Yesterday, as I was perusing the internet, I came across an article from Grantland titled “Baseball’s Worst Contracts” with the subtitle of, “Look away, Angels, Dodgers, and Yankees fans. You won’t like what you see here.”
Naturally, as a Dodger fan I was both unsurprised and intrigued.
As any Dodger fan could tell you, there are some large contracts throughout the roster — some of which are deserved (Kershaw, Greinke, etc.), but many of which were inherited in the quest to become great quickly.
After reading the article completely, however, I had a few different thoughts: first, I was shocked at who Jonah Keri had identified as having the worst contract on the team; secondly, I wasn’t sure how I’m supposed to feel about my team having so many bad contracts; and thirdly, I guess it’s a good thing we don’t have anyone in the top seven?
For starters, let’s look at who made the list for the Dodgers (in no particular order): Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, Brandon League and Andre Ethier. To be fair, two of the six made the “dishonorable mention” list, meaning LA has four of the 15 worst contracts and six of the 22 worst contracts according to Keri.
So take a second and think, which of these guys do you think has the worst contract on the team:
Crawford — 4 years, $82.5 million remaining
Gonzalez — 5 years, $106 million remaining
Billingsley — 1 year, $15 million remaining
Beckett — 1 year, $15.75 million remaining
League — 2 years, $17 million remaining
Ethier — 4 years, $71.5 million remaining
The answer according to Keri?
Now, before you think too hard about it, I want to clarify that I completely disagree with that ranking. For starters, when healthy, Billingsley has been fairly productive. Now, obviously, coming off Tommy John surgery that hasn’t been often (and he won’t be to begin the season), but I’d rather pay Billingsley that amount than take the contract of League or Crawford.
For me, I think League has the worst contract, followed by Crawford (not that he isn’t good, but he won’t be worth half of the $82 million he’ll get paid between the ages of 32 and 36), Beckett (no productivity is better than bad productivity), Billingsley, Gonzalez (he’s still productive, but not $20 million-a-year-until-he’s-36 productive) and then Ethier.
According to Keri’s rankings, Beckett and Ethier are on the “dishonorable mention” list, followed by Gonzalez (#15), League (#10), Crawford (#9) and Billingsley (#8). To each their own, I suppose.
But all of this brings us to the second thought: should we, as Dodger fans, even care?
The Dodgers are the favorite to win the World Series this season and a few of the guys on this list, although overpaid, should figure prominently in that quest.
For me, the answer is simple: who cares?
Can the Dodgers afford it? Absolutely.
Are some of these guys still going to be productive despite the fact that they’re incredibly overpaid? Definitely.
Are some of these guys going to suck while being incredibly overpaid? Definitely. (Looking at you Mr. League).
In the end, this is a fun article to read, a fun idea to talk about and debate, but ultimately, for Dodger fans it’s nothing to sweat about.
ICYMI: Here’s our Dodgers Nation Week In Review Video