Fiscal Responsibility - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Sharapova's Thigh

(as of 6/11/09)

In an attempt to understand who is getting paid for what in the world of baseball, I am going to go team by team and discuss their top paid position player for 2009, the top paid pitcher for 2009, and the best and worst deals for each team based on total deals. Please note that for the highest paid players, I will only use their 2009 salary and not take into account the total deals. All salary numbers can be found here.

Top Paid Position Player - Torii Hunter, CF - .313/.392/.576, 12 HR, 43 RBI, 11 SB 37:25 K:BB - 5 YR/80M contract signed before 2008 season. Edit: 6/15 - Torii Hunter had a 3 bomb game since my original writing of this. That's not really the point, I suppose, as I am just trying to write up who is getting paid what. So we continue...

2009 Angels Payroll - 113,709,000

2009 Salary - $17.5M (13% total payroll)

Torii Hunter is an interesting case study. His numbers this year certainly are worth the high price tag. Especially for a team that loses offense from third base with Chone Figgins. Finding pop in centerfield is a great asset for the Angels and allows them to market some of their huge prospects (that seem to never pan out, by the way) to upgrade at the easier to fill corner spots at the deadline.

Hunter is no pup, and his overall deal was met with some skepticism, but so far his 2009 deal is right in line with his numbers. However, if I speculate for a little bit and expect a bit of a falling off for Hunter as the year moves on (his .331 batting average on balls in play is the highest since his year 24 season), then he could be a 17.5 million dollar albatross, but still a member of a team that can obvious afford it.

Highest Paid Pitcher - John Lackey - 3 yr/17.01M signed 4/06 - 2009 Option - 9M (increased to 10 due to 2007 Cy Young voting) 8%
1-1, 5.13 ERA, 26.1 IP, 16K, 6 BB

Lackey started the year on the disabled list and then had his first start cut short after 2 pitches and throwing at Ian Kinsler. That said, the Angels are in the surprising position of getting productivity out of their highest paid position player and pitcher. John Lackey is widely considered to be a number one pitcher, or at the very least a number 2. To get him at a 9 million dollar price is an excellent move for the Angels. It'll be interesting to see what sort of price he will command once this season is up, and if the Angels will be willing (or maybe, able) to match his expectations.

Best Deal - Ervin Santana - 4 yr/ 30 Mill 2009-12 with 2013 club option (13 mill)
Signed in february, buying out arbitration years and beyond.
1-2, 6.75 ERA, 26.2 IP, 18K 11B

Much like Lackey, Santana started the year on the disabled list. He's been pretty awful since coming off, but he's still a two time 16 game winner and only 26 years old. It's this sort of foresight that puts a team in a position to have an ace type pitcher paid at a reasonable price, much like Lackey above.

Worst Deal - Gary Matthews Jr
5 yr/50 mill - 2007-11 Full NTC through this year, may block 4 teams after
.246/.295/.331; 1 HR, 15 RBI, 0 SB, 30:9 K:BB

Oof. This was a head scratcher of a move even when the Angels made the deal. It only got worse once the HGH rumors hit Gary Matthews. Since then, he's been an unmitigated bust that only has one purpose: eating payroll. Lucky for the Angels, they can afford a bust here and there.

And there you have it. I intend to get to every team. I know that it's early in the year so the 2009 stats really don't have as much of a bearing as they will as the year goes on, but the main point of this entire exercise is just to show exactly who is getting paid on each team. I suspect a lot of casual fans will be shocked to find out how much some mediocre players are getting paid and how little some talented players pull in.

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