Sometimes, players do not earn the money that they make in a given year. And what better time to do a deep-dive into wasted money than during a pandemic, right? We take a look at the most overpaid Dodgers over the last ten years, taking it year-by-year.
Let us preface this by pointing out that the players in this segment were picked based on their performances that year, not their overall contract. So while some of these guys may have been a net win in terms of performance and pay, we are examining their performances during that particular year. Ready?
2010: Manny Ramirez ($18,690,000 base; 0.6 WAR)
Mannywood took over Los Angeles in 2008 when the Dodgers landed Ramirez in a trade with Boston that also included the Pirates. Ramirez put up bug numbers in a limited role in his first year and a half with LA. A 50-game suspension for violating the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program in 2009 took the steam out of a productive season, and it didn’t get any better the following year. It was in 2010 that Manny posted a 1.6 oWAR but an unsightly -1.2 dWAR. That, combined with three trips to the injured list resulted in Ramirez losing his starting job in left field. The Dodgers traded him to the White Sox in exchange for Chicago taking on $3.8 million of his salary.
2011: Rafael Furcal ($13,000,000; -0.1 WAR)
Dodgers fans loved Furcal when he was in LA, but 2011 was certainly a sign that injuries has caught up with him in his career. The highest-paid player on the team that year, Furcal posted a 47 OPS+ in 97 games with Los Angeles. That ultimately led to the aging middle-infielder being trade to St Louis in exchange for minor leaguer Alex Castellanos and ultimately paved the way for the Dodgers trading for Hanley Ramirez.
2012: Ted Lilly ($11,666,666; 0.5 WAR)
This was a tough year because of so many trades and signings that happened. But the 36-year-old Ted Lilly gets the award for 2012, posting a decent 3.14 ERA in just eight starts. Injuries to his throwing shoulder shut him down for the entire season, and Lilly was not able to ever bounce back. Injuries marred the remainder of his career and Lilly was forced into retirement. This was the same season the Dodgers traded for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford,
2013: Josh Beckett ($15,750,000; -0.8 WAR)
2013 was the year that Beckett was diagnosed with Thoracic Outley Syndrome, something that led to numbness and tingling in his pitching hand. That was likely one of the main factors that led to a 5.19 ERA and a 0-5 record in just eight starts. Beckett eventually underwent surgery that shut hi down for the rest of the year, He would go on to pitch a good season in 2014 that included a no-hitter before retiring from baseball.
2014: Andre Ethier ($15,500,000; 0.0 WAR)
Paying $15.5 million for a power-hitting left-handed hitter off of the bench is rough, an that’s exactly where the Dodgers found themselves in 2014. Ethier struggled while Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp performed, ultimately putting Ethier into a reserve role. Despite playing in 130 games, Ethier only garnered 380 plate appearances as he took on a pinch-hit role. He slashed .249/.322/.370 with 4 home runs and 42 RBIs, with a below-league average OPS+.
2015: Carl Crawford ($20,500,000; -0.2 WAR)
After a decent 2014 season with the Dodgers, Crawford tore his oblique early on in the 2015 campaign. That injury kept him out of games from April all the way until late-July. In 69 games, slashed .265/.304/.403 with just 15 extra-base hits. He would go on to play one more injury-riddled year before retiring from baseball.
2016: Brett Anderson ($15,800,800; -0.8 WAR)
Anderson accepted the Dodgers’ qualifying offer of $15.8 million to stay with the team in 2016 after a productive 2015 campaign. He ended up starting just three games for Los Angeles after a bulging disc in his back shut him down for the season. He did not make his first appearance for the team until August of that year and got rocked. In 11.1 inning pitched, Anderson gave up 15 earned runs and allowed four homeruns. This would be his last season with Los Angeles after just two seasons with the team.
2017: Adrian Gonzalez ($21,500,000; -1.0 WAR)
This year was the beginning of the end for Gonzo, as phenom Cody Bellinger was called up that same year. A back injury forced him to the sidelines, making a path for Bellinger to come up and win the Rookie of the Year award. Gonzalez posted a .242 batting average and hit just four homeruns in 71 games. He was ultimately a part of the trade that brought Matt Kemp back to Los Angeles for the 2018 season. Gonzalez played with the Mets in a limited capacity in 2018 but has not played since.
2018: Logan Forsythe ($9,000,000; -0.5 WAR)
This was one of those years where it really felt like no one was overpaid. But if we have to pick someone, Logan Forsythe is always someone to blame. One of the biggest trade disappointments in recent Dodgers’ transactions, the team paid him $6 million to not do a whole lot. After a disappointing 70 games, he was traded to the Twins who covered the remaining $3 million of his contract. Forsythe posted a 54 OPS+ in his half-season with the Dodgers and was not particularly useful on defense either.
2019: Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334; 0.0 WAR)
Putting a fan favorite on this list seems like a good way to get attacked on the internet, but it’s hard to deny this one. It’s never a good feeling to hand off the ball to a guy in the ninth inning that is struggling, but it’s felt like that since the start of the 2018 season with Kenley. In 2019, he posted his worst ERA ever while seeing his walk rate continue to climb, He saved 33 games but was second-worst in the league with eight blown saves. It doesn’t help that Jansen was also one of the highest-paid relievers that year either.
What do you think, who would you add to this list? Some years were more difficult and some seemed fairly straight-forward. Considering trades and mid-season signings was another thing that made this more difficult to put together. Looking back, the Dodgers seem to have done alright in their paying players over the last ten years. There are only a few true overall busts on this list, so all things considered, not too bad.