In 1960, based on his previous season’s lackluster performance, future Hall of Famer Stan “The Man” Musial took a pay cut — from $100,000 to $80,000.
This would be unheard of in today’s game; once multi-million-dollar contracts are locked in, players can seemingly play as well or poorly as they want to and still rake in the big bucks. Just ask the New York Yankees. Alex Rodriguez, who’s sitting out the entire 2014 season due to a performance-enhancing drug suspension — and prior to that, wasn’t putting up all that amazing numbers. As of 2013, he was making $29 million per year — and he’ll even see approximately $6 million this year, all for sitting poolside. So much for Musial’s formula.
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.
Carlos Beltran – New York Yankees – Center Fielder
Salary: $15 million
Current Market Value: -$18.2 million
The New York Yankees likely signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million contract because of his postseason abilities more than his waning seasonal output (he has one more postseason dinger than Yankee great Babe Ruth). There’s still some pop in his bat — and he’s starting to get hot of late — but already battling injuries this year, Beltran could be in for a long second-half of the season, amidst a healthy chorus of Bronx Cheers.
Jacoby Ellsbury – New York Yankees – Center Fielder
Salary: $21.1 million
Current Market Value: -$8.2 million
The former Boston Red Sox star has been once again battling minor injuries all season for the rival New York Yankees — and although he’s putting up decent numbers, his team can ill afford to lose him to injury, something plaguing the majority of their pitching staff and key position players. The Yanks aren’t out of contention yet, but we can gather, based on that salary, that they were expecting quite a bit more of the 30-year-old outfielder. He’ll need to step things up in a big way in the second half to earn that money.
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