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.

We hoped you liked reading Dead Money by Steve Sommer!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Steve's ramblings about baseball can also be found at Beyond the Box Score and Play a Hard Nine or you can follow him on Twitter

newest oldest most voted
redsauce
Guest
redsauce

There looks like a minor discrepancy, at least with the 2010 Red Sox. The chart says 3.35 total is owed in dead money, but the spreadsheet on the 2010 Sox shows something different (.5 for Gonzalez, 9.25 for Lugo, 1M for Wagner, and -7.15 for payments from Milwaukee via Seattle for Bill Hall). This equals 3.6 total, not 3.35. Any idea about the discrepancy or is my math just horribly wrong?
Thanks

Steve Sommer
Guest

I’d have to look. It wouldn’t completely surprise me if I added wrong or missed a contract.

Steve Sommer
Guest

Looks like I got the Lugo number wrong in the body of the article. Cots now lists it at 9M. I’ll correct in the article

Steve Sommer
Guest

Eh it depends on where on Cots you look. Says 9 on the team page, but 9.25 in the spreadsheet version…