Athletes sign million dollar contracts every year and some are so grossly over compensated that it defies logic. Here are few players who are a good example of that:
Adam Dunn, a slugger who’s best years are behind him will earn $12 million this season from the White Sox.
Barry Zito, a former marquee starter with Oakland who turned his success there to a seven-year, $126 million contract that proved to be a terrible investment for the Giants.
Signing a big-time free agent to a team is really a crapshoot. Most players don’t get a crack at free agency until they are around 30-years-old. Every now and then, a team signs a guy that performs at a high level well into his 30s. However, more often than not, the player starts his inevitable fall from grace and the team gets saddled.
We’ve identified the fifteen most overpaid baseball players for the first half of the 2011 baseball season. We divided half of their yearly salaries by their VORP (Value Over Replacement Player). VORP measures how much a player contributes to their team. An average player’s VORP half a season of baseball is around 10. The league leader in VORP this season is Toronto’s Jose Bautista with 60.1
2011 Salary: $20,000,000
Value Over Replacement (VORP): 16.1
Statline: .257 BA, 18 HR, 72 RBI, .353 OBP, .828 OPS
Ryan Howard has been paid $621,118 for every point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
Numbers do not lie. Howard currently leads the National League in RBIs, but he hasn't hit a respectable batting average in two full seasons, his VORP is pretty much average, his on-base percentage is very low for someone with so much power, and he's never been a good fielder. Despite all that, Howard is the property of the Phillies until 2016, and they owe him $135 million dollars over that time.
2011 Salary: $10,571,429
Statline: .215 BA, 10 HR, 31 RBI, .319 OBP, .681 OPS
Jayson Werth has been paid $669,077 for each point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
When the Nationals signed Jayson Werth (who has never had a season with more than 100 RBI) to a seven-year, $126 million contract, practically everyone with knowledge of the situation stopped whatever it was they were working on and went outside to reflect on their life choices.
2011 Salary: $14,729,365
Statline: .270 BA, 3 HR, 24 RBI, .330 OBP, .683 OPS
Derek Jeter has been paid $751,498 for every point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
Here's a necessary reminder: Jeter doesn't go 5-for-5 with a home run every single day. The Yankee's captain makes this much money because of what he means to the team and what he has done in the past, not the present.
2011 Salary: $19,000,000
Statline: .268 BA, 7 HR, 48 RBI, .316 OBP, .741 OPS
Carlos Lee has been paid $818,965 for every point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
Lee was one of the game's most underrated sluggers for a very long time, but all good things must come to an end. The woeful Astros have received little help from Carlos Lee in 2011, especially in the financial department.
2011 Salary: $9,871,539
Statline: .269 BA, 1 HR, 23 RBI, .330 OBP, 13 for 23 in stolen base attempts
Juan Pierre has been paid $850,9994 for each point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
Juan Pierre hasn't been a good baseball player since 2004, but he has been paid like one ever since the Dodgers overpaid him in 2007. Even though Pierre now plays for the White Sox, the Dodgers still pay his salary.
2011 Salary: $12,166,667
Statline: .241 BA, 12 HR, 47 RBI, .287 OBP, .703 OPS
Raul Ibanez has been paid $1,013,888 for every point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
Ibanez's OPS this season is more than a hundred points below his career average. His defence is just as bad as it has ever been.
2011 Salary: $19,000,000
Statline: .265 BA, 14 HR, 41 RBI, .309 OBP, .786 OPS
Alfonso Soriano has been paid $1,202,531 for every point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
Say what you want about billy goats, but the biggest curse a team can have is the burden of a huge contract that's going to a bad player. The Cubs really regret this one.
2011 Salary: $16,000,000
Statline: 4-3, 5.27 ERA, 1.244 WHIP, 9.1 hits given up per 9 innings of work
Jake Peavy has been paid $1,290,322 for every point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
Who knows where Peavy's career would have ended up if he didn't have all that arm trouble back in San Diego. Unfortunately, we'll never know, and the former young ace is just an expensive shadow of himself.
2011 Salary: $13,600,000
Statline: .242 BA, 2 HR, 17 RBI, .295 OBP, .642 OPS
Aaron Rowand has been paid $1,581,395 for every point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
2011 Salary: $15,950,000
Statline: 6-8, 6.84 ERA, 1.544 WHIP, Leads Majors with 11 hit batsmen
John Lackey has been paid $2,215,277 for every point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
The John Lackey signing is unequivocally the worst contract put together by the Red Sox during the Theo Epstein era. Lackey is being paid like a frontline starter, but practically any AAA pitcher in the Sox farm system can perform just as well, if not better than Lackey has.
2011 Salary: $26,642,857
Statline: .222 BA, 13 HR, 34 RBI, .248 OBP, .657 OPS
Vernon Wells has been paid $2,718,658 for every point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
That salary is not a typo. Vernon Wells actually makes nearly $27 million a year. Alex Rodriguez makes only six million more than him a season. Vernon Wells makes more money a season than Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and pretty much everyone else in the Majors. The difference between Wells and all of those other players is that the other players are good at baseball.
2011 Salary: $18,500,000
Statline: 3-1, 3.18 ERA, 1.088 WHIP, 1.42 strikeout-to-walk ratio
Barry Zito has been paid $3,083,333 for every decimal point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
Don't let the old-fashioned stats fool you; Zito is having a bad year once again. In fact, if you go by sabermetrics, Zito is currently having the second worst season of his career. This may also be because he missed two months of the season already, but small sample size aside, Zito's tenure in San Francisco has been pretty mediocre.
2011 Salary: $18,125,000
Statline: .237 BA, 6 HR, 28 RBI, .320 OBP, .656 OPS
Jason Bay has been paid $3,356,481 for every point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
Mets fans are constantly re-familiarized with the haunting memories of Omar Minyana every single time Jason Bay steps up to the plate. Ever since leaving Boston as a free agent, Bay has been a perpetual disappointment.
2011 Salary: $23,000,000
Statline: .243 BA, 0 HR, 9 RBI, .303 OBP, .592 OPS
Joe Mauer has been paid $5,750,000 for every negative decimal point of VORP he's earned so far this season.
Mauer was battling a virus for most of the first half of the season, and it's possible he could turn this abysmal season around, but consider this: Mauer has played 140 games or more a season only twice in his career. He is often injured, and his power hasn't developed like scouts thought that it would. Mauer's swing is one of the best in the game, and he has an excellent glove, but he can't seem to keep it all together and he can't stay healthy. Odds are that the eight-year, $184 million dollar deal that he signed will limit what the Twins can do for many seasons to come.
2011 Salary: $12,000,000
Statline: .160 BA, 9 HR, 34 RBI, .292 OBP, .597 .OPS
Adam Dunn has been paid $458,015 for every point of negative VORP he's earned so far this season.
We can't expect Dunn to perform this poorly for the rest of the season, but even with a big second half, Dunn's contract will likely be a bust.
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