season (and the various projection systems expect it too). However, I will also point out that, at least according to those same projections, the Angels, Dodgers, and Brewers appear to be chasing the leaders by a couple of wins in their divisions and this extra money could help close or erase that gap.

The fact that the dead money leaders are going to be in the mix is not entirely surprising as “dead money” is an indictment of past contractual transgressions and does not necessarily reflect on the current management (see Mariners and Yuniesky Betancourt). Also, one years worth of information is hardly enough to draw conclusions from no matter how the teams fell out on the list, but I still found the list interesting.