Oct 18, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (13) stands in the infield during batting practice before game four of the 2012 ALCS against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

MLB: The Starting Lineup of Overpaid Players


Saying a baseball player is overpaid is like saying the ocean is wet; you can make a case that every player on every team is overpaid. Still most fans can say that a guy Mike Cain is earning his money a lot more than A-Rod. I’ve seen tons of lists saying the same nine or ten guys over and over again so I decided to look at it from a slightly different point of view; who are in the starting lineup of overrated, overpaid players. This is anti-money ball; this is the worst good team money can buy…

Catcher-

Sept. 18, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann (16) connects for a two-run RBI double during the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Brian McCann

Salary- $8.5 Million

2012 Stats: .230 AVG, 44 RS, 20 HRS, 67 RBI

From 2006 to 2011 Brian McCann was one of the best catchers in all of baseball. In his first full season he batted .333, with 24 homers and 93 RBI’s. Unfortunately for McCann and really baseball fans, injuries have started to take their toll and for three years in a row McCann’s games played in have dropped. His power doesn’t yet seem to be affected, he still hit 20 homers last season, but his average has plummeted. He went from being a guy who would bat around .270-.280 with the occasional .300 season to hitting a measly .230 last season. He went from a guy who was a fan favorite to a pariah, and now his 8.5 million looks like it could have been better served on a different backstop.

First Base-

Mark Teixeira

Salary- $22.5 Million

2012 Stats: .251 AVG, 66 RS, 24 HRS, 84 RBI

First base seems to attract overpaid players like Moth’s to a flame. The list of guys I could have picked from ran deep and up until my final draft of this piece I had Ryan Howard’s name penciled in but the news that Teixeira has a 30% chance to miss the entire season pushed him in front of the Phillies slugger. Teixeira was supposed to be the closest thing a team could get to a five tool player at first when the Yankees signed him. He wasn’t fast but ran the bases well; the only time his average had been below .280 was his rookie season. After finally getting out from under the Jason Giambi contract the Yankees wanted a first baseman that would age like fine wine instead of stale beer. The Teixeira contract has been quite the disaster that the Giambi one was, he did help the Yanks win a championship, however now that he has posted the two lowest averages of his career in back to back seasons and his body is falling apart; once again New York is left with warm beer instead of cold champagne.

Second Base-

Chase Utley

March 14, 2013; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (26) against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Bright House Networks Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Salary- $15 Million

2012 Stats: .256 AVG, 48 RS, 11 HRS, 45 RBI

I think Chase Utley is one of the saddest tales in baseball; he was on track to be a Hall of Fame player, but his hard nose style when he was younger has caught up to him as he’s aged. Picking the most overpaid second baseman was a decision between two former all-stars that have both broken apart, Utley and Brian Roberts. The major difference is Roberts is “only” making 10 million and the Orioles have gotten used to not having him on the field while the Phillies still expect Utley to play 135 games. I don’t know if Utley is still an elite player or not, he played roughly half a season last year and if you double his homers, RBI, and runs scored he would once again look like the Utley of old; but to think he will ever be good again just feels like wishful thinking.

Shortstop-

Rafael Furcal

Salary- $7 Million

2012 Stats: .264 AVG, 69 RS, 5 HRS, 49 RBI, 12 SB

Furcal is going to miss the entire season for the Cardinals, and that news surprises nobody familiar with the fragile shortstop. To be honest I’ve never really seen what the big deal was even with a healthy Furcal. He’s only hit over or at .300 three times, hasn’t hit double digit homers since 2006 and has only 63 stolen bases in the last five years. When I think of Furcal ,the two memories that shine the brightest are him throwing the ball over 6-6 first baseman Richie Sexson in the 2003 All-Star game, and him agreeing to sign with the Atlanta Braves before reneging at the last moment before he re-signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Third Base-

Alex Rodriguez

Salary- $29 Million

2012 Stats: .272 AVG, 74 RS, 18 HRS, 57 RBI

A-Rod might never become the homerun king but there is no doubt that he will always reign supreme as the overpaid king. There is a real chance that A-Rod will not pick up at bat for the New York Yankees this season and many NY fans would love if he never took the field for them again. A-Rod is the most hated player in baseball right now and it’s not even close. He would be overpaid even if he was still hitting 50 homers a year but the fact it that Overpaid-Rod hasn’t hit over 30 homers since 2008 and after this season he will extend his run of hitting less than 20 to three years.

Left Field-

 Carl Crawford

Salary- $19.5 Million

2012 Stats: .282 AVG, 23 RS, 3 HRS, 19 RBI, 5 SB

Crawford is perhaps the biggest free agent bust in the history of the Boston Red Sox. He went from being disliked in New England when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, to being despised once he put on the home town colors. Crawford’s body has fallen apart and for a guy who had almost all of his value tied into his defense and speed he looks like he will never be able to live up to the huge contract the Sox so generously gave to him. Now that Crawford has been traded to an NL team I’m sure that the Dodgers are praying that the NL will finally embrace the DH because otherwise there is no way that Crawford will be anything more than a more injured version of Vernon Wells if he has to take the field every day.

Center Field-

Vernon Wells

Mar 15, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Vernon Wells (10) laughs as fans chant his name during a pitching change in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Salary- $21 Million

2012 Stats: .230 AVG, 36 RS, 11 HRS, 29 RBI

Wells was supposed to have the untradeable contract but he now has been moved twice. Of course the only real reason the Yankees were willing to gobble up Wells is because with the Angels paying his entire salary in 2014, New York will essentially be getting a free player and this will help them get under the soft salary cap. There is no reason for the Yanks to actually play Wells once Curtis Granderson has recovered from his broken arm and he will once again be banished to the bench. Wells cost the Angels over 70 million dollars and in the two they had him he didn’t even match the numbers that Mike Napoli, the man he was traded for, put up in 2010.

Right Field-

Andre Ethier

Salary- $10.95 Million

2012 Stats: .284 AVG, 79 RS, 20 HRS, 89 RBI

Perhaps the most controversial pick on my overpaid, Ethier makes the cut because only in 2009 has he ever performed like a superstar; yet he’s being paid like it’s his usual season. When you remove 2009, Ethier has never hit over 23 homers, or driven in 100 RBI’s. In the last four years his walk total has declined each season, and he’s also struck out over 100 times in that same span. His defense is lacking in right field and he’s never stolen more than 6 bases in a season. Still the most glaring problem with Andre Ethier is that he is helpless against left handed pitching. Ethier is really just a more glorified Nate Schierholtz; to be really effective he needs a right handed complement and if a team is going to pay a guy over 10 million you really want a complete player.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Atlanta Braves Los Angeles Dodgers New York Yankees Philadelphia Phillies St. Louis Cardinals

  • Noah Dougherty

    It’s really interesting in baseball that teams will pay these athletes for what they’ve already done when giving them these monster contracts, not what they expect them to do. Then they end up in horrible deals like these guys you listed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.cooper.5030 Christopher Cooper

      First thanks for reading; I have to wonder why these teams continue to hand out the mega deals when so many of them fail. Just imagine how much the Giants would be regretting a hundred million dollar deal with Tim Lincecum right now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/doughertyjeremy Jeremy Dougherty

    Good list. It is interesting that so much is made about baseball being a business now but we see teams making terrible business decisions. Jeters contract? Arod? Or just any contract for more than 3 years for decling players over 30?? Silly. Jeter is Jeter but most are foolish in the sense of sound business decisions.

    • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.cooper.5030 Christopher Cooper

      Thanks for reading; I couldn’t agree more. For every guy like Jeter who was great under his original mega deal you get ten guys who break down three years in and then the teams are desperate to get out from under these contracts.