As I sit here in my dorm with my GRE prep book on the shelf and my LSAT book on my bed, I think I have finally decided what I want to be: a Minnesota Twins pitcher.
Here's the kicker—I don't actually want to play for them. More accurately, I want to be a FORMER Twins pitcher; I want what Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse got. Is that really so much to ask?
Lohse burst out of the gate, even after missing a large portion of Spring Training due to contract issues, winning his first three decisions and going undefeated in the month of April. May found Lohse just 2-2, but he won five of his six starts in June and was making a reasonable All-Star run.
The second half of the season brought Lohse back to reality. He went 3-4, gave up three or more runs in nine of his 12 starts, and generally pitched reasonably. He won few games on the mound, but he kept the Cards in striking distance and wasn't too much of a liability.
It was easily Lohse's best season in the majors by almost any measure, and one of his only seasons of any worth. I think Lohse may finally be past the point where he is a liability more often than not, which would be a marked improvement for him. The question is, would you bet $10 million-plus a year on it?
I wouldn't, but I'm not John Mozeliak, so what do I know? Perhaps Lohse will turn out to be a decent gamble. But for around the same amount of money, they could make a play for Ben Sheets or Derek Lowe, both of whom will sign for more than Lohse did, and will almost certainly out-perform him.
Lohse isn't the only former Twin to capitalize on his mediocrity; he isn't even the most overpaid. That honor goes to the legitimately terrible Carlos Silva.
Silva shocked baseball insiders when the Mariners signed him for the untoward sum of $48 million over four years. Silva has never had a season as good as the one Lohse just had, nor does he appear to be on the upward road. He hasn't even been a .500 pitcher since 2005.
Yet Silva raked in more than All-Stars Ryan Dempster, Rich Harden, Scott Kazmir, and many other pitchers who posted better than Silva's 2-15 mark. Silva's contract is four consecutive years of throwing bad money after even worse money.
Sure, contracts like Johan Santana's, A-Rod's, and the deal Mark Teixeira will get this offseason are huge. They remind us why we should have spent more time on the diamond and less with the algebra book.
In the end, however, the star contracts aren't what is fueling the meteoric rise of salaries league wide. It's teams overpaying incredibly mediocre players like Silva and Lohse.