Payroll Amounts for Players on the DL in 2010

Teams lose players to the disabled list every year, but which teams had the most money tied up with these injured players in 2010? The following list ranks the teams that had the most dollars spent on players on the disabled list and the percentage of total payroll allocated to these days lost:

A couple of surprises are near the top of the list with two small-market teams, Minnesota and Oakland, being ranked #3 and #4. Most of Minnesota’s loss of salary was due to losing Joe Nathan for the season and Justin Morneau for a major part of the season. Ben Sheets and Eric Chavez were the two players that cost Oakland the most money.

Looking at the other end of the list, three teams that made the postseason (Texas, Tampa Bay and Cincinnati) and one that almost did (San Diego) had the fifth- and eighth-lowest totals. These teams were able to keep more of their talented players on the field to make a run at the playoffs.

Besides looking at the individual teams, here are the overall league trends since 2002:

The amount of dollars lost to players on the DL in 2010 ($363 million) was about $90 million les than in 2008 ($452 million) and 2009 ($456 million). It was the lowest percentage (13.6%) compared to any of the other nine years for which data exists. There could be several causes for this decrease, like a younger player pool, better training or just random luck, but don’t tell that to the teams that struggled with injuries throughout this past season.

Salary data:
2002-2009 injury information: Josh Hermsmeyer’s Injury database
2010 injury information: My 2010 injury dataset.

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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first season in Tout Wars, he won the H2H league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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