Injuries To Pitchers Cost The Most Harm To Teams For Financial Flexibility
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Player contracts are sure to hit well over he 4 Billion Dollar mark in 2016. While the war is waged in the trenches of General Managers offices, the MLB will tell you that there is nothing wrong with the current system in baseball in terms of parity.
After all, the Kansas City Royals just won the World Series and they were not a top 10 salaried team. The Mets also not in the top 10, were in the Fall Classic.
Record 9 figured contracts are being doled out like Benjamin Franklin’s are going out of style.
In 2015, $579 MIL worth of cash was paid out to guys on the Disabled List, and Pitchers took 57.7% of the pie in that category. Starters were almost worth $248 MIL – and Relief Pitchers took down the other $86 MIL of that.
$334 MIL worth of payroll is about the sum for 3 average teams. That is a lot of dough spent to guys that only pitch 30 – 34 Starts – or produce just 4 – 70 Innings worth of work in Relief.
As that epidemic continues to rise from year to year, you can bet your bottom dollar – that a massive pitcher, armed with a big pay day, will be on that TJ List. Can you imagine if a Zack Greinke were to go down to a TJ surgery for the D’Backs?
Speaking of Greinke. He accounts for about 30% of the projected salary for the Arizona Diamondbacks budget in 2016.
$579 MIL of $3.9 BIL paid in total cash given to players equals about 15% of the total money allocated.
The point of this little exercise is to show exactly how small market teams can ill afford to have more than that same 15% of their total payroll invested in one Starting Pitcher.
Positional players just aren’t as risky to invest in long-term. Sure you can never predict health to an extent, but these numbers paint a picture for every top brass in the front offices to see.
We have said for years that the best way to build clubs as small markets, is to be really bad for about 5 – 6 years, accumulate a bevy of young Pitchers, and construct your roster around Team Controllable chuckers that way.
It is not just the health of the Pitchers that causes the value of big contracts signed to cripple a club. Performance is harder to duplicate for years upon years from throwers as compared to position players.
Starters or Relievers have smaller windows of being dominant across the league. If you can be at your optimum level for 4 – 6 years, that is considered a lengthy run at it. Guys who don’t pitch would need double that to be considered for the Hall Of Fame.
Statistically speaking, you have to give it up to the Mets, who were the clubhouse leader by far in days on the DL, with 1836 Days missed in covering 24 different players. But at least they only came up 8th in total money given to hurt players – even though they were 411 Days ahead of the next club.
Teams like the San Francisco, Washington and Detroit were really decimated by key personnel at the ‘Meat Wagon’ in 2015.
Detroit was without Justin Verlander for much too long. Miguel Cabrera ate up $5 while on the shelf, and Joe Nathan never got off the mat in 2015 – costing the club $10 MIL to finish the year out with Tommy John Surgery.
The Mariners, D’Backs, Brewers, Astros and White Sox were the healthiest squads in 2015, and only the Astros made the playoffs, so it is not imperative to have your whole Roster healthy, but it certainly still doesn’t hurt your chances.
It simply means smaller market clubs are better off having four guys make $6 MIL a year – rather than pay one guy $24 MIL. This way you can fight off several injuries.
I harken back to the A’s losing both A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker in 2014 in Tommy John Surgeries. The team was not crippled by this because their Pitching Staff only cost the club $25 MIL that year.
Believe it or not, Shortstop was the healthiest position to play in 2015 – with them narrowly edging out the Designated Hitter, although there are double the Shortstops as there are at DH.
Plus a lot of the guys not playing the field are making big coin as established offensive threats. Nick Swisher was 50% of that cash – even though he headed for Atlanta to end the year.
So look for all of the bigger market clubs to continue to hoover the majority of the best Starting Free Agent Pitchers in the near future.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A Big thanks goes out to our chief writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post.
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Posted on December 24, 2015, in MLB Payroll and Contracts, tommy john surgery and tagged 2012 Baseball America's Top Ten Prospects Yu Darvish, 2014 Tommy John Surgeries, A.J. Griffin, adam wainwright, Arizona Diamonbacks, barry zito, billy beane, Disabled List, homer bailey, hunter pence, jarrod parker, jason hammel, jayson werth, jeff samardzija, jon lester, justin verlander, mark Mulder, matt cain, Matt Harrison, nate mclouth, nick swisher, oakland a's, rhp Lance Lynn, rick sutcliffe, ryan zimmerman, Stephen Stasburg, tim hudson, tim lincecum, zack greinke. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.