It’s one day until the trade deadline, so we’re continuing our look at the 25 most overplayed players in baseball for 2014. Yesterday, we shared players #25-20. We’ll be releasing our list of the most overpaid (and underpaid) players all week long on the ScoreBlog. Check back tomorrow to see players 14-10.
A quick note about process, we used a variation of a FanGraphs’ formula — which guestimates the dollar value of $5.4 million for every win a player brings about. (Obviously, this is not an exact science.) That amount is then multiplied by the player’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR), which in this case, is for the 2014 season so far. That total is then subtracted from the player’s 2014 salary. The solution? The player’s market value. (Unlike FanGraphs, we’ve included hitters and pitchers on the list.)
19. Allen Craig – St. Louis Cardinals – Outfielder/First Baseman
Salary: $2.8 million
Current Market Value: -$5.5 million
Given the production over his last three seasons, it’s a shame to see how far Allen Craig’s star has fallen. His power numbers and productivity are way down, and it’s only a matter of time before the St. Louis Cardinals rip the rug out from under him. Whether that means benching him or playing him less, we don’t know. But it sure as heck means his paycheck is too high.
18. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers – First Baseman
Salary: $22 million
Current Market Value: -$6.8 million
Every baseball player value list should have at least one controversial addition to it. And the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera is ours. He sports one of the highest current WAR totals of any of the players on this list — and has a not-so-shabby career WAR of 57.4 (he’s No. 133 all time, just under Hank Greenberg and Willie Stargell). Miguel Cabrera is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players in the game of baseball, having won a pair of MVP awards from 2012-13. But given all this, he should be held to an elite standard, don’t you think? So why has he only won a single World Series title in 2003? His current team came close last year — but were nipped by the beard-bearing Boston Red Sox. Ask yourself this: Is second-best worth $22 million a year?
17. Homer Bailey
Salary: $9 million
Current Market Value: -$6.8 million
For a guy that’s pitched two no-hitters in two consecutive seasons (2012 and 2013), you’d think he’d among the most feared hurlers in the game. Wrong. While he did flirt with a third no-no back in late June, he’s currently posting an ugly ERA of 4.21 and now battling a potential knee injury. Not to mention that WAR, which is in line with his season totals from 2009-11, largely forgettable campaigns.
16. Cole Hamels – Philadelphia Phillies – Starting Pitcher
Salary: $23.5 million
Current Market Value: -$7.8 million
Notice a pattern forming here? Starting pitchers often get tied up for multiple years by ball clubs, with the hope that they’ll lead the staff. Well, sometimes, that gamble doesn’t pay off quite like it was supposed to. From 2007-13, Hamels was nothing short of the Philadelphia Phillies staff ace, winning a 2008 championship ring and World Series MVP to boot. But last year, he sported an ugly 8-14 record. Although he’s got a great ERA at 2.83 and has struck out 116 batters, he’s not going to be digging the Phils out of a 12-game hole anytime soon. It’s rumored that the team is shopping him around. Maybe he can earn his keep elsewhere.
15. Jacoby Ellsbury – New York Yankees – Center Fielder
Salary: $21.1 million
Current Market Value: -$8.2 million
The former Boston Red Sox star has been once again battling minor injuries all season for the rival New York Yankees — and although he’s putting up decent numbers, his team can ill afford to lose him to injury, something plaguing the majority of their pitching staff and key position players. The Yanks aren’t out of contention yet, but we can gather, based on that salary, that they were expecting quite a bit more of the 30-year-old outfielder. He’ll need to step things up in a big way in the second half to earn that money.
We’ll be counting down the most overpaid and underpaid players in the MLB all week on the ScoreBlog. Check back tomorrow to see players 14-10.
By Will Levith for the ScoreBlog
Sources: Salary data: Yahoo Sports; WAR data: Baseball Reference; Formula: FanGraphs.com