Dead Money: Paying Players To Play Elsewhere

Eating money in trades or by releasing players is far from an ideal business practice, but sometimes it's a necessary evil. The Mets believe they are better off paying Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo a combined $18MM not to be on their team this year, and released the two just last month. David Wharton of The Los Angeles Times wrote about the concept of "dead money" today, speaking to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, sports economist J.C. Bradbury, and Scott Boras.

With some help from Cot's Baseball Contracts, let's look at the teams that are paying players to be anywhere but on their roster this season…

This doesn't include money the Braves owe Kenshin Kawakami ($7.4MM) or the Yankees owe Kei Igawa ($4MM). Both Japanese imports remain in the organization, but they've since been banished to the minor leagues. It also doesn't include all the money the Mets famously owe Bobby Bonilla for the next two decades.

Yuniesky Betancourt is the only player collecting paychecks from three different big league teams at the moment, but Carlos Silva could join him if he's called up by the Yankees. Gary Matthews Jr. could also be in that mix if he catches on somewhere this summer.

51 Responses to Dead Money: Paying Players To Play Elsewhere Leave a Reply

  1. MaineSox 4 years ago

    Pretty glad to finally not see the Red Sox on a list like this.

    • Aren’t the Red Sox also still paying Manny? In fact, as I recall, payments by both the Dodgers and Red Sox are deferred salary. That’s not quite the same as payments to Oliver Perez and even to players who were traded.

      • MaineSox 4 years ago

        Deferred payments are completely different than cutting a player and paying the remainder of his contract to play for another team. When there are deferred payments it is known in the beginning that they are going to be paying him after he leaves the team. What this is talking about is like when the Sox paid Lugo/Renteria to play for other teams.

  2. twenty1thirteen 4 years ago

    With record unemployment rates, Yuniesky Betancourt collects three paychecks. Something just doesn’t seem right about this one.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      it makes perfect sense when you realize that every team he’s ever played for until now has paid to get rid of him

    • Jeff Weissbuch 4 years ago

      This is sports page not a political page. Yuniesky doesn’t have one damn thing to do with the record unemployment rate.

      • bonestock94 4 years ago

        Wow, who crapped in your cheerios it’s clearly a joke…

      • twenty1thirteen 4 years ago

        Someone doesn’t get the joke.

      • John McFadin 4 years ago

        Sounds like you might be on unemployment.

    • TapDancingTeddy 4 years ago

      YB beats out Gary Matthews, Jr. who can’t get a job in Baseball – but still gets 2 paychecks totaling 12.4MM. I think that’s the highest one-year “dead money” payout.

      • Whole_New_World 4 years ago

        Gary Matthews Jr. is the most amazing career year contract I’ve ever seen. A decade of mediocrity, finally one half-way decent season, $50 million. What????

        What the hell were they putting in the water in 2006?

        • mdv1959 4 years ago

          On the plus side the Wells contract will soon make the Angels forget about how bad the GMJ contract was.

  3. I thought Red Sox were still paying Manny too. I seem to recall something about them owing him deferred payments into the middle of next decade.

  4. Dogo Hess 4 years ago

    i would rather pay 3.5 than have scott lineSTINK

  5. The Mets. Giving Phillies fans something to laugh about outside of their terrible on the field play. $1.2M/yr for 25 years is hilarious! So they owe him more than the entire record contract they gave him years ago. All so they could defer $5.9M. Talk about a terrible decision.

    I seriously cannot stop laughing!

    • tacko 4 years ago

      The Mets haven’t been relevant for four years, were in 4th in their division last year, are in last this year, and are in rebuilding mode this year.

      Yet, you and a greater portion of Phillie fans still feel it necessary to bash on the Mets, despite the fact that your team has been fighting the for the division this and last year with the Braves and Marlins.

      Do you think the Braves, Marlins, or Mets ever talked about the Phillies when they were making the playoffs in the 90’s and early 00’s? They only cared about their competing division rivals. Yet here you are, bashing an irrelevant team (not understanding a thing about net present value).

      Inferiority complex much?

      • Blue387 4 years ago

        I never understood the Philly fixation on the Mets. How petty must Philly fans be to beat up the Mets who will be lucky to win 83 games this season. Why not hate the Yankees? Some people think they’re pretty good.

      • 700Level 4 years ago

        And here you are not understanding a thing about the history of the rivalry between New York and Philadelphia in every sport going back to the days when the Dodgers still played at Ebbets Field. The Braves and Marlins are not considered traditional rivals by the fans in Philly. The Braves weren’t even in the Phils division until the 90’s.

        New York and Philadelphia have been division opponents in every single major sport for decades. It has nothing to do with net present value; it has to do with history and tradition – something you obviously have no clue about.

        • jimboslice9 4 years ago

          The fact being ignored here is that the Braves Met rivalry is a more major and long-lived rivalry for the Mets and Mets fans that the one with the Phillies, yet you don’t see Braves fans beating up on the Mets when they suck, and yet Phillies fans don’t think twice about doing it.

          If it had to do with history and tradition, the Braves fans (and some more old school Cardinals fans) would be right with the Phillies fans.

          • 700Level 4 years ago

            What are you talking about? The Mets and the Braves weren’t even in the same division from 1969 to 1993. Furthermore, by 1962 the Braves had moved to Milwaukee from Boston, so they weren’t even in close proximity to each other. Finally, apparently you ignored or simply weren’t able to comprehend the part about how it’s not just about baseball, but about a NY sports vs. Philly sports rivalry in general.

            Talk about ignoring facts.

          • jimboslice9 4 years ago

            The thing is, the was specifically a Phillies and Mets thing, so in no way was it a NY vs. Philly in general thing. And if you ask any Mets fan who has been around a while, the Cardinals were the main rival back when there when the Braves were in the NL West, but once they were in the NL East the main Mets rivalry was with the Braves.

            The OP was laughing at the Mets as a Phillies fan, not at NY as a Philadelphia fan, and the Mets and Phillies have only been rivals since the Phillies starting getting good a few years ago.

            And as tacko pointed out Mets fans did not make fun of the Phillies when they were finishing terribly in the late ’90s and early ’00s, so if that really was a strong rivalry, it would be a two way rivalry, and Mets fans would have loved taking digs at Phillies fans in the ’99 and ’00 seasons, but the Phillies were just ignored those years, while Mets fans taunted the Braves for losing to them.

        • Blue387 4 years ago

          The biggest rival of the 1951 Giants were the 73-89 1951 Phillies?

          • 700Level 4 years ago

            Um, no…That’s not what I’m saying. I was responding to a statement made about how Philadelphia fans view New York. Because NY teams have always been in the same league/division as Philly teams, Philly fans always see NY teams as rivals and get a warm sense of schadenfreude when NY teams fail miserably. The history of NY and Philly fans actions in each others sports arenas add to all of this.

            I don’t know what possessed you to mention 1951 specifically, but if you ask Phillies fans who are old enough to remember, most of them would probably tell you that they hated the Dodgers more than the Giants.

  6. monroe_says
    monroe_says 4 years ago

    Deferred money (Manny, A. Jones) and dead money should probably not be in the same conversation.

  7. baycommuter 4 years ago

    Perez and Castillo– the lede says the Mets are paying them $18M this year, but the bullet point only adds up to $10M for the two of them. Which is it?

    • It’s 18 Million. 6 million for Castillo, 12M for Perez, theres probably a typo

    • It’s got to be more than $10 million. Perez’s contract average annual value was $12 million, I can’t imagine that it was frontloaded so that they’d only be paying him $4 million this year. Add in another $8 million for Perez and you get the $18 million figure.

  8. Isn’t Scott Proctor at least playing in AAA Gwinett with Atlanta ?

    • guest_54 4 years ago

      That’s exactly what I was going to say. The Braves didn’t pay him to go away. They cut him from the contract they signed him to so they wouldn’t have to pay the whole $750,000 or whatever it was; then, almost immediately, they re-signed him to a minor league deal.

      Also, isn’t Perez making $12 million instead of the $4 million listed in the article? Or did I miss something?

  9. TapDancingTeddy 4 years ago

    It’s unfortunate that the Dodgers, facing all their financial troubles, have heavy future commitments to Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones.

    Manny had to decline and bust because of age, but I still can’t believe how quickly and how far Andruw Jones fell.

    • $7562574 4 years ago

      it was all about the ped’s.

      • jimboslice9 4 years ago

        Actually for Jones, it wasn’t. If you follow his career path there is a somewhat correlating trend between his BA, and his weight. I also once saw somewhere a picture of one of his first years on the Braves, his last year on the Braves, and his year on the Dodgers, and it was pointed out his swing became less level, probably because he was fighting more body weight.

        So Jones’s decline can be summed up in three letters, not ped’s, fat.

    • Yeah, the Dodgers have had some pretty bad contract recently. Jason Schmidt, Jones, Pierre, Manny. With all the stuff coming out about McCourt’s finances and bad decisions it makes you wonder if Colletti signed those contracts because he wanted those players or if McCourt ordered him to sign them because he wanted to make a splash. I know that if I were the owner and my GM was making those kinds of decisions on his own he wouldn’t be my GM any more.

      • mdv1959 4 years ago

        I have it on good authority that McCourt pushed the Jones deal. The one I could never understand was Colletti signing Schmidt– if anyone ought to have known about Schmidt’s health it was Colletti.

  10. Rays have rebounded since Manny is gone..It’s all good..

  11. Great article.

  12. grant77 4 years ago

    The Jays are NOT paying 5 million of Wells’ salary according to both GM’s and any reputable source. The perpetuation of this myth on MLBTR is absurd.

    • guest_54 4 years ago

      Cot’s has it as a commitment on their 2011-2016 payroll obligations spreadsheet. Don’t know if you consider them reputable or not.

      • grant77 4 years ago

        Not anymore. I consider the teams reputable and they both insisted that no money changed hands. This rumour started from a Jon Heyman (lol) tweet and nothing more was added to it, but it unfortunately spread. AA was questioned about it and said the deal was as it said in the press release (no money).

    • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

      seriously, why do you care? We got out from paying frigging $80M. I don’t care if we give or take a few million.

      • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

        we as in the jays’ management

      • grant77 4 years ago

        I wouldn’t care if they actually paid 5 million, it’s just that MLBTR has put blatantly false information on their website and I figure that’s something they would like to fix.

    • OKGOJAYS85 4 years ago

      I agree with you, it is silly that MLBTR continue to post the 5M as fact when it has been repeatedly denied by the teams. It shows up almost once a week. Maybe Rivera’s 5.25M contract was what confused Heyman and led to his tweet.

  13. Is this list comprehensive? I cannot believe my Pirates didn’t show up here.

  14. Heliosphan 4 years ago

    I think Detroit owes Sheffield 1.1 M deferred for the next 6 years. Or something obnoxious like that.

  15. alphabet_soup5 4 years ago

    Glad this list wasn’t made last season, when Detroit paid D-train and Robertson a TON of money to play in farm systems.

  16. smokinjays 4 years ago

    Manny still gets his money despite the drugs and retirement? Seriously?

  17. jayrig5 4 years ago

    I’m fairly sure the Mariners are on the hook for Silva’s buyout. I’m not sure if that’s on Cot’s, but it’s been reported elsewhere.

  18. I think that would fall into the Bonilla category. They aren’t technically paying him to play somewhere else so much as they are just honoring his contract. Or at least they didn’t trade him to get rid of him for performance or behavioral reasons.

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