Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Darren Dreifort has reportedly retiredSurprise!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.
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?
Please note that it clearly took me at least 17 minutes to write my post in 5 that duplicated your observation!
DD cost 2.15 times as much as the next worst guy, Park. Ugh.
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
... 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
...this implies either a couple of contracts with minimal production or some sort of medium-large mistake.
Over $30M but under $100M
...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.
...monster 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).
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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