The minimum salary in the majors right now is $500,000. (Some guys on Wall Street make that in a day!) And while some baseball fans might find salaries that double, triple, or quadruple that sum difficult to swallow (on the low end); it’s worth remembering that these guys are getting paid the big bucks to play at an elite level. If you were the best of the best at what you did — and could get fans to buy MLB tickets— you’d probably be getting minted as well. Add in spring training, a 162-game (or more) season, press, and charity events; and you’ve got a pretty difficult gig.
Like any functioning business, there are some guys that make a ton of money and some that make the bare minimum. The latter half are usually younger players that are recent call-ups, less experienced, and still need to prove their worth; while the former are being paid their supposed market value. Some, though, are just great bargains.
A quick note about process: We’re utilizing a variation of FanGraphs’ formula. We take $5.4 million as the payout-per-game-won for a MLB player (an approximation), multiplied by that player’s 2014 WAR (so far), and subtracting that total from their current salary. That leaves us with his current market value.
The Dodgers are currently underpaying:
Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers – Right Fielder
Salary: $3.7 million
Current Market Value: $14.6 million
So what if Yasiel “Wild Horse” Puig is only playing his second full season? He’s already been compared to one-time AL dominator, Bo Jackson; and has been tearing it up at the plate and on the field for the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite some analysts thinking he’s immature. We couldn’t disagree more; his bruiser mentality is exactly what baseball needs right now. Although he’s been banged up quite a bit in 2014, because of his on-field selflessness, per our ScoreBig-bucks qualifier, he’s playing for well under market value. (As a Cuban defector, he signed with the Dodgers for $42 million over seven years.) Every time he swings the bat, the Dodgers organization hears a cha-ching.
Dee Gordon – Los Angeles Dodgers – Second Baseman
Current Market Value: $11.9 million
NET: +$11.4 million
Dee Gordon, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ speedy second baseman (of no relation to Alex), got off to a fast start in 2014 — and has kept up the pace, leading the NL in speed-categories like steals and triples, as well as flashing some serious leather. His strides got him onto the 2014 NL All-Star squad, and he’s continuing to gift the Dodgers with play that has brought them all the way up to a tie for first with the faltering San Francisco Giants. He’s the son of former major league pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon, so you know the talent’s there; and if he keeps up the solid work, that $15,000 over the league minimum could sprout a few more zeros soon enough
These two players net the Dodgers $22.3 million. However there are a few overpaid players on the roster balancing things out.
Hanley Ramirez – Los Angeles Dodgers – Shortstop
Salary: $16 million
Current Market Value: -$4.1 million
Part of one of the biggest blockbuster deals in recent memory, the Boston Red Soxsent prospects Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez (now a Detroit Tigers ace) to the then Florida Marlins in 2005, for pitcher Josh Beckett and infielder Mike Lowell, both of whom went on to win a World Series with the Red Sox in 2007 (Lowell was the series MVP). There’s been no shortness of five-tool talent in Ramirez, now on the Los Angles Dodgers, but he’s been plagued with injuries the last four years and has become somewhat of a liability. Most recently, he took a pitch to his hand, which has been sidelining him of late (not his fault, obviously, but misery loves company). We can imagine the front office didn’t foresee paying him such a giant sick-leave salary.
Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers – Left Fielder
Salary: $21.3 million
NET: -$22.7 million
Current Market Value: -$28.8 million
Matt Kemp, who at one point was living the high-life, dating Rhianna, and arguably, was one of the most highly touted prospects in the National League, has had a tough time staying healthy — and has seen his defensive capabilities decline, too. Top that off with a crowded Dodgers outfield that includes prospect Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke, Carl Crawford (on DL), Andre Ethier, and potential late-season call-up Joc Pederson, and it’s only going to get tougher for Kemp to make a comeback. There is a silver-lining, however: Kemp could be trade bait. Who knows? He could turn it completely around. We’re just not buying it.
Dan Haren – Los Angeles Dodgers – Starting Pitcher
Salary: $10 million
Current Market Value: -$12.2 million
NET: $22.2 million
Dan Haren is another one of those pitchers like C.J. Wilson (a former teammate of his, by the way) that has shown some signs of brilliance, but in recent years, has shown an incredibly ugly side. The Dodgers overpaid for his 4-plus ERA over the last three years — so it’s not at all surprising that he made our list.
Overpaid or underpaid players aside, nothing beats going to a Doders game and seeing it live. So if you’re looking for a deal on Dodgers Tickets, don’t forget to check out ScoreBig, where you save on every ticket, every day.