Free Agents Who Are Costing Their Team Money

That headline is probably a little misleading since technically every player costs their team money, but I'm talking in terms of performance dollars. Earlier this afternoon we listed the free agents from this past offseason that are already providing their team surplus value, but now let's turn the tables and list the guys that have been so bad that they're costing their team.

We're essentially talking about players below "replacement" level, which is defined as freely available talent. A replacement level player is one of those AAAA type of guys, someone easy to find (on waivers, etc.) and available only for the league minimum. Here's the free agents performing at a level below that…

Position Players

  • Carl Crawford, Red Sox – $14MM salary, -$2.6MM value ($16.6MM deficit)
  • Aubrey Huff, Giants – $10MM salary, -$4.5MM value ($14.5MM deficit)
  • Adam Dunn, White Sox – $12MM salary, -$1.5MM value ($13.5MM deficit)
  • Carlos Pena, Cubs – $10MM salary, -$1.5MM value ($10.5MM deficit)
  • Miguel Tejada, Giants – $6.5MM salary, -$2.8MM value ($9.3MM deficit)
  • Vladimir Guerrero, Orioles – $8MM salary, -$400K value ($8.4MM deficit)
  • Lyle Overbay, Pirates – $5MM salary, -$1.8MM value ($6.8MM deficit)
  • Bill Hall, Astros – $3MM salary, -$3MM value ($6MM deficit)
  • Hideki Matsui, Athletics – $4.25MM salary, -$200K value ($4.45MM deficit)
  • Miguel Olivo, Mariners – $2.25MM salary, -$1.9MM value ($4.15MM deficit)
  • A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox – $2MM salary, -$400K value ($2.4MM deficit)
  • Jack Cust, Mariners – $2.5MM salary, -$200K value ($2.7MM deficit)


  • Rafael Soriano, Yankees – $10MM salary, -$500K value ($10.5MM deficit)
  • Javier Vazquez, Marlins – $7MM salary, -$700K value ($7.7MM deficit)
  • Hisanori Takahashi, Angels – $3.8MM salary, -$2MM value ($5.8MM deficit)
  • Joaquin Benoit, Tigers – $5.5MM salary, -$200K value ($5.7MM deficit)
  • Jon Rauch, Blue Jays – $3.75MM salary, -$1.6MM value ($5.35MM deficit)
  • Dan Wheeler, Red Sox – $3MM salary, -$800K value ($3.8MM deficit)
  • Koji Uehara, Orioles – $3MM salary, -$400K value ($3.4MM deficit)
  • Jeremy Accardo, Orioles – $1.08MM salary, -$900K value ($1.98MM deficit)
  • Chad Durbin, Indians – $800K salary, -$600K value ($1.4MM deficit)
  • Mike MacDougal, Dodgers – $500K salary, -$400K value ($900K deficit)
  • Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox – $650K salary, -$200K value ($850K deficit)

The performances of Orlando Cabrera, Todd Coffey, and Kevin Gregg are valued at exactly $0, so they aren't costing their teams just yet. Derek Jeter and Derrek Lee (both at $200K) aren't that far off from making the list. Obviously this does not mean that these players will contribute to be negative performers all season, just that they have been to date.

Thanks to FanGraphs and Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info used in this post.

Full Story | 55 Comments | Categories: Uncategorized

55 Responses to Free Agents Who Are Costing Their Team Money Leave a Reply

  1. How is werth not on this list he’s doing HORRIBLE

  2. Ricky 4 years ago

    If only there was time for these players to turn their season around.

    • NickinIthaca 4 years ago

      It wouldn’t have made me laugh out loud as hard if I couldn’t sense the sarcasm in what you said there…

  3. How is Mike Macdougals performance costing the dodgers, it should be the other way around! With a 0.87 era, am i right!?

    • dodgers33dodgers 4 years ago

      i was thinking the same thing…he pitches so many innings for them and has not given up many runs…probably our best reliever right now.

      • MetsFanXXIII 4 years ago

        Or the luckiest one. Small sample too.

      • Gumby65 4 years ago

        …especially when he’s not walking five out of every four people he’s facing (yes, I meant to type it like that).

    • Bryz 4 years ago

      Simple, he’s walking a ton of hitters while striking out a roughly average number of batters. If you look at his FIP, it’s a poor 4.88 currently. That’s why he’s “costing” the Dodgers money.

      • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

        I understand that he’s been lucky, but so far, the results have been good in the end, so I don’t see how he’s costing the team money…

        • Vmmercan 4 years ago

          Because baseball is won based on what could happen in the future, not based on results in the present. Obviously.

  4. 0vercast 4 years ago

    How can O-Cab be worth $0? He’s been hitting pretty well I thought.

    • vtadave 4 years ago

      I guess if you consider a .665 OPS to be hitting well.

      • 0vercast 4 years ago

        It’s .674. But he’s been clutch, and has 18 RBIs and 18 runs, same as Tulo.

  5. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    haters gonna hate, mister axisa, but i’ve enjoyed all four of your free agent posts today

    • Much appreciated.

    • NickinIthaca 4 years ago

      “Hater’s gonna hate, lover’s gonna love, but I don’t really want none of the above….”

      I’m just assuming that was a Chapelle’s show quote at the start there.

  6. johnsilver 4 years ago

    The 2 huge ones that were (IMO) crazy signings for big dollars and most knew they would flop anyway are Hall and Vazquez. The Fish and Astros just got aged and declining guys, plus vastly overpaid them to start with. neither was going to help anyway. Hall is nothing but a utility guy and Vazquez is at best a 5th starter for a NL team who has lost his FB.

    • NickinIthaca 4 years ago

      I have to say that I was hoping/expecting a good season from Hall this year with him getting full time playing time in that park this year. Luckily, apparently a number of people in my fantasy leagues felt the same way, and he got drafted far before I could even justify taking him.

  7. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    jack cust is making my “most underrated player” campaign very difficult so far

  8. CitizenSnips 4 years ago

    C’mon, Coffey’s bullpen dash has got to be worth a couple bucks.

  9. SierraM363 4 years ago

    Kind of surprising that Derek Jeter didn’t make the list. 3 yr $51 million? I’m sure I can find a AAAA player that can do this.

    avg obp slg ops

    .259 .318.284.602

    • vtadave 4 years ago

      But you’re forgetting.

      His intangibles are off the chart.
      He’s a gamer.
      He makes everyone around him better.
      He is…Derek Jeter.

    • MB923 4 years ago

      Because his WAR is not negative, that’s why. All the players above have a negative WAR

      • Jeter is Slightly, and I mean Slightly better than a quad A player. Which really does not bode well for his future.

        • MB923 4 years ago

          I’m not arguing that. I’m just simply stating why he’s not listed.

          On the one good side for Jeter this year, he’s in the top 10 in UZR (Even ahead of Tulo). But don’t worry, we don’t expect that to last

          • ugen64 4 years ago

            you know, since 2008, Jeter ranks 22nd out of 45 shortstops who have played over 1000 defensive innings, and 15th out of 27 shortstops who have played over 2000 innings (he has a 1.0 UZR/150 over 4,000+ innings). his range is still terrible, but he saves the most runs of any shortstop by avoiding errors. he’s still not a deserved gold glove winner by any stretch of the imagination, but (and it pains me to say this as an Orioles fan) maybe we should admit that he’s a decent defender nowadays.

    • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago


  10. cacavolante 4 years ago

    3 orioles out of 23 players listed with 2 more barely missing the cut. great job again andy!

    • roomwithamoose 4 years ago

      well he can get some value from Gregg, some team will be desperate for relief by the deadline.

  11. Shu13 4 years ago

    How is Jeter not on this list????$15m w/ -.01war and hitting .250/.312/.268…yes that is right .268 slg%

    after posting I see Sierra agrees w/ me….lol

    • MB923 4 years ago

      Jeter is not on the list because he doesn’t have a negative WAR (doesn’t have a positive WAR either), therefore he hasn’t cost his team. Get your facts straight.

  12. Ian_Smell 4 years ago

    Lyle Overbay brings back all of the bad memories of Adam LaRoche. I hope that Overbay can do better so he isn’t remembered among the Pirates’ worst (and there are a lot of them).

  13. threeeds 4 years ago

    I’m honestly a bit surprised that Magglio Ordonez isn’t on here. He’s picked it up the last couple games, but other than that he’s been pretty bad so far.

  14. threeeds 4 years ago

    Just checked and he’s sitting at -$3.9MM right now, meaning a $13.9MM deficit for the Tigers.

  15. j6takish 4 years ago

    A few things to note on pitchers. WAR is calculated by FIP, yet actual game scores are dictated by ERA (ignore the sabremetric fallacy, pitching crappily costs you wins no matter the outcome of the game)

    • RedCaps 4 years ago

      That’s not a sabermetric fallacy. ERA does not show how well or badly a pitcher has pitched, which is why FIP is used to caculate WAR instead.

  16. Adam Dunn may be on the list right now but he will hit 37 more home runs before the end of the season. It’s (almost) guaranteed.

  17. Some Tigers missing from that list:

    Ordonez $ 10 MM contract -4.3 MM value,

    Inge $ 5.5 MM contract, -0.6 MM value,

    V Mart $ 12.5 MM contract, $ 1.0 MM value, and

    might as well include Peralta to make it a clean sweep $ 5.5 MM contract, $ 2.6 MM value.

    Once again, every extension that Dombrowski signs has been a failure. It’s early yet, but the pattern is unmistakeable. Stand pat and come up short. Here’s hoping that the ultimate verdict on the extensions for Verlander and CAbrera turn out better.

  18. Someone needs to check the math on Carlos Pena’s value………….

  19. jhawk90 4 years ago

    Pavano has to be on that list. He’ll be fine but as of now he should be on there.

  20. MiggyCabby24 4 years ago

    Magglio Ordonez should definately be on this list !!

  21. Backup_Slider 4 years ago

    Crawford, Dunn, and Soriano are the only real surprises on the list in my estimation. It seems within the realm of possibility that the others wouldn’t (won’t) approach a value anywhere near what they’re being paid.

  22. AllynC 4 years ago

    Bradley for the Mariners has to be a big loser, and getting more each day. 2 ejections in a week, and 2 misplayed balls on Sat. night, and batting average of .205. He is and will always be a cancer. Mariners should “exile” him and eat the $13M

  23. Justanotherfantoo 4 years ago

    Mike, I don’t know if your number is annualized or not. But if it’s not, it should be. Less than 20% of the way into the season, it’s not fair to say that ANY player is costing their team money unless they’re not on pace to contribute what they’re getting paid.

  24. Shouldn’t Carlos Pena be -$11.5 mil? ($10 mil – $1.5 = $11.5 not $10.5)

  25. WRONG. The deficit and salary #s are switched.

  26. Wait, never mind. didn’t see the minuses.

  27. FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

    Anaheim, CA

  28. Not a free agent!

  29. Shu13 4 years ago

    He wasn’t a FA signing or he would for sure be on the list…haha

  30. Shu13 4 years ago

    This story isn’t about how they will end the’s how the big $$$ players are off to a SLOW start…as for Jeter I don’t see him finishing at or above his career aves…

  31. 55saveslives 4 years ago

    Don’t you mean Los Angeles of Anaheim?

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