Ask Gary: Another look at overspending in baseball

by Gary Shelton on May 4, 2019 · 4 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

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Saturday, 3 a.m.

There are 17 MLB starting pitchers who currently have $100 million or greater contracts. As of 5/2/2019 the season is not quite 1/5 of the way (average of 31 games played per team).

This elite group is on pace to have these results at years end:

— 9.6 wins  /10.5 losses / 172 ip / 3.89 ERA

The average salary for 2019 of this elite group is $25.2 million.

Is this predicted performance level good value?

Scott Myers

Value? Could you please define it so most major league owners will know the meaning of the word?

Once again, Scott, you amaze me with the way you break down contracts. Conceptually, we all realize that the best years of a player’s career come before the big money, but owners cannot help themselves. They keep throwing millions out into the street. Why? Because their rivals are throwing millions out in the street.

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Remember how teams kept throwing money at Manny Machado and Bryce Harper in the off-season. Well, as of Friday, Machado was hitting .235 and Harper was hitting .231. Harper’s team was 18-13, Machado’s was 18-14. Is that value?

Pitchers are even more puzzling. They sit out 80 percent of their teams’ starts. But most of them sputter and spew in an effort to chase their younger days. I’ve used this before, but since he left the Rays, David Price has made $140,975,000 million dollars. He’s still got $96 million coming for the next three years. And he hasn’t won 20 since he played for the Rays.

I don’t think the MLB owners will ever catch on. They keep overpaying for third-place finishes.

During the NFL draft, I was impressed by the number of Mississippi State players drafted. They were recruited by Dan Mullen. However, I also noticed that a few had red flags in their backgrounds.  Do you worry that Mullen will end up going the Urban Meyer route and signing too many troubled players in order to win?

Jim Willson

I’m not sure anyone will match Meyer’s sleaze. They’d have to think they were remaking The Longest Yard for that.

Seriously, it’s something to keep an eye on, because Mullen did spend a lot of years working for Meyer. The temptation to take a talented-but-flawed athlete is always there.

But if you’re fair, you also have to realize this: To compete at all, a school like Mississippi State has to take some chances on kids. That’s true of a lot of schools. Coaches think they can control kids. They think they can avoid the headlines.

Any football fan of any school these days needs to be on guard. Coaches need to limit how many second chances they give. One or two is worth the risk. But there is always someone like Meyer who just blatantly ignores what kind of trouble a kid might bring to campus.

I saw an article this week that said the Bucs’ Ronald Jones is hoping to restore his confidence. Is that his biggest problem?

Paul Walker

Hardly. Jones’ problem is that he doesn’t do anything particularly well. He doesn’t block well, he isn’t great out of the backfield, and he runs like a free agent from a Division III school.

I saw that story, and it mentioned that Jones was hit behind the line on 13 of his 23 carries. Well, doesn’t that leave 10 carries (almost half of his total) where he wasn’t? What did he do on those attempts? Not much. The guy gained 44 yards all season.

I’m not trying to be rough on the kid. But the Bucs had a need for a breakaway running back last year, and Jones didn’t even mount a challenge. In the last six games he played, Jones had a total of minus one yard rushing. Talk him up all you want. I’ll have to see it.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

BILL MYERS May 4, 2019 at 11:56 pm

I agree wholeheartedly! There must be some fear of a running game to at least keep a defense coach from using the blitz so much.

Reply

Gary Shelton May 5, 2019 at 4:40 pm

A least a suggestion. Right?

Reply

BILL MYERS May 4, 2019 at 8:03 am

Running back is the position the Bucs seem to be ignoring right now. I can not but feel that Arians is too smart to go into his opening season without a strong running game. So far he has not made any position moves that would make us fans even start to get excited.

Reply

Gary Shelton May 4, 2019 at 11:44 am

Running back has been so devalued lately that a lot of coaches think they’re okay with anyone. Every now and again, there is a difference maker like Barkley. But most of them are similar. Very good teams (the Patriots) get by with an average back. The problem is, the Bucs aren’t the Pats. They need a good running game to keep the pressure off of Winston. Right?

Reply

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