I’m talkin’ about money. I noticed a cool feature this morning on the Chronicle. They have a link where you can look up the salaries for all the players on each team in the majors.
Here’s how the Giants break down in terms of salary.
Team Player Position Salary Desc. Year San Francisco Giants Zito, Barry P $14,500,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Rowand, Aaron OF $9,600,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Winn, Randy OF $8,875,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Durham, Ray 2B $7,500,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Roberts, Dave OF $6,500,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Molina, Bengie C $6,250,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Vizquel, Omar SS $5,000,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Aurilia, Rich 1B/3B $4,500,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Lowry, Noah P $2,500,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Hennessey, Brad P $1,600,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Correia, Kevin P $1,075,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Cain, Matt P $950,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Chulk, Vinny P $837,500 2008 San Francisco Giants Walker, Tyler P $750,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Castillo, Jose 3B $650,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Lincecum, Tim P $405,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Taschner, Jack P $400,500 2008 San Francisco Giants Frandsen, Kevin 2B $397,500 2008 San Francisco Giants Sanchez, J. P $395,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Wilson, Brian P $392,500 2008 San Francisco Giants Davis, Rajai OF $392,500 2008 San Francisco Giants Ortmeier, Dan 1B $392,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Lewis, Fred OF $392,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Holm, Stephen C $390,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Bocock, Brian SS $390,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Threets, Erick P $390,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Valdez, Merkin P $390,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Velez, Eugenio 2B $390,000 2008 San Francisco Giants Yabu, Keiichi P $390,000 2008
~ Is Tim Lincecum one of the best values in baseball? I say yes. For a mere $405,000 the Giants are getting one of the best pitchers in the National League and in the game. Lincecum leads the NL in FIP and is second in the majors for ERA+ — minimum of 60 innings pitched. If you like ERA+, Lincecum has been better than Dice-K, Brandon Webb, and Cliff Lee. Dice-K is earning $8M this year — maybe a little more if you want to include his posting fee. Brandon Webb is signed to a fantastic contract, he’s earning $5.5M this year. And Cliff Lee, who has had maybe one of the best starts ever to a season, is earning $3.75M. Lincecum is even pitching better than Johan Santana and he’s making $19M this season. The Giants are getting an amazing performace-to-dollars ratio out of Lincecum. Lock him up now, Sabes!
~ The bullpen is largely young and cheap. Good. I can’t stand when GM’s overpay for bullpen help when mostly it can be gotten for free or at least very cheap. Brian Wilson, Jack Taschner, Tyler Walker, Vinny Chulk, and Keiichi Yabu are all earning less than $1M individually. Hinshaw and Sadler aren’t listed but they are also making the minimum. The bullpen collective — excluding Merkin Valdez since he’s hurt right now and Threets because he’s not on the team — that make under $1M has combined to produce the following line: 161 IP, 68 ER, 138 K’s, 66 BB’s, 18 saves, and a 3.81 ERA. They have a K% of 20.2% — above average — and a BB% of 9.6% — slightly worse than league average. Not too shabby for cheap relievers. Brad Hennessey is the most expensive member of the bullpen and maybe the least deserving, he got knocked around a lot this season — 38 hits in 16 innings — and is currently struggling in AAA to get hitters out. He’s making $1.6M this year because of his inflated saves number last season.
~ The starters are also working for peanuts. Cain, Sanchez, and Lincecum all earn less than $1M individually. Cain’s salary will kick up to $2.65M next year but Sanchez and Lincecum could still be under that magical $1M mark. Getting 3/5ths of your rotation for that cheaply, in this day and age of overspending for starting pitching, is a strength for the Giants. Sanchez could get a pay raise and so could Lincecum, but they could both end up under $1M.
~ Aaron Rowand’s contract doesn’t look too bad when you consider that he’s not making much more than Randy Winn. Rowand will surely cool off — his BABIP of .383 is unsustainable — and it’s anyones guess if he can stay healthy, but for a top defending CF with a bat, $9.6M isn’t too bad. The later years of his deal could be when the trouble starts if his body starts to break down, like most think it will. Rowand is the highest paid position player.
~ There is a lot of cash deadweight on this team. Dave Roberts, who no longer has a place with Fred Lewis playing well, is earning $6.5M this year and next. Aurilia is earning $4.5M this year. Durham is earning $7.5M — though he’s played better lately. Vizquel is earning $5M. Durham, Aurilia, and Omar will all be gone after this season, so the Giants will have $17M that they can apply to next years team. Noah Lowry might not ever pitch again — or effectively enough to get MLB hitters out. He’s earning $2.5M this year and next year he gets a raise to $4.5M.
~ Yes, Barry Zito is overpaid by a zillion dollars and is crappy. He’s the highest paid Giant and is performing on the level of Pat Misch who earns about $14M less this year. Next year Zito’s salary kicks up to $18M per season, which is on par with what Johan Santana is getting, minus the actual on field performance.
To my immediate knowledge, there isn’t a whole lot on the FA market this coming offseason that the Giants can apply the $17M that they’ll be getting with Durham, Aurilia, and Omar coming off the books. They’ll need any one of the following: 3B/SS/2B and maybe even a 1B. The infield is really up for grabs. I’m not counting on Frandsen for anything right now and I’m not sure they’ll give Burriss the starting shortstop gig. Burriss has performed about how we expected, decent batting average, decent OBP, no power, and he’ll steal a few bags. I’d say keep him and let him start next year, but that’s just me. The Giants might not be able to resist the temptation of someone like Rafael Furcal.
The Giants could very well just pocket some of the $17M and reduce the payroll slightly. That would not surprise me either and might not be a bad idea as the team goes through a transition. Just imagine how well, financially, this team could be doing without the weight of the worst contract in history taking up space. The Giants are getting some really cheap and good starting pitching, but Zito’s deal almost cancels it out. That’s a bit of hyperbole, but how unfortunate is it that you can get 4 pretty good starters — Cain, Lincecum, Sanchez, Correia — for under $10M combined, but then you have to turn around and pay Barry Zito $18M per season to maybe, hopefully, be league average? It’s still a terrible, terrible deal.
But seriously, ink Lincecum to a deal already. Yer killin’ me!
Health Update: Merkin Valdez is still having arm troubles. From SFGiants.com:
Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said Tuesday that Valdez’s arm felt “dead” while playing catch Sunday, one day after pitching a scoreless inning for Class A San Jose. Valdez, who was scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Fresno against Colorado Springs on Monday, instead was examined by Dr. Ken Akizuki, the Giants’ team orthopedist.
When Merkin is healthy, he’s got a chance to be a part of that good, young, cheap bullpen. But, it’s anyones guess if he’s ever going to be healthy again. Despite the fact that his new injury isn’t in the area of his TJ surgery, I’m still worried about his health.