Compare and Contrast: Cutting Dead Weight

The Mets continue to carry the albatross known as Oliver Perez on their roster, as he refuses to be demoted to the minors and the Wilpons refuse to pay between $12M – $24M for someone who is not employed by their organization.

It simply wouldn’t be “good business” to release Perez outright, considering the amount of money left on his egregious 3-year deal. Better to continue to drag him along on the team bus, and take up a precious spot on the 25-man roster.

Or is it?

The following teams had similarly bad contracts recently (within the last year and a half), and chose to cut bait. Interestingly, few of these teams can as easily “afford” to give up on high-salaried player — but they did, anyway, for the good of the team.

Most of these players were released outright, though a few were traded away on the condition that their salary would be absorbed by the team shedding the player. It is in no particular order.

[TABLE=48]

Interestingly, the Yankees don’t have much in the way of owed money to players no longer on their roster — despite the fact that many pundits regularly point to their riches as a security blanket for when they make mistakes. Other than Igawa, the Yankees owe a grand total of about $2.4M to players no longer on their roster.

After looking at what other teams have done in the way of dropping dead weight, how do you feel about the Mets’ insistence on keeping Oliver Perez and other bad contracts? One would think that if a “small market” team such as the Detroit Tigers can bite the bullet on so much money in bad contracts, that the big-city Mets would be able to act similarly.

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Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. mooshinator August 6, 2010 at 8:29 am
    If the Mets were actually making a playoff run, dropping Perez would be a no-brainer.

    Since the Mets don’t have a shot at the playoffs, they might as well leave him on the roster and avoid having to pay someone else the major league minimum. If I were the Mets right now, honestly I’d keep him through the end of this year and dump him in the offseason.

    Of course, at the time the Mets brought Ollie back, they still DID have a shot at the playoffs… which was either (a) a completely brain-dead move, or (b) a move made by an ownership that has no particular desire to see their team win.

    • alexSVK August 6, 2010 at 9:20 am
      Well put. With September call-ups less than 4 weeks away and the Mets pretty much out of the race, there’s a very little chance that Ollie would cost them the play-offs. Furthermore, with a managerial change more than likely, I can see why the ownership is reluctant to cut Ollie right now. At this point, it does make sense to give OP one more chance under a new management next year. However, he absolutely has to be cut if he is this bad at the beginning of next season.
  2. Walnutz15 August 6, 2010 at 9:32 am
    I hope to hear that Oliver Perez:

    - checks himself into a performance institute this winter; and that

    - he’s learning as much as he can from Johan Santana in Spring Training….since he’s also a lefty, and maye act as a mentor.

    Oh, wait — didn’t that happen the last 3 years already?

    Following this team is like Groundhog Day — only it’s not funny.

  3. gary s. August 6, 2010 at 10:32 am
    can’t we ban talking about ollie anymore on this website anymore.HE SUCKS..SO DOES CASTILLO AND A HOST OF OTHER PLAYERS ON THIS TEAM.THE MANAGER AND THE GM SUCK.THAN FRED WILNOT IS QUOTED AS SAYING MINAYA IS NOT GETTING FIRED AND JEFFIE IS “EXCELLENT”.i will not be attending any more met games till this craziness stops.in fact if anyone wants to hold a ticket burning ceremony outside chittyfield, i would love to attend.The wilnots control has reached critical mass.the team is unwatchable, the owner is senile and the team has quit (again) ..maybe fred’s opinion of omar will change if nobody shows up the rest of the year .
  4. Ceetar August 6, 2010 at 10:37 am
    I’d argue that the big market teams can afford to _keep_ albatross type contracts more easily. Smaller market clubs whould have to cut guys that aren’t performing and find something that does. The Mets should be able to assume the high-cost gamble of a bigger contract. Now, through Ollie’s own actions and the inability of the Mets to manage the roster and rehabilitation of Perez, he shouldn’t be on this team, and that’s a mess and maybe deserves some looking at (still dont’ know why they activated him early..or why they don’t fake the DL stint again) but as the season spirals out of control, what risk is there in writing the guy off, but giving him a gutshot chance to win a job in winter ball/spring training? Maybe he has a good spring/velocity jump and you can swap him, even paying most of his salary, for a bench guy or a reliever or something?
    • mooshinator August 6, 2010 at 11:30 am
      The thing is, the small market clubs ARE keeping the “albatross type contracts”, they are simply getting rid of the player that isn’t performing. They are still paying the player; they just aren’t letting the player… play.

      If it was possible to dump the player AND the associated contract, then yes, you’d see small market clubs dumping albatross contract all the time, and you’d see big market clubs taking more chances and holding on to more of them.

      That’s not what we’re talking about here.

      We’re talking about players SO bad, that the clubs drop them from the team even though contractually they are still obligated to pay the player.

      In economics, it’s called a sunk cost. If the player is so bad that he’s not even performing up to the level of an arbitrary AAA call up, then you need to drop the player even though you have to eat his salary in the process.

  5. wohjr August 6, 2010 at 3:34 pm
    Moosh has it. The money is ALREADY GONE. If he can’t help you, send him packing for the love of FSM
  6. micalpalyn August 6, 2010 at 3:53 pm
    the issue is not Ollie, its not Castillo, and its not even Beltran. Its NOT Omar. Its Wilpon JR and Sr.

    The Mets LEADERSHIP has no ambition. NONE.

    EVERY other team has THREE times the level of competetiveness THIS ‘executive’ leadership has. THE BIGGEST MOVE THIS YR was the DFA of Matthews JR……WHICH COINCIDENTALLY catalyzed a run by THE METS to the TOP OF THE NL EAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Since then a GM group which has Omar, Wayne Krivsky et al, PLUS Bob Melvin HAVE NOT MADE A SINGLE PLAYER RELATED MOVE to bolster this team . NOT BY ADDITION OR SUBTRACTION.

    My expectation is that the firing of Jerry and replacing him with Backman, or Terry Collins, or Hojo, or Chip Hale, OR Bob Melvin ( I chose Hojo/Backman+ Bob Melvin) would light a fire under this team enough tokeep it competitive thru September.

    -Then I would cut Castillo and give 2nd base to Justin Turner and Cora.

    - Keep French and Platoon him in RF with Capt Kirk. Give Angel the CF job. Trade Beltran and Pedro Feliciano To BOSoxx for Michael Bowden and 2 players TBNL.

    -Trade Barajas for a PTBNL.

    -Get Dionar Navarro or (Kelly Shoppach) now.

    Joe…this is where you come in. This and other blogs out there are OUR voices. Just like our votes we need to let the team know how we feel on a DAILY basis. This team needs a shake up and the last 4 years have been a complete mess in August and Sept from an executive standpoint.

    • Joe Janish August 6, 2010 at 9:24 pm
      Mic, if the Mets don’t pay attention when I specifically demonstrate the correctable mechanical flaws of their pitchers, I doubt they will care what I think about subjective opinions regarding personnel changes.