The Silliness of Major League Baseball’s Stupidity With Payroll

March 31, 2009


Ed Bagley asked:

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

Richie Sexson of the woeful Seattle Mariners is simply the latest example of the silliness of Major League Baseball’s love affair with high-priced superstars whose production is pathetic.

Pity the Seattle Mariners, whose 37-58 record through Sunday (7-13-08) in the American League West Division was tied for the second worst in the majors, a whopping 20 games BEHIND the league-leading Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim, who are 57-38.

Only the Washington Nationals in the National League East have a worse record at 36-60; they are 16 games behind the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies at 52-44.

The San Diego Padres in the National League West Division match the Mariners 37-58 mark, but the Padres are ONLY 10 games behind the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks, who sport a 47-48 mark (.495 win percentage). The Diamondbacks have nothing to write home to mom about, but the Mariners are even more horrific.

Interim General Manager Lee Pelekoudas had seen enough Sunday when he gave over-priced and under-achieved Richie “The Rich Man” Sexson his walking papers. Seattle released Sexson and will pay the remaining $6,793,000+ due on his contract just to get him out of the clubhouse.

“Richie wasn’t going to play regularly,” said Manager Jim Riggleman, “and I saw his body language on the bench . . . that was reason enough to do this. We can’t have negativity on the club. I think the players would agreeRichie needed a change of scenery.”

Over the past 3.5 years, Sexson had hit 105 home runs and driven in 321 runs. This season Sexson hit the halfway mark batting .218 with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs in 74 games. His departure was prolonged by three weeks when the Mariners canned General Manager Bill Bavasi and Manager John “Johnny Mac” McLaren.

So the Mariners get nothing for Sexson because they could not even give him away to another team with his $15.5 million contract this season. Sexson has already received $8,706,000+ in pay for doing much of nothing, and will now get another $6,793,000+ for doing absolutely nothing. This is what you call a bad hiring decision. Such is the state of big-time contracts in MLB.

Sexson’s lousy 30 RBIs this season have cost the Mariners $290,226 for each and every paltry one.

Will Major League Baseball, team owners and general managers ever learn how stupid this policy is that gives free agents horrendous salaries on the dare that they will produce rather than occupy space and demonstrate a bad attitude?

Whatever happened to the idea of developing the team’s farm system, paying players a whole lot less and giving them more time to prove themselves at the major league level, and then bumping up their salary to keep them on board.

Raul Ibanez is the perfect example. He was picked up by the Mariners in the 36th round of the 1992 amateur draft. The Mariners would bring Ibanez up to the majors, give him a couple of weeks to prove himself and then, unhappy that he did not tear it up, send him back to the minors.

Ibanez spent 8 years in the minor league system and made all of $275,000 his last year before Seattle lost him to the Kansas City Royals, who were willing to pay him $800,000 his first year.

During his second year playing full time in Kansas City, Ibanez hit 24 home runs, drove in 103 runs and batted .294, so Seattle brought him back at a first-year cost of $3.9+ million. In his last 3 full seasons in Seattle, Ibanez hit 74 homers and drove in 317 runs.

Raul Ibanez’ salary for his last 3 years COMBINED was nearly $3 million less ($2,916,666 less) than Richie Sexson’s $15,500,000 salary for THIS YEAR alone. Sexson has been one overpaid, underachieved multi-millionaire with the Mariners.

We can only hope the Mariners’ owners and front office staff have learned something from this experience. Paying players a lot of money does not correlate to winning world championships. If it did, the New York Yankees would win the World Series EVERY year.

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