Which Overpaid Veterans Could Be Released?

The Diamondbacks released Eric Byrnes, owed $11MM, in January of this year.  In March of 2009, the Giants released outfielder Dave Roberts and ate $6.5MM in salary.  Soon after, the Tigers cut Gary Sheffield despite $14MM left on his contract.  In '08, the Orioles cut Jay Gibbons and assumed his remaining $11.9MM.  That same month, the Astros released pitcher Woody Williams despite his $6.5MM commitment.  Which well-paid veterans might be on the chopping block for 2010?  My entirely speculative list follows.

  • Eric Chavez, Athletics: one year, $15MM.  Even as a utility man, Chavez is a tough fit on an A's roster that includes an out of options Jake Fox.  Chavez retiring might make this situation easier on everyone. 
  • Jeff Suppan, Brewers: one year, $14.5MM.  For the first time in his Brewers career, Suppan is battling for a rotation spot.
  • Carlos Silva, Cubs: two years, $25MM.  Though the Cubs are only on the hook for $16MM of Silva's contract, it still may make sense to cut him if he shows nothing in Spring Training. 
  • Jose Guillen, Royals: one year, $12MM.  Coming off ankle and back surgery, Guillen is slated to be the Royals' full-time DH.  CHONE projects him to hit just .254/.309/.398 in 2010.
  • Dontrelle Willis, Tigers: one year, $12MM.  Willis is in good spirits as he tries to return from anxiety and command issues and earn a rotation spot.


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54 Comments on "Which Overpaid Veterans Could Be Released?"


5 years 5 months ago

It would be sad to see it end this way for Chavez, but I think it’s best for the team to let him go. I don’t think he’ll retire.

BravesRed
5 years 5 months ago

I rather have a horrible Chavez, then Silva.

5 years 5 months ago

Oh yeah, Silva basically has no value. It would not be sad to see him cut, it would be appropriate.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
5 years 5 months ago

Well… he could make an expensive paperweight.

melonis_rex
5 years 5 months ago

Actually disagree; if he’s healthy, I’d be against his release, since he’s actually good when remotely healthy.

If he’s on the DL, he’s not taking up roster space.

John Gyna
5 years 5 months ago

Wow, Suppan makes THAT much?

5 years 5 months ago

The numbers include 2011 buyouts, so they look a bit bigger than just their ’10 salaries.

AaronAngst
5 years 5 months ago

Yeah… last year of a four year deal signed in, shall we say, a more fruitful economic environment. Still, far and away the worst Free Agent signing of Melvin’s tenure with the Brewers. Had it not been for his NLCS MVP award winning postseason with the Cardinals the prior year, I believe I wouldn’t have to tolerate him today… but the Crew needs to get $12.5 mil worth of garbage innings out of the bullpen from him this year. He won’t get the boot.

pnedwek
5 years 5 months ago

He was signed for the playoff experience and he was a playoff MVP.

I highly doubt that will happen in Milwaukee.

5 years 4 months ago

Still a stupid move then & now. Overpaying a mediocrepitcher for 4 years because of one postseason is ridiculous.

johnsilver
5 years 5 months ago

You could probably add Milton Bradley to that list as well. He is 1 ego trip from a full blown psychotic committal anyway then probably getting blacklisted by the owners from ever getting back into the game.

Other than Bradley, Silva seems to be in trouble, as does Mr. Willis in Detroit. Guillen has always had a good power bat, even with his horrible OBP and if he can overcome those nagging injuries from last year will be able to find a job somewhere at the MLB level, something that Silva and Willis will have a hard time doing.

CrisE
5 years 5 months ago

Bradley can still play, which puts him in a different world from the rest of these guys who really seem done. You can’t dump him for stuff that might happen, especially after his play in 08.

bjsguess
5 years 5 months ago

He came pretty close to being dumped for nothing (which is what Carlos Silva is) already. With Bradley’s meltdowns it’s not a question of if – just when.

5 years 5 months ago

That’s really more a commendation of Jack Z than an indictment of Bradley; even in Chicago he played pretty well (.775 OPS), while Silva is totally worthless. That was a ridiculously one-sided trade.

studio179
5 years 5 months ago

It had everything to do with the Cubs getting rid of Bradley and zero to do with getting Silva in return. The Cubs wanted money from Seattle in the deal and that was more important than Silva. It was Hendry dumping his mistake he made the previous year. When everyone knows your intentions, you get Carlos Silva as a door prize.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

The Cubs made the trade to pick up the 9M. They basically made it cheaper than it would have been to release Bradley outright and to pick up some money for FA’s Byrd and Nady, who effectively replace Bradley in the outfield. It isn’t so one-sided as it appears on the surface. The Cubs wanted to be as rid of Bradley as the Mariners did of Silva. Seattle may yet find out why 7 teams in the last 9 years felt the same way. Think about it…why was it that the only way the Cubs could find a taker for Bradley was to swallow a poison pill like Silva (a guy they don’t even want)? Teams don’t equate Bradley’s value with his OPS or his wOBA or whatever stat makes him look more valuable on paper than he is in person.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

Bradley did not play well. Don’t let that number fool you.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

I disagree. The only way any team was willing to take him was if they were able to release Bradley if need be. Tampa wanted Bradley if the Cubs took Burrell AND paid 15M on top of it. In that scenario, they would have actually have been paid to take Bradley on (picking up 24M between the money and shaving off Burrell’s salary as compared to the 21M owed Bradley) . As for Seattle, they considered Silva a sunk cost, making Bradley’s net cost to them at 3M/yr — a number they felt comfortable with losing should they need to cut ties. No team was going to take Bradley without severly cutting the financial risk should they have to let him go. Seattle may be more patient with Bradley than the Cubs and the Chicago media were, but even they will have their limits. If Bradley’s antics begin to outweigh the numbers he puts up, I don’t think Jack Z will hesitate to release him at such a relatively low financial hit.

CrisE
5 years 5 months ago

Bradley can play, and he’ll be on the field. Any vulnerability he has is due to off-field possibilities. Silva and Willis and Chavez and the rest can’t play and there’s no behavior on or off the field that’ll get them in the game (short of embarrassment over the money due them, I suppose.)

That’s the real difference. As long as he behaves Seattle gets benefit from Bradley, whereas there’s nothing Silva can do for the Cubs that doesn’t involve kidney transplantation.

We’re not addressing the same thing. The original premise was that some guys should be cut because they’re done. Bradley is still valuable. He may diminish his value in the future, but he can play and shouldn’t be discarded yet.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

The original comment I responded to was that you “can’t dump him (Bradley)”. My response was that you certainly can and, yes, it would likely be for his behavior. That is why teams would only take him with the condition that they could drastically cut the financial risk — which Seattle did. It wasn’t about who can play and who can’t. Nobody ever said Bradley can’t play. He just can’t play nice with others.

As for Silva, that’s already been addressed by many different posts. The deal was never about acquiring Silva. It was about saving 9M for 2010. The Cubs picked up two outfielders, Byrd and Nady, for that money. There’s a good chance that Silva gets released, but the Cubs used the money gained from the deal to buy replacements for Bradley–something they couldn’t have done budget-wise if they would have just released him. So you see, Silva already did something that benefits the Cubs. He was so awful in Seattle that they were willing to send 9M to the Cubs. If by some miracle he does something useful on the mound, that would simply be gravy.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

That was a terrible deal for Seattle, especially in a year where it looks like they’re trying to put together a nice little squad. They’ll rue making that trade.

5 years 4 months ago

You can’t even assume he’ll be on the field. He’s never played a full season. Played over 127 games once. For what he gives you he’s not worth the headache.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

It would be very un-Cub like to cut Silva & eat all that money, especially w/ the Ricketts being more or less out of money as it is.

leviticus6688
5 years 5 months ago

We could add a couple more Tigers to this list: Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson. Both could return to their former selves though. At least Dombrowksi prays that’s the case.

rottengazebo
5 years 5 months ago

No way in hell Bonderman is released. He will be the 4th starter. Robertson and Willis should both be released.

studio179
5 years 5 months ago

The Cubs should not waste much time with Silva. It’s not a shocking developement that he reporterted to camp out of shape. Sure, give him a chance in spring just to feel like you are being fair. If he pitches like we know he will pitch, then cut the roster spot. I have no doubt one of the younger arms can step in and outperform Silva. The question is would Ricketts eat that much of Silva’s (Bradley’s) money. My biggest fear is not if Silva pitches outright horrible. My biggest fear is Silva is able to be juuuuust good enough for the Cubs to question his release and hold on to him.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

Agreed. The Cubs have already indicated that they prefer that Samardzija win that 5th spot. That would leave Silva as a guy making 7.5 M/yr to mop up. Since the Cubs can replace his role with a minimum salaried player who will likely outperform him, it seems like it would be a no-brainer to just release him. The cost is high whether they release him or keep him on for garbage innings. But I share your fears on this one…if he somehow pulls off a decent spring, that would make the Cubs think twice.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

It’s doubtful at best that the ownership would eat his money just to make him go away, especially considering this isn’t a playoff season for the club. If he’s on the roster & does badly while getting paid or off the roster doing nothing while getting paid, they still aren’t making the playoffs so may as well get some usage out of the dollars no matter how minimal the contribution.

pmc765
5 years 5 months ago

Solid selections all…hard to picture any MLB team picking any of these gentlemen up for the league minimum.

TytheSportsGuy
5 years 5 months ago

Eric Chavez seems like a perfect fit with the Cardinals. He’s a great fielder and is insurance for Freese at 3rd. Get it done Mo!

cookmeister
5 years 5 months ago

the cards have too many options at 3rd and 2nd. They just signed Lopez for insurance on Freese and Skip, so idon’t see that happening

TytheSportsGuy
5 years 5 months ago

I can see it happening. The Cards have a very weak bench as is and this would bolster it greatly. I mean Skip is their 4th OF and they have Lopez and Lugo to choose from as well. I would rather have Chavez than Craig IMO.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

Why would the Cardinals bring in a player who is both exceptionally expensive & gets hurt on a yearly basis?

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

lol…Welease Willis and Wobewtson!

Cubs in STL
5 years 5 months ago

“That’s really more a commendation of Jack Z than an indictment of Bradley; even in Chicago he played pretty well (.775 OPS), while Silva is totally worthless. That was a ridiculously one-sided trade.”

That post is completely uneducated. Cubs fans (and Hendry) were ecstatic to get the kind of money they did from that trade. Hendry is still an idiot for the Bradley mistake regardless, but this trade, from the position he was in, was a win for the Cubbies if you factor in the corner he had put himself into.

studio179
5 years 5 months ago

I agree. I am still a bit suprised Hendry got that money from Seattle. Tampa was not going to bite and wanted the Cubs to pay them! While they would have received a less useless player in Burrell over Silva, the Cubs were not intent on Silva. It was the money coming back. Granted, Hendry makes mistakes. But he is not that dumb to think Silva is a good return on his Bradley mistake player for player. Sure, Seattle dumped their mistake for a player who will do better than last year. Too many people think the Bradley deal was about the player the Cubs received. We know different.

5 years 5 months ago

David Ortiz seems to be a candidate to me if he gets off to a slow start. Ditto for Mike Lowell.

rockiesfan_303
5 years 5 months ago

I really don’t know if any of these guys get released, except for Silva. Brewers will use Suppan to eat innings, and I know Brewers fans, he isn’t the greatest if he is eating innings poorly, but he has experience and he could keep the Brewers pen healthy. It probably really depends more on the auditions that Manny Parra and Dave Bush give than anything. If they do release Supp, I assume he will find work quickly. Maybe with his old coaching in St Louis or perhaps NYM, LA or any other teams looking for a final starter.
If Chavez wants to stay for a victory lap, I can see the A’s wanting to give him one more shot he has something left, because he has been there for so long.
Silva, could earn a starting spot, but if he doesnt there probably isnt much of a reason to keep him on in a bullpen role they could give to someone younger. I guess same logic applies to a rotation spot. I dont see the Royals releasing Guillen just because they need offense and bad, and I am unsure if Ankiel and Podsy are legitimate as outfield starting options.
Willis, wow what a mystery, but I think Detroit gives him a season long shot one last time. Can you imagine if he returned to form? Verlander/Porcello/Willis/Scherzer/Bonderman or Robertson or Galaragga. Could be way better than the ChiSox or Twins rotations and maybe even compete with the NL East teams. Maybe.
But

Lidocaine
5 years 5 months ago

Brewers should trade Jeff Suppan to Detroit for Dontrelle Willis straight up.

whitesoxfan424
5 years 5 months ago

If a team releases a player, they gain the ability to add another person to their 25-man MLB roster, as well as a player to their 40-man roster. Also if they release him, they are still required to pay out the remainder of his contract minus any amount another team may sign him for. Is this correct? And if so, what other advantages does releasing a player give? If a player has milestones in his contract, the MLBPA will be all over the team for not allowing him to reach those milestones, creating a nightmare for the team. Besides that, why not keep him if you have no one in the wings or on the bench to take their space? I understand if the player is terribly defensive, you’ll want him out of there immediately.

5 years 5 months ago

Travis Hafner might be a candidate, if he wasn’t owed nearly $35 million through 2012. That’s a whopper of a bad contract for a faded DH who has a hard time staying healthy.

proof2006
5 years 5 months ago

Maybe not as overpaid, but I’d like to see Moyer realeased. We lose $6.5M, but he is just wasting a roster spot. He was totally ineffective last year and has been plauged by injuries last season and all winter.

daveineg
5 years 5 months ago

The Brewers bullpen is deep enough that it doesn’t need innings from a guy like Suppan. My guess is he starts the season in the rotation with either Parra or Bush in the pen. They’ll give him 7-8 starts and if his ERA is over say 5.25, then they’ll cut him loose.

Suppan has had stretches as a Brewer where he’s been serviceable. It’s when he’s bad, he’s really quite bad. He gets one more shot, but he’s on a very short leash.

bucs_lose_again
5 years 5 months ago

Even though his contract is no where near as bad as these guys, I’d love to see Ramon Vazquez released. He’s pretty expensive in Bucco language.

baycommuter
5 years 5 months ago

The Cubs should make like the Lone Ranger and say “heigh-ho, Silva!” The A’s-Chavez situation is difficult, he would have the streak for the most consecutive seasons with the Oakland A’s if he makes the team (Rickey’s years were split up). He looked awkward at first today, according to Susan Slusser, and there’s no room at third. Ideally, they’ll cut him, reach a financial deal and he’d stay on as roving fielding instructor.

baycommuter
5 years 5 months ago

Bradley can be a positive influence for a team for a maximum of one year (Oakland 2006, Texas 2008). Seattle’s hoping he might be like Brett Saberhagen in reverse, only good to have in even years.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

Or Javy Vazquez.

johnsilver
5 years 5 months ago

Brett Saberhagen towards the end of his career was a physical wreck for sure and was a every other year kind of guy. Bradley on the other hand is a mental and physical wreck and any team that wants to take him on has to deal with both aspects of his problems, both of a physical nature and the demons in his own head, whether real or of his own making.

I for one, really can’t see him even at the MLB level after his current contract expires, he just has to many problems that far out weigh anything that he can possibly contribute on the filed.

Another Curt Flood/Dick Allen type, only this guy REALLY did it to himself.

bannister19
5 years 5 months ago

Reports are Jose Gullien is in very good shape, has great bat speed and so on. He’s had a solid spring.

We’ll see. If he doesn’t do good and he is released, he makes things a lot easier for us.

5 years 5 months ago

Yeah, I guess it doesn’t matter if you pay him to not play or pay him to not play while on the 60 day DL. Chavez makes me miss the promising A’s teams of the early 00s. I hope he can turn it around, I just don’t really see it anymore.

TommyBrookensIsMyTiger
5 years 5 months ago

They can only recoup some salary through insurance if he stays on the roster but cannot play because of injury. In the case of a guy just forgetting how to pitch, you’re just out of luck. Best case scenario is that he somehow remembers his stuff. He’s a great guy, just gone the way of too many promising players who lost it for no discernible reason.

5 years 5 months ago

He was on his way down even before the supose inury And on top of that he made the switch from NL to AL. Tigers are morons for thinking that would work out never mind giving him 40 mil. MORONS!

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

Retire works just fine.

5 years 5 months ago

Of course Zito’s contract is better, at least he produces something. Overpaying long term for mediocrity is preferable to shorter term wothlessness.