Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pirates Overpay 4 Players

We actually have some Pirates news that is worth me spending a few minutes typing up! Downright shocking, right? The news is that the Bucs signed 4 of the 6 players on their roster that were set for arbitration. Adam LaRoche, John Grabow, Zach Duke, and Tyler Yates were the quartet who signed and Paul Maholm and Nate McLouth were the pair who didn't.

The elder LaRoche signed for 1 year and... 7.05 million dollars! If that seems a solid 2 million dollars too high to you... then you and I think very much alike. I know that LaRoche made 5 million dollars last year, so his salary figured to go up to the 7 million range, but what on earth did he do last season to deserve a raise of even 1 penny? He spent the first few months of the season crapping the bed yet again, and by the time he put together his inevitable second half comeback, the Pirates were already in the division cellar and were packing things in for the 2009 season. The end of season numbers are fine and he cranked out 25 home runs with an .841 OPS, but he was atrocious in the first half. I hate this mindset of a guy getting a raise just because its a new season and he wasn't completely awful for the entire season. LaRoche's deal should have given him 5-6 million or so in guaranteed cash and then should have had crazy incentives that could have propped it up to 9 million, or maybe more if they were lofty incentives (20 first half home runs, a .300 batting average, a .900 OPS, you get the idea). I just can't fathom that we live in a sports world where Adam LaRoche is the worst hitting first baseman in baseball for three straight months in 2008 and then gets a 2 million dollar raise to start the following season because he hit well when there was absolutely, positively no pressure on him. In case you couldn't tell, I'm not a LaRoche fan.

The other guys signed were Zach Duke (who became the highest paid batting practice pitcher in history with a 2 million dollar deal), John Grabow (2.3 million dollars for a lefty specialist... mehh), Tyler Yates (the most reasonable deal with just 1.3 million dollars which should be a decent contract as long as John Russell doesn't wear his arm down again).

Clearly, I'm not exactly enthused by these maneuvers, but at least its something worth talking about with the Pirates right now, which judging by my posts on this site, is a definite rarity these days.

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