The flip-side of the "High Risk / High Reward" philosophy?

Jeff Zimmerman over at Beyond the Boxscore has a couple of really interesting posts up.  The first takes a look at the top 100 players who cost their teams the most money for time on the DL during the 2002 to 2009 time-frame.  Can you guess who is number 1?  That's right, our good buddy Mike Hampton.  What's interesting to me is not the fact that he is number 1, but the AMOUNT of money paid to him while on the DL.  $51.8 Million!!!!  


"Oh my God, what is this thing ...."


Before you panic, not all of this money came directly from the Braves.  Hampton was paid by Colorado for his 2002 season and Houston paid his 2009 salary.  On top of that Colorado paid a good portion of his salary while he played for our beloved Braves and I'm sure we recovered some via insurance.  Still, that is a HUGE chunk of change. 

Jeff's next analysis shows how much money was lost to DL stints per team over the same time-frame, ranked by percentage of payroll.  The Braves are tied for 6th place with 19% of total payroll lost, with a whopping $146 million paid.  I found myself asking the question how much of this can be attributed to the team philosophy of signing risky players?   I'm not sure but I would guess a larger majority of the money lost is related to this philosophy more so than homegrown players spending time on the DL.  The other question that came to mind is whether or not this research considered "who" paid Mike Hampton and "when" during his stint with the Braves.  I would guess it would be extremely difficult to calculate the complexities of some of today's contracts so I have to believe this study defaulted all of his salary to the Braves from '03 thru '08.  Even if this is true, and the Braves total salary lost is less than listed, we still paid a TON of money to players who gave us nothing in return.

Given that these two studies were made possible thanks in large part to Josh Hermsmeyer's newly released injury database from I have to believe that someone, somewhere is already working on answering these types of questions!  

Just for giggles, and for those who didn't click the links, here are the five teams in front of the Braves with total $ lost and percentage of total payroll:  


  1. Dodgers / $214 mil / 27%
  2. Nationals (small sample size warning) / $87 mil / 22%
  3. Rangers / $130 mil / 22%
  4. Mets (2009 anyone?) / $198 mil / 22%
  5. Diamondbacks / $112 mil / 20%

This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Talking Chop.

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