People talk about the Yankees' payroll with disdain, discounting their championships by mentioning their league-leading payroll. But the Red Sox are third in payroll. The question is, are they worth it?
Some players are, and some simply aren't. Now, it should be said that $20 million for one year is an obscene amount of money, regardless. Even if the player played every single game, they'd make $123,456.79 per game.
That being said, it's all relative to the average salary of the league. So the question isn't whether the player is worth his salary, but is the player worth so much more or less than the league average?
John Lackey is in the discussion here, but he's at least going to give you a lot of innings. $15.25 million is severely overpaying for a 5.00 ERA and maybe 12 wins, but Jonathan Papelbon will make $12 million for one inning every two to three days.
I don't buy into the high-paid closer idea. Papelbon will pitch 60-70 innings, which is around $200,000 per inning! That is ridiculous to me. Some people will tell you it takes a certain intangible, invaluable trait to be a closer.
But 29 players have more than seven saves. Papelbon has the highest ERA of any of them. Meanwhile, Daniel Bard has a 2.16 ERA and 0.816 WHIP.
Clay Buchholz: $550,000
Daniel Bard: $505,000
Jed Lowrie: $450,000
Jed Lowrie is simply a quality player. In 55 games in 2010, he had a .907 OPS and hit .287. There's some power and some speed there and he's a good fielder.
Bard should be closing, and I expect he will be next season, as Papelbon is in the last year of his contract. In 165.2 career innings, Bard has a 2.50 ERA and 1.038 WHIP, with 9.8 K/9. His K/BB ratio is up to 3.73 this year and he's still just 26 years old.
Buchholz just signed a long-term deal worth about $57 million. But for this season, his salary is just over $500,000. This is a 26-year-old coming off a 17-win, 2.33-ERA season.
The Red Sox signed two new stars this offseason: Adrian Gonzalez for $22 million per year, and Carl Crawford for $20 million.
In my opinion, the list of people who deserve that kind of money is severely limited, to include soldiers, perhaps doctors...but as far as the salaries relative to the league average, when you have a chance to sign an elite player, I think you do what you have to do.They don't come on the market often, so you have to take advantage.
The Red Sox deserve credit for getting it done.
Marco Scutaro is set to make $5 million this season as a backup shortstop. Sure, he's playing now with Lowrie on the DL, but he's not the starter anymore. He's a career .267 hitter and .974 fielder.
Daisuke Matsuzaka will make $10 million in 2011. If you take out his 2008, he has a 4.70 ERA. He's been in the league five years and his K/9 has gone down every single season since his rookie campaign.
The fact that Bobby Jenks is making $6 million as a middle reliever is comical. In 19 games, he has a 6.32 ERA and 2.234 WHIP. And he'll make the same amount next year too.
For $5.75 million this year, the Red Sox have a 27-year-old ace who should be an AL Cy Young contender for the next five or more years. Lester is signed through 2013 at which time he will get a significant raise.
Dustin Pedroia is already an MVP, and one of the top two or three second basemen in baseball. The guy is a baller. He plays hard on defense as well, hits for power and can steal bases and he is money when Beantown needs a clutch hit. He will make $5.5 million this season.
Jacoby Ellsbury has 28 steals, leading the league, and plays an excellent center field. He will make $2.4 million this season, but the Red Sox better enjoy it while they can. He is arbitration eligible and should be in for a significant raise this offseason.