FanPost

Injury Report: 2009 vs 2011

This fanpost covers something I started thinking about during the 2009 season when the Mets were first struck with the injury bug that seems to have been hanging around for the past three years now. In 2009 I remember still having real confidence in this team that they would be right in the thick of the NL East yet another year, and there was no way that we could let the Phillies overtake us late for the third season in a row. Omar Minaya was still in control of the team, we had a new manager for a full season who seemed to turn things around during his interim gig, we had a shiny new all-star pitcher and some young arms coming into their own, and most of the contracts on the team did not seem to be all that unreasonable. Hell, Ollie Perez was still a semi-effective pitcher and showed signs of finding his groove. We also still had a fearsome front of the lineup in Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Delgado.

 

Unfortunately injuries have a way of changing everyone’s perception of things very quickly. At one point in the season I remember thinking, "Wow, we must have like half of our payroll on the DL right now" and sure enough if you looked at some of the contracts we had over $100M worth of contracts on the DL at different points in the season, and probably over $70M worth of contracts on the DL at one point midseason. (Those are total yearly values sitting at one time, not the amount paid to players during injuries)

 

For me personally, looking at all those contracts was when I started to realize that Omar Minaya might not be such a good GM and he was definitely spending a lot of money on some players who probably did not deserve it. So I decided to look at how much money was spent on injured players during 2009 and 2011. We had a similar amount of injuries to key players both years, but different GM’s building the team around them. So let’s compare how Omar Minaya did with how Sandy Alderson did.

The way I did this was to take the starting lineup for both teams and calculate the percentage of their salaries spent on the DL (I used what the best starting lineup would have been, so ignoring players like Emaus who did not end up being key players). Probably not the most scientific way to do this, but there has to be a little speculation considering the uncertainty of what would have happened without any injuries. For games on DL I did a rough estimate from the average number of games a player would play. So 162 games for position players, 120 games for catchers, 32 games for starting pitchers, 60 games for relievers. Obviously relievers would provide the most noise, but for this exercise it would be safe to include only Billy Wagner who only pitched in 2 games, and J.J. Putz, who pitched in 29 games, as they had the most significant salaries.

 

2009 Starters

Salary

Games on DL/Bench

Salary on DL

Carlos Beltran

$20M

81

$10M

Johan Santana

$20M

7

$4.375M

Gary Sheffield

$14M

62

$5.35M

Carlos Delgado

$12M

136

$10.07M

Oliver Perez

$12M

18

$6.75M

Billy Wagner

$10.5M

58

$10.15M

David Wright

$7.75M

18

$0.86M

Luis Castillo

$6.25M

20

$0.77M

Jose Reyes

$6.125M

126

$4.76M

J.J. Putz

$6M

31

$3.1M

Brian Schneider

$4.9M

61

$2.5M

John Maine

$2.6M

17

$1.38M

 

Total Salary to key players on DL:  $59.3M

Record 72-90

 

2011 Starters

Salary

Games on DL/Bench

Salary on DL

Johan Santana

$22.5M

32

$22.5M

Carlos Beltran

$20M

0 then traded

$0

Jason Bay

$16M

39

$3.85M

David Wright

$14M

60

$5.2M

Fransisco Rodriguez

$12M

0 then traded

$0

Jose Reyes

$11M

36

$2.4M

Angel Pagan

$3.5M

39

$0.84M

DJ Carrasco

$1.2M

18

$0.36M

Chris Young

$1.1M

28

$0.9625M

Taylor Buchholz

$0.6M

37

$0.37M

Jon Niese

$0.45M

5

$0.07M

Ike Davis

$0.43M

126

$0.33M

Daniel Murphy

$0.42M

53

$0.14M

 

 

Total Salary to key players on DL:  $37.0M

Record 77-85

 

I think there are a lot of conclusions you could draw from this, but the main one should be don’t fill your team with overpaid veterans and have them backed up by more overpaid veterans on the bench. Alderson’s team still had many of the overpaid veterans on it thanks to Omar Minaya, but he filled out the rest of the team with cheap young exciting players who ended up winning more games and were certainly more fun to watch even after some of our favorite stars fell to injury. Even with the cuts to Perez and Castillo the total salary wasted in 2011 is $55M which is still less than in 2009. I for one am super excited to see what this team looks like in a couple more years with Sandy at the helm. Oh and despite the conclusion above there is still one veteran I would not mind overpaying this offseason and I think you know his name.

 

Thanks to Fangraphs and Cots for contracts and games played, and please don’t nitpick on me leaving out some players like Pelfrey who only appeared in 31 out of 32 games in 2009. This is admittedly a rough estimate.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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