Hey Bud, Fiscal Responsibility Starts at Home

by Ross Friedman

The reason the Brewers cannot compete very little to do with the disparity in payrolls.  It has almost everything to do with the way the Brewers, the team owned by the Selig family, spends its money.

Last year Marquis Grissom was their highest paid player.  Grissom was also their leadoff man and managed to have the lowest on base percentage of any qualifier in ALL OF BASEBALL!  The lowest on base percentage in baseball, and he’s their highest paid player?

What’s sad is that he still produced more than their highest paid pitcher.  That distinction went to Jaime Navarro who managed a total of ZERO WINS during the 2000 season. Money well spent, huh?

Now they have a new highest paid player, Jeffrey Hammonds. And yes, the Brewers did it again.  For over $7 million per season, over the next three seasons, they got a player who most likely will produce nothing for them.  Two years ago he had a good season.  He hit 17 home runs, drove in 41 (only 262 at bats), had a .279 average and a .523 slugging percentage.  These are hardly numbers worthy of $7 million per season, especially for a guy who has never been healthy enough to make it to 500 at bats in a season.

Now you may be thinking he had a good year last year.  Well he didn’t. Coors’ Field carried him last year, and he won’t have that luxury anymore. How much did Coors’ carry him?  Well, he had 236 at bats away from home and 218 in the hitter friendly ballpark.  In those home at bats he hit 14 home runs and drove in 71, while batting an amazing .399.  On the road, he only hit 6 home runs, drove in only 35 runs and had a .274 average.  His OPS on the road was only .740, well below average for a right fielder.

The moral of that story for hitters, is get yourself to Colorado before you hit your free agent year.

Not only did the Brewers sign a player that isn’t that productive when he’s on the field, they did it with one of baseball’s most injury prone players.  And now they get to call him the highest paid player in their franchise’s history.

That, Mr. Selig, is the difference between the haves and the have-nots.

Send Ross your opinions, comments or verbal abuse at ross@JBaseball.

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"How can you not be romantic about baseball?" - Moneyball.