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Intestinal Dreifort-itude
2006-02-23 22:07
by Mike Carminati

Darren Dreifort has reportedly retired—Surprise!—after watching his $55 M, five-year contract run out with the Dodgers at the end of last season. And when I say "watch", I mean that Dreifort spent all of 2005 on the disabled list, while garnering $13.4 M yet.

Dreifort hasn't pitched in a game since given up two runs in 1.2 innings in a 4-2 loss to the Marlins on August 16, 2004. The loss ran Dreifort's career totals to 48 wins against 60 losses. Dreifort, a starting pitcher at the beginning of the contract, hasn't started a game since he lost 6-0 to the Rockies on May 28, 2003. He lasted just three innings and gave up nine hits, four walks, six runs, and one home run. It ended his season 52 games into the Dodger schedule.

In total, Dreifort only pitched in three of the five years in his elephantine contract, and in that span he went 8-15 in 86 games only 26 of which were starts, he threw 205.2 innings and had a 4.64 ERA. Basically, the Dodgers paid $55 M for what amounts to one bad year for a starter.

It made me wonder, now that Dreifort's career is apparently in the can (and I won't say what can that is unless I wish to incur the FCC's ire), could Dreifort's be the most expensive career of all time. That is, did he give his team, the Dodgers, the least production for the most pay ever?

I ran the numbers, and well, I'll let them speak for themselves. Just keep in mind that I looked at total salary over a player's career and total career Win Shares. A player had to make at least one million dollars over his career and collect at least one Win Share. Here are the top 25, or rather bottom 25, in terms of dollars per Win Share:

Player Career $ Career WS$ per WS
Darren Dreifort $ 63,882,000 39 $1,638,000
Robinson Checo $ 1,225,000 1 $1,225,000
Chan Ho Park $ 66,251,803 87 $ 761,515
Jose Contreras $ 22,500,000 30 $ 750,000
Matt Mantei $ 27,029,999 37 $ 730,541
Kevin Jarvis $ 9,471,000 13 $ 728,538
Hideki Irabu $ 15,550,000 24 $ 647,917
Kazuo Matsui $ 12,066,666 19 $ 635,088
Sterling Hitchcock $ 30,567,719 50 $ 611,354
Colby Lewis $ 1,179,500 2 $ 589,750
Eddie Oropesa $ 1,150,000 2 $ 575,000
Mike Hampton $ 77,571,543 135 $ 574,604
Kazuhiro Sasaki $ 21,736,667 38 $ 572,018
Kevin Brown $ 130,890,502 241 $ 543,114
Raul Chavez $ 1,084,000 2 $ 542,000
Kazuhisa Ishii $ 10,025,000 19 $ 527,632
Andy Ashby $ 44,214,000 85 $ 520,165
Steve Karsay $ 25,923,000 51 $ 508,294
Mo Vaughn $ 100,405,001 200 $ 502,025
Aaron Sele $ 49,672,501 104 $ 477,620
Carlos Perez $ 17,483,999 37 $ 472,541
Wilson Alvarez $ 48,932,500 105 $ 466,024
Todd Stottlemyre $ 53,558,500 115 $ 465,726
Denny Neagle $ 53,320,000 115 $ 463,652
Kirk Rueter $ 38,321,667 83 $ 461,707

Congratulations to Darren. That's quite a list of characters to lead. And Dreifort did it in dramatic fashion, costing his team $1.6 M per Win Share, over $400 K more than the next worst. It's quite a way to go out.

2006-02-23 22:17:25
1.   Bob Timmermann
I wonder if Kevin Malone has hired Dreifort to work at his new car dealerships.
2006-02-23 23:07:57
2.   Inside Baseball
So sad. Add to the Dreifort Dodger Depression the fact that the Dodgers drafted him #2 right after Seattle selected ARod (who always dreamed of playing for the Dodgers). With all this being said, I can't recall any other player who worked harder to try and get back, over and over again. Just so sad. I think he'd gladly trade much of those millions for a few healthy seasons on the mound.
2006-02-24 09:13:16
3.   Inside Baseball
And 7 of the bottom 25 (Dreifort, Park, Brown, Ishii, Ashby, Perez, and Alvarez) all spent significant time with the Dodgers. Ugh.
2006-02-24 09:29:00
4.   Inside Baseball
And 4 of those in the Dodgers starting rotation in '99 and '00 (Dreif, Park, Brown, and Perez), egads. Ok, I'll stop now.
2006-02-24 09:30:16
5.   Johnson
What seems most remarkable to me is that 22 of these 25 players are pitchers. Clearly, salary scale and win share production for pitchers and hitters are not in line. Whether pitchers are overpaid in terms of production or undervalued in terms of win shares is not for me to say.

Second, 8 of the 22 pitchers on this list have played for the Dodgers (9 if you count Sele as a NRI this year), and the Dodgers are basically solely responsible for the contracts that put at least four of these pitchers on the list: Dreifort, Brown, Ishii and Perez (they dodged a bullet with Park signing his big deal in Texas). Looks like the Yankees are clearly responsible for two, both foreign major-league-ready players (Contreras and Irabu), the Rockies are responsible for Hampton and Neagle, and the Padres might have been largely responsible for Hitchcock and Ashby (though I'm not sure where they made their big money). With Mantei in Arizona and Rueter in S.F., are 8 of the 22 pitchers on this list the fault of the NL West?

2006-02-24 09:33:35
6.   Johnson
3 - Robinson Checo threw 43% of his career innings for the Dodgers, as well.

Please note that it clearly took me at least 17 minutes to write my post in 5 that duplicated your observation!

2006-02-24 11:45:05
7.   rbj
To see even further just how bad DD's career was, throw out Checo who cost "only" $1.225 mil total, less than what the Yankees signed Brien Taylor for.
DD cost 2.15 times as much as the next worst guy, Park. Ugh.
2006-02-24 14:41:19
8.   Inside Baseball
6 - Man, I didn't even remember Checo's 15 and two-thirds innings for the Dodgers in 1999. That's got to be record...5 of the esteemed 25 on one team at the same time. Just another notch on Kevin Malone's spurs.
2006-02-24 16:03:16
9.   scareduck
Where did Todd Hundley rank? That was another lousy late-90's Dodgers contract that bombed utterly.
2006-02-27 10:55:14
10.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
Besides noticing how many of those guys were Dodger pitchers gone-wrong, and besides the emotional tie in rooting for Driefort, as a prospect with great stuff whose body failed him (though not his resolve)...

I looked at how the Career Salary figures were so varied. Kevin Brown stuck out in particular, as those who paid for him early in his career probably got a bargain and those late got robbed. So I looked at a histogram and broke them into four groups:

- Under $11M
- Over $11M but under $30M
- Over $30M but under $100M
- Over $100M

Under $11M:
1. Checo
2. Jarvis
3. Lewis
... I think teams are likely to make these mistakes in the low millions from time to time. Heck, with Boras negotiating big signing bonuses, the new Bonus Baby phenomenon might pad this list of contract inefficiency, especially in the ~$1-2M area. Jarvis is the exception here, with nearly $9M wasted.

Over $11M but under $30M
1. Contreras
2. Mantei
3. Irabu
...this implies either a couple of contracts with minimal production or some sort of medium-large mistake.

Over $30M but under $100M
1. Dreifort
2. Park
3. Hitchcock
...this category says BIG BIG MISTAKE. These are either following a good contract with a bad one, or just one big, fat contract that doesn't provide you with anything but a rallying point for fans to ask the GM to be fired.

Over $100M
1. Brown
2. Vaughn contracts, monster risk. In these cases, Brown and Vaughn probably showed some sense that you'd get a lot out of them (if not what you paid, but you'd get something).

2006-02-27 18:21:02
11.   das411
And Brown did have a couple of quality years under that huge contract, he just got old very quickly like most pitchers past 30 or so tend to do.
2006-08-04 14:30:38
12.   cheesewhiz
Everytime I think about Dreifort, I snicker at the Dodgers.

Let's see, Park, Dreifort, Ishii, Brown, Ashby, Sele all pitched for the Dodgers at one point, though they didn't necessarily get those big contracts from the Dodgers.

The common theme is Scott Boras. He was the agent for Dreifort, Park, Brown, Ashby, etc. Not to mention other high priced players like A-rod, Damon, J.D. Drew and Jeff Weaver. With the exception of maybe Damon, all of the players were/are grossly overpaid, including A-Rod. For some reason I don't see A-Rod single handedly winning 110 games, which would be ~60% more than the Florida Marlins. A good comparison, considering he makes about ~60% more than the entire Florida Marlins team.

And it's no surprise a lot of Boras' clients (Brown, Ashby, Park, Dreifort, Drew, Weaver, etc.) end up in L.A. He basically owns the management there. Oh and he represents Lowe, Beltre(former Dodger), Maddux and Gagne (the new Dreifort), all Dodgers. You'd think they would get a clue after the string of high priced Boras busts. A lot of other teams refuse to even consider a player if he is represented by Boras.

Basically, if your getting a Boras client, your getting a lot of promise and overpaying. Mostly your going to get a lot of unfulfilled promise/brittle players (Weaver, Drew, Gagne, Dreifort, Prior, Oliver Perez, Travis Lee, etc.)

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